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Solar panel Q
Is Glowatt a good option?

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#1 Michaelmichelle

Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:18 PM

We been warned of many china made brands. The salesman raved alot about Glowatt. Has anyone has it?

We been quoted $2900 out of pockets for 1.5 inverter.(Glowatt)

$38200 out of pockets for 1.5 inverter q cells (Sunnyboy)

Is it a good price?

Correct i mean $3820 for sunnyboy inverter 1.5

#2 laridae

Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:28 PM

Growatt is a cheap chinese brand inverter. If you want good quality - get SMA or Aurora.

Seems expensive though - I've seen 1.5kW systems with an SMA (sunnyboy) inverter for around $2000.

What brand panels are they offering in their package?

Also - 1.5kW is a small system, are you hoping that will cover most of your power bills or only a small portion of them?

Do you know how much power you use a day?

#3 Michaelmichelle

Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:02 PM

Do you have any recommendation?

Our daily consumption is 10units/day.Was told we neednt anything more than 1.5

#4 KristyMum-

Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:19 PM

our daily consumption is between 10-12 units per day (6 people) and our 1.5kw system only touches the top of it.  We get $30-$40 credit on our bill (ie, our bill minus that amount, not our bill AS a $30/$40 credit).
However, our system is not at peak capacity even in the height of summer due to being in the 'secondary' location (not the preferred location).  That said, even if it was at max capcity it's still only going to be about a third of our use maximum, and that's in summer.

My suggestion would be
(a) if you can maximise your system with mounting frames, do it, rather than settling for 'second position'
(b) get an invertor that you can add extra panels to later (and set up the panels on the roof to allow for this).
© look into minimising your energy use further, to make what you do generate go further.
(d) double check whether it will be cheaper to run your appliances at night, rather than the day.  ie from memory ours is 19c per unit to buy your e- and you receive 47c per unit to export it, then it will be cheaper to run as little as possible in the day and glean the maximum $ return on your generation, and use your appliances at night at the cheaper per unit price... if that makes sense. THAT said, we got the 47c rate before they started cutting all the programs, so double check how much you receive for what you generate, vs what it costs you to buy from the grid.

And probably, get a few more quotes and some more (preferably independent/from experience) information about what kinds of systems/invertors/panels etc are out there.

Good luck!  ps and come back and let us know how you go - and show off some pics original.gif

Edited by KristyMum-, 04 May 2012 - 10:23 PM.

#5 laridae

Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:19 PM

You don't use much power so you might be ok with that.
Average household uses about 18.

How much north facing roof do you have though? Enough for all the panels?  As you lose about 10% if you they face east or west.  Do you have any issues with shade (large trees?, tall neighbour houses?) , if you do you might lose some power generation there.  Also, if you have a flat (or fairly flat) roof, make sure you get tilt frames as you lose about %10 there as well, plus the panels get dirty a lot quicker due to not having good rain runoff.

Not exactly sure where in WA you are - but you could look on this website
and search on your postcode to find others in your area to see how much they generate with their systems.

In Perth - this person: http://www.pvoutput.org/list.jsp?id=725&sid=563
has a 1.5kW system and they generate an average of 6.5-7.5kWh per day.  

You'd need to check with your power company - but I don't think you get much for feeding power back into the grid there - so you probably want something mainly to cover your daytime use, so probably somewhere in the vicinity of 1.5-2kW would be fine for you (you may need bigger if you have any of the issues I mentioned earlier).  Then just try and use most of your generated electricity during the day (as it gets used in your house before being exported to the grid), and not use much power at night.

If you were in my state I'd say get as big as you can afford/fit on your roof as we get paid the same amount for what we export to the grid as what we import - so it doesn't matter what time of day we use the power as we get a decent amount for it exported.

Aurora or SMA inverter with either REC or Suntech panels are supposed to be really good.  However the cheaper systems will will still produce nearly as much - they just might not last as long.

Get some more quotes - the price difference between the good stuff & the cheap stuff is not supposed to be much (maybe a couple of hundred) and if they last an extra 10 years that might be worth it.

I would not get a bigger inverter and hope to add panels later, unless you are planning to do that within a year or so.  First of all, the new panels would need to match the specs of the existing panels, which may be difficult in a few years time. Second would be that you need to wire the panels up a certain way so they produce the optimum amount of voltage for the inverter - adding extra panels may mean rewiring the whole system to get that.  You are better of getting something that will generate enough right away (if thats what you want it to do),  and you can always add another complete system later (without having any of the matching issues).

Edited by laridae, 04 May 2012 - 10:33 PM.

#6 KristyMum-

Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:42 PM

I would not get a bigger inverter and hope to add panels later, unless you are planning to do that within a year or so. First of all, the new panels would need to match the specs of the existing panels, which may be difficult in a few years time. Second would be that you need to wire the panels up a certain way so they produce the optimum amount of voltage for the inverter - adding extra panels may mean rewiring the whole system to get that. You are better of getting something that will generate enough right away (if thats what you want it to do), and you can always add another complete system later (without having any of the matching issues).

Agreed.  For example we can't add (not just because of the limit of the invertor) but because of roof space etc and we were told that if we wanted to replace the invertor to make it 'add-on', it would be more cost effective all round to just set up a second system.

However, as you've noted laridae, if the OP knows they can do x now, and will have a lump sum of some amount within a year or so, making it an 'add on' possible system, could work.

That and technology does improve all the time so see if 'add on' fits with what your plans are, of cours.

#7 angel_girl

Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:52 PM

Hi there

We are getting a growatt system as well and today i was given double the price for a groatt system as well here in Western Australia so it's not just that they are cheap theres just a price war out there...original.gif

Everyone is giving the same warranties at the end of the day.

Hope that helps ease your mind

Oh and we went for 10 panels and a 3kw inverter so we can definetely upgrade later on as well and all up it cost is $2800

#8 laridae

Posted 05 May 2012 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE (angel_girl @ 04/05/2012, 10:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Everyone is giving the same warranties at the end of the day.

They aren't actually - they may be the same length - but they might have different conditions. eg if something dies, some might replace the panel or inverter on the spot, some might send it off for repairs back to China and you aren't generating power while they do that.
Some warranties are decreasing in value over time, until the end of the time you get nothing back.  Some installer warranties have conditions on them, like you need to pay for an inspection every 2 years or they aren't valid.  Read the fine print carefully!

QUOTE (angel_girl @ 04/05/2012, 10:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh and we went for 10 panels and a 3kw inverter so we can definetely upgrade later on as well and all up it cost is $2800

Assuming you can still buy those exact same panels in a few years when you want to upgrade of course.  Or you'll be needing to buy them second hand somewhere or replace all the panels so they match.

Edited by laridae, 05 May 2012 - 07:42 AM.

#9 laridae

Posted 05 May 2012 - 08:27 AM

OP, as a comparison - this is what a small local company near me are quoting for the good quality equipment

1.5kW System
8 Suntech Power STP 190 watt mono-crystalline panels
SMA Sunny Boy SB1600TL Grid Connect Inverter
Cable, conduit, safety labels, circuit protection and enclosures
Panel mountings
Installation & commissioning

System Size 1520 watts
System Cost $4,250
Less Solar Credits/RECS (estimated)*** $1,375
Your Investment $2,875^

(This is in Tas - I believe we get less solar credits for the same system than WA, and its post 1 July install prices when the number of solar credits goes down).

As you can see - you can get the better quality components for about the same price as the cheap ones.

Edited by laridae, 05 May 2012 - 08:27 AM.

#10 KristyMum-

Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:08 PM

laridae you're in Tas?  I know things always claim to cost a bit more over here due to freight/transport etc esp if you're not metro.  Though I guess stuff is still subject to transport costs to Tas, it's still 'over east' to me. wink.gif

OP there's a few WA sites/people I can think of that might be able to help with price comparison for here.  Are you metro?  I'll find some links etc and PM you when I do.

#11 Michaelmichelle

Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:55 AM

Yes we are in Perth Metro. Cant wait to hear more recommendations.Its so vexing theres so many options and prices

#12 angel_girl

Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:16 PM

Laridae regarding a service call every year or two we generally do that these days for aircons and other things so i dont see a problem.   I rather that.

At the end of the day expensive is not always the best...there is a reason behind why they are so pricey...original.gif

#13 zibble

Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:29 PM

Some great advice from PPs. OP have a look at the greentech forum on Whirlpool site and search the products and installers. I would personally go for either an Aurora or SMA sunnyboy inverter and get the biggest system you can afford. We recently bought a 4kw system (suntech panels and aurora inverter) and it's been good so far.

Good luck.

#14 angel_girl

Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:46 PM


I rather value for money than the most expensive that is all...original.gif

#15 Michaelmichelle

Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:09 PM

I rang solar shop and was very stunned to know that no sales rep is available to do a home consultation in WA. If the inverter breaks down we would have to contact the company directly .Can someone please enlighten if solar shop is a good choice?

#16 laridae

Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:37 AM

QUOTE (KristyMum- @ 05/05/2012, 10:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
laridae you're in Tas?  I know things always claim to cost a bit more over here due to freight/transport etc esp if you're not metro.  Though I guess stuff is still subject to transport costs to Tas, it's still 'over east' to me. ;)

Yes, sorry - came in through recent topics.  It shouldn't make a great deal of difference to the price though if you're using one of the large companies that do a lot, a smaller installer might have more overheads in shipping costs.  As long as its a metro area of course.

#17 laridae

Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:53 AM

QUOTE (angel_girl @ 07/05/2012, 02:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
original.gif )

I rather value for money than the most expensive that is all... original.gif

Best value for money does not equal cheapest.  

You may get nice cheap gear, works well for a few months, so you think you've got great value.  Then it breaks down.  You've got no monitoring set up and aren't regularly checking (manually - because its not got any automatic monitoring being cheap gear) that its generating any power, so you don't notice until your power bill comes in that its been off for a month.  Then you need to wait another month while it gets shipped back to China for repairs.  How much money have you lost in that time?  Probably a lot more that the difference between a quality system that was a little bit extra to start off and the cheap system you got because it was 'better value'.

I don't get something that is most expensive either - but I spent time getting quotes and participating in the whirlpool green tech forum, enough that I know what price is a good deal for decent equipment, and what people who work in the industry think is good, reliable equipment that has a proven track record, and what they've found breaks frequently so I know what to avoid.

Realistically - you are only looking at a few hundred $ different between cheap and quality anyway (up to maybe a couple of $1000 for larger systems).

#18 laridae

Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:55 AM

QUOTE (Michaelmichelle @ 09/05/2012, 10:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I rang solar shop and was very stunned to know that no sales rep is available to do a home consultation in WA. If the inverter breaks down we would have to contact the company directly .Can someone please enlighten if solar shop is a good choice?

Contact which company? The solar shop or the manufacturer or importer of the panels & inverter?

Plenty of others you can try if you don't like their terms original.gif

#19 blissfulqueenb

Posted 11 May 2012 - 11:52 AM

We went with solar shop and have a Sunnyboy SMA inverter and suntech panels. We chose to go with thin film panels rather than the mono crystalline ones as the performance was better in part shade (remember with most systems that are set up in sequence if you get shade in even part of one of the panels, the entire array will not produce) and also produced power from a larger range of conditions than the others we looked at.

Solar shop service left a lot to be desired, and they went into receivership after we got our system so I would be very wary of using them.  However, the system itself we couldn't be happier with.   Ours produces enough to power our house of 5 people plus we pay my sisters bill too with the credit each period.

#20 Michaelmichelle

Posted 11 May 2012 - 03:16 PM

researching i have settle for SMA 1.7 with 7 panels (q cells) cash lay-out $3300. Can someone tell me if its a good deal? Which company provides good after sales service? Look like solarshop isnt anymore. They havent even email me a quotation as claimed.

How do you share the electricity credits? among your sisters?

#21 blissfulqueenb

Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:55 PM

I don't know how price stacks up these days I'm afraid.  We got in before the rebates changed but ours is a bigger system.

When you go into credit on your power bill (ie: have fed more into the grid than you have used), they then owe you money. You can ask for a cheque, but you have to pay capital gains tax on this.  To get around that, you can pay anybody else's power bill.  We do that with my sister. We just ring up and give them her account number and tell them we want to use our credit to pay her bill.  I wouldnt imagine you would have spare on a 1.7 system though.

#22 laridae

Posted 14 May 2012 - 12:40 PM

For all accounts - q-cells are good panels, unfortunately their company has gone bust.


So I'd be worried about any warranty issues.

I think the price is a little high, but only by a couple of hundred - so not too bad.

#23 beaglebaby

Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:46 AM

Not worth looking up that website pp, we have no choice of electricity companies here in WA.

We installed through a small company called Independent Power Systems, we were also very impressed by Avant, they seem to have grown a lot since then, probably because unlike most of the other companies they actually understood what they were talking about and gave great customer service.  So many of the people selling systems couldn't answer really basic questions, or gave blatantly wrong information.

You get next to nothing for feeding back into the system here now, so it's worth making sure you use most of the power you generate during the day while you are generating it.  We are still on the old 47c tariff, so we do the opposite.

BQB, I wasn't aware of the capital gains tax on the money from power generation, will have to look into that, we have a large credit sitting in our account.

Oops, didn't realise this was a really old thread dragged back up by someone pushing their own website - sorry.

Edited by beaglebaby, 12 February 2013 - 02:48 AM.

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