Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #103

1 December 2006

This is our last enews for the year so on behalf of all our staff we wish you a Merry Christmas and thank you for all your feedback. A special thank you to our customers who keep the company going. Concerns about global warming have finally become widespread and I am pleased to report that we have installed more grid connected systems this past year than in the previous two decades! Due to the increasing cost of running petrol/diesel gen sets, rural off grid people are investing more and more on solar systems.

The pre-wired Sundaya Solar kits are proving to be a winner in the South Pacific. Working with all our supporters, we hope to have an exciting year ahead and to see some further gains for the environment.

Exhaust Fans for Composting Toilets

Several of you have written in to confirm the problem of their relatively short life span on composting toilets. However, one person did write in to say he has had one running for 10 years without mishap. Opinion is divided on whether over voltage or moisture/corrosion is the problem. I reckon it is probably a combination of both factors. If you feel the voltage is on the high side to the fan, you might want to put a diode or two in line to it or perhaps only turn it on in the day when the toilet is in use.

Perhaps if fans were not installed so close to the `compostĀ“ they would not corrode as much. Any more ideas to share would be welcome.

Grid Connected Wind Generator

Daniel Walsh wrote a good Uni essay on this topic some 5 years ago. While a few things have changed, most of the essay is very relevant to the topic. Incidentally, we can configure a Soma Wind generator to a grid connected inverter if anyone is interested. More Information on Grid Feed with Wind.

Sundaya Kits

As previously mentioned, we have fine tuned some of our kits in response to customers suggestions and also because of slight product changes. For a leaflet on what you get in the new kits, have a look at this new leaflet.

Price Increases

We regret to advise that battery prices have gone up this month due to rising lead prices (partly because we hear that the Nicad battery is no longer permitted in Europe). We have also been informed that composting toilets will also go up in the New Year.

Water Fountains

This time of year we get a lot of inquiries for fountain pumps and solar systems. Often the customer is connected to the grid but they don't want to have to run cables through the yard. This can be expensive if you need to hire tradesman to come and do the work. Solar powered fountains overcome the 'cable problem', however there is the expense of buying a solar panel (which needs to be mounted in full sun).

To keep cost as low as possible, we usually do not have any battery. This does mean that the pump will only work during the day when the sun is shining. Most small commercial fountain pumps run from a 12 volt AC (not DC) plug pack which operates from the grid (mains power supply). These pumps cannot be run direct from a battery (except through an inverter). Sometimes small bilge pumps are used as a fountain pump.

These are very cheap to buy but they tend to wear out after several months if run all day. They pump a lot of water and even the smaller ones use a fair bit of power. For small solar powered fountains, we sell a high quality magnetic drive pump which is rated for 15,000 hours of operation. It pumps about 13 litres per minute at 1 metre head.

See our pump section.

Courses

Our next Living with Solar weekend course is on 24 & 25 February 2007. Book early - the one this weekend is booked out. The next 5 day Designers Course is 24 - 28 January.

Cheers from Dave and all the RPC crew.

Dave Lambert (Director)

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We install solar systems in Northern NSW and Southern QLD.


QLD:
Gold Coast (from Coolangatta to Southport), Nerang and Hinterland (Beaudesert) and out West (Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney)


NSW:
Northern NSW (Tweed Heads to Yamba, including Evans Head, Byron Bay and Ballina); the Far North Coast Hinterland (Grafton via Lismore to Murwillumbah) and out West (Casino to Tenterfield, including Drake and Tabulam, as well as Woodenbong and Bonalbo)

For larger system we also go up to Brisbane or down to Coffs Harbour and even Glen Innes. Other places by arrangement.