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Expert strata, facilities & building management services

Solar Panels not a hasty solution to becoming Green

By clancularia 24 February 2011 11

Thus far we have had a negative experience regarding the installation and implementation of our solar panels. All the initial dealings with the company were courteous and professional, and the workers who installed the panels were professional. Problems arose when,

1. Our paperwork was not submitted to ActewAGL until about ten days after the panels were installed and we were not given sufficient reason why it took so long.

2. ActewAGL couldn’t come out to check the electrics until ACTPLA had been out first, which took about three weeks after the installation.

3. About a month and a half after installation an ActewAGL representative checked our meter box only to tell us that the electrician has wired it completely wrong and now they need to come out again. Apparently a nsw company was contracted by our solar company to do the electrics and it is very different system in the ACT. If this is not corrected and checked by ActewAGL immediately we go back on the waiting list for another two months! Our advice is to check that the solar company has employed appropriate tradesman for the job as this was not something we thought necessary to check.

Overall we are disappointed with the service.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Solar Panels not a hasty solution to becoming Green
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akinom 1:57 pm 26 Feb 11

Felix the Cat said :

Jordo said :

I checked it out for my business and it worked out to take 23 years to pay for itself, but then when I checked again including interest it would take 50+ years to break even!

Would the system even have a life of 23 years, let alone 50? I’ve heard solar panels need upgrading/replacing after 10 years or so.

Yeah – what is the life of these things? If its 10 years, what’s the “greenness” in that – you have to take them off your roof and to the tip as landfill.

My girlfriend has tried to encourage me to participate in this subsidy program, but I rather my taxpayer funds go into a larger scale solar power station, perhaps trialling it on a new Canberra suburb, rather than this ‘flotsam and jetsam’ approach to environmental sustainability.

Jordo 9:27 am 26 Feb 11

I had two solar companies come out and do their calculations and they basically told me if I went ahead it would be mostly for environmental reasons, hey I love to hug a tree as much as the next bloke but I’d prefer to feed my family.

BlackIce 9:14 pm 25 Feb 11

Jordo said :

I checked it out for my business and it worked out to take 23 years to pay for itself, but then when I checked again including interest it would take 50+ years to break even!

Then I found out if there’s a blackout my solar system would be shut down (one reason for getting it as I run a lot of refrigeration) and I’d still be without power.

It seems like the the govt are “serious” about renewable energy.

If you want to run things during a blackout then you need a stand alone system, not one that connects to the grid. So you would need to also invest in a battery bank plus inverter.

Trad_and_Anon 8:41 pm 25 Feb 11

I would not go near AGL energy shop after the bodgy job their installer did with our reverse cycle air-conditioning. Substandard, could not give a stuff and left us without air con in a house three days before Christmas after the contract said it would be a single day install. This was several years ago and I have not gone near them since. Nor would I.

Grail 3:21 pm 25 Feb 11

I’ve heard plenty of good things about The Solar Shop – arriving about when they said they would, installing the system cleanly and having it all wired up just right.

Felix the Cat 3:04 pm 25 Feb 11

Jordo said :

I checked it out for my business and it worked out to take 23 years to pay for itself, but then when I checked again including interest it would take 50+ years to break even!

Would the system even have a life of 23 years, let alone 50? I’ve heard solar panels need upgrading/replacing after 10 years or so.

chewy14 1:32 pm 25 Feb 11

Jordo said :

I checked it out for my business and it worked out to take 23 years to pay for itself, but then when I checked again including interest it would take 50+ years to break even!

Then I found out if there’s a blackout my solar system would be shut down (one reason for getting it as I run a lot of refrigeration) and I’d still be without power.

It seems like the the govt are “serious” about renewable energy.

What kind of a system are you trying to install?

Most of the smaller systems are around a 5year payback, if they had payback periods of 10yrs+ then no one would install them. How did you do your calculations?

digital21c 11:55 am 25 Feb 11

Buzz2600, I don’t think future electricity prices enter into the calculation. Your feed-in tariff rate is fixed for 20 years. It doesn’t change with the prevailing cost of electricity, there’s no indexation or adjustment. All the other costs are known at installation time. The main variables for the pay-back period calculation are the interest rate and how much electricity is actually generated.

My own calcs are just like Jordo’s – there’s no compelling _financial_ reason to install solar.

“The Premium Price is set annually. However, when you enter into an arrangement with your electricity supplier you are guaranteed payment of the Premium Price prevailing at that time for the full 20 years of your agreement.” — See page 2 of http://www.environment.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/144608/FiTFactSheet.pdf

Buzz2600 10:54 am 25 Feb 11

Jordo said :

I checked it out for my business and it worked out to take 23 years to pay for itself, but then when I checked again including interest it would take 50+ years to break even!

Then I found out if there’s a blackout my solar system would be shut down (one reason for getting it as I run a lot of refrigeration) and I’d still be without power.

It seems like the the govt are “serious” about renewable energy.

Jordo, I’d be interested to see how you calculated the time it will take to pay itself off. Did you include the subsidy provisions for business? How did you calculate future electricity prices given the speculation?

Jordo 12:18 am 25 Feb 11

I checked it out for my business and it worked out to take 23 years to pay for itself, but then when I checked again including interest it would take 50+ years to break even!

Then I found out if there’s a blackout my solar system would be shut down (one reason for getting it as I run a lot of refrigeration) and I’d still be without power.

It seems like the the govt are “serious” about renewable energy.

paperboy 1:42 pm 24 Feb 11

I checked out several solar installers, but in the end decided to go with the ActewAGL energy shop. The price wasn’t bad compared to most, and there was peace of mind in knowing they’d be across all the paperwork and electrical requirements.

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