Planetary Power Solutions....

Amongst all the white noise & marketing frenzy in the solar & renewable energy industry, PPS's goal is to stand out with our commitment to providing only the best quality products, systems & service, custom made to suit your requirements.

PPS systems are designed with this as the number one priority. We research the technology behind a brand, to ensure our clients get what they require. PPS system components are chosen based on performance, reliability, and innovation. In doing this, our methods and quality of work is recognized as first class by both our clients and manufacturers.

What would you like to achieve?
PPS has the ability to design and deliver a system that exceeds expectations. While all PPS components are top class, we strive towards design innovation, combining new and exciting concepts in the journey towards sustainable and self sufficient operation.

A forward thinking design process means PPS solutions have future expansion and adaptation built in. Our firm commitment is to deliver the best value, service, & technology for your long term investment

Planetary Power Solutions
It's in our name.

Faulty Isolators - but not the ones we use! - Posted by PPS Admin 22/05

Recently there has been reports of faulty DC Isolators catching fire on rooftop PV systems.

This is happening more and more, and is typically due to cost-cutting along with less than desirable installation practices.

The brands in question are not the type installed by PPS, despite looking similar. The brands that are failing are the cheaper isolators - we use the expensive types on our installs.

The faulty brands are:
٠ "Avanco" branded dc isolators (model numbers AV/DC4P25A, AV/DC2P25A, AV/DC4P25AUB, AV/DC2P625AU, AV/DC2P25AU, AV/DC2/2P25AU, AV/DC2/2P125AU, AV/DC4P25AU, AV/DC4P25AUS, and AV/DC4P25AUT.

٠ "PVPower" branded dc isolators.

٠ "GEN3" and "SPM" branded rotary type DC isolators model numbers: GEN3DC-25, GEN3DC-32, SPMDCISO-25A and SPMDCISO-32A.

Primarily, the brand we install are "Kraus-Naimer". You could say that the Kraus-Naimer isolators look to have been copied by the "PVPower" branded isolators in order to pick up some market share, as both look the same on first inspection. These are the Red/Yellow rotary type isolators.

We have already had calls from concerned customers regarding their "Kraus-Naimer" isolators, due to the similarity to the recalled "PVPower" isolators as shown on TV.

The easy way to tell that your isolators are good, is to check the for the "Kraus-Naimer" label on the side, or for the "PVPower" label on the front top right corner of your isolator.

If your system was installed by us, you can rest assured that you have the high quality "Kraus-Naimer" Red/Yellow isolators.

Recently I was asked by a client why our systems were priced higher than a competitors - my response was:
"I cannot comment on how other companies price their systems, because I don't know what allowances they make for equipment and installers - all I can tell you is that our systems use quality components, and are installed right. Our systems also have a system lifetime quality of workmanship warranty"

If your system was not installed by PPS and you fear you have a recalled isolator on your system, we can assist on replacing it with a quality unit.

'UPDATED' Retrospective cut to legislated 40c FIT announced - Posted by Adrian Hawke

UPDATE 12/08/2013:

WA Premier, Colin Barnett, has just announced the WA Government has reversed its position on retrospective changes to the solar feed-in tariff.
"Quite simply, we got this decision wrong and we have to fix it. We have listened, and we appreciate the commitment that many people have made to take up renewable energy, like solar power...."

Coming through the wire this afternoon (08/08/2013) from Nigel Morris of Solar Business, is Colin Barnett's announcement that the WA Govt will RETROSPECTIVELY cut the 40c Feed In Tariff.

This is the very tariff that the Govt introduced over 11 months in 2010/11, & legislated to last for 10 years, to stimulate the uptake of solar power and allow people to recover the capital cost of their power systems.

The retrospective nature of this announcement is the same cunning stunt the NSW Govt tried to pull on their citizens who had signed up for the NSW FIT. The NSW Govt was subsequently beaten into submission & relinquished making any retrospective changes.

Can this be called anything but a case of massive political hypocrisy? Citizens & businesses know better than to invest their time & money on any promises a Govt makes unless it is legislated.

But why?
Is it because they have more faith in random fortune tellers, clairvoyants or tele-evangelist, selling blessings & life after death?
The reality that these industries flourish shows people will commit their cash to something completely immaterial before they will trust their cash to a Govt's word.

Isn't it also true we will take our chances playing Lotto, or gambling at a casino before we trust our money to the word of a politician?
This is then why we all wait for their words to be legislated. The legislation is our contract with the Govt, and allows us to hold them accountable.

Stand up for your rights, fight these clowns and follow this story at

In what universe do political parties actually maintain their policies, and not use them exclusively for the sole purpose of winning an upcoming election?

Read it on the official Fact Sheet Program Rationalisation from the Treasury department of WA, at least until they take it down.

Recover your outstanding PV REC money with this opportunity to sell - Posted by Adrian Hawke

We are currently offering to pool registered STC's for sale to a buyer we have selected. If you would like to take up this opportunity, there are two simple steps.

1. Withdraw your registered STC's from the Clearing House
2. Transfer them into our "Planetary Power Solutions" account on the Rec Registry.

Once you have done this, we will sell them in a larger batch, attracting a better price than they would normally. In the transfer, you can add a note to us indicating who you are, and how many STC's you have transferred.

A short email to back this up is also a good idea, and I will confirm receipt of the STC's.

At this stage, I am expecting at least $35 (excluding GST), and hope to push this higher. This is purely market driven, and I hope to increase the price as close to the Spot (Wholesale) Price as I can. Spot trades are for batches of 5000 STC's.
If your system receives either the 40c or 8c Feed In Tariff, you do not qualify for GST.

Please be aware & wary of operators offering higher prices, these prices have been confirmed (as recently as today) to include GST. One of our clients has confirmed with the ATO that this would not pass an ATO audit.

This is an offer to all our customers who have STC's waiting to sell on the Clearing House, but we are happy to work with other STC owners also.

Have a great Easter break!

Adrian Hawke

Updates to changes in the STC Multiplier etc - Posted by Adrian Hawke

But first, an article on policy makers/breakers? - You be the judge.

"Energy efficiency: stuck between neutral and reverse"

"Together with renewable generation, energy efficiency is the key plank of a holistic solution to fossil fuel problems and network regulation issues in Australia. Why are government-led attempts to promote energy efficiency stalling?"

Read more: Energy efficiency: stuck between neutral and reverse
by Phil Harrington, Principal Consultant Climate Change,
EcoGeneration November/December 2012 .

STC Multiplier reduction:

The federal Government has brought forward the reduction in the STC multiplier scheme by another 6 months.
The STC Multiplier was the replacement to the $8,000 Rebate that ended in May 2009.

Originally announced to run down over 5 years at a rate reduction of 1x per year, finishing at 1:1 in late 2014, the STC multiplier gave a multiplication of the REC's generated for the initial 1.5kW's of an installed system (typically 31 REC's).

To be specific - this gave 155 STC's for the first year, was supposed to give 124 for the second year, 93 for the third, 62 for the 4th, and settle at the original 31 on the fifth year, or 2014. Through successive early reductions, we now have the 1:1 rate in January 2013 that we had during the $8,000 rebate days.

The recent value of one REC/STC typically moves between $24-$30. It has been as low as $14 last year, and as high as $54 in 2008. The 1:1 ratio could quite possibly push the STC/REC value up above the $35 mark of early 2011, and even the $46 rate of mid 2009.

To be clear, the STC scheme is not a Rebate, despite how it is being marketed to the general public by a lot of operators, therefore there is no "end of rebate", as they are simply the REC's (Renewable Energy Certificates) that existed before, during & after the $8,000 Rebate.
I therefore suggest that any company telling you the "Rebate is ending" is in the business of selling deception to generate sales.

The STC Multiplier generated the "1.5kW" marketing run, in that 1.5kW's was the best bang-for-buck sized PV system. Companies set up their whole marketing strategies on selling generic 1.5kW systems as a "one size fits all" package.

Stories of customers inquiring for larger systems, being told "we don't do systems bigger than 1.5kW's" were common, or getting duped into a "3kW upgradeable inverter", only to find that they get 2x 1.5kW inverters, and only one has anything connected to it, the second inverter is just bolted to the wall. All disclosed in the fine print of course.

Settling on the original 1:1 ratio will mean there is no longer a magic size, so you will likely see the 1.5kW adverts dissolve. This is because your systems will generate a linear REC value in line with their size.
Looking at the marketing of PV systems in recent months, a quote comes to mind - "In a war to be the cheapest, the winners always go broke".

As an authorized field service company for a number of inverter manufacturers and through our presence in the community, I have come across plenty of systems installed with the cookie-cutter method.
I find typically that the original retailer has gone into administration or bankrupt, or simply absolves themselves from any responsibility towards the client's system.

Naturally, most people are not too happy with this. When I find on closer inspection that some of their systems have failed due to poor installation practices, they feel down right cheated:

~Incorrectly wired isolators (reversed polarity)
~Incorrectly rated isolators (AC instead of DC)
~Unsuitable rooftop enclosures, filling with water
~Unsealed cable entries on enclosures, filling with water
~Dangerous switchboard connections by unlicensed installers/incompetent electricians
The list goes on.

Perhaps this is to be expected with cheaper systems? After all, paying less for a system leaves less money to afford quality components, qualified experienced electricians & installers.
It certainly seems to impact on warranty claims when the company is no longer trading, and the sub-contractor/installer has no interest.
If you had to chose which part of your system to leave out in order to reduce the price, which part would you chose?

Faulty installation work is not covered by inverter manufacturers, so repairs to the system are met by the customer.

One of the advantages of PPS systems however, is that our installation workmanship warranty doesn't run out, for the life of the system. We look after our customers & are determined to deliver quality workmanship.

I like John Hughes's quote - "Chose your dealer before you chose your car".

Is there such a thing as too much solar power? - Posted by Adrian Hawke

Over the last 5 years I have noticed that the Government/Political support for solar power or alternative energy sources has been progressively rolled back.

Whether it is support for remote power systems - the kind that reduces or eliminates the reliance on diesel fueled power stations & homesteads, or Fringe of Grid - areas that are at the ends of the transmission lines, or plain old Grid Connect systems in Metro areas, every program or incentive has been tampered with or cut.

The Feed In Tariffs are the most noticeable, as they affect the most number of the general public. The remote power/fringe of grid schemes are less known, but have been slashed just the same.

Does this make sense, or have any consistency when compared to what the Government wants us to believe regarding the "cost" of Climate Change, and the new "Taxes" we must endure to save the planet?

For some time now I hear that power generation & networking companies have introduced a maximum desirable penetration of solar/renewbles into their system. About 20% is a number I have heard.

Is there something feasibly wrong with people/places generating their own energy, or is it more a $financial$ concern?

Being interested in electricity generation from a very early age, and first involved commercially in power generation in 1994, the change in attitude by our retailers, networkers, generators & politicians has prompted me to conduct my own research into the matter.

Put simply - there are countries that have more solar penetration per-capita than Australia, but less sunshine. Germany is a country that springs to mind, but who has the most?

Have a read of this article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:
Sun screening - "As solar power hits a threshold, a study is required to add more panels"
By Alan Yonan Jr.

In Alan's article, the threshold is shown to be 15% (up from 10%). Any new proposed system in an area that is already at the limit must have an expensive study conducted to determine whether the system will affect the quality of supply to the other account holders.
I don't know about you, but to me this looks like a thinly disguised financial deterrent imposed by the power companies under the guise of "quality control".

This 15% barrier, and deterrent is confirmed Via "":
"Hawaii solar growth facing potential barrier"

Compare this to an article by Bryan Nisperos about Gainesville in the U.S South West:
Gainesville has high PV penetration thanks to FiT
A town where the power company realizes that promoting de-centralized solar power is actually more cost affective than installing their own solar power station.

In an investigation into the performance & value of solar power, I revisited my first (1990's) hybrid solar power installation at the Broome Bird Observatory while on a business trip through the North West of WA.
The original system has had the inverter & diesel generator upgraded, plus additional panels installed, but the 3x original solar tracking arrays are still going strong after 15+ years (5,500+ days) of uninterrupted service.

A subsequent trip to the East Coast included the opportunity to visit the country with the world's highest penetration of solar power per-capita - Norfolk Island.
Norfolk Island has a colorful history, which is another story, but what attracted me to the island was the intrigue as to how they manage a penetration that I have been advised is 40% higher than any other country in the world.

A few facts:
Diesel, plus EVERY other commodity on the island must be shipped in & offloaded by small tenders, as N.I. has no deep-water port. Diesel/petrol costs $2.35+/L at the pump.
Electricity costs consumers 69c/Unit, and is set to rise!

The installation of grid connected solar power throughout the island has resulted in a reduction of diesel consumption at the power station of greater than 85%!
A consumption that once was 7000+ liters/day, is now only 1000 liters/day.

In the 1990's I worked with a company servicing remote power stations. A common Genset was the 1MW Cummins unit, or the 1MW CAT unit. Norfolk Island has 3x Cummins and 3x CAT Gensets, plus an auxiliary 350kW unit for the airport & hospital.
(The Cummins units were purchased from an affiliate company at the same time I was working on them in the West Aust desert, in 1995.)

Now that Norfolk Island has solar power, instead of a typical midday base load of 1.3MW, the power station is running at 250-350kW. This requires only 1x Genset to be running, instead of 3, reducing running costs such as maintenance, repairs, fuelling, servicing, breakdowns etc etc.

Not that adding solar power didn't have some teething problems - for the first time in memorable history, residents had up to 5x power blackouts on one day, the first time the installed PV output matched the Island's load - that is, the power station shut down due to reverse-power protection!

The Norfolk Island Power Station solution? Make a phone call & turn off one of the larger PV systems when output at the power house drops too low! Trust the Norfolk Islanders to come up with such a simple solution.

Now - Norfolk Island has about 1.4MW of solar power installed, and a daytime base load of around 1.3MW. Clouds surprisingly don't seem to affect their power station or quality of supply in the way that other power/network/retail companies would lead us to believe it will, despite Norfolk Island only being around 5km long & 3km wide.

Norfolk Island have a simple NET metering system using mechanical meters, so what you export during the day - you can pull back in at night, and have a NET result of ZERO.
When I asked the power station operator & local electrician what they were going to do with their excess solar power, they said they would probably allow the installation of Air-Con's on the island!

There is no 15-20% solar power penetration limit on Norfolk Island - in fact they are probably heading towards 110% now.

What does this say about the rest of the world's penetration limits?

What does this say about quality of supply on a power network?

Could it in fact really be just a question of maintaining $profit$?

What then does this say about the urgent & necessary steps (see tax & rising utility costs) we must endure to fight "climate change" here in Australia, and the rest of the world?

What are our politicians really doing, if their actions (see closing funding for renewables etc) don't seem to follow their own rhetoric?

Come to think about it - contrary to popular belief, how "safe" is Nuclear Power... really?