E-News Issue #116
LCD Televisions: In a FAQ article some time ago I discussed running small LCD TVs direct off the battery. Lauren has emailed me to say they have run their TEAC 22 inch television (221SDD 22 model) successfully off a battery for the past few months. While we suspect this is probably fine, it could arguably void ones warranty.
Warren has pointed out that many people leave their computers on all day without good reason. He pointed out that leaving it on for 12 hours was equivalent to the power used by a medium sized fridge. Note that you can adjust certain settings - e.g. in Windows XP - go to Control Panel - Power Schemes. You can enter time frames for the computer monitor, hard disk etc to go into standby.
Living with Solar Courses
Our next weekend course is scheduled for Saturday 31st May and Sunday 1st June. These popular Courses are aimed at those living with, or planning to live with, a Stand Alone Power System. Courses are generally held every 4 to 6 weeks, with dates announced course by course. If you wish to plan ahead, visit our area at a specific time etc, please email us and we may be able to keep your specific requirements in mind. The rest of this Newsletter will only be of interest to our Australian friends as it relates to the solar rebates and policies of the Federal and State Governments.
To avoid confusion this rebate, which may pay up to 50% of the cost for systems remote from the grid, remains unchanged.
PVRP RebateThis rebate of $8/Watt for solar panels (up to a max of $8000) applies to residential solar systems which are connected to the grid or where the grid is close and cheap to connect. The Rudd Government has renamed this - the Solar Home and Communities Plan. It has cut back the rebate from a further 4 years of funding to only two more years.
It has also imposed a maximum $100,000 household income threshold on anyone who wishes to apply for this rebate. Peter Garrett has responded that the rebate was 'too popular'. For a good editorial about this disheartening move by our new Government, read Alan Gray's article in the Age Newspaper and by Brad Stone from the Appropriate Technologies Association. Please take the time to complain to our politicians - Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong and Peter Garrett, plus your own local Member.
Feed In Tariffs
Feed In Tariff (FIT) is the amount of money that the State Utility (power company) pays the owner of a solar system for solar power generated/exported to the grid. Up until a year ago, this was generally equal to the amount the customer paid for their power - e.g. around $0.15c/kWh in eastern States.
This is sometimes referred to as net billing. So if you buy 100kWh and you sell 40kWh, you only pay for 60kWh. In addition to the meter charge, utilities also charge you a fixed service fee or line rental charge. As a result of experience in overseas countries such as Germany and local lobbying, things are improving in Australia. QLD and SA have introduced a policy to pay $0.44c/kWh and Vic $0.60c/kWh on (instantaneous) net power.
This is measured with a single bi-directional meter - e.g. if your solar generates 1kWh between noon and 1pm and your fridge is the only device on which used 0.2kWh, you would receive a credit for 0.8kWh. While this is an improvement over the old $0.15/kWh, the industry believes that solar producers should be paid at the higher rate for all solar power they generate - e.g. including that which they use themselves.
For a good letter and explanation of why this should be the case, have a look at the PDF file from the Qld FIT Lobby Group.
To top it all off, the NSW Iemma Government refuses to pay any bonus for solar FIT.
So while Qld and Vic residents are receiving $0.44c to $0.60c for their net solar power, NSW residents get about $0.15c/kWh. How silly and unfair this that?!
We encourage you to write to State and Federal politicians about this issue.
To conclude, for those of you interested on more detail about these 'political' issues, please see the Government Policies section of the FAQ.
Cheers from Dave and all the RPC crew.
Dave Lambert (Director)
- Issue #92 - 06/12/2005
- Issue #91 - 15/11/2005
- Issue #90 - 20/10/2005
- Issue #89 - 29/09/2005
- Issue #88 - 01/09/2005
- Issue #87 - 29/07/2005
- Issue #86 - 04/07/2005
- Issue #85 - 03/06/2005
- Issue #84 - 05/05/2005
- Issue #83 - 01/04/2005
- Issue #82 - 03/03/2005
- Issue #81 - 23/02/2005
- Issue #80 - 02/02/2005
- Issue #79 - 05/01/2005