• Beacon Solar comes to our Heidelberg store

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    Beacon Solar recently completed our biggest install yet – a gigantic 42kW solar power system atop our Beacon Lighting Heidelberg store in Melbourne, VIC. With a system made up of 168 solar panels, that’s a lot of roof space!

    This was part of an initiative to reduce the store’s power costs. The system will also reduce carbon emissions in terms of black balloons by approx. 350,400 per year. If you imagine one black balloon contains 50g of carbon pollution, it’s easy to see that’s a lot of pollution saved!

    The installation took place over 3 days and included:

    • 168 x 250W Poly-crystalline panels
    • 84 x 500W Micro-inverters
    • 112 lengths of racking

    Micro-inverters are the latest solar technology to help increase solar panel performance. Micro-inverters operate like any other inverter, except for the fact that there is one to each panel. This means that these AC micro-inverters work independently of each other. Compare this to traditional DC systems that are wired in a series like the lights on a Christmas tree – when one stops working, they all stop working.

    Micro-inverters enable each panel to work at its best under all conditions. When there is a shading issue the micro-inverters really come into their own, as they control each module independently, which yields the most from each panel. Our micro-inverters are covered by a standard 25 year warranty.

    The 168 x 250W premium Sun-Earth Polycrystalline panels used feature anti-reflective glass, which means even in low light conditions the anti-reflective coating reduces the loss of light and contributes to higher power generation. They also feature four bypass diodes. These diodes ensure minimal power is lost under low light or shaded conditions.

    If you would like more information about a solar system using micro-inverters, please give us a call on 1300 BE SOLAR.

    Beacon Solar 2

    Beacon Solar 3

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  • QLD power price hikes to hit July 1

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    News has hit today that electricity prices in Queensland will increase by 22.6% from 1st July 2013. This will lift the average household's bill by more than $260 per year.

    The Queensland government had previously said this was an unacceptable increase, but this week announced that it won't be introducing an electricity rebate to offset the price hike.

    The Queensland Competition Authority boss Malcolm Roberts has stated that the price of electricity must reflect the cost of producing it, yet other commentators such as Nick Behrens, from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, have said that too much is being spent on upgrading poles and wires, when the focus should be on reducing power bills.

    Queensland businesses and farmers are particularly alarmed, with canegrowers saying the growing cost of running irrigation is threatening the future of irrigated farming in Australia. Small businesses are also set to feel the pinch.

    With power prices continuing to rise, cushion the blow by switching to a solar power system covering part or all of your electricity needs. Chat to a Beacon Solar expert about solar power options for your home or business, or get an instant estimate today. 

    Read full articles on the price hikes here at Nine News Finance and The Age

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  • The Low Down on Feed-in Tariffs

    It’s difficult to keep up with the news on feed-in tariffs – they seem to change every month and in many states have been replaced by contributions from electricity retailers. But with a bit of background knowledge, and shopping around for electricity providers, you can maximise the incentives you receive for going solar.

    What is a feed-in tariff?

    It’s an amount paid by the government for electricity fed back into the grid to encourage installation of renewable energy generators such as rooftop solar panels and wind turbines.

    Every state has a different system and there is no national scheme. Most state governments have closed their feed-in tariff schemes and these have been replaced by electricity retailer contributions as a payment for each unit of electricity being fed back into the grid. 

    How can I check tariffs and retailer contributions for my state?

    As these change frequently, you can refer to the ‘Solar feed-in tariffs’ page on our website that is updated regularly.

    For Victorians, it’s important to note that a transitional feed-in tariff (TFiT) scheme was brought in on January 1, 2012. Although stated to run for 5 years, it was introduced with a 75MW cap – which we believe is very close to being reached. As such, the TFiT is currently under review, and changes could be announced any day now. Therefore we encourage anyone in Victoria who is looking to go solar to consider acting quickly to take advantage of the current 25c transitional feed-in tariff.

    How can I make the most of feed-in tariffs and retailer contributions?

    Shopping around electricity providers is essential as some retailers offer better rates for certain household conditions. The best thing to do is to get to know your usage patterns and then you can compare the best deals.

    There are two main scenarios when working out how best to maximise tariffs:

    1. When the tariff/contribution is greater than your current electricity rate:

    In this scenario you want to use most of your power at night. Using appliances in off-peak times can save you money. Using washing machines, dishwashers and even pool pumps at night or early morning can make a difference.

    2. When the tariff/contribution is less than your current electricity rate:

    This situation works best when you use as much power as possible during the day. So the reverse of the above – do washing and run appliances during daytime and conserve energy such as air-conditioning and heating, at night.

    Hopefully we have shed some light on this ever-changing topic. You can also talk to one of our team if you have any further questions – contact us on 1300 BE SOLAR.

    Solar Feed-in Tariffs

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