Category: Solar

Evolution Stone Saves With Solar

Completed in April 2018, the solar installation at Evolution Stone, now provides 70% of their total energy requirements.

Switching to solar, provides a number of benefits for the Dundowran business, with initial savings of approx $15,000/year. As electricity prices continue to increase, these savings will too. Like many businesses and home owners, this protection from future tariff increases, is a major advantage.

3 Phase Solar Installation – Without The Guesswork

Particularly for commercial premises using 3 phase power, planning and monitoring the solar installation is vital to maximise savings.

Using the Enphase Envoy system, GCR Electrical has equipped Evolution Stone with clear tracking to verify that the power generated on each phase, is being used most effectively.

The result of this installation for Evolution Stone, is they can expect sustained savings for a long period of time, with flexibility to make adjustments to, or expand their system if energy usage requirements change.

Technical Details

Location: Evolution Stone, Dundowran
Installer: GCR Electrical Systems
Installation: 31.65KW solar power system – 3 phase
Key Components: 111 x 285W Winaco High Efficiency Solar Panels
111 x Enphase S230 Micro Inverters.
Enphase Envoy
Enphase Enlighten – Online generation and energy management software
Anticipated annual power generation 53,290kwh
Estimated Cost Savings Approx $14,000 – $16,000/year
Estimated ROI: 70% of total energy supplied via solar
Cash positive within 2.8 years
$184,000 in expected savings over 10 years (based on 10% p.a. rate increase)


Local Solutions and Support For All Your Solar Requirements

Being a local Hervey Bay business themselves, GCR Electricial Systems provide a wide range of solar power and storage solutions, to maximise your energy efficiency. More than just supply and install, GCR works with business and home owners to tailor the solar solution to best suit your needs.

Like to assess options to reduce your energy costs? Contact GCR Electrical Systems today.

Smarter Business With Solar Power

Green Energy Opens the Doors to Smarter Business

When local manufacturing on the Fraser Coast is discussed, the conversation often raises concerns about competitive pressure from offshore. Among the contributing factors for this, are the steady increases in energy costs, which continue to expand the operating costs for local versus offshore manufacturing.

Furthering this gap, is the way the electricity costs are calculated for businesses.

Business With Solar PowerWhile in many cases, “wholesale” or “bulk purchasing” is associated with discounted rates, local manufacturing often faces the opposite. Commonly, as demand for the manufacturers products increases, and energy usage follows, the tariff charged also increases.

This creates a double-edged sword for local manufacturing, increasing pressure on operating costs further as they grow.

Local Hervey Bay manufacturer, B&S Classic Doors, are only too well aware of the hefty power costs associated with majority of manufacturing operations in Australia.

With competition and demand as high as its ever been, B&S Classic Doors sought advice on products and strategies. As a result, local company, GCR Electrical Systems were engaged to advise on the potential solutions available.

Like many businesses in this situation, part of the challenge with tackling high energy costs, is being able to clearly understand what power is being used when during normal operations. This issue, was the first GCR Electrical Systems sought to address, “Why would any business continuously spend thousands of dollars not knowing how or completely understand where it’s going?” commented GCR Electrical Systems Director Gary Radke “The issue with energy costs is the highly common inability to perceive its value into a measurable form”

Post initial discussions, GCR Electrical Systems proceeded to install equipment which captured real-time electrical usage data. “Without this information, the ability to correctly advise and deliver an accurate result is like shooting a gun into murky water expecting a Red Emperor”

An ideal opportunity to save with solar power

To their advantage, the same large footprint of B&S Classic Doors facility, where the large amounts of power were being used, also provided the ideal roof area for a sizable solar installation.

By calculating both the energy used during daylight hours, and the available installation area, GCR was able to equip B&S to generate a significant portion of their power requirements via solar power.

The resulting installation, is comprised of 230, 300watt solar photovoltaic panels. This installation is calculated to save B&S Classic Doors operational costs by $22,000 – $28,000 per year.

With the returns this solution will provide it was merely a decision of how many panel the premises could efficiently fit. The outcome, a 69kw state of the art ‘micro-inverter’ solar PV system was installed and completed in Feb 2018, providing B&S Classic Doors to see a positive return on their investment by completion of 2022 (or 4 years).

As their system is comprised of high quality 300w photovoltaic panels and Enphase inverters, their investment is protected by a 10year Australian based warranty.

Tracking solar power production and savings

Another key factor in ensuring the power savings are realised, is provided via the system’s energy management software.

The tracking software, Enphase Enlighten, enables ongoing tracking of each of the 230 solar panels in the installation. Advantages of this, include being able to see when and how power is being used at any time of day, with a comparison against power produced by the solar panels.

This equips property owners, to have complete visibility of their energy consumption and production, ensuring that the best savings can be realised.

Technical Details

Location: B&S Classic Doors, Hervey Bay
Installer: GCR Electrical Systems
Installation: 69KW solar power system
Key components: 230 x 300W High Efficiency solar panels
230 x 270w Enphase Micro inverters.
Enphase Envoy
Enphase Enlighten – Online generation and energy management software
Anticipated annual power generation 113,300kwh
Estimated cost savings Approx $25,000/year

Like to assess options to reduce your energy costs? Contact GCR Electrical Systems today.

Solar Panel Replacement Subsidies Scrapped

What Changes to Solar Subsidies Means For You

The solar industry is set for some changes in 2018, as the government withdraws support from solar panel replacements, via its STC subsidies.

Now, more than ever, understanding the quality and warranty support behind your installation, will become an important factor in ensuring you will get the best returns from your solar system.

The change to solar panel subsidies

From 31st January 2018, replacement solar panels will not be eligible to receive any form of Government subsidies, aka STC’s (small-scale technology certificates).

This will also affect solar panels currently under warranty, including panels approved for STCs on new installations.

While this change does not directly affect new installations, it does put the full responsibility of warranty on the companies supplying and/or installing your system. Later in this article, we’ll give you a few tips on how to ensure you are adequately protected by the warranty being provided with your installation.

Why The Subsidy Is Being Removed

Up to now, the STC subsidies available on a new solar installation, also applied to any replacement panels.

This meant that some installation companies have been using low quality equipment, relying on the STC subsidies to reduce their warranty risk. In extreme cases, some installers were even using extremely cheap and low-quality panels, so they could make a profit on replacement panels.

The worst example of this, is in the reports that some companies were even using door knockers to persuade home owners to replace good panels, with low cost panels, allowing the company to claim the STCs on the cheap replacements.

Consequently, the STCs are being removed from panel replacements, and from February 2018, will only be available for new installations.

The benefit for you

As a homeowner, the last thing you want, is a system that’s the by-product of an installer’s greed, and so the removal of this subsidy, should help a few of these installers either go out of business, or be forced to massively change their practises.

So, while the removal of this subsidy could adversely affect those with low quality panels already installed, it does apply positive pressure to installers using an appropriately supported, quality panel in future installations.

In the short term however, a few less reputable suppliers could be caught out with low quality stock they want to clear. So, there could be some cheap panels going extra cheap… perhaps it worth remembering, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is”.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to deal with established, reputable installers, who utilise well-supported panels and inverters in your solar installation.

What to look for when choosing a solar power system

A reputable solar installer, will happily guide you through this process and only recommend quality products, that are locally supported.

However, upon receiving recommendations from your installer, an important question is,
“How do you know if the panels and inverters being recommended, are not only right for you, but carry suitable warranty support?”

Here are a few keys factors to consider, when deciding on the right solar system for you:

#1 Does The Manufacturer Have an Australian Office and Local Support

Many cheaper or unsupported panels are imported directly, to reduce costs.

To ensure your panels have appropriate warranty support, the manufacturer should have an Australian office, with local support staff.
If buying through a larger installer, it’s worth checking too that they haven’t ‘direct imported’ their panels. Because, if so, the manufacturer may not be liable to honour the product warranties, leaving it up to the integrity and viability of the installer to carry the responsibility for the warranty.

#2 Have I Got The Written Warranty Information

It’s worth requesting the warranty information before you sign… if there’s any hesitation in supplying this, you should probably question why.

#3 Can Local Performance Data Be Supplied

Many of the better brands have verifiable, local testing data, which proves that the performance of the panels in Australian conditions.

Sadly, not everything in a brochure is true. As a result, independent testing, makes for a much better product comparison.

#4 Is It A Good Deal or A Cheap Product

We all like saving money and getting a good deal, but sometimes the most expensive choice is a cheap product.

Our Australian sun is great for producing solar power, but equally great at exposing weaknesses in poorly made panels.

solar panels installed on house near beach#5 Does This System Take Into Account The Installation Location

A big part of the reason GCR prefers to provide in-home assessments for your solar power system, is that the right system for you, will be influenced by your specific location.

If you live near the coast, your panels should be salt and ammonia resistant. Again, you want this to be independently tested, and included in your warranty.

Also, if there are large trees on your property, you’ll want to ensure your panels use quality, low-iron, tempered glass, with a minimum thickness of 3.2mm. In the event of sticks or branches falling on your panels, you don’t want an insurance excess gobbling up the savings on your power bill.

Get the right system and the right advice

Selecting your solar power solution is an important decision. Done correctly, and you’ll enjoy great savings on your power bills for many years to come.

To help you achieve this, GCR Electrical Systems, offers a free, in-home energy assessment, to home and business owners in Hervey Bay and surrounding areas.

This assessment, is designed to provide you with the very best options, for your budget and requirements, with some of the best warranties and local support available.

Especially with upcoming changes to solar rebates, we want you to enjoy a quality system, with the peace of mind that your investment is protected for many years to come.


From 31st January 2018, replacement solar panels will not be eligible to receive any subsidies from STCs.

While this provides a major disincentive to suppliers using low quality panels, homeowners also need to be aware of what to look for in purchasing their system, to ensure they are adequately protected in the event of needing to make a warranty claim.

To help ensure that you have the best options available to you, GCR offers a free in-home energy assessment to residents of Hervey Bay and surrounding areas. Should you wish to take advantage of this, you can call us on (07) 4194 2753