All Done - Solar system installed - After much investigation, pondering, and comparison, we decided to go with Solar Gain. They are reportably the second biggest in Australia and aside from Solar Power they also do solar boosted hot water systems - so on balance they "get" solar energy. The Bloggesphere gave them a pretty good rap on sites like Product Review and Whirlpool and the conversations were intelligent and informative unlike some of the headline marketing outfits which are clearly focussed on "closing" sales. There are a bunch of Panels on the market but some are Chinese al'cheapo's and then there is the Inverter selection. Most of the "Deals to there are cheap 2nd tier technology and have a limited practical life - So these are both areas where you don't want to skimp on.
We went with German Q Cells and Austrian Fronius Inverter - don't know why but I kind of trust Germans - well some of them.
Install took about 8 hours and the team was great and seemed to go the extra mile especially on the wiring - The electrical inspector arrived the next day and gave it a big tick - so thats a reassuring sign.
System headline specs:
Q-Pro C-cells : Panels 14 ~ around 3.75 Kw
Fronius Galvo Inverter
Monitoring - Fronius "solar.web and iPhone / iPad apps
The Inverter install was very clean, very neat - no conduit, no cables, no mess they were all hidden. Plus the proximity to the Fuse Box was perfect - which helps maximise self consumption (so Im told)
The Q Cell Panels - are lighter and stronger than cheaper panels, meaning less weight and higher strength alloy and glass. Plus of course higher efficiency = higher wattage
The Fronius Galvo inverter has built in Wifi and a data server, and a iPad / iPhone app that means you can monitor them real time and it also logs a full power generation history, complete with graphs etc etc. It's a cool piece of kit
Here are some picks of the install:
Also here a snap of the Fronius Inverter iPad app in action. Yesterday on a mostly cloudy August winters day we generated around 10 Kilowatts respect!