All Systems Go For 2014

Welcome back to another year of solar!

With the year already off to a flying start with with over 20Kw of solar plants installed just this week its set to be a big year for Solar

Don’t forget we offer a complete range of services from grid installations to solar pumps to totally off grid power solutions.

So when you think solar, Think LJW Solar.

60c Gross Feed in tariff customers now able to add a second system

Article from Nigel Morris here… and repeated below.


BREAKING; NSW GFIT customers can now upgrade!

19 Feb, 2013


Completely out of left field, I learned today that the NSW Department of Trade and Investment recently updated its web site and the rules around PV upgrades in NSW.

Previously, upgrading your capacity simply meant you would lose your Gross FIT (either 60c or 20c), so of course few if any bothered.

In a nutshell, what appears to be the case now is that additional capacity may be added, as long as it is separately Net metered (see excerpt from the DTI web site below).

This is big news for the NSW industry which has been making a very slow comeback after the sudden cessation of the 60c tariff , although we hasten to add that we don’t expect it to set the market on fire. However, we do expect it to stimulate new and unexpected demand.

Using my own case as an example, I quickly ran the numbers and here’s what I get:

  • I use on average 17kWh/day and have a 1.2kW PV system on the 60c G FIT
  • IN the one bill I analysed we earned $204 from our 60c GFIT and spent $346 on demand, on a Time Of Use Tariff, so our net bill was $142
  • If I assume I can wipe out my Shoulder demand and (say) 10% of my peak demand with an upgrade, I need to generate an average of 10.2kWh/day from my upgrade or about 2.6kW of new capacity.
  • This would save me an additional $160 per quarter which, assuming all things are equal would put me $18 in credit (overall).
  • A 2.6kW system would cost me about $5,000 according to the Solar Choice price index, which equates to a rough payback of 7 years

Good deal? Well, given my net electricity costs would be effectively zero AND that in some quarters my generation goes up and im always working on reducing my consumption, I’d say hell yes.

As a 60c customer who only invested a couple of years ago, would I re-invest? That’s the million dollar question that industry will have to find out…..

We are continuing to dig and try to understand more about the details and will update as more information comes to hand.

The DTI’s web site now says :

“I wish to add to the generating capacity of my solar PV system, what are my options?

I am a 60 cent Solar Bonus Scheme customer. I wish to expand the generating capacity of my solar system. What are my options? 

NSW Solar Bonus Scheme customers receiving the 60 cents per kilowatt hour tariff who increase their Scheme generator’s capacity will move to the 20 cents per kilowatt hour tariff unless the components (for the expansion) were purchased on or before 27 October 2010. 

The customer will remain eligible for the 20 cent tariff provided the system does not exceed 10 kilowatts (kW) of generation capacity. 

Alternatively, Solar Bonus Scheme customers who receive the 60 cents per kilowatt hour tariff may expand their overall generating capacity and retain the 60 cents tariff for their Scheme generator if the additional capacity is from a separately metered non-Scheme generator. No Scheme payments are available for the non-Scheme generator. Customers should check what feed-in tariffs are available and confirm with their preferred retailer whether they will pay a non-Scheme tariff in addition to the Scheme tariff.

Customers are obliged to notify their distribution network service provider (DNSP) of any change to their generator that would affect their receipt of Scheme payments. Fines and penalties of up to $110,000 may apply for failure to notify. 

The connection must be made in accordance with directions provided by the DNSP. The Scheme generator will need to be gross metered and the non-Scheme generator will need to be net metered. 

Customers should consider how the expansion of their solar PV system will affect Scheme tariff payments and other benefits before deciding to expand the generating capacity of their solar PV system. 

The DNSPs are currently processing these connection requests manually while updating their systems. Therefore customers may experience a delay in receiving an approval.”

Article from Nigel Morris here

Combet cuts support for solar – STC multiplier change from 1 Jan 2013


JUST ANNOUNCED – 16th November 2012 – The STC Multiplier will decrease ahead of schedule from 1 Jan 2013, instead of July 1, 2013.

The impact on buyers of systems is approx $700 on the cost of a system.

Therefore, on a small system it matters more (as a proportion of overall cost).

On a larger system it is a relatively small % change.


<direct copy from >

and here 

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet announced late this morning that the government will be phasing out the solar credits multiplier of 2 STCs per megawatt-hour to just one six months ahead of schedule on January 1, 2013.

Currently STCs are trading at around $32. With the current multiplier of 2, for a 1.5 kW system in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide this equates to a rebate of almost $2000 and in Melbourne, it’s about $1700. Even if the small scale renewables target is not changed and the STC price consequently rose to $38, the level of the rebate for such a system will drop by around $700 in Melbourne and $800 for the other mainland capitals. However because of the timing of Combet’s announcement it is still possible for the regulator to adjust the SRES target downwards and this could mean that the STC price does not noticeably rise above current levels.

It seems hard to believe that such a change wouldn’t hurt sales. In addition, because the change has been announced with such little notice, and going into the slow sales period, the industry will have difficulty responding to any surge in demand to get in before the rebate drops.

According to the government, phasing out the multiplier early will, “strike the appropriate balance between easing upward pressure on electricity prices and supporting households and suppliers who install solar PV”. The government estimates that as a result of this decision there will be an overall reduction in household electricity bills in the order of $80 to $100 million in 2013.

Yet considering solar PV sales are now relatively stable rather than growing explosively, the risk of further cost blowouts seems remote. So it is a little strange that the minister has chosen to make this unscheduled change.

One thing it appears to reinforce is the perception that Combet will act to implement recommendations from the Climate Change Authority on containing the costs of the small-scale Renewable Energy Target (or SRES). At present the solar PV industry is deeply concerned about the current proposal the Authority has put forward for containing costs, worried it is too unpredictable and applies an inequitable benchmark on the kind of financial return investors in solar PV should be entitled to receive.

Troubleshooting solar power systems

We are often called by home owners about systems that are not working… systems that they have purchased from someone else just 1 or 2 years ago, and that have either stopped working, or are failing to live up to expectations.

In many cases, the company that sold them the system has gone out of business.

So, the cause of the distress is caused by a combination of the following:
– systems installed poorly by companies who were new to the industry, or hired out the installation to the lowest cost contractor at the time
– no way for homeowners to get hold of these suppliers any more
– the contractors who did the work are long gone. Even if you can get hold of them, they’ll tell you it is not their problem
– no way to tell if the installation was done well…if it met with best practices of system design
– the system may be installed in a suboptimal manner ie in shade, without consultation with the homeowner.
– the inability for a home owner to diagnose their own systems. Information is limited or non existent.
– the safety consequences possibly are significant with solar power – often 500-600v are in the cables.
– the financial consequences are significant
– In many cases, the solar company has not passed on warranty booklets for the panels or the inverter, so homeowners don’t know who to turn to.
– media reports from Fair Trading about failures in systems, causing people to worry if THEY are affected

It is for these reasons that LJW Solar can offer a safety and performance maintence service.

If you are concerned about the safety of your system, or the performance of the system LJW can carry about an audit, and report back on both. Naturally, we are also qualified to make any necessary repairs.

Call now on 1300 792 011 to see how we can assist you. You’ll find we’ll give you peace of mind over safety AND we are seeing that even cleaning panels can improve performance and make the fee associated with this a worthwhile financial exercise.

Residential Solar Power In The Sunshine State

Residential Solar Power In The Sunshine State

The first question is usually how is business and then followed by are there still rebates for solar in Queensland?
Well I am very excited to tell you that the answer is YES – a big YES indeed!! Queensland you are the lucky state with an excellent Solar Rebate.

– Strong STC market = increase rebate discount available

– Legislated 44c net feed-in tariff (+6c offered at retailers discretion) = payback at a higher rate than the cost of power.

– Quality panels selling at record low prices = savings

– Quality High Output Inverters offering fantastic value = savings

– Great Value offers from REPUTABLE companies = savings and peace of mind for you and your family.

If you are buying a solar system now, or thinking about investing in a system in the near future, you will be very happy to know that NOW is the right time to do so. Not only would I consider it to be the right time now, but also POTENTIALLY the BEST TIME to do so.

Rising power prices means TODAY IT’S COSTING YOU MORE MONEY TO STAY AT HOME. We are using increasingly more and more, electrical goods in the home. Simply count the number of plugs into your homes power outlets. You will be amazed to see where all that power is going to use.

People asking me whether it is worth doing – getting a solar system installed. My question is Do you enjoy opening your power bill every quarter, only to find another EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH POWER BILL? Wouldn’t you rather receive a power bill where you see a SOLAR CREDIT BEING ISSUED TO YOU and offsetting your account?

The reason I say “potentially” is because there is a lot of cheap product on the market due to an oversupply in world markets, and Australia is receiving a lot of discounted stock.

The average shopper is a pretty savvy buyer these days when it comes to researching products thanks to the internet. However, solar panels are not something that the average person is very familiar with. Let’ face it, all solar panels look alike on the surface, and they all have a 25 year ‘Output Warranty’ on them. And with so many companies offering such ridiculously cheap deals, one could be easily led down the heavily discounted path hunting for the cheapest advertised price.

But Please… BUYERS BEWARE! Here’s why…

LJW SOLAR are NOW operating in QLD and getting people started in solar the right way.

Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme

The Queensland Government has changed the eligibility criteria for the Solar Bonus Scheme to ensure the Scheme remains cost-effective for all Queenslanders.

What is the Solar Bonus Scheme?

The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme (the Scheme) pays eligible households and other small customers for the surplus electricity generated from solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems, which is exported to the Queensland electricity grid. The Scheme is designed to make solar power more affordable for Queenslanders, stimulate the solar power industry and encourage energy efficiency.

The Scheme rewards customers whenever they generate more electricity than they are using – not just the balance at the end of the quarter, but whenever generation exceeds consumption during the day.
The Scheme commenced on 1 July 2008 and is designed to boost the state’s use of renewable energy, encourage energy efficiency and stimulate the solar power industry in Queensland.

Customers wishing to reap the benefits of the Scheme will need a solar PV system installed on their premises and have it connected to the electricity grid. Eligible customers will have the option to join the Scheme when the system is installed.

How much are Solar Bonus customers paid?

Customers participating in the Scheme will be paid 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into the grid-almost double the current general domestic use tariff of 22.76c/kWh (Tariff 11 inc GST as at 1 July 2011).
The average customer operating a 1.5 kilowatt (kW) solar system could save over $450 per year on their electricity bill just by using less electricity from the grid. Solar Bonus Scheme customers also receive payments for exporting excess electricity back to the grid, meaning that these savings could be higher.

The amount of electricity a customer returns to the grid will depend on how much energy is being consumed while the solar panels are generating power. Customers may be able to maximise their solar bonus by improving the energy efficiency of their home to export more electricity to the grid. This could be achieved by reducing standby power consumption, switching to controlled load tariffs and minimising the use of energy intensive appliances such as air-conditioners.

The customer’s grid-connected electricity consumption will also be lower (than without a solar system) as a result of the household or business consuming a portion of its electricity directly from the solar system.

Visit the EnergyWise tips section for simple ways to make your home more energy-efficient.

Who is eligible to receive the Solar Bonus?

To be eligible to receive the Solar Bonus customers must:
• consume less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year (the average household uses approximately 7.9MWh a year)
• purchase and install a new solar PV (photovoltaic) system (solar power system not solar hot water system) or operate an existing PV system (solar power system) that is connected to the Queensland electricity grid
• generate surplus electricity that is fed into the Queensland electricity grid
• have an agreement in place with their electricity distributor (Ergon Energy, ENERGEX or Essential Energy) and have appropriate metering installed
• have solar PV systems with a combined inverter capacity of up to 5 kilowatts
• hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer.
• submit only one application per eligible premises

How do customers receive the Solar Bonus?

The Solar Bonus of 44c/kWh will be paid for electricity fed into the grid at times when the solar system generates more electricity than the household or business is using at any instant.

When the meter reader visits a customer’s home or business at the end of the quarter, the total amount of surplus electricity exported to the grid and the total amount imported from the grid will be read and passed onto the retailer to calculate the bill.

The customer’s quarterly Solar Bonus payment for this excess electricity exported to the grid will be deducted from their total grid-connected electricity consumption charge on their electricity bill.
If the Solar Bonus payments are greater than the total grid-connected electricity consumption charges over a 12-month period, the customer is entitled to have this balance refunded, rather than maintaining an ongoing credit.
How does the electricity metering operate?

The electricity generated by the solar power system is fed into the customer’s electricity load to help power the home or business in the first instance. It is also connected to the electricity grid via a meter (or meters) which record both electricity imported from the grid and exported to the grid. When the electricity produced by the solar power system exceeds the customer’s demand for electricity, this excess electricity is fed into the grid via the appropriate ‘export’ register of the meter.

The meter records the amount of electricity exported to the grid rather than the total amount of electricity generated by the solar system.

When the customer uses more electricity than is being produced by the solar PV system, the balance of electricity required is taken from the electricity grid via the appropriate ‘import’ register of the meter.
Will I need a special meter?
Customers wishing to claim the solar bonus will need electricity metering that separately records electricity imports and exports.

If required, the installation of new or additional meters will need to be arranged with the electricity distributor after your solar PV (solar power) system is installed and costs may need to be met by the individual customer.

Customers with an existing solar PV system wired in a ‘gross’ metering configuration will need to rewire their system to a ‘net’ configuration, in order to participate in the Scheme. Customers wishing to change their metering arrangements will need to consult with their electricity retailer and additional costs will need to be covered by the customer.

Are investment properties eligible for the Solar Bonus Scheme?

The Solar Bonus Scheme applies to investment properties that meet all eligibility criteria. Property owners should note, however, that the Solar Bonus will be paid on the retail electricity account for that individual property. If this account is held by a tenant, then the tenant would receive the benefit of the Solar Bonus.

Reference can be found @…

Solar Power and Basix

See Government Basix site here

New houses being built need compliance with Basix. This can be done through design and additions to make your new home sufficiently ‘green’.

Solar Power PV is a part of this, and is often a great way to ensure compliance AND save money on electricity.

Systems start from as low as 1kW… however we strongly urge a discussion with us to find a system that suits your needs.

Please call LJW Solar on 1300 792 011 – to benefit from out 28 years in Solar Power.

Solar no different to any industry: You get what you pay for

When is it NOT true that you get what you pay for?

Solar is a technical product involving both high tech products and a high degree of care needed for installation…If someone is saving $1000 or $2000 or $5000 from a system, what has to give in order to make that work for them?

LJW Solar is rarely the cheapest in solar, and has an unblemished safety record.

See full article here

From 28th September 2011

THOUSANDS of new solar power systems are failing because of poor quality components, in another blow to Queensland’s green energy vision.

Industry insiders have told The Courier-Mail many consumers were unaware the cheap systems they had bought were faulty or not performing efficiently. They said some faced a costly “time bomb” as warranties ran out and low-cost inverters failed, leaving them with replacement bills of about $2000.

The Courier-Mail revealed on Saturday the state’s energy grid was not coping with the high uptake of rooftop solar systems.

Energy Minister Stephen Robertson admitted new applications for the solar systems were being rejected in areas where high uptake threatened the safety and reliability of its 1950s-designed network.

Yesterday it was revealed 6000 households had panels but were losing money while they waited months for Energex to install “smart meters” that measure the value of the surplus power.

The latest problem relates to customers unknowingly being sold poor-quality inverters with components from countries such as China. Inverters are the most important component in solar power systems, converting energy generated from roof panels into power suitable for households and the grid.

They are also expensive, so the use of cheaper ones can save $1000 even on a standard 1.5kW system. However, the imports have a high failure rate and also don’t extract the optimum energy from panels.

Brisbane businessman Brian Springer, who operates Springers Solar, said there had been a rise in “suspect business models” in the industry.

Mr Springer said his main concern was that reputable companies were being tarnished by those chasing a fast buck. “Cheap systems have become a major problem and it’s getting worse,” he said.

“Customers are missing out on energy efficiency and reliability.

“They have to look closely at who they are buying from and ask themselves are the products … of high enough quality.”

Mr Springer said his business used top-of-the-range SMA German products and offered a 10-year warranty.

Master Electricians Australia’s chief executive Malcolm Richards said he was aware of issues with cheaper products being used in solar systems.

Mr Richards said a key issue was many systems were not operating efficiently because the size of the inverter was not ideally matched to the panels.

“There has been a shortage of 1.5kW inverters because of demand, so 3kW inverters were sold as an up-sell to customers. They still work but with less efficiency and require more electricity to run so this detracts from the performance of the system,” he said.

Nigel Carrall, of Annerley in Brisbane, bought a 1.5kW system for $8000 through Origin in August last year and was alarmed when his power bills did not fall after six months.

He contacted his provider in May and was told to check his inverter, which he discovered was showing an error code.

Mr Carrall said that after more calls a sub-contractor employed by Origin replaced the inverter.

“That was at 11am and they said it was the 10th one they had replaced that morning.

“I worked out I had lost about $1000 over the 10 months my inverter was not working.”

An Origin spokesman said the company was aware of Mr Carrall’s claim and it appeared he was entitled to compensation. The spokesman said the problem with Mr Carrall’s inverter was not indicative of a high failure rate in inverters installed by Origin.

“We have sold 15,000 of these systems in two years and only had 200 issues.”
The Office of Fair Trading has received 256 complaints about solar since January 1 – 56 more than last year.

Read more:

Australian Solar competitive on a worldwide basis

Australia is blessed with a huge amount of sunshine, and a large amount of land where solar is suitable.

One of the things that may surprise some people is that the cost of installing solar power in Australia is as competitive here as it is anywhere in the world.

In fact, it is even cheaper than in the USA.

Recent figures show that the price of solar in the USA is $5-6 per installed watt. (making a 10kW system around $50,000)

Solar Power Costs

Cost of solar power Q2 2011

In many installations in Australia it is closer to $4 per watt. (and this is without considering the benefit of government assistance).

This is partly due to a strong Australian dollar, which is predicted to ‘correct’ in 2012… this may cause an increase of 10% upwards. So if you are thinking of installing solar in Sydney or around NSW, now is the best time.