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Penrith Solar founder and managing director Jake Warner “If string inverters and microinverters were exactly the same price, no one would ever buy a string inverter.”
Penrith Solar founder & MD Jake Warner

Western Sydney-based solar installer Penrith Solar Centre has joined a growing number of Australian companies that supply only microinverter-based solar energy systems because they are safer and simpler to install and support.

After a recent internal review, Penrith Solar founder and managing director Jake Warner identified that microinverters were eight times less likely to fail than string inverters. “We reviewed our in-house service records and worked out that microinverters cause us very few issues, so they’re about eight times less expensive to support than general string inverters,” he said.

“That’s when I had the light bulb moment to use only microinverters. Not only are they more reliable, but they’re easier to sell on their value, better for system design and performance, easier to install because of their size and much simpler to order and warehouse because one size fits all.”

The Anaergia Rialto Bioenergy Facility with an artist's representation of Redflow batteries installed

Australian energy storage company Redflow Ltd (ASX: RFX) has signed an agreement to supply a 2 MWh energy storage system comprising of 192 zinc-bromine flow batteries to Anaergia, Inc. (Anaergia), a global technology leader in recovering value from waste.

The batteries will support two-megawatt hours (MWh) of energy and reduce peak energy use at Anaergia’s Rialto Bioenergy Facility (Facility) as part of the Facility’s microgrid. The Facility is located in San Bernardino County, California, and owned by Rialto Bioenergy Facility, LLC, an Anaergia company.

The microgrid project was funded in part by a grant from the California Energy Commission and consists of the batteries, a biogas conditioning system to support a 2.0MW biogas-fueled cogeneration unit, and a microgrid control system.

This agreement represents Redflow’s largest single sale and deployment of batteries globally. 

Solaray Energy Director Jonathan FiskWith record Australian solar photovoltaic (PV) sales last year, Sydney-based installer Solaray Energy reports that one in five inquiries come from people concerned about faulty or failing solar PV systems.

Solaray director Jonathan Fisk said his company last year received hundreds of inquiries from people with several-year-old systems that were poorly designed and not working well. “Up to 20 per cent of our inquiries at the moment are coming from people with a faulty, failing or poor-performing solar PV system,” he said. 

“The problem is that too many systems used poor quality equipment or were poorly installed to keep the price down. Over time, these systems start degrading or failing, leaving many consumers with no recourse or remedy as often the installers have long since left the market. This, combined with the problem of DC isolators - fundamentally flawed safety devices that were not designed to be on the roof for 10 plus years – leads to even more performance and safety issues. DC isolators are now the most common cause of solar-related fires in Australia.”

Solaray Energy, the 2020 installer of the year for microinverter manufacturer Enphase Energy, revealed this high level of consumer concern after Fire and Rescue NSW reported incidents of solar-related fires in NSW had increased more than 500 per cent during the past three years. FRNSW data shows firefighters attended 139 solar panel fires last year, compared to 56 in 2019 and 22 in 2018.

Duncan Jacklin Blue NRG BW WBlue NRG General Manager Duncan JacklinBusiness-only electricity retailer Blue NRG has partnered with Australian smart energy innovator carbonTRACK to provide its customers with tools to remotely monitor and control their energy consumption.

As of February 2021, Australian-owned and operated energy retailer Blue NRG is offering its business customers access to carbonTRACK’s Energy Management System to help them reduce their electricity bills.

The carbonTRACK Energy Management System equips businesses to monitor and control their energy use by identifying their unique usage patterns and enabling them to optimise that use.

Blue NRG General Manager Duncan Jacklin said the carbonTRACK Energy Management System would provide customers with transparency and control of their energy use. “We’ve grown rapidly based on competitive rates, value-added energy services and local customer service,” he said.