E-News Issue #135
Our new Fridge – results so far
New Electrolux Fridge: For those of you who are new to the e-newsletter, there is a major article in our FAQ section of our website about fridges. After much research the Electrolux range was found to be the most energy efficient fridge range in Australia. I am pleased to report that our company have just replaced its 250 litre dinosaur which used 649 kWh/ year. We will monitor the power consumption on a monthly basis of the new Electrolux fridge as well as the one in my home.
The results so far:
Start up current 7.46 A (1790W), Continuous current 0.67 A (161W)
Power consumption according to Star Label 956 Wh/day
Measured Power Consumptions - February 890 Wh/day and March 767 Wh/day
Stainless Steel Dome Light: This was made for the marine market but can be used in any ceiling.
Stainless Steel LP Gas Fridge: The 231 litre Consul gas fridge is now available as a Stainless Steel model. [Edit: 20.5.2013 - item no longer stocked]. We now have 280L Gas/230V fridge/freezer instead.
200 Amp shunt: This is not a new product but a bulk purchase has enabled us to drop our price substantially!
Is the Cheapest Solar Installation the best?
Like the Home Insulation industry, the solar industry has been inundated with a lot of new players. While competition has the benefit of keeping prices low, there is no doubt that some companies are 'cutting a lot of corners' which can lead to longevity and safety questions. There are companies that use call centres or web orders to sign on customers on the cheap.
Some things to consider when choosing a solar company include:
1) How many accredited solar installers & licensed electricians does the company employ directly? How long have they been in business? Are they just a call centre or web shop in someone's back yard? Some companies sub-contract out the work to unemployed builder’s labours to install the panels & sub-contract an electrician to do the final connection. If your system is installed by sub-contractors, will there be anyone around in 5 years if you have a problem, who is responsible to? the sub-contractor, the call-centre co-ordinator?
Find accredited installers.
2) Are the panels and inverters tested & approved, and comply with Australian Standards? See this page for a list of approved panels and inverters.
3) How good is the warranty?
We sell top quality Japanese (Kyocera) and Chinese (Trina) brand panels.
Trina Solar is the 2nd largest solar panel manufacturer in China, and have been manufacturing for 15 years, while Kyocera have been making panels now for over 20 years.
A large array of both the Kyocera & Trina panels have been under test for a few years near Alice Springs, at the 'Desert Knowledge' site.
Trina Panels have performed very well to specification, second only to the Kyocera brand.
You should be aware that a Chinese warranty is only as good as the Chinese company and the Australian importer and panel seller. Many small Chinese Manufacturers have recently gone bankrupt.
On the other hand Trina Solar is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (TSL) and posted a profit of US$313M in the fourth quarter of 2009.
4) What will the quality of your installation be like? Will the installation be completed to a high standard and quality if installers are sub-contracted at so many dollars per job? We have seen installations where the panels are attached to inadequate, flimsy frames that are only attached to the iron on a corrugated iron roof with no screws or bolts into the timber battens!
5) What is the quality of the panel connectors, fusing, cables and circuit breakers? Some panel installations are operating with a DC current of several hundred volts!
Good quality products and high quality workmanship ensure a safe solar installation.
Local direct employment allows for safe and responsible workmanship that in 5 years time
For an excellent article about sub standard installation accessories by DSKH Pty Ltd see: Safety in PV installations.
To conclude, we would suggest that the cheapest installation may not be in your best interests.
Choose a Company with a proven track record, who have done their research on products available, are responsible for their own accredited staff, maintain Australian standards and carry the appropriate insurances, and who will be there for you in 5 - 10 years if you need them!
Cheers from Dave and all the RPC crew.
Dave Lambert (Director)
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