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Solar for Business

During the process of running a business, entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to reduce costs and become more profitable. One option that many businesses are now considering is investing in solar power. If you’re thinking about solar for your company, we’ve got the reasons why it’s worth the investment.

Prices have fallen

Solar isn’t exactly a new technology as it’s been used in some capacity for more than 40 years. For the majority of solar power’s history, solar panels have been considered to be very expensive. In the past, many homeowners and businesses could not justify paying so much for a solar power system. However, thanks to economies of scale and improvements in production processes, the prices of solar panels have been falling dramatically. In today’s market, the prices of solar are much more reasonable than they’ve ever been before, and are even cheaper than retail electricity in numerous places.

Reduction (or elimination) of power bill

Having a solar power system installed will mean your business could pay just a fraction of what you are currently paying for electricity. The cost per unit of your current energy costs is likely to be much higher than what you would spend for solar power.

Great return on investment

Government incentives and the decrease of solar equipment costs means installing solar power is a sound investment and a good financial decision for businesses. Investing in solar power generates both long-term savings and quick payback.

It’s reliable

Once installed, a solar power system will require little maintenance and will provide electricity quietly and cleanly for 25 to 40 years, with most solar panels carrying a 25-year warranty.

Earning the “green” label

Having solar power will result in reduced consumption of fuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. By using this alternative source, your business can express its participation in the battle against global warming and can reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. Going green will not only reduce operation expenses but will serve as a great PR and marketing tool. Having an environmentally responsible image can be great for your company, as it can generate a positive response from consumers.

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At Dan the Sparky Man, we employ only fully licensed, Master Electricians, who are also accredited for solar installations by the Clean Energy Council of Australia, to install and maintain your system.  Solar has never been more affordable & we offer no interest payment plans on all of our systems. Talk to us today if you want to know more about having a solar system installed at your business. With more than a decade of experience in the industry, you can count on us.

Signature Dan

Dan Carpenter

Dan the Sparky Man

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Lighting Tips & Tricks for your Kitchen

What type of kitchen describes you best? Whether you’re into an open space design or can’t live without an island, here’s a variety of ideas for fresh kitchens worth entertaining in.

Since becoming internationally recognised as the heart of the house, many have grappled with how they can best deck out their kitchen to live up to this title. One technique for jazzing up a kitchen which is often sidelined is creating the perfect kitchen lighting plan.

Lighting in the kitchen has the power to transform it from a brilliant setting for a loud family dinner to the ultimate spot for a romantic evening for two. To help you stay in the know and make the most of this great room, here is a taste of the lighting trends you should capitalise on for the ultimate kitchen in 2014.

1. Pendant lighting

Decorative pendant fixtures above a bar or bench top are brilliant addition to any kitchen. Not only can they can they be very visually appealing on their own, they can complement your bar or bench top beautifully.

Kitchen Lighting 3

 

Oversized pendants or lighting fixtures are also a growing trend, so don’t be afraid to choose fixtures that make a statement. Above the eating area, they can serve as a focal point and centrepiece for a modern kitchen.

2. Dimmers

Dimmers are a must in 2014. They can be adjusted according to the use of the room so you can set the mood to your liking. What’s not to love?

Kitchen Lighting 1

 

3. Cabinet lighting

By including lights inside glass-front cabinets, it can put the spotlight on unique or special dishes and accessories. Under-cabinet lighting also works brilliantly.

Kitchen Lighting 4

4. LED lighting

LED lights are not only more cost-effective than incandescent lights, they also give a whimsical feeling when installed under bench tops, to highlight cabinetry or to illuminate splashbacks.

Kitchen-Lighting-Dimmers

 

5. Sconce lighting

The ongoing trend of fewer upper cabinets in the kitchen opens up more space for decorative task lighting, like sconces. These fixtures are often on adjustable arms, giving the option to have the light directed where you need it most. Look for decorative task fixtures in black, iron and aged brass finishes to really make a statement in your kitchen.

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Images/Sources: Style at Home and HGTV

If you would like to design a new lighting plan for your kitchen, or any room in your home, give us a call.

Dan Carpenter

Signature Dan

Dan the Sparky Man

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Govt Changes Solar Tariffs

News hit the press late last week that the solar feed-in tariff (FIT) is being cancelled come the 1st of July. For the benefit of our valued clients, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify who exactly will be affected and to stress that solar is still an excellent investment.

Currently, households with Solar are receiving an 8c FIT from the Government and then an additional amount from their retailer. The average amount retailers pay is also around 8c, giving homeowners a total of 16c for every kilowatt hour they generate and send back to the grid.

At this stage it is only the government that are cancelling  their 8c FIT, retailer agreements remain unchanged.

This change will affect those who already have solar on the 8c FIT, and any new customers who sign up after the 1st of July. It will not affect those who have secured the 44c FIT – their arrangement remains unchanged.

While the announcement has sent some into panic mode, what many don’t realise is that the changes may in fact be very positive for home and business owners with solar power, due to the likelihood of increased competition among retailers. It is quite possible that the retailers will compete with each other for new customers and actually increase the FIT amount they are currently paying to solar owners.

Aside from this, Queenslanders will also have the chance to hunt for the best prices and negotiate with retailers.

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Some things to consider are:

–          If you use a majority of your power during the day, you won’t be feeding much back into the grid anyway, so these changes will hardly effect you. For example, businesses who operate during daylight hours, people who work from home, households with stay-at-home parents or retirees, etc. will barely notice the changes.

–          If you don’t use a majority of your power during the day, it may just mean that a smaller system is more beneficial to you under these changes. For example, a 3kW system to cover the daytime running costs of your fridge (and possibly a hot water system or pool pump) may be more appropriate once the changes are introduced. This system size will not eradicate your power bill, but will certainly still provide you with quarterly savings.

Solar Return on Investment

For example:

If a home or business owner, that uses 90% of their power during the day, purchased a 5kW system for $6000 – they would still achieve a return on their investment in just over 2.5 years*

Although you might not be feeding much (if any) power back to the grid, you are utilising everything your system is generating. And that is providing a saving on your power bill of around $563 per quarter.

So in this example, it doesn’t matter what the Feed-In-Tariff is. It wouldn’t matter if the FIT was at 0 – the savings & ROI would still prove Solar to be an excellent investment.

What other purchase for your home or business can you make that provides you with a Return on your Investment?

*** Calculations based on current power usage being 25kW hour per day, with 90% daytime usage, at a rate of 29.4c per kW/h with the 5kW system producing 21kW per day

Overall, it is important to remember that despite these changes, the advantages of installing solar panels far outweigh the costs. If you are still concerned and want to know more about how these changes will affect you, please don’t hesitate to contact us on (07) 5578 3481 or at info@danthesparkyman.com.au.

For more information, you can read the official release of information here.

 

Dan Carpenter

Dan_Signature

 

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Solar from Around the World

With the prices of solar panels falling and the encouragement to take advantage of renewable energy mounting, it’s no surprise that solar power is taking the world by storm. From California to Saudi Arabia, we’ve got some truly impressive examples of solar farms and commercial installations that will leave you breathless.

Solar powered Superbowl

While all eyes were on the Seahawks smashing the Broncos in the Superbowl XLVIII earlier this month, something else caught our attention…all the solar power the MetLife Stadium was harnessing! The stadium teamed up with NRG Solar back in 2012 and had a ring of solar panels installed around its rim!

Superbowl

 

Source: America Supports Solar

Whole solar communities

Entire suburbs are going solar left, right and centre! Crescent Park in Richmond, California, for example, has the largest solar installation for affordable housing in the USA.

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Similarly, this town in Germany has gone completely solar with all homes in the region capitalising on this great source of energy.

Solar Powered Town Germany

 

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Solar power stations

California has just built the world’s largest solar thermal power station in the Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is made of up 3 solar towers surrounded by parabolic mirrors, which focus sunlight into heat to produce clean, renewable electricity. Owned by BrightSource Energy, NRG Energy and Google, The station has the capacity to power up to 200,000 Californian homes.

Solar-around-the-world-1

 

Source: Higher Perspective

Solar parking lot

Saudi Arabia is now home to the world’s largest solar parking lot! The parking area is covered with 120,000 CIS thin-film PV modules and can provide shelter for up to 5000 cars.

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Source: Sunny

Conglomerates using solar power

Apple Inc. are building a 137-acre, 20 Megawatt solar farm in Reno, Nevada to power one of their new data centres. This is keeping in line with Apple’s ambitious goal to power every one of their US facilities with 100% renewable energy. They claim to be at around 75% at present. Apple’s largest US data centre in North Carolina is already powered by x2 massive solar farms, completed last year.

Apple Solar

At Dan the Sparky Man, we employ only fully licensed, Master Electricians, who are also accredited for solar installations by the Clean Energy Council of Australia, to install and maintain your system.  Talk to us today if you are thinking of having a system installed. With more than a decade of experience in the industry, you can count on us.

Dan Carpenter

Signature Dan

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2014 Lighting Design Trends

Home_Office_LightingAt DTSM, we are always monitoring the world of interior design and lighting to make sure we are keeping in-the-know with the latest trends. And for new home owners or renovators, there are definitely some lighting styles to consider if you want the most happening home on the Gold Coast!

There are two components to what makes a modern lighting fixture. The first component is design. In order for a lighting fixture to be on trend, it must have a contemporary aesthetic. The second component is technology. LED is the most current and energy efficient lighting technology available and for a lighting fixture to be in vogue, it should be compatible with this technology.

Pendant lighting has become a dominant focus in modern interiors, with many using stylish and original pendants either as a large single focus or multiple single pendants grouped together. For hanging both single and multiple pendants, the current trend is to go BIG; but you need to make sure the pendant ties in with the existing décor. Big, bold lighting features attract attention in all the right ways and can add interesting levels to a space. In addition, if you want your new pendant lighting to not only be inspiring but also energy efficient, we can fit them with LEDs.

Source: Lights2You

Houzz has also just released their Top 10 Lighting Trends for 2014 which are as follows.

1. Matte is in, glossy out – this is the spinning BH2 Suspension Light in Matte Gray by &Tradition.

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2. Gold is the new black – this is the SR2 Mega Bulb Pendant Light in Gold Luster Transparent glass designed by Sofie Refer for &Tradition.

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3. Back to classics – this is the BL10 Wall Light in Black designed by Robert Dudley Best for Bestlite.

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4. Lights made of bamboo plywood – this is the Hinaki Suspension Light in White designed by David Trubridge.

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5. Lights made of concrete with LED technology – this is the Aplomb LED Suspension Light in White designed by Lucidi and Pevere for Foscarini.

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6. Lights made of plywood veneer in various colours – this is the Link Suspension Light in Red designed by Ray Power for LZF.

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7. Architectural linear lighting – this is the Robinson Pendant Light in Beige designed by Gabriel Teixido for Carpyen.

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8. Beech wood grain pendant lights – this is the Cerno Levis pendant.

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9. Pearl white fabric lamps – this is the Mercer Table Lamp designed by Javier M. Borras & Joan Gaspar for Marset.

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10. White pendant lights – this is the Discoco Suspension Light designed by Christophe Mathieu for Marset.

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Lighting trends are continuously evolving and although the current trends are modern and creative, it is important that you do not simply follow a trend for the sake of it when installing a lighting fixture. Instead, choose something that you love and are inspired by because at the end of the day, trends come and go, but your love of a lighting fixture can last a lifetime.

If you want to start planning your own lighting design, Pinterest and Houzz are a great place to start. Having a Pinterest or Houzz profile will allow you to save all of your thoughts in one space. Plus, you can follow our boards for our lighting and interior ideas for the home on Pinterest or Houzz.

Happy lighting planning!

Signature Dan

Dan Carpenter

Dan the Sparky Man

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Get the Most from Your Solar System

You have spent the money and purchased a solar system for your home, so now more than ever is the time to adopt as many energy efficient products and practices as possible.

By following our guidelines below, you can be assured to receive the maximum financial return on your investment.

1.       Make the switch to LED Lighting.

This technology is now super affordable and can truly save you a fortune (refer to our online calculator to see for yourself). An easy way to start making the change is by changing all the globes in your lamps around your home.

2.       Connect to a cheaper rate of electricity.

Energy-hungry appliances such as electric hot water systems and pool pumps can be connected to an Off-Peak Tariff. This results in their usage occurring at night time when there are discounted power prices available.

3.       Be mindful of your general energy use.

High cost appliances such as clothes dryers and air conditioners can be really expensive to operate. Only use them when you absolutely need to.

4.       Install sensor lighting

Placing this at the entry points to your home holds the dual purpose of providing extra security whilst maintaining energy efficiency with the lights only operating for the minimum time required (and not all night waiting for the young adults of the house to come home!)

5.       Purchase extra panels.

This will give your system its optimum operating performance. For example, a 5kW system can comfortably add an additional kilowatts’ worth of panels providing you have the roof space. This addition can provide you with a further annual production yield of 1400kW (and that’s a conservative estimate). And don’t worry, adding extra panels does not change the Feed In Tariff that you currently receive, as your inverter size stays the same.

6.       Remove any items providing shade over your system.

Your system only performs as strong as its weakest link, so if you have a small amount of shade even covering only 1 panel, the efficiency of your whole system drops to that low level. Consider having any vegetation blocking the sunlight on your system chopped down.

7.       Conduct Yearly System Maintenance

We highly recommend an annual clean and inspection of your system. Dirty solar panels can reduce performance by up to 30% resulting in reduced power bill savings. We offer this service from $195 which includes inspection of the entire system and its components, cleaning of all panels and a full service report.

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With an increasing demand for energy efficiency in the housing market, taking care of your solar panels is very worthwhile if you are thinking of selling or renting to tenants (who you could even charge normal electricity rates if you wanted to make some extra money). Implementing the above steps will also ensure you are getting the best possible return on your solar system and are decreasing (or adding to your credit on) your power bill.

At Dan the Sparky Man, we employ only fully licensed, Master Electricians, who are also accredited for solar installations by the Clean Energy Council of Australia, to install and maintain your system.  Talk to us today if you want to know more about how you can get the most from your solar system, or are thinking of having a system installed. With more than a decade of experience in the industry, you can count on us.

Signature Dan

Dan Carpenter

Dan the Sparky Man

Come and join our social pages for the latest information, tips and product updates.

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/DantheSparkyMan

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