01 March, 2009

Solar Scammer Sods.

Now that the cost of solar electric power has dived through the $1/watt mark, the solar panels I have on the bus are theoretically worth $120 between them.

I know they were probably bought at a time when solar panels like that (60W) would have cost something like $700 apiece, back when solar panels were still very rare items.  I also know that two years ago I started looking for solar panels in the 60W - 120W range and got prices varying from $500 for a 60W panel and about $700 - $800 for the 120W model.

Since then solar panel technology has supposedly become cheaper, so it was a surprise to me to six months ago to go to a well-known 12V electrics and solar shop and get a price of just under $1,400 (!!!) for a 120W panel.    Clearly it pays to shop around, there are some really dodgy suppliers around.

Why I am looking for more panels is simple - I can get hold of any number of old lead acid batteries and there are some simple gadgets you can make to recondition many of those batteries.  I have enough inverter power in the bus that I could run most of the gear I need, provided I have enough charged batteries.  And I could charge a hella lot more batteries if I had a few more solar panels.  And if the lowered price is ever allowed to be reflected in our Australian prices, I will be able to do that...

Another thing for K-Rudd to look at - rip-off solar places.  I had one offer to install solar panels on the house, "it's cheap, the Government's gonna pay for almost all of it" over the phone.  It was such a pathetic amount of solar panels (eight, I think) and didn't include the installation cost or the cost of inverters in the bit that the "Government's gonna pay for" and in the end I realised it was probably priced at exactly double what it was worth.  And now that the insulation incentive thing has gone through there will be a million salesmen in your phone for that, too...


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