Rebates for small business commercial solar in Victoria!

The Victorian government have announced a new scheme to help increase small business commercial solar in Victoria – with two different rebates currently available. Let’s take a look at what your company should do if you’re thinking about installing – you can get a rebate of up to $3,500 to help pay it off!

Commercial Solar in Victoria – Solar for Business rebate

Solar for Business rebates (source: solar.vic.gov.au)

According to the Victorian government website, from May 2021 eligible small businesses in Victoria can apply for the Solar for Business Program rebate. The rebate offer includes up to 50% or $3,500 (whichever amounts to less) on eligible solar power systems.

The program is eligible to quite a lot of small businesses, here’s the skinny on the details if you want to apply:

You must:

  • Be the owner of a business which has less than 20 employees     
  • Operate from premises that are not considered residential     
  • Operate from premises that are individually metered    
  • Have your system installed by a Solar Victoria approved solar retailer (click for a search) as detailed on Solar Victoria’s website   
  • Install a solar system with a PV capacity size up to a maximum of 30kW, as detailed on the Solar Victoria approved product list

Solar for business has been a no brainer for quite a while now, so with rebates like this being offered there’s never been a better time to consider installing renewable energy at your small business. If your bills are in the thousands per month you will save money installing solar. To also enjoy a rebate from the government is a very nice sweetener indeed – hopefully we see the scheme being taken up and similar rebates in other states implemented.

To register your interest please click here.

Small Business Energy Saver Program in Victoria

The Small Business Energy Saver Program is another option – providing generous bonuses of up to $2,000 for companies who upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment, such as air-conditioning, refrigeration, and heating pumps. 15,000 solar rebates will be available under the program – these will be doled out over the next three years.

(Very) rough solar installation costs – commercial solar in Victoria

Generally you can budget around $1000 per kilowatt (a little over a dollar a watt) of power on your system (after STCs), e.g. a 50kW system will be around $50,000 (closer to $65k in WA, if you’re thinking about a place to set up commercial solar…). This is obviously very, very rough and you’ll pay a bit more per watt for a smaller system (e.g. 10-30kW) rather than up to 100kW, so don’t quote me on these prices. Please note that the Solar for Business rebate only covers systems to a max of 30kW!

If you do want some help with getting a price guide for commercial solar installation or you’d like someone to go over some quotations with please email us and we’d be happy to help.

You can also get help with some rough savings numbers by using the solar calculator at the Queensland government website.

Registered accredited providers

The Victorian website has an up to date list of accredited providers for the scheme, but if you’re interested in installing commercial solar in Victoria and taking party in the rebate scheme, here’s a list current as per 12.04.21:

Barwon South West

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Gippsland

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Wattly
Patrick Blain
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 878 500
[email protected]

Grampians

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Hume

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Wattly
Patrick Blain
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 878 500
[email protected]

Loddon Mallee

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

 

 

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How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day? What’s a tier 1 panel?

Having the world’s highest average solar radiation per square meter, Australia is considered the most potential and viable solar energy source whether you’re a home or a commercial entity looking to install panels on your premises.

Choosing the right solar system can be very confusing as there’s a lot of misleading jargon and buzzwords – especially with the solar panels! You’ll also have to ensure they are compatible with your entire solar system – you’ve then got to see how they interact with each other before trying to calculate their output, which can be challenging as well.

It is impossible to tell you with certainty that your solar panel produces this much power – as this varies from brand to brand and panel to panel. There’s also something else you need to consider in addition to choosing a panel – the quality of manufacturer, generally ranked via solar panel tiers.

How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day? Photo by Ryan Searle on Unsplash

How are solar panels tiered?

Solar panels are categorized into three tiers, with tier 1 as the best. This can affect output depending on the brand and number of watts per panel (especially over longer periods of time). Your location will also be important – obviously someone in Australia is going to get better value out of a solar installation than someone in Glasgow (only 50 days of sunshine a year there…).

Let’s discuss the concept of a Tier 1 solar panel. This is a bit of a misnomer – in the sense that Tier 1 or Bank-ability solar panels come from companies which have been in the industry for many years and are financially capable of dealing with your warranty issues, repairing issues or any problems you encounter over the ~10 years you will use their product. That’s my convoluted way of saying Tier 1 denotes the ranking of the manufacturer itself, not the solar panel. It is the manufacturer who will back up your product in the case of potential future defective panels or installations. Banks or investors may not want to put their money in your solar power project (commercial solar or residential) unless they’re satisfied your manufacturers are likely to be around if and when your solar systems malfunction. How many successful projects has the company undertaken? How long have they been around? The answers to these questions will impact which tier the manufacturer is.

It is important to keep in mind that Tier 2 or Tier 3 solar panels are not always a poor choice per se – these manufacturers can also offer high quality panels, it’s just riskier to rely on them because the company is recently established, and you may not be sure how long they’ll be in the industry. Maybe their manufacturing standards aren’t as robust as some of the bigger brands – as always, you get what you pay for. It’s a matter of weighing up the pros and cons and ensuring your solar investment is making money within your risk tolerance. And if you’re going for a bigger installation, it’s generally worth going for a quality manufacturer and a tier 1 panel. Preferably more than one, but you get the point.

Who chooses solar panel tiers?

This tier-based ranking (remember, it’s per manufacturer, not per panel) is decided by Bloomberg New Energy Finance – a research organization. There are other ‘tier’ lists out there which are better off avoided as it can be very confusing – the Bloomberg list has been well trusted for a long time.

If you’re interested in more detail in how a company’s tier is decided, the official BloombergNEF site has a useful PDF you can download here.

Just remember, there’s a lot of marketing involved in solar, so be sure to ask as many questions as you can to the salesperson. Grab a copy of the spec sheet for the panels they’re showing you and check it out yourself. Do your due diligence and you can even end up with a cashflow positive solar installation.

How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day?

Your location and the amount of watts in the solar panel will also impact the amount of power your panels are able to generate. solar panels will be in terms of making the most of the solar power.

Your inverter also plays an important role in regulating and maximising generation of solar power. A top-notch quality solar inverter determines how well your solar output is distributed, applicable once the DC power turns into AC.

In Australia you can generally bank on 10-12 hours of sunlight during summer. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call average sunlight 10 hours for our calculation, and the capacity of the solar panel we’re measuring is 300 watts:

Total Watts = Average time of sunlight x Solar Panels watts x Number of Panels

= 10 x 300 x 1

= 3000 Watts Hour or 30KWH Daily

But we also need to consider solar panel efficiency. A solar panel has a maximum of 15–22% efficiency, due to the Shockley-Queisser limit silicon panels will never reach greater than 1/3 efficiency.

Let’s calculate total watts from a single panel, daily, with 20% efficiency:

3000 Watts x 20% = 600 Watt Hours or 0.66KWH per day.

If you want to measure solar output you have numerous options depending on which inverter you’ve chosen. Most of them offer a web-based interface so you can keep an eye on how much money you’re saving – you could even pipe the solar statistics to a Raspberry Pi, or automate reports showing how much you’ve saved. Solar power in Australia has never been cheaper – we’re seeing a meteoric rise in commercial solar installations nationwide, whether you’re Ikea or an SME – it’s time to go green and choose solar power for your business.

Which manufacturers offer tier 1 solar panels in 2021?

As per review.solar for Q1 2021:

  • LONGi
  • Jinko
  • JA Solar
  • Trina Solar
  • Canadian Solar
  • Risen
  • QCells
  • Suntech
  • Talesun
  • First Solar
  • ZNShine
  • Seraphim
  • Eging
  • Haitai New Energy
  • Astronergy
  • Jolywood
  • SunPower/ Maxeon
  • Jinergy
  • VSUN Solar
  • Jetion
  • LG Electronics
  • BYD
  • AE Solar
  • Phono Solar
  • Waaree
  • HT-SAAE
  • REC Group
  • URE
  • ET Solar
  • Renesola
  • Adani
  • Boviet
  • Vikram
  • Ulica
  • Leapton
  • Hansol
  • Kyocera
  • S-Energy
  • Recom
  • Shinsung
  • Heliene
  • Sharp
  • Swelect
  • Photowatt

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Tesla Solar Roof Problems | What’s Next?

Tesla roof woes – Some early adopters have been experiencing Tesla solar roof problems – with one roof in Colorado catching fire and whispers of a secret “Project Titan” which Tesla have launched last year to fix faulty wiring/connectors on Tesla solar roofs America wide.

Tesla Solar Roof Problems

Tesla solar roof problems have been plaguing the company as people begin to wonder about the company’s cashflow, vision, and whether they may have overextended themselves. Well, by people I mean me – talking about Tesla as a whole. Powerwalls, Powerpacks, Model 3s, Solar Roofs. Let me know what you think in the comments. Certainly can’t blame Elon Musk for being conservative or not taking risks! 

An article by Business Insider notes that Briana Greer from Colorado was contacted by Tesla in late July about some ‘voltage fluctuations’ for the past couple of days. They promised to come and fix it on August 8 but unfortunately the house experienced a Combustible Episode before the techs arrived. According to Greer, they also wouldn’t tell her what went wrong:

“They purposely keep a lot of people in the dark. For an energy company, that’s ironic,” Greer told Business Insider in an interview last month. Wonder how long it took her to think up that one. Still, good burn.

Tesla Solar Roof
Tesla Solar Roof Problems (source: tesla.com)

According to the same article Tesla were quoted in Fox Colorado as saying “its solar panels are safe and very rarely catch fire.” Well, that’s reassuring! 

The system was installed by Xcel Energy and made by Trina (who recommend panels be inspected twice a year – something Greer says Telstra didn’t do).  

In August, Walmart sued Tesla after seven of its stores caught fire – Walmart are also complaining that Tesla can’t (or won’t?) tell them why the fire started. According to Walmart’s research, Tesla used faulty Amphenol connectors which failed in their task of heat regulation. This lead to the solar panels being subjected to a barrage of temperature spikes (which, ultimately, can lead to Walmarts on fire). Not great news. In any case, the ‘Project Titan‘ is pretty interesting, click to read Business Insider’s article on it.

If you’re interested in reading more articles talking about solar roof technology and goings on please click!

Got one of these Tesla roofs and having issues with it? Please let us know in the comments. 

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Silent 55 – Solar Powered Catamaran

The Silent 55 solar powered catamaran has been announced and will debut at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival. The 2019 model is twice as powerful as the 2018 model with the Austrian manufacturer advising that one has already been build and 3 more are on order.

Silent 55 – Solar Powered Catamaran

“Our best-selling 16.7m innovative solar electric catamaran has been upgraded and become even better than it used to be,” says Michael Köhler, Silent-Yachts founder and CEO. “We did these updates and changes because we always try to improve and to install the best and latest technology available to satisfy our clients. We have built one new Silent 55 already and we’ve got three more orders for this model, which shows that we’re heading in the right direction.”

The Silent 55 includes 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak. The catamaran uses MPPT (maximum power point tracking ) solar charge regulators and lithium batteries, allowing it to cruise through all the way through the evening (i.e. when the sun’s not shining) as well. 

A 15-kVA inverter provides the required power for household appliances. The electrical system also powers an aft swim platform and a 1,500-watt electric windlass. There is also a generator on board in case you run out of solar power. 

According to Robb Report the base price of the Silent 55 is €1.4m. Interested? Go check it out at the Cannes Yachting Festival or click here to learn more about the solar catamaran on the Silent Yachts website. And take me for a spin, please! 

Silent 55 Specifications

Length overall 16,70 m (54.8‘)
Beam overall 8,46 (27.7‘)
Draft 1,20 m (3.9‘)
Light displacement 19 tons
Water 500 – 1.000 L
Waste-Water 2 x 500 L
Fuel 500 – 1.600 L
Solar Panels 10 kWp
E-Motors 2 x 30 kW / 2 x 250 kW
Generator 22 kW / 100 kW
Battery Capacity 120 kWh
Cruising Speed 6 – 8 kt / 12 – 15 kt
Top Speed approx. 12 kt / 20 kt
CE Certification CE-A
Range Trans-Ocean

 

Silent 55 the Solar Powered Catamaran (source: RobbReport.com via Silent-Yachts)
Silent 55 the Solar Powered Catamaran (source: RobbReport.com via Silent-Yachts)

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Doping Solar Cells | Perovskite Tech Upgrade!

Doping solar cells – Swinburne University have been making big improvements on their research in upgrading efficiency of perovskite solar cells. Let’s read more.

Doping Solar Cells | Perovskite Tech Upgrade!

Swinburne University have been working in conjunction with Wuhan University of Technology in China, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Adelaide. Their research is to do with ‘doping solar cells’ – using sunlight as a ‘healing process’ to improve cell efficiency and stability. ‘Doping’ perovskite solar cells with potassium is having a big effect on increasing stability and efficiency of the solar cells. 

We’ve written extensively about the potential that perovskite solar cells could have – potentially overcoming Shockley–Queisser limit (33.7% at 1.34 eV) means that the theoretical conversion limit silicon based solar cells has could be improved upon.

As per Wikipedia, Perovskite tech has been moving along in leaps and bounds over the past 5 years:

Solar cell efficiencies of devices using these materials have increased from 3.8% in 2009[3] to 24.2% in 2019 in single-junction architectures,[4] and, in silicon-based tandem cells, to 28.0%,[4] exceeding the maximum efficiency achieved in single-junction silicon solar cells.

With the potassium ‘doping’, the sunlight starts to repair ‘interface traps’:

“Sunlight becomes a trigger for the positive formation of potassium bromide-like compounds, eliminating the interface traps and stabilising the mobile ions, thus resulting in improved power conversion efficiency,” Dr Weijian Chen, an early career researcher at Swinburne, noted in comments on the Swinburne website.

“This research contributes to the rationalisation of the improved performance and guides future design protocol of better solar cells.” Dr Xiaoming Wen, senior research fellow at Swinburne continued.

“The demonstrated solar cell characterisation methods are at the cutting edge, and will help our industry partners develop a new protocol for commercial perovskite solar cells.” Director of Swinburne’s newly founded Centre of Translational Atomaterials (CTAM), Professor Baohua Jia said about the technology.

If you’d like to read more, the research, funded by the Australian Research Council under the Discovery Project program, has been published in Advanced Energy Materials.

 

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