Residential Solar Scam - When Prices Are Too Good To Be True

A truly shocking story....and one that we hate to hear at Smart Commercial Solar, because it's never good to see shady practices in the solar industry that hurt consumers and damage solar's reputation --albeit this one is in the residential space.  There's a lesson here, though, and that is if a price seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.  Solar components are rapidly coming down in price and solar has become commercially viable, but if you value price over everything else, especially performance, then you are taking a risk.  We hope justice is done in this case, and that somehow those who were injured are compensated.  Here's the excerpt:

To his staff he was Tony Smith. To banks and financial authorities he was Tony Agius.

To investigators he appears to be little more than a puff of smoke left behind by someone who could be living in Asia, possibly Hong Kong or Beijing.

And to a growing list of consumers across the country who believed they were buying solar panels for their homes, he is the man who stole their savings.

The story of a million dollar-scam began in March when the real Tony Agius, of suburban south Brisbane, answered an online job ad seeking solar panel sales people.

Read the rest of the story here.

Majority of Sydney's Solar Potential Still Untapped

We have recently covered a few articles highlighting Australia's increasing investment into renewable energy sources. It has been a record breaking year for the solar energy market, but much of the country, specifically Sydney, still has so much potential.

A recent study of Sydney has shown that of the available rooftop space that could support solar panels, only about 1% is being utilized.  Much of the untapped market is located in the commercial sector. Businesses have a great opportunity to not only decrease the energy costs of their facilities --we see this everyday... they just need to look at their roofs and turn to solar.

Here is an excerpt from the article.

Amy Kean, the NSW Renewable Energy Advocate, said commercial entities in particular had an opportunity to cut their power bill while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"NSW residents have embraced the solar revolution on their own homes but, as this report identifies, there's a solar goldmine right under our noses that hasn't been tapped," Ms Kean said.

Solar panels on 25 per cent of CBD roofspace could generate 507 gigawatts of electricity a year, or enough to power 75,000 homes, the report found. They would also save 403,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Read the rest of the story here.

"Printed Solar" to be Lighter and Cheaper than Traditional Panels

This week at the University of Newcastle experts are beginning preliminary tests on solar panels produced by a printer. These printed panels are a product of a unique electronic ink that is printed onto laminated sheets. With greater flexibility and less weight, strips of printed solar panels can be rolled out onto desired surfaces. 

Astounding as "printed" solar panels are, the real achievement is found in the cost of printing. With a production cost of $10 per square meter, these printed panels --more evidence of the incredible progress made on lowering the cost of solar-- could have a serious impact on the renewable energy market.

Here is an excerpt from the article.

Among the key benefits of the technology are that it can be rapidly – and cheaply, at a production cost of less than $10 a square meter – manufactured, enabling accelerated deployment into the marketplace.

“The low-cost and speed at which this technology can be deployed is exciting, particularly in the current Australian energy context where we need to find solutions, and quickly, to reduce demand on base-load power,” Dastoor said.

Among the key benefits of the technology are that it can be rapidly – and cheaply, at a production cost of less than $10 a square meter – manufactured, enabling accelerated deployment into the marketplace.

“The low-cost and speed at which this technology can be deployed is exciting, particularly in the current Australian energy context where we need to find solutions, and quickly, to reduce demand on base-load power,” Dastoor said.

Read the rest of the article here.

Solar Bakery - Funded By The Community, Built By Us

For those of you who haven't seen the video yet, watch ABC TV National News consumer affairs reporter, Amy Bainbridge, do an in-depth story on a national bakery that has done the largest community-funded solar project in Australia to date using Smart Commercial Solar and Clear Sky Solar Investments.  We're very proud of this work, and the model it serves for all businesses in Australia that want to save money on their power and do community good in the process.

South Australia to Invest in $150 Million Battery Storage Project

With the threat of black-outs and growing concern of spiking gas and electricity prices, South Australia is now looking to add the world's second largest battery system to its power grid. The rest of the country, and the world, is watching closely (especially after the Elon Musk/Tesla publicity) .

Costs of battery storage has gone down close to 90% in the last ten years, says experts at AES Energy Storage. Much of this can be attributed to steap competition from batterty storage providers such as Tesla and Samsung SDI. With more availability at lower costs, battery storage is helping renewable energy compete directly with fossil fuels.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

South Australia plans to spend $150 million supporting the installation of 100 megawatt hours of battery capacity this year, which would be the world's second-largest battery system behind one installed by AES for California's San Diego Gas & Electric Co in February.

At the same time, Victoria is tendering to support construction of 100 MWh of battery capacity to be delivered in two stages by 2018.

AES says lessons learned in South Australia could be applied in Victoria, which is facing the loss of some coal-fired power, and elsewhere, like Chile, where solar power is growing rapidly and will need to be combined with energy storage to avoid outages.

Read the rest of the article here.