Solar Power

Registrations for our first bulk purchase of solar power systems have now closed.

Background

We launched our bulk purchase of grid-connected solar photovoltaic or PV systems at a public meeting at the South Hobart Primary School  on Monday 23 March.

Around 150 people turned out to hear about our group and the details about the  PV offer. The supplier that had provided us with the best value deal was Rezeko, and its founder and director, Erik Zimmerman, gave a well received and inspiring presentation.

By 20th September, more around 30 systems have been installed with another 120 scheduled. These orders resulted from 280 home inspections and quotes.




Frequently asked questions

If you cannot find answers to your question below, check the federal government's 'Solar Homes and Communities Plan' frequently asked questions page, or email us at: bulkpurchase [at] southhobart.org and we'll try our best to answer it.

When will my system be installed?

  • The final round of installations is expected to completed by mid-February 2010. 
  • Aurora should receive installation paperwork from Rezeko within 3 to 8 weeks after installation. Aurora will send you a contract to sign and approve connection within a week. Rezeko will then return to connect your system to the grid.
  • The government rebate of $8000 should be transferred to you within 11 weeks from successful Aurora inspection.
What kind of solar system is being offered?  The offer is for a solar electricity or photovoltaic (PV) system to be connected to your electricity meter. The electricity provided by the system will power some of your household power with any excess going back into the electricity grid and running your meter backwards. The system is subsidised by a government rebate of $8,000 under the 'Solar Homes and Communities Plan' which closed in June 2009.

The basic one-kilowatt system will consist of:
  • six Conergy P170 solar panels (international IEC 61215-CB standards compliant);
  • a Sunny Boy 1100 inverter to convert the DC electricity from the solar panels to the AC electricity used by the mains;
  • a Conergy roof mounting frame; 
  • an optional Conergy 'Power Tracker' indoor electricity monitor;
  • all electrical switches and wiring; and
  • installation by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer.
The German-based company "Conergy" is one of the world's largest solar PV suppliers and have several offices in Australia. Their panels come with a 25 year warranty (to maintain 80% of its rated output) backed by the manufacturer. The warranties for the other components are 5 years for the Sunnyboy inverter, 10 years for the mounting frame and one year for the installation. Note that if there are supply problems, alternate Conergy panel models rated to the same overall wattage may be used instead of the P170.

Who is the supplier and installer? After assessing all local based and some interstate suppliers, we selected Rezeko as providing the best value system at the time. Rezeko is a Victorian-based solar and wind supplier specialising in community and bulk purchase installations.

What if I want a more powerful system or add additional panels in the future? The government's solar homes scheme rebate of $8,000 applied to a one kilowatt-system. You can of course purchase additional panels, but will get no additional rebate under this scheme. If you would like to have the option to put in additional panels in the future, it would be efficient to purchase a larger capacity inverter. Reezeko can upgrade the 1kw Sunnyboy inverter to a 2kw capable Fronius for an additional $950.

How big are the panels? A one-kilowatt system will require 8 square metres of roof area.

What if I am not in South Hobart? You can participate in our offer if your home is 10km by road from the South Hobart Post Office. You can check this on our offer boundary map. If you are outside this area, we can help advise you on how to set up a community bulk purchase for your own area.

How do I purchase a system? After your pre-inspection and quote for your house, you can choose to go ahead with the order with an initial deposit of $895 (unless you have a non-standard installation). 

The federal Dept of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) will write to your eligibility for the $8,000 government rebate. If approved, you will also receive a letter from Rezeko to organise an installation. If not approved, your deposit will be refunded in full. You can proceed with a purchase by paying balance of your quote. For those who have difficulties to make this payment, Rezeko may be able to organise finance or an even cheaper system. 

DEWHA requires that your new system be installed within 9 months of them issuing the eligibility letter.

How do I receive my rebate?  Once your PV system is installed, Aurora will make an inspection and issue a compliance certificate. The inspection will be organised by Rezeko and you do not need to be home during the inspection. For those with older style electricity meters, Aurora will also install a new digital meter without charge. The inspection certificate will then be submitted to the DEWHA, who will then send you the $8,000 rebate within 11 weeks. 

DEWHA will also send 18 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to Rezeko. If you wish to keep these RECs you will be able to purchase them from Rezeko.

Further details on DEWHA's requirements including a checklist are on their website.

What is the "Embodied Energy" payback period of the PV system? 
One of the bulk purchase participants, Chris Harries pointed to an article in the September 2009 issue of RENEW magazine explaining the embodied energy and energy payback period of solar pv panels. 
The article reckoned that for Hobart, it would take about 2.3 years for the panels to generate and 'pay back' 
 the embodied energy used in manufacturing and transport of the panels and the inverter. RENEW magazine is published by the Alternative Technology Association of Australia.
The Buzz


Click here for a map showing the progress of the PV installations and orders in and around South Hobart.



Ċ
Energy Projects Group,
26 Sep 2009, 17:37