Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #55

15 August 2002

Module Serial Numbers

It is always a good idea to record the serial numbers of your solar panels in a safe place, so you can prove they are yours if they are ever stolen. The serial numbers on the Photowatt range are permanently embedded under the glass. Most other brands only have a sticker on the back (which can be easily removed).

Hydro/Solar/Fuel Generator Comparison

Some one asked me for a cost comparison of our hydro system versus solar, petrol and diesel systems. This is a bit difficult to do, a bit like comparing apples and oranges as they say.

HYDRO: Our hydro on a good site can generate 20A @ 12V. We sometimes suggest to customers that an amp of hydro output current will roughly equate to the daily output of an 80W solar panel. So on a good site we suggest our hydro is roughly equal to having 20 x 80W modules (at 1/5 the cost). Because a hydro is generally producing power 24 hours per day, it will usually only require a battery bank a fraction the size of a solar system. The only maintenance required is a bearing change every 5 years at a cost of around US$25.

SOLAR: Solar panels (modules) have a high initial cost but come with a 25-year warranty (for Photowatt brand). Solar systems can be designed in any size - eg: our 5W Micro Solar kit to very large systems with an installed PV capacity of several hundred kilowatts.

PETROL GEN SET: If you were to run one for 24 hours a day, you would need a complete engine overall in a few months. It would use a lot of fuel and make a lot of noise.

DIESEL GEN SET: These are generally capable of a run time of between 10,000 - 20,000 hours before a major engine overhaul is required (often equal to around 50% of the initial cost of the unit). If it were run continuously, this would equate to around 2-3 years of life.

So to conclude, a good hydro generator on a good site is usually your best and cheapest power source.

That's all for this month, folks.

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.