Big Business Turns To Solar

Big Business Turns To Solar

Government Lags Behind, As Usual

Last week Telstra signed a deal to purchase the entire output of a new 70MW solar farm to be built in Queensland.

Rapidly rising power costs have prompted the move as part of Telstra’s long term energy management strategy.

Telstra consumes about 1% of the nation’s electricity so rising power costs have negatively affected the company’s bottom line.

The unusual aspect of this deal is that Telstra has signed a contract with the developer directly, rather than through an energy retailer.

Telstra has plans for more solar farms as the cost of renewable energy falls, while power prices continue to rise.


Korean owned Sun Metals has also announced a new 125MW solar farm for its Townsville zinc refinery. The facility is expected to provide about 30% of the refinery’s power requirements.

Both these projects are expected to be completed and delivering power in 2018.

That’s one of the great benefits of solar power. An installation can be up and running quickly, without long design and construction phases.

Monash University has also called for tenders for a 40MW wind or solar farm to supply their on-going power needs.

Both the Telstra and Monash projects can be built in locations that are remote from their own facilities. The power output from the farms can be sold to other users, and that income used to offset the power costs of Telstra and Monash.


Australia’s biggest horticultural company Costa Group has identified power costs and reliability of supply as major risks to their business.

They are currently reviewing plans for a solar farm and battery storage facility at their South Australian mushroom farm.

We know that Australians love solar power.

Now Big Business has done the sums and they are voting with their wallets.

We expect to see more businesses follow Telstra’s example and probably groups of smaller businesses forming consortiums to build their own power plants to manage their energy costs.

The federal government is out of step with the Australian community, with its’ continuing support for the coal industry, and constant attacks on renewables.

More and more, consumers and business are turning to wind and solar energy and that trend will only continue.

Solar power is here to stay and will only get bigger, better and stronger, whether the government supports it or not.


For a free on-site inspection and a detailed proposal by the guy who will actually install your solar panels phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

LED Street Lights Cut LCC Power Bill By 72%

LED Street Lights Cut LCC Power Bill By 72%

Case Study: Launceston City Council Installs First LED Street Lights

The Client
The Launceston City Council provides services to over 65,000 residents in the municipality.  The future direction and focus of the council is guided by the Greater Launceston Plan.

The two key themes of the GLP are community needs and values, and recognising the importance of sustainability.  As part of the comittment to deliver services in a responsible and sustainable manner the council has engaged the services of Jim Taylor as the City Of Launceston Sustainability Officer.

The Challenge
There are over 5,000 street lights in the Launceston area, which run from 8 to 14 hours a day, depending on the time of year.  This generates a hefty power bill for the council and Jim has been investigating ways to reduce the cost of running these lights.

Any alternative must have low running costs and be as low maintenance as possible.  Being pole top fittings there is a considerable cost and use of resources just to access a light fitting for repair.  Also, the change from old to new light fittings should be as simple as possible.

The Solution
Jim decided to test the Sylvania StreetLED 22w LED street light fitting to replace the existing 80w mercury-vapour fittings.

Mance Electrical assisted by installing 6 of the new fittings to light poles in the car park at the bottom of Park Street, near the Tamar Yacht Club.  These are the first LED street lights to be installed in the Launceston Municipality.

The Results
Installation of the lights was trouble free, due to the well designed mounting system.  The light output of the new LEDs is clear and bright and compares favourably with the old mercury vapour lights.

Power consumption is a massive 72% less than the original fittings.

With over 5,000 street lights in Launceston the potential cost savings are substantial.

For advice on converting your existing lights to LED phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Contact us for more information

How Much Power Does My Electric Heater Use?

How Much Power Does My Electric Heater Use?

It’s a very common question.  Everyone wants to know how much it really costs to run their electric heater.

Electric heaters come in a variety of types, including convection, radiant and fan heaters, and a variety of sizes from less than 1 kilowtt to 8.5 kilowatts.

No matter what type of heater you have, the running cost is always a combination of the same 3 factors:

  • The kilowatt rating of the heater
  • The cost per hour of electricity
  • The number of hours the heater is operated

It doesn’t matter what type or size heater you have, the equation is still the same.

For example if you have a 6.0 kw fan heater on the Hydro Heat tariff of 15.2 cents per kilowatt hour then your heater will cost 91 cents per hour to run.  If you run the heater on it’s highest setting for 6 hours a day your total cost will be $5.46 per day.

6.0 kw x 15.2 cents x 6 hours = $5.46

If you have a 2.4kw panel heater on the normal light and power tariff of 25.2 cents per kilowatt hour then your heater will cost 60.48 cents per hour to run.  If you run that heater on it’s highest setting for 10 hours a day your total cost will be $6.05 per day.

2.4 kw x 25.2 cents x 10 hours = $6.05

With the costs outlined above its easy to see how electricity bills can spiral out of control.  With a 6.0 kw main heater in your lounge and a 2.4kw panel heater in the hallway, running for 6 and 10 hours respectively, your quarterly power bill would be $1,035.00 for heating alone.

In normal use, even if your heater is switched on for 10 hours a day it won’t be running flat out for the whole 10 hours.  Most heaters have some type of thermostat to regulate the temperature.

If you turn the thermostat up high the heater will run for longer.  Turn it down and the heater runs for less time.

The examples above are probably close to maximum costs and your actual cost will be less, depending on how you set the thermostats.

Other variables that affect the cost of running your heater include the design and construction of your home.

A well insulated home will retain more of the heat produced, allowing you to run your heater at a lower thermostat setting.

Closing off rooms to contain the heat and closing your curtains will reduce the cost of heating.

Your heater should be matched to the size of the area you want to heat.

A fan heater that is serviced and cleaned regularly will run more efficiently than one choked full of dust.  Regular cleaning may also help you avoid the cost of replacing fan motors and elements damaged by over-heating.

Avoid expensive repair bills for your electric fan heater.

It’s worth the effort to check the kilowatt rating of each of your heaters and do the calculations to get an idea of how much each heater costs to run.

Sometimes the hourly cost can seem small, but multiplied by a few hours a day and then multiplied again by 90 days, that small cost can really add up.

Knowing what your heaters cost to run can help you avoid getting a nasty shock when your next power bill arrives.

For advice on electric heater installation and repairs phone Mance Electrical Launceston on 6331 4711 or send us an email using the form below.

Email us for prompt help with your heater problems.

Heat Pump Installations

Heat Pump Installations

Winter Is Coming!

Not only to fictional TV kingdoms, but also to Tasmania.

Heat pumps are the most efficient and popular electric heating solution for dealing with our Launceston winters.

Heat pumps don’t actually produce heat themselves.  They simply use refrigeration gasses and compressors to move heat from one place to another.  In winter they move heat from outside to inside your home, and in summer when you switch to air-conditioning mode, they move heat from inside your home to outside.

Heat pumps use electricity to operate, but they produce more energy, in the form of heat, than the amount of power consumed.  This efficiency advantage is what makes your heat pump cheaper to run than a conventional electric heater.

Before you install a heat pump there are a few things that should be checked:

Mains Cables – The size of your mains cables should be checked to make sure they will not be overloaded.

Switchboard – Is there room on your switchboard for additional main switches?

Size of heat pump – The heat pump capacity must be matched to the size of the area to be heated.

Location – The location of the indoor and outdoor units affects the performance of the system.   If the indoor unit is not correctly located then the heat will not be distributed to the areas required.  If the outdoor unit is not correctly located then performance of the system will suffer.

The ideal location for an outdoor unit is in an area that received early morning sun, so that it can start off with the warmest air available.

The location requirements of the two units can sometimes be in conflict.  The indoor and outdoor units should be as close together as possible and often the best compromise must be found.

Cost – Heat pump installs are often sold as a fixed price package, with retailers competing to offer the lowest price.  As you might expect, there are a number of potential problems with an installation where the lowest price is the main consideration.

The installer working for a low fixed fee does not have the time to make sure the indoor and outdoor units are placed in the best locations.  The units will be placed where they are easiest to install, with the pipe run as short as possible, to save money on labour and materials.

If your mains cables are small the installer may fit a load limiting circuit breaker to the switchboard without explaining the potential problems or offering you an alternative.

A load limiter will cut the power completely if the total load exceeds 40 amps for example  This means you may not be able to run your heat pump and your oven at the same time and certainly not make a cup of tea as well.  Nuisance tripping due to overloading means you will be constantly trudging out to the switchboard to reset the breaker.

The way to avoid these problems is to get an on-site inspection and a quotation based on the unique design and layout of your home and your personal requirements.

Contact Mance Electrical Launceston for a free on-site inspection and advice on the best heat pump solution for your home.

Phone 6331 4711 or send us an email using the form below.


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Solar Power For Business – Still A Great Idea

Solar Power For Business – Still A Great Idea

Despite the low feed-in tariff, solar power can still be a great idea for your business.

A business that operates mainly during daylight hours can get a good return on a solar system because they make and use their own power during business hours and then go home and turn off most of their equipment at the end of the day.

Any power generated by a solar panel system is used before power is drawn from the grid, so the benefit you get from that power is equivalent to the full commercial tariff of between $0.24 and $0.34 per kilowatt hour.

This compares very favourably to the current feed-in tariff of just 5.5 cents.  Even though the feed-in tariff is small, you will still earn some credits on weekends and holidays, further reducing your power bill.

A business should also be able to claim back the GST expense of the installation and also claim a deduction of some type for the installation itself.  Interest on money borrowed to finance a solar power for business installation should also be tax deductible.

(Check with your accountant for details that relate to your particular circumstances)

Given the energy savings and reduction to your power bill and the potential tax advantages, solar power for business is definitely still a great idea.

For free advice, a free on-site inspection and proposal tailored to your specific requirements, phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

How The Blazing Hot Summer Sun Can Keep You Cool

How The Blazing Hot Summer Sun Can Keep You Cool

It’s 34 degrees outside the sun is beating down fiercely and you can feel your skin starting to burn after just a couple of minutes exposure.

So how can this hot, hot summer sun actually keep you cool?

You can be cool and comfortable by running your air-conditioner on solar power!

Air-conditioning is an ideal appliance for solar power because you are using your electricity as you make it, right when you need it the most.

With solar panels on your roof you can use your own power as you make it and run your air conditioning so you can remain cool and comfortable during even the hottest days.

In fact the hotter it gets the more power you make and the cooler you can be!


Your solar panel system is set up so that the solar power is used first and power from the grid is only used when there isn’t enough solar power available.

It makes good sense to use your own power first and effectively get paid 15.197 cents per kw hour, rather than try to build up credits at a measly 5.5 cents per kw hour of the current feed-in tariff.

You will be 3 times better off by using your own power than you would selling it back to the grid.

Solar power still works well, however these days, the lower feed-in tariffs means it takes longer to build up credits by selling your excess power back to the grid.

Despite the low feed in tariff, solar power is still a great investment.  Any power you make and use yourself is power you don’t have to pay for.

Payback times are longer with the lower tariff, but you will still be better off with a solar system on the roof.

There are also finance options for those wanting to go solar without having to pay the full installation cost up front.

Phone us to find out more about how the sun can keep you cool.

For a free quotation based on an on-site inspection by a qualified solar installer, phone Mance Electrical Launceston on 6331 4711

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