Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #98

Jun 29, 2006

Photo Competition

There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. This month we are offering a competition for the 3 best photos (jpeg) or sketches/diagrams that depict our products installed; used in some interesting applications and/or interesting place or that highlight safety issues.

First prize is an AUD$100 gift voucher for our products, a $50 gift voucher for second prize and a $25 gift voucher for third prize. Please email all entries to us so they reach us by 3.00pm on 29th July 2006. Please include at least a few words of explanation or better still, a few paragraphs about the installation. We reserve the right to use the picture(s) on our website (we would only reveal your name and general location).

World Scene

According to a recent article in the Taipai Times, the global annual production of photovoltaic cells reached 1.727 gigawatts last year marking a growth of 45 percent. This is expected to reach 4.8GW output by 2008.

The largest top 10 cell makers are:
1. Sharp (428MW)
2. Q-Cells (160MW)
3. Kyocera Solar (125MW)
4. Sanyo (125MW)
5. Mitsubishi (100MW)
6. Schott Solar (95MW)
7. BP Solar (90MW)
8. Suntech (80MW)
9. Motech (60MW)
10. Shell Solar (59MW)
source: Taipai Times 12/06/06

In Australia, PV installations in 2004 were 6.67MW. Grid connected installations fell to 0.78MW. There is a cumulative total of about 52.3MW installed in Australia - 87% is off-grid. (source: BCSE Eco Generation May/June ´06).

While China is known for its tremendous growth and pollution, we are pleased to report that there are some good things happening there. Several multi-national solar PV companies have factories there and Suntech, the worlds´ 7th largest manufacturer is solely based in China.

Australia has a handful of solar hot water manufacturers. By comparison, China has some 3000 companies making solar hot water heaters.

Between 30 and 40 million Chinese families now have a solar hot water heater. These provide hot water for some 200 million people. They cost between US $160 & $750 to purchase. The amount of people using a solar hot water heater is expected to double by the year 2010, which will save the burning of 22 million tons of coal per year.

China has passed a law pledging to boost its use of renewable energy to 10% of its energy consumption by 2020. (source: Seattle Times).

In 2004/05 some 43,000 hot water systems were sold in Australia with 18,000 units exported (source: BCSE - Eco Generation May/June ´06).

New Books

We are slowly expanding our range of books beyond our very popular Energy from Nature book and catalogue.We now have Tim Flannery´s book `The Weather Makers´ in stock. This book is about Climate Change and won the NSW Premier´s Book of the Year Award last month. This 300 page book is available from us for $32.95 plus $5 postage.

Check out our books section for other interesting publications by Ian Lowe, etc.

Do We Have to Live Like Hermits Without Nuclear Power

by Marco Bobbert

David Slatter, a columnist in our local paper recently made a comment that solar was for hermits and that his friend on solar power couldn´t run her hair-dryer. Marco replied:

"I refer to David Slatter´s aptly named `rave´ on Saturday. As an employee at Australia´s best known solar company, I take issue with the points Mr. Slatter made: firstly solar power is not for hermits - I run a largish TV, stereo, DVD, fridge, computer, fax/printer, etc. from my system without any worries (and yes it will run a hair dryer). There are solar power systems that cannot support large loads due to the way they have been designed, however, this is not a failure of the technology, rather the way it has been applied. The same is true of other technologies: a hatchback will not carry a pallet of bricks because it wasn´t made to and it is not regarded as a systemic failure of the whole car industry.

Mr. Slatter is quite right when he points out that environmentalists are encouraging us to conserve resources. The fossil fuel and resource party we've been enjoying for the last sixty years or so is slowly winding down and a hangover is imminent. If all the other people in the world lived to our standard of living we would have run out of resources by now. Just as an example, if all the world´s food was produced with the same energy input as USA crops we would use all known supplies in less than 20 years. The nuclear argument is based largely on a fallacy: there are huge energy costs in mining and producing suitable material, building plants, transporting waste, etc.

Although the issue of waste has apparently been "exaggerated" in Mr. Slatter's opinion I suppose he would not volunteer his backyard for the first consignment of waste. As nuclear technology is taken up by more countries the uranium needed to support new reactors dwindles, the price goes up and the argument that nuclear is cheap goes up in smoke. Meanwhile future generations deal with the waste and the threat of nuclear proliferation.

Australia is blessed with geothermal resources (which could support a base-load), sunshine and, to some extent, wind (as opposed to hot air - a plentiful resource in Canberra among News Corp. journalists). Using energy efficient lighting and other appliances and maybe even installing a grid-feed solar system are all positive contributions. We can live comfortably without fouling our own nest."

Home Pressure Pumps Tips

1. Use at least 3/4" or 20mm pipe in your house and garden. The traditional 1/2" copper pipe will cause a lot of friction. This will reduce your water pressure and make your pump work longer and harder.

2. Most pumps may need repairs one day. If you live 'in the bush' it could take several days to return your pump to a city and get it repaired. If you are totally reliant on your pump for all your water and you live in the bush, it may be an idea to have a spare pump. Perhaps you could plumb the 'spare pump' into the system as an extra fire fighting pump or garden sprinkler pump.

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.