Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #7

11 March 1998

First of all, let me thank the several subscribers who made positive remarks about this newsletter. In fact, I've received several complaints that they aren't long enough or often enough! I'm flattered.

In terms of receiving 'more', I'd make two comments:

1) Despite being surrounded by Renewable Energy for the past 15 years, I have some difficulty thinking of something to write about! So, if you have suggestions or questions, please let me know.
2) Have you seen/purchased our 140 page book and catalogue, 'Energy from Nature'?

It is jam packed with ideas and information and basically I try and not duplicate this information in the newsletter. The cost is AUD $20 posted in Australia or AUD $23 airmailed overseas. Our dollar is worth about US $0.66.


Following on from my recent comments about the power consumption of televisions, Craig, our local repair technician, offered a number of comments about the quality of various brands. He recommends the Sony Trinatron for the best performance. Panasonic and JVC were also good brands; Sharp was good but had some unusual parts if it did need repair. If you want a 'cheapie' you might consider a Fujitsu.


If you have a small system, you may wish to consider buying one of our LP gas units (known as propane in some countries).

Brian from Aspect Solar wrote an article in ReNew Magazine a few months ago. He found that most irons are around 1200W however smaller 'travel' irons (670 - 800W) are available if you shop around. Korjo and Kenwood are two brands which have these smaller irons.

In terms of inverter sizing and determining the power requirements, Brian found that the Kenwood ST50 iron had a thermostat which gave it about a 50% duty cycle (on/off). So a smaller inverter with a good intermittent rating might do the job for you!


There are many sizes and types of pump on the market. Two types which I don't have a lot of experience with are 230V AC domestic pumps run off an inverter and very small 230V ones used in small fountains, fish tanks or hydroponics. Do you run such a pump on your system? Does it work well? Do you know how many amps on the DC side it draws on start up and continuously? Your feedback is appreciated.

Solar Panel Prices

I'm often asked when are prices going to fall. Those of us who have been in the industry a while have become sceptical of whether a decrease will ever arrive!

On the positive side, hundreds of millions of dollars of research is happening to make a cheaper panel. This research is mainly happening in Australia, USA, Japan and Europe. Sooner or later, one assumes the research will pay off - however, you never really know until it happens. However, even when the breakthrough occurs, you can expect a couple years for it to filter down in the market place.

On the not so positive side, there is a world shortage of solar PV panels. This shortage tends to keep prices up. The shortages are due to a shortage of laboratory grade silicon which is getting purchased by transistor/FET manufacturers. The other reason for the shortage is that solar manufacturers don't want to increase their existing production capability as they assume a breakthrough will occur soon and they don't want to be stuck with too much of the current manufacturing technology. Incidentally, annual production of solar PVs is in the order of 80MW per year.

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.

Gold Coast (from Coolangatta to Southport), Nerang and Hinterland (Beaudesert) and out West (Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney)

Northern NSW (Tweed Heads to Iluka, including Evans Head, Byron Bay and Ballina); the Far North Coast Hinterland (Yamba via Lismore to Murwillumbah) and out West (Casino to Tenterfield, including Drake and Tabulam, as well as Woodenbong and Bonalbo)

We also have sales agents in
Grafton:contact Andy Wilkinson directly on 0409 508 144, and
Tenterfield:contact Diamond J Legend directly on 0425 769 444.