Q: Can I use a Hydro turbine?
Hydro turbines are a fantastic way to generate clean power. They can be used in conjunction with solar panels on most properties. There are some very specific site requirements for these 2 devices and we encourage you to contact us before making a purchase decision on any of these devices.
Hydro turbines in stock from $1599.00.
Q: How big a solar panel do I need for my caravan?
The most common size we recommend for a small van or camper trailer is an 80-watt panel. These come in 2 basic designs, a fixed panel which can be mounted on the roof or remain portable. The other common type and ideal for camping is a fold-up panel with a built-in regulator, ideal in that it folds up and can be stored easily. The advantage of a portable panel over a fixed unit is that it can be put in the sun and angled to achieve the maximum sun on to its surface. For an accurate sizing please contact us with your estimated power consumption.
Q: How can I go camping and not run my Generator?
Generators are a great source of power for mobile applications but are now banned in a lot of camping areas including National Parks. With solar panels and batteries designed to suit your requirements, you can leave the generator at home. Call us with your energy requirements and we can design a system to suit your needs.
Q: What's the easiest way to save power in my house?
The easiest way is to minimize the standby currents of your electronic devices, that turns them off standby. This can be easily done by using some smart power boards or remote mains type switch's available from our power saving section. Also by changing your energy consuming downlights to our new LED replacements a saving of up to 90% can be achieved. A further saving on heating and cooling can be achieved by using our downlight flame-proof covers.
Q: Why are some panels cheaper than others?
Why are not all panels are equal, the old saying you get what you pay for especially applies to Solar panels. Generally, a solar panel is expected to last for 20-25 years, the better manufacturers will guarantee their panels for 25 years. In order for a company to provide a warranty for this term would also require them to be around at that time. With the massive influx of Chinese panels into the market, the price of panels has dropped, with some very good panels coming from China. We research all of our panels before offering them, choosing high-quality panels that produce over their rated power for our own places. Sizes from the small 5watt all the way to the large 310-watt panels.
Q: Why are some solar system's cheaper than others?
Solar grid-connected systems are like anything else, you do get what you pay for. When getting pricing on systems makes sure to compare "apples with apples". The products in the system have a big impact on reliability, power returned to the grid and savings for your back pocket. Other very important factors such as roof incline, direction, and shading have the most impact on the performance of these systems. If the salesperson can't be bothered to come to the site, advise you on the system, measure for solar availability, appropriate locations for the equipment, you shouldn't bother with them and find a company with your interests in mind. For a free site appraisal Please contact our solar designers.
Q: Why insulate my home?
Proper Insulation installed by a reputable company would be the cheapest way to achieve big drops in energy consumption, most of a household's energy is used for heating and cooling. By Insulating properly you can dramatically reduce loses through the ceiling and roof space. Insulation without using protective covers around dichroic downlight is extremely dangerous and should be avoided. We strongly recommend the use of downlight covers which allows the insulation to come right up to the fitting creating a completely insulated ceiling and improves heat and cooling costs by up to 50%.
Q: Can I use second-hand Batteries?
Good Second-hand batteries are very hard to obtain, we discourage buying second-hand batteries. You should never mix old and new batteries together.
Q: How much can I save by fitting solar to my house?
This depends on how much power you use, each house and family use different appliances and the building design and location will also determine energy consumption. A solar system fitted to your roof will supplement your power bill, depending on the size of the system will depend on your returns. For more accurate estimates please contact us with your energy bill so that we can determine potential savings for your property.
Q: Why are off-grid refrigerators so expensive?
They are expensive, they are usually better made, with much better insulation, designed to conserve energy. There are not many sold in Australia. There are however cheaper ways to achieve refrigeration without the large expense. By using one of our freezers to fridge conversion kits, you can use a standard chest freezer as a fridge, with as little as .3Kw per day power consumption. For further details on these kits please contact us for details.
Q: Good Off Grid Batteries, What’s the difference?
Not all Batteries are equal and the following should be taken into account when decided on what batteries to use, they are a big investment and when they fail you will have no power.
Firstly batteries produce different power at different rates of discharge, in general, an off-grid battery will need to discharge over a relatively short period ie 12 hours and then recharge the next day So the most accurate way to determine a batteries capabilities is to work on a 10 hour or C10 rating, a c10 1000AH battery assuming only 30% Depth of Discharge (DOD), that is talking 30 % out of the battery and leaving 70% in.1000Ah @ 30% is 300AH divided by 10 hours is 30 Amps an hour.
Second most importantly rating to consider is the cyclic life.All batteries have a cyclic life at the end of which the battery is spent and can’t hold current anymore.The battery life is directly proportional to the DOD and most battery manufacturers will give a graph or values of cyclic life, cheaper batteries have very poor or low cyclic life. For example, a battery that has 1500 cycles @ 40 % discharge (which is the maximum we would ever recommend for an off-grid system) will only cycle (discharge the charged again) for 1500 times divided by days of the year 365 for 4 years at which time they will need to be replaced. A good and true deep cycle cyclic battery might have 3000-3500 cycles @ 40% DOD and will last twice as long.
Third most important weight. The weight of the individual cells has a great bearing on longevity and the batteries ability to discharge and recharge or cycle. A battery is basically a chemical storage device and uses chemistry to store electrons or electricity, the most common batteries at this point for off-grid are lead-based.They use lead and acid and the chemical reaction between to store or release electricity, the more lead and acid inside the battery allows larger amounts of storage and aids the battery in recovering from overcharge and or discharge events. Check the weight of the battery if it weighs 30% less it stands to reason that it has 30% less lead, and it won’t last as long.
Fourth construction.The best long life true deep storage batteries or cells use a tubular lead construction, that is rather than have flat plates to lead they use tubes of lead, the tube by design is very strong and does not buckle or change shape, one of the biggest battery killers is changes in the internal resistance, this occurs as a battery ages and lead plates to change shape, buckle and or get deposits building up between the plates, the build-up essentially causes a low resistance and in extreme cases shorts the plates (battery dead) the more stable and solid the lead structure internally. The greater the distance between lead tubes the larger the build-up needs to be in order to change the resistance, and very little chance of a dead short.
So summing up batteries are not all the same if they appear to be cheap they probably are, check the weight, rated output a c100 battery might be 1600Ah but at c10 battery will only be 1200AH. Check the construction and calculate how long they will last if a battery is half the cost but lasts less than half the time then is it good value? All batteries are heavy, expensive and hard work to get to the site never might the frustration of losing power. If the battery claims 10 years life do the sums will it last for the type of use you are going to give it, batteries are a big cost but also the most important component of an off-grid system.