Mazenond College goes to the head of the class

Mazenod College is at the forefront of the sustainability movement in the education sector. Over a 2 year period Enervest were engaged consult and provide feasibility advice on the potential implementation of arenewable energy solution at the school. That process lead to the complete design and installation of the largest rooftop solar power system at an Australian school. 

Comprising more than 1,000 ReneSola PV panels and a range of SolarMax grid connected inverters, the 270kW system is designed to supply around half of the schools energy needs. Presenting numerous design and engineering challenges, Enervest successfully saw the project progress from preliminary analysis through to live operation.

At the completion of the project Mazenod College Principal, Fr Michael Twigg told RenewEconomy that “Mazenod College has made an investment in solar power because we have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint for the benefit of future generations.” 

To enhance the effectiveness of their investment Mazenod College encourage students to learn about the effect their school’s solar system is having on energy consumption via its SolarMax WebPortal. Accessible online the WebPortal offers real-time information on; input and output voltages, input and output currents, frequency, device temperature and yield of the system.

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AFL Club takes giant leap towards sustainability

The GWS Giants are not only kicking goals on the field, they stand tall on all the right issues. Recently the Giants engaged Enervest to implement a 100kW solar array at their training facility in Western Sydney. This solar solution will power the clubs indoor training field, gymnasium and running track, as well as the Learning Life Centre housed in the building and the on-field floodlights.

The GWS Giants are a foundation member of the Sports Environment Alliance Inc. which is a not-for-profit organisation focused on equipping the sport industry with the knowledge and networks to be themselves and inspire to be environmental stewards. 

The solar solution Enervest designed for GWS has allowed them to take a giant leap towards environmental stewardship. 

Top 10 things to look out for when investing in renewable energy

In recent years the renewable energies industry, particularly solar power, has received some bad press, some of which has been warranted!

Prior rebates under previous schemes flooded the market with inexperienced operators looking to ‘cash in’ on the opportunity. Bad experiences with shonky operators, coupled with the rollback of government rebates have lead to consumers to mistrust, even despise the industry as a whole. 

However, the pitfalls can be avoided. Here’s our top 10 list of things to look out for and avoid when considering before taking the leap to renewables.

1. Failing to review all historical data.

Quite often, in order to make a quick sale, operators will quote a solution with only a quick glance at one electricity bill. This can prove wildly inaccurate. Great detail can be gained from a complete site assessment of historical data. The viability of your investment relies heavily on these specifics.

2. Lack of building structural and layout assessment.

Pushy sales people do not understand electrical infrastructure or the engineering processes behind applying renewable energy to a building. Many factors have to be taken into consideration, including; building size, shading, topographic location and more.

Failure to take these things into consideration leads to budget creep throughout the project, and beyond.

3. Under-quoting of jobs.

The easiest way to “get a foot in the door.” Sadly, this only leads to heartache for the customer. Some operators may misrepresent (lower) the amount of power generation units (e.g. solar panels) that are needed on a job - to reduce the overall quoted cost. Unfortunately this means that a lot of the time, the customer is left with a system that is simply not capable of generating enough power to meet their needs.

4. Implementing the cheapest equipment available.

The old adage of “you get what you pay for” applies here. And, in renewable energy cheapest is not always best. The question that needs to be considered is: what is the real cost over the life of your investment? Cheap up front quite often means costly repairs and upgrades down the track.

5. Pitching the most expensive equipment.

The only thing worse than paying too little, is paying too much! This can occur when a provider is “locked in” with one manufacturer, and therefore not able to provide a neutral, unbiased recommendation.

6. Poor installation

Systems that are poorly installed (usually by inexperienced technicians) are exposed to deterioration and early breakdown. This leads to probably the biggest discrepancy in the renewable energies industry: length of warranty. Customers need to seek out operators that will back their workmanship with a warranty matched by the manufacturer’s guarantee on the equipment itself.

7. Poor arrangement with the power company

Quite often, operators don’t take the time to optimize the connection with the grid so that the customer gets the full benefit of valuable feed-in credits flowing back to them. The connection process should be transparent and, as the customer, you should receive signed connection documents from the installer.

8. Not allowing customers to monitor performance

The vast majority of systems installed have no way of quantifying real time or historical performance to enable accurate assessment of savings. Properly designed systems allow every user the ability to monitor their system at the touch of a finger and even better, allows the system to communicate with them should any issue arise.

9. Unrealistic financial terms

There are many financing options available to customers. However, quite often they are only presented with one. And that one usually benefits the operator first, financial institution second and end customer last. Customers need to be acutely aware of the detail in the financial contracts they are signing and be wary of “seller lease” or “rent to buy” type arrangements.

10. Sustainability of the company selling to you

Would you buy something of someone that would do or say anything sell you a solution? The biggest issue that the renewables industry has faced in recent years is over exuberant sales people who promise far too much, just to make a sale. This leads to a myriad of issues; from shoddy workmanship, to utilising cheap products, to not generating quoted returns for customers, to operators going bankrupt and leaving customers with no support.

But, the good thing is, not all operators are bad. Now that you are armed with the right information you can make an educated choice when considering renewable for your home and business.

At Enervest, we have the experience and expertise to guide you in the right direction. Our team of dedicated experts can craft a renewable energy solution, perfectly suited to your needs.

We have simple answers and solutions to the above 10 issues. Do you?

Contact us to discuss your options today, and to ensure you are being smart with your renewables decisions and investments!

If you agree with us, tell your friends, family and business colleagues. If not, tell us!

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