Hire the best Solar Panel Expert

About to install - but who?

Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    111

    Default About to install - but who?

    Hi all, I've done a search and couldn't find exactly what I am after so here I post!
    I have a small windfall of cash so the missus and I decided solar electricity was a good way to spend it. We have really appreciated the lower power bills since installing solar HW and switching to off peak pool.

    Trouble is, there are a lot of companies flogging solar electricity atm.
    Whilst not asking for a public endorsment of any product line, anyone who would like to endorse a particular product line or installer please do.
    Feel free to pm any non public recomendations.
    I suppose the issue is which installers and providers currently flogging solar in Brisbane are to be avoided.

    Some more useful information I guess, is that we are looking at a bigger than 1.5KW, probably 3KW, although, I noticed that in some cases, 2x1.5KW systems are cheaper than 1x3KW!

    Cheers
    Ralph
    Last edited by ralph1malph; 6th Mar 2011 at 12:55 AM. Reason: Spelling and grammar

  2. #2
    3K Club Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Qld
    Posts
    3,278

    Default

    I for one will be watching this post, we have been considering solar power for some time.
    Growing old is compulsory, growing up is not.
    http://www.wet-seal.com.au/waterproofing/locations.html

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldsaltoz View Post
    I for one will be watching this post, we have been considering solar power for some time.
    Hey mate,
    It was a toss up between solar or spending more on our bathroom reno.
    I decided that a 'basic' bathroom fitout was all that was required and to put the money to better use. Still smarting from the cost of the bathroom reno!

    Ralph

  4. #4
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    69
    Posts
    6,561

    Default

    Rules are simple IMO - go with a local business which has been doing it for a while, go with word of mouth from people who are happy with the work done on their systems, get 2 or three quotes.

    Make sure that you are not asked to pay more than a 10-15% deposit and do not pay any final amount until your system is connected and working and all the relevant approvals are in place (especially the grid connection and whatever the arrangement is with your electricity supplier).

    This is an investment like anything else - so you will be spending cash and converting it to an income earning asset. Depending on your age and investment return requirements PV can be a good investment. If your aim is to help the environment then buy 100% GreenPower from your utility and invest your money elsewhere.

    It will take between 2-3 years to get payback on a 3kW system - or more depending upon what your are able to get for the power you produce (it might be much longer). Then to get equal to where you would have been by simply bunging your money in a fixed deposit will take another few years (usually around 10 or so, but again depends what you are getting for your power). After that you actually start making money and the system will produce power from the sun for another 20 years or so.

    So these are long term investments not short term and need to be seen in that light. Too many spend the capital and then forget that they did so and just look at the revenue rolling in and imagine that as 'profit' - and that's how the solar sales people sell it too. We do the same sort of thing with our car - we spend $15K, $20K or $30K or whatever and then pretty much focus on the cost of petrol as though that's all the impact is. In reality there are many other costs including the cost of the money and maintenance insurance etc - so the real cost is much higher per km than we think.

    Solar PV is the same. I have 3kW on my roof and plan on putting up another 7kW, but I know why I am doing so and what my returns are and when I will get them and what the costs and risks are. You should judge all those things too.

    In the ACT we have subsidies that make being an early adopter worth looking at - prices of these systems are coming down and energy prices up so in a couple of years or so (I reckon by 2015 or so) then the numbers will add up without any subsidy - so there is no real reason to rush unless you value highly being the amongst the first.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  5. #5
    3K Club Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    3,585

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph1malph View Post
    Trouble is, there are a lot of companies flogging solar electricity atm.
    Whilst not asking for a public endorsment of any product line, anyone who would like to endorse a particular product line or installer please do.
    Feel free to pm any non public recomendations.
    I suppose the issue is which installers and providers currently flogging solar in Brisbane are to be avoided.
    Hi Ralph,

    We have recently installed a system, but we are in Adelaide, so not much use to you there

    I spent quite a bit of time researching Solar before deciding to go with it, and also before selecting an installer. I couldn't help but notice Hippiesparx on the whirlpool forums. He is very knowledgeable and not scared of sharing information and advice. He is also an installer, you can probably work out his company website from his email address.

    I've had no personal dealings with him, but there are plenty of people on whirlpool who reckon he's pretty good. If I was in Brisbane, I'd include him in my list of people to get a quote from.

    woodbe.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Ok,
    What have I learnt so far?
    1. That there are literally dozens of suppliers/installers.
    2. There is a vast cost differential between 1.5 (ish) KW systems and 2-2.5 KW systems. I assume its coz of the invertor. Tempted to install 2 x 1.5 systems .
    3. I may have to trim some trees (like trim to near the bottom)

    Ralph

  7. #7
    3K Club Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    3,585

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph1malph View Post
    2. There is a vast cost differential between 1.5 (ish) KW systems and 2-2.5 KW systems. I assume its coz of the invertor. Tempted to install 2 x 1.5 systems .
    REC, Renewable Energy Certificates, Emissions Trading, REC Agent, Renewable Energy System, Greenbank Environmental | Calculating RECs

    The big difference you see is most likely because the government RECS are biased to the smaller systems.

    For instance, using the green-bank calculator, you find that a 1.5kW system yields 155 RECS or $6200 (at $40 each) - a 2.2kW system gets 169 RECS and $6760

    So guess who is paying for most of the 2.2kW system?

    Trimming trees is good

    woodbe.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Yep, That'll do it!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    431

    Default

    g'day,
    i do have PV solar installed - a 5KW system. i'm in Melbourne so who i used is irrelevant to you - but i did do a TON of research into panel types, makes, models, inverters, wiring requirements, loss thru excess length and undersized DC cable runs and plenty more.

    i have been relatively active in helping people in other forums (whirlpool, energymatters forums) about issues/problems with their systems and giving (helpful) advice in general.

    since you are in QLD i would without a doubt recommend the services of a 'local' installer there who is affectionately known as hippiesparx. his real name is john and the company is called PositronicSolar. (john@positronicsolar.com / Positronic Solar Data Electrical)

    he is active in posting to forums (just google 'hippiesparx'), is 'competitive' price wise and goes out of his way to help people, even when they didn't buy from him.

    if you were in Melbourne, i'd recommend Glen Clark (glen@glenclarkco.com.au) as a Melbourne 'local' installer who is also very helpful and clueful.

    one thing that has amazed me is just how many installers / solar companies really have no idea about what it is they sell or how it works. the number of installations that are suboptimal because they are installed in a suboptimal string configuration or operating outside the MPPT range, substandard inverter is pretty amazing.
    its on a different forum but if you google for "solar what not to do" its unfortunately a sign of just where a lot of the solar industry is at.

    having said all of this, if you are looking for advise or feedback on anything, just post it here, there's a few of us with PV solar and who have probably spent far too much time researching all sorts of aspects of it, and are more than happy to help.

    personally, i love the fact that where over the last 6 months i would have had about $550 worth of electricity bills, instead i have a $1500 credit.
    thats with a (fair) Net PFIT too in what has been an atypical summer weather pattern with a lot less sunny days than has been seen for this time of year for the last 10 years!

  10. #10
    Golden Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sunny Shine Coast
    Age
    74
    Posts
    604

    Default

    We have a 3Kw system - sorry now I didn't go bigger only because I see the day when electricity costs will out strip the credit I'm running. We are averaging 10KwH a day (roughly) Our average daily consumption is 18-20 KwH but with the positive differential on the feed back tariff our financial break even is 8KwH a day. I'd like more 'buffer' and will probably go to 5 or even 7.5Kw one day.

    We have a SMA SB3000TL inverter - I'm happy with it as a unit - it has bluetooth output so I can see what is happening in a graphical display on my computer - nice feature if you like keeping tabs on things. The manufactures have provided great support and information about a few teething problems that the installers didn't have a clue about. (nothing serious - just tweaking)

    Our suppliers looked good on paper but performance and information abysmal - PM me if you want to know who.
    David L
    "A dedicated amateur will always do a better job than a slap dash professional"

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Thanks all, soon to decide on size!

    Ralph

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    106

    Default

    We just signed up for a 3kW system through Todae. It was a limited time deal and may be over now, but the components were good quality ones, and the price was brilliant. We did have to pay a larger deposit, but hopefully that's not too bad - the company has been around a while. We also seriously considered energy matters and solar shop as providers.
    Life's too short for dull sandpaper

  13. #13
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    69
    Posts
    6,561

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph1malph View Post
    Yep, That'll do it!
    Note that you can't install 2 x 1.5kW systems and get two sets of the RECs multipliers - the RECS are applied to one address. So you would be assessed for RECS as though it was a single 3kW system - anyone telling you otherwise is simply wrong (so either ignorant or dodgy - either way find another retailer).

    The Commonwealth is undertaking audits to confirm that what has been installed is as claimed - really the installer problem if they are silly enough to have you sign over RECs to which the system is not entitled, but a sign of an incompetent installer IMO.

    There are good technical reasons to go a single inverter too - but that depends on a number of factors specific to any intended location/ site.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  14. #14
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    69
    Posts
    6,561

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by petersemple View Post
    We just signed up for a 3kW system through Todae. It was a limited time deal and may be over now, but the components were good quality ones, and the price was brilliant. We did have to pay a larger deposit, but hopefully that's not too bad - the company has been around a while. We also seriously considered energy matters and solar shop as providers.
    Hope you are happy with that and it all works - the notion of 'limited time deal' is simply a common marketing and sales ploy as is the demand you pay a larger deposit. There should be no reason to pay anymore deposit than you would on any work you would get done on your house - so max 20%. Too many businesses use deposits from new orders as a finance source to buy product for current installations - that's poor business practice and generally a sign of a newish business that is relying on cash flow not a solid finance structure.

    A cashflow reliance often means they have to juggle payments to suppliers (who for those type of business will only accept payment in advance) and that can translate into delay - often claimed to be a supplier problem or component shortage. I can tell you there is no delay or shortage of product for those who can pay for it (there is some pressure on licensed competent installers!) - there is an oversupply of panels of all quality and a good supply of inverters and BOS items (brackets and electrical bits and pieces).

    Having said that it doesn't mean the product & service is necessarily a problem. I note that the information about feed-in tariff's on their website is way out of date.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  15. #15
    Novice
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    bris
    Posts
    48

    Default

    We went to Origin to get our little 1.5 kw installed.
    With all these solar companies that sprung up, all I could think of was the insulation debacle. We figured that Origin wasn't about to close down and that if a problem arose a company of that size would be able to help better.

    It took all of 2 weeks to get it installed in suburban Brisbane and about 5 weeks to get the meter changed over.

    It really was a very easy transaction, Yes dearer than some companies but you can't compare a 2 week install compared to a 3 month from one mob that quoted us.

    Cheers

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Again, thanks all.
    I'll research all the companies mentioned.
    Ideally, I'd like to get a 5-7 kw system, however, the reallity is that we are spending heaps and heaps on a bathroom reno (not doing it myself), a patio and deck (doing it myself) and there just isn't enough cash left for that size.
    We currently use about 18kw per day but that is really our fault. 2 kids, 3 TV, ps3, standby appliances etc.
    I am tempted to finance a larger system but I'll have to do the math and find the cost sweet spot.

    Cheers
    Ralph

  17. #17
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Victoria
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Sorry to get slightly off the topic as to "Which installer" BUT I have noticed a few people mention 'upgrading' to larger systems down the track?. Does this mean you need to buy another inverter when that time comes (we have a 3kw inverter already, and system to be installed in 2 weeks with 12 panels projected to output 2928kwh p/annum) ? If I wish to install more panels does that mean I need to upgrade my inverter later

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Country West Oz
    Age
    74
    Posts
    316

    Default

    The short answer is yes
    Regards Bradford

  19. #19
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    69
    Posts
    6,561

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BRADFORD View Post
    The short answer is yes
    Upgrade is not a good description for solar PV - each system and array is designed specifically for the size & location and roof top layout. Increasing size is not always simply a matter of adding panels or even panels & an inverter - but might be! Bets is to install what you need now and the get professional advice later when you are thinking of expanding the capacity. Inverters need to be matched within the while system - it is not as simple as buying a bigger inverter now so you can add on later - and if your seller tells you so - go to a different seller who knows what they are talking about!
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  20. #20
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    69
    Posts
    6,561

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BRADFORD View Post
    The short answer is yes
    Upgrade is not a good description for solar PV - each system and array is designed specifically for the size & location and roof top layout. Increasing size is not always simply a matter of adding panels or even panels & an inverter - but might be! Best is to install what you need now and then get professional advice later when you are thinking of expanding the capacity. Inverters need to be matched with the whole system - it is not as simple as buying a bigger inverter now so you can add on panels later - and if your seller tells you so - go to a different seller who knows what they are talking about! Solar PV is not plug & play (yet!) - not by a long way.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Hi again,
    Been awhile but back on an have to update.
    Well, after all the research and reading and chatting ended up contacting hippiesparx and he put me onto a 'reputable company'.
    If that's not a hint........
    Anyway, we haven't been installed yet, but have submitted all the paperwork, inc Energex and contracted an agreed price for 1.9 kw I think (can't just remember).
    I expect that I will have to upgrade the switchboard (has T&G as back board) and I expect that will be quite expensive!
    Other than that it's a waiting game. Should be soon tho.

    Ralph

Similar Threads

  1. DIY install
    By garfield in forum Heating & Cooling
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 5th Aug 2011, 04:42 PM
  2. New toilet install
    By gregt in forum Plumbing
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 26th Oct 2010, 06:11 AM
  3. Laundry Tub Install
    By diy in forum Bathrooms
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 2nd Oct 2009, 09:32 PM
  4. How to install RFL?
    By Daren in forum Structural Renovation
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 19th Feb 2008, 09:13 AM
  5. air con install
    By looney in forum Heating & Cooling
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 16th Jul 2007, 01:25 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •