Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #109

Jul 6, 2007

20th Birthday Party

Thanks to everyone who attended our 20th Birthday Party last weekend or who sent us their best wishes (and in a few cases - presents!)

A good time was had by all.

We look forward to the next 20 years!

AGO Rebate News

The $8/watt PVRP rebate has been going well for the past month with approvals in NSW coming out within a week of lodgement - Well Done - we now hear that the approval role is to be transferred to Canberra. We can only hope (with some trepidation) that Canberra bureaucracy will process applications as smoothly as NSW.

The 'other' rebate for those remote from the grid and which might pay a 50% subsidy is still not officially announced despite earlier indications that it was due to start on July 1. We are not sure what the problem is. Please monitor our solar rebates and tariffs page.

The generous rebate has certainly increased the level of grid feed applications. We are pleased to announce the addition of Jamie North and Hue Stephens to our Installations Team.

New Products

There are a couple new Sundaya products for sale - we now have an adaptor lead: D-Plug to cigarette lighter socket [edit: discontinued]. We also have a double C-Socket [edit: discontinued]. This is really designed to be mounted in a box etc.

Efficient Lighting

With the upsurge in grid connected systems, I have had some further insight into what is using a lot of power in some conventional houses.

There has been a fair bit in the news recently about how large TVs are now using as much power as the family fridge! Large Plasma TVs are the worst offender with LCD of the same size being a bit more energy efficient. LCD are also more energy efficient than the 'old' conventional CRT televisions. I´d say the main issue is the continual 'up-sizing' of our televisions.

The other energy hog that I came across is halogen lighting. One customer was paying a $300 power bill per month and he did not have an air con, swimming pool or an electric stove! When I quizzed him further, it turned out that his ceilings were peppered with 50W halogens.

Some customers bought them in the belief that they were energy efficient because they only `used 12 volts´. Well 50 watts is 50 watts whether it is 12 or 230 volts. Halogens are only 10 - 15% more efficient than a conventional (GLS) bulb which are due to be made illegal in Australia in the next few years. However, the 10 - 15% extra efficiency is lost in the 230 volt to 12/24 volt transformer used to run the halogen off the grid.

Another problem with halogens is that they are typically installed in the ceiling. A suspended pendant light is more efficient at lighting your work space because it is closer to where you need the light.

Halogens and their recessed fittings tend to make them fairly focused. So to light up a room there is often one located on every square metre of ceiling space! Often they are all on the same circuit so it is not unusual to be using 6 - 10 fifty watt halogens to light up a room! They also radiate a lot of heat which can increase the cost of air conditioning.

The only good thing about halogens in my opinion is that they give a nice warm colour and display a good colour rendition. This is why they are used in expensive jewellery, clothing and art shops, where the heat is often palpable.

Some people are replacing the halogens with LED lights. However most LED lights are of similar efficiency to a halogen bulb! They are often lower wattage so they will use less power but won´t be as effective at lighting a room. Their colour may also disappoint some people due to the 'cold' colour rendition.

Some tiny fluoros are just coming out in the market now to replace halogen downlights. Providing their quality is good, this will be one answer to the power problem. Generally, a fluoro is 2 - 3 times more efficient than a LED or halogen.

I'd suggest the other solution is to obtain some desk or table lamps and use them when possible instead of the down lights.

Reader Input

Multimachine: One of our readers alerted me to this useful gadget that some of you might be interested in.

The MultiMachine is an accurate all-purpose machine tool that can be used as a metal or wood lathe, end mill, horizontal mill, drill press, wood or metal saw or sander, surface grinder and sheet metal "spinner". It can be built by a semi-skilled mechanic using just common hand tools. For machine construction, electricity can be replaced with "elbow grease" and all the necessary material can come from discarded vehicle parts. It can be built in a closet size version or one that would weigh 4 or 5 tons.

For more info check out this link. You will need to join the Yahoo group (free)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/multimachine/

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.