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A Short History of Solar Through the 21 Year History of Solar Service Centre


1991

• When Solar Service Centre began installing the first generation of solar panels available in Australia, most were BP Australian made, between 60 and 75 W and costing about $700 each. Inverters were 1.5 kW and just big enough to run an automatic washing machine.
• Most Stand Alone solar systems were less than 1 W and all the houses using Stand Alone had gas for heating, hot water and cooking, small gas or 12 /24 volt fridges, along with diesel generators.
• In most cases, Solar Service Centre installed the solar system, designed the lighting and wired the houses using compact fluorescent globes, either DC or 240 volt AC.
• Equipment was installed including diesel generators, DC fridges, and concrete block equipment rooms were built away from the  house to hold all the equipment and install the panels onto. This was a requirement due to the noise of the generator in those days.
• Grid Connect Solar did not exist.

1999

• By this time, Solar panels were still around $700 each, but increased to 85 W and the first 24 volt 140 W panels were being introduced.
• The first of the inverter chargers and the first of the trackers became available.
• Solar system sizes reached as big as 1.5 kW.
• The first of the LED lights became available and compact fluorescent lights were readily available.
• Customers began using larger 240 volt fridge freezers.

2000

• Solar Service Centre installed one of the first Grid Connect solar systems in the region.

2008

• Solar panel sizes had jumped to 170 W and prices were still high at around $1,250.
• Grid Connect solar systems were now common place.
• Inverters were available up to 5 kW for both Stand Alone and Grid Connect systems.
• Solar Service Centre began to install solar systems with MPPT Regulators enabling wiring the panels differently to get an extra 15% efficiency. 5 kW inverters were also used, batteries had become low maintainance and were 16-1700 amp hrs. System sizes were now up to 6 kW for Stand Alone and 10-15 kW for Grid Connect.
• BP Solar ceased manufacturing solar panels in Australia so Solar Service Centre began installing Suntech panels after much research.

2012

• Twenty one years later, solar panels are now up to 250 W and prices are down to $350 per panel.
• Grid connect inverters are now up to 20 to 30 kW.
• Stand Alone inverters are now available up to 18 kW and can be connected in 3-phase to produce 56 kW of available power.
• Mini grids can now be created using a combination of Stand Alone as a base power source interacting with multiple grid connect inverters. This is ideal for many things including Eco tourism enterprises with multiple cabins for instance.
• Commercial Grid Connect solar systems of 20 – 30 kW are common place.
• Price parity has been reached between solar and retail electricity prices, making it now affordable to use equipment finance leasing to pay off your systems.
• Technology advancements are moving fast to increase the efficiency and affordability of sustainable, renewable energy systems.