Start Saving with Solar


As a miner Adrian Hogue spends three weeks a month away from his home in Kirwan, Queensland. The time apart from his wife and 16-year-old daughter is tough – but it’s even tougher when the energy bills come in. Despite having only two people in the house most of the time, the family’s energy bills could be anywhere between $1,800 and $2,500 every quarter.

That’s because when Adrian is hard at work, so is the family’s huge range of appliances – including three refrigerators, a freezer, five TVs and three computers.


After seeing an ad for our Solar as a Service in the paper, Adrian contacted one of our local solar installers. Horan & Bird put together a personalised quote for him, and visited Adrian at home to chat through the different contract options and the rates available with each one.

“ … The offer was a great fit,
so that made it easier too”

They explained to Adrian that Solar as a Service allows his house to get the benefits of solar without having to buy a solar system*. For Adrian, it couldn’t have come at a better time. “I’d been thinking about solar for years – and it was time to take the next step. The offer was a great fit, so that made it easier too,” he said.


Horan and Bird dealt directly with Ergon Energy to get his network application started. Once they were ready to go, they installed a 5.2kW system at Adrian’s home earlier this year. Amazingly, it was all done in one day. “ The whole process felt really simple and efficient,” Adrian said. “The installers were tidy, professional and polite – and my main contact was very thorough, keeping me updated with all the nuts and bolts.”


Adrian’s been enjoying the benefits of solar since January 2016. He’s seen a decrease in his bills – despite the fact that the family are still running all their appliances. “ After going solar our first combined bills were $1,300, and our bills have been going down ever since. Our last quarterly bills were around $700 in total, which is amazing! The only regret I have is not switching to solar earlier,” Adrian said. “After being in the mining industry for 40 years, it’s nice to be doing my bit for the environment too – no matter how small.”

“ … The only regret I have is not
switching to solar earlier”


If you’re looking for a solar solution that’s right for your home, chat to one of our experts today on
1300 467 262
You can also find out more at

Warranty for PV Systems

There can be a lot of confusion as to what items are covered under the “Warranty” of a PV system. There are a number of items with different warranty coverage so we thought we would try and detail these for you.

Panel Warranty:

Solar panels have 2 warranty periods.

  1. Limited Product Warranty and this is usually 5 – 10 years depending on the brand of panel. This takes into account any visual defects such as cracks, deterioration and splits in the panel frame work. Free from defects in design, material and workmanship.
  1. 25 Year Limited Power Output Warranty. This is the guarantee from manufacturers that the panel will perform within its specified tolerances.

For Monocrystalline Products you may experience no more than 3.0% performance deduction in the first year, thereafter 0.68% per year, ending with 80.68% in the 25th year after the Warranty Start Date.

For Polycrystalline Products, 2.5% in the first year, thereafter 0.7% per year, ending with 80.7% in the 25th year after the Warranty Start Date.

We advise reading your product information to confirm what each manufacture recommends.

  1. Inverters: Warranty periods vary from 5 – 10 years. It is standard to have a 5 year warranty on the smaller range up to 5kW. The larger ones may have a 10 year warranty. Some brands offered an extended warranty. Some brands have a replacement warranty where if there is a fault, they send you a new one to replace the faulty one, you then send the faulty one back to the manufacturer. Of late, most Inverter manufacturers have changed their policies and now replace your faulty inverter with a second hand inverter that has previously been repaired. If you have had an inverter replaced, the warranty period for that inverter is from the original day of installation, not the day of replacement/repair.
  1. Rail Warranty: These normally have a 5 – 10 year warranty. This included the rail, feet/mounting system, clamps and roof screws. Depending on the items depends if labour is included in the warranty claim.
  1. Build of system items: This includes all you other items such as cable, conduit, AC & DC Isolators, saddles, screws, circuit breakers etc. Consumable items that are usually provided by the installer. Most of these items have a 12 month warranty. Some of these warranties will include labour, most won’t. Again, check with your installer for more details.
  1. Workmanship: This is the warranty provided by the installer that guarantee’s their workmanship for a period of time. This is usually 1 -2 years. H&B are 2 years. This covers the installation, making sure we have followed industry guidelines and used approved items that all have a warranty period. If there is a breach of industry standards or guidelines and it can be proved, the installer should return and make good.



Here’s what’s happening from our end

With Solar As A Service, there’s a new way for solar energy to be delivered to your home.  It’s here to make solar easier and more accessible. For starters, you won’t have to pay to have the system installed, we’ll cover that. Plus, as we own the solar system, we’ll take care of any ongoing maintenance costs*

Problem viewing email? Click here to view it online.

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1300 467 262


Tesla Powerwall available early in 2016

image Solar batteries have been a hot topic recently as more Australian’s turn to solar energy for their daily power needs and consider battery storage as part of their system. Installation of the Tesla Powerwall battery for our new solar customers is expected to commence in February 2016*

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12cK/h* for daytime Energy with Solar

image With Solar As A Service, there’s a new way for solar energy to be delivered to your home.  It’s here to make solar easier and more accessible. For starters, you won’t have to pay to have the system installed, we’ll cover that. Plus, as we own the solar system, we’ll take care of any ongoing maintenance costs*

Read More

Emergency Call Outs & Holiday Trading Hours

image Your local team will be available for emergencies and call outs throughout the Christmas Holiday period. Please call 4721 3022 24 hours a day. Our office will be closed from noon on the 24th of December reopening Monday the 4th January.

Finally, we would like to thank our customers for another wonderful year of support & our team wishes everyone a safe and happy New Year.

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Safety Switches Save Lives

Safety switches are a life-saving device that minimise the risk of electric shocks, injuries, deaths and electricity-related fires.

Sadly, many homes across Australia still don’t have safety switches installed, which is a serious safety concern.

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) Chief Executive Officer, Malcolm Richards, said MEA has been calling for a nationwide rollout of safety switches since the three tragic electrocutions that occurred in 2009 and 2010. These tragedies sparked a significant interest in the issue of safety switches.

“A safety switch can shut off the power from an electric shock in just a few thousands of a second- faster than the critical phase of a heartbeat.

“Around 15 Australians are killed and 300 hospitalised every year as a result of electrical accidents that could have been prevented by a safety switch,” Mr Richards said.

Circuit breakers are used to protect cables from overloading, and it is highly recommended to have a safety switch installed on every circuit breaker in your house. This will ensure the safety of your household, and most importantly, the safety of your family.

Surprisingly, there is only legislation in place regarding the retrofit of safety switches in Queensland and Western Australia. However, through increased awareness and understanding of the importance of these life saving devices, we will be taking a step in the right direction for safer households across Australia.

Don’t risk it! Call us today and have your house checked by a qualified electrician and enjoy peace of mind in the safety of your family.

North QLD sparkies set to outshine Australia’s best’

North Queensland’s best and brightest sparkies are now in the running to take out top gongs at this year’s Master Electricians Australia (MEA) National Excellence Awards after being recognised for their outstanding contributions to the industry in the Sunshine State.

Horan & Bird, which provides its electrical services in Townsville, Cairns, Ayr and Mackay, is hoping to take out the coveted national award, after being announced as the North Queensland Accredited Master Electrician of the Year.

Horan & Bird Director John Horan said it was a huge honour to be recognised as the best in the top end, and he was looking forward to showcasing his business to the rest of the country.

“There are so many good quality tradies in North Queensland that it was certainly a surprise to be announced as the region’s Accredited Master Electrician of the Year,” Mr Horan said.

“With more than 14,000 North Queensland clients on our books, we strongly invest in providing outstanding customer service, which is one thing that really sets us apart from other contractors around the country.

“North Queensland sparkies punch well above their weight so I think all the winners from our region are a pretty good chance of taking out a national award next month.”

Horan and Bird also took out the award for Commercial Project of the Year for their work on the Walkabout Caravan Park in Townsville. The Apprentice of the Year award went to fourth year apprentice Samuel Whiting, also from Horan & Bird in Townsville.

The other winners of the North Queensland MEA Excellence Awards include:

  • Business Woman of the Year – Lisa Viczko from KP Walsh Electrics in Townsville
  • Residential Project of the Year – ADP Electrical Pty Ltd for their project on Sundown Road, Innisfail
  • Industrial/Mining Project of the Year – ICS Electrical Contractors for their Townsville Port Upgrade for Glencore

The North Queensland winners will now go on to battle out against the other states, with national winners announced at a gala dinner during MEA’s 2014 Electrical Industry Conference at Noosa on September 27.

MEA Queensland State Manager Stephen King said the awards were a wonderful opportunity to recognise outstanding quality, attention to detail and high standards of professionalism within the industry.

“Being an Accredited Master Electrician is all about being the best in the business with a commitment to safety, reliability and innovation,” Mr King said.

“It was fantastic to see so many nominations from North Queensland sparkies who are excelling in all of these areas and really raising the bar to provide the highest levels of workmanship and electrical safety.

“Winners from the other states are going to have a really tough time knocking these stellar North Queensland contractors off the podium at the national awards.”

Interview opportunities available.  Contact Rebecca Manley at SAS Media & Communications on (07) 3171 2960 or 0404 799 896

You Haven’t Missed the Boat with Solar

A lot of people have told us that they haven’t gone with solar because they missed out on the 44 cent Feed in Tariff.  However there is a new way to go solar in Australia which maybe an even better deal for many people.  You can now go solar without having to pay for the system and you can save money on your power bill right away. It is called a “Solar Power Purchase Agreement” (PPA)

People who got the 44 cent feed in tariff did get a great deal, however many had to pay more than $12,000 to get a 5kW solar system to save approximately $1500 to $2500 a year on their energy bill.

With a Power Purchase Agreement we will install a solar system on your roof for $0.*  You will then lock in a low energy rate as low as 12 cents a kWh for your day time electricity from this solar system*.  Currently people are paying up to 25 cents a kWh for their daytime power.  It is possible to save up to $1000 per year on your power bill and you have paid $0 for a solar system.

The solar system will be monitored and you will not have to worry about ongoing maintenance or repairs for the length of the agreement.  You will also have the opportunity to buy out the solar system if you choose or transfer the contract if you wish to sell your house.

“You can save on your power bill right away and put the up-front cost of a solar system towards a holiday or possibly a  new kitchen” John Horan Director Horan & Bird.

Call Horan & Bird and have one of our team explain how it all works.

Ph:  (07) 4721 3022


*You may incur costs in order for your property to be solar ready (e.g electrical works to switchboard, roof repairs, meter upgrade or changeover. Solar energy rate is subject to change for CPI annually or change in law. Your Solar Power Purchase Agreement.  Licence No: 74602

Solar Power Purchase Agreement is a Game Changer

The Queensland Government is going full steam ahead with its goal to have 1 million homes in Queensland with solar panels.  Energy Minister, Mark Bailey, also confirmed at the Solar 2015 conference in Melbourne that the Government is committed to generate 50% of the State’s energy from renewables by the year of 2030.  To achieve these goals the Queensland Government is urging the public to consider Solar Power Purchase Agreements (SPPA), which have been extremely popular in countries such as the USA.

A SPPA is when a customer has a solar system installed on their roof for $0 and locks in a low cost contract with their Solar/Energy Company to purchase the electricity the solar system creates.  The solar system is then monitored and maintained by the Energy Company.  The contracts vary in length from 7 to 15 Years.  SPPA’s are not for everybody, however, with modifications and the use of smart timers and small lifestyle changes customers can achieve significant savings.

For example, timers can be used to maximise appliances such as hot water systems and pool pumps to operate while solar systems are working to achieve great results.  Customers can also program dishwashers, washing machines and dryers to operate during daylights hours and to finish in time for when you get home from work.

SPPA’s are going to be a game changer for customers who may not be able to afford a solar system outright. For many customers, SPPA’s are going to achieve simular savings to those with solar systems.  SPPA’s are also very popular for business owners who can achieve large savings in energy costs without having to spend capital on a solar system. In fact, up to 60% of their power bill. Business owners can put capital towards growing their business in other areas.

For some customers, you will be able to lock in rates as low as 12 to 16* cents a kWH during daylight hours.  Currently, home and business owners are paying anywhere between 25 to 45 cents a kWH for daytime electricity.  The savings are significant.

If you are interested in finding out if your house or business is suitable for a SPPA, please register below:

*Note you may incur costs in order to have your property solar ready such as electrical works to switchboard. Solar Energy rates is subject to change for CPI annually and change in law.

Are Solar Returns better than Money in the Bank?

Residential home owners and business owners are still flocking to solar even without feed-in tariffs.

With the latest drop in interest rates, along with expensive prices for electricity, solar is a very attractive investment.  Even though there are very limited feed-in tariffs, solar may be anywhere between 15 – 22% on its investment depending on your method of payment and energy tariffs.

For example, a 3kW solar system worth $5,800 will save the average family approximately $1,100 per year in electricity that needs to be purchased from the energy retailer. That is a return of about 19%.  This looks very attractive in comparison to the average term deposit rate of approximately 3% which the banks are offering.

Furthermore, home owners now have the opportunity to redraw from their home loans at rates as low as 4.75% to invest in solar for their house. This provides them with a return up to 22%.

“It is seriously a no-brainer if you can use the banks money at 4.75% and solar could make returns of 20%” said John Horan, Director of Horan & Bird.

“Get advice from your accountant, but business owners can also claim the interest which makes the returns even greater”.

Landlords are also installing solar on their investment properties to attract tenants.

It is important to know that although the solar panels come with a 25 year warranty, they still require maintenance and cleaning.  Even after taking the required regular maintenance into consideration, the return on investment for solar remains extremely attractive. Over 1.3 Million homes in Australia are now benefitting.

Important information: These calculations are estimations only and you should consult with your accountant or financial advisor for advice.

New Year’s Energy Efficient Resolutions

Another year is upon us already and again, we find ourselves making new resolutions. From vowing to become fit and healthy or aiming to spend more quality time with friends and family, the thought of becoming energy efficient probably isn’t one that springs to mind. With a range of great advantages, including both environmental and economical, it’s a wonder more people don’t seriously consider it. You can guarantee that the decision to improve your energy efficiency around the household will be a resolution worth sticking to!

Not only will you be doing your valuable part in helping our environment and contributing to a cleaner and greener future, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the significant savings on your power bill. This could be extra money in your pocket to spend on your other resolutions!

Here are a few energy efficient tips to consider around your household this New Year:

  • Replace inefficient appliances and lighting: If your homes refrigerators, dishwashers and other appliances aren’t performing up to standard, chances are they’re drastically increasing your energy use and it’s time to consider new ones. Additionally, LED lighting is extremely energy efficient and will make you substantial savings.
  • Consider upgrading: When was the last time you checked if any of your electrical equipment required upgrading? New and improved products will maximise performance and savings and they also ensure the safety of your home and family.
  • Make the Solar Switch: Slash your power bill with solar! Solar will allow you to enjoy substantial savings for the long-term and you will be able to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Prepare your home for the Cyclone Season: It’s important to take every measure possible to keep your home and family safe in such an unfortunate weather event. Ensure you take any required action to help prevent equipment damage too. Cyclones have the ability to cause serious electrical hazards which is why it’s crucial to follow the appropriate safety precautions at all times.
  • Stay Smart: Be aware of your energy usage and consider setting yourself a goal to successfully reduce it. Simple things such as turning off lights when no one is in the room all make a significant difference.

These tips are just a few helpful suggestions on how you can successfully improve your overall energy efficiency. Don’t let rising electricity costs stress you out this year- make some changes around your home today and start enjoying the savings!

Don’t forget to share these energy saving tips and tricks with your family and friends to help them beat their power bills too.  Let’s Go Green in 2015!

Builders Need to Adapt to a Changing World

Well-designed, energy efficient homes are sparking an increased interest among the public and new builders are in support of the innovation and design of green homes.

Homebuyers are looking to limit their household expenses now more than ever. Energy efficient homes have the ability to work wonders in saving people substantial amounts on their power bills.

John Futer, HIA North Queensland Executive Director, said that we are seeing an enormous increase in public interest for a responsibly designed, energy efficient home.

“Solar panels are now powering many new homes with clean and affordable solar power energy saving new homeowners ‘mega bucks’ on their home electricity bills”.

John Futer said that approximately half of the home buying or renovating public have an interest and awareness in the need to reduce energy use in our communities.

Horan & Bird are committed to offering our customers greater choice in sustainable energy efficient solutions now, and in the future.

Whether it may be solar, air-conditioning, energy efficient lighting, or advice on tariffs, our team’s here to help combat the growing concern of rising electricity prices for our customers.

We’re excited to help our customers jump on board the green home innovation.

“With the price of electricity eventually moving to ‘Time of Use’ billing, it is critical that builders are building houses to suit, or customers are going to be very disappointed in twelve months’ time,” said Director John Horan.

The price for electricity being used between 4pm and 8pm could be as high as 59 cents per kWh (recommended price in the latest QCA draft for 2015).  For example, houses built with an electric stove will be at a major disadvantage and gas cooking will be critical.

“New homes have to be wired now for time of use billing.  Circuits need to be integrated with the home so appliances and equipment can maximise cheaper billing times and solar systems.  It can actually be cheaper to go back to an electric hot water system  connected to your grid connected solar system instead of spending an extra $4000 on a heat pump or solar hot water system,” said John Horan.

New homebuyers are encouraged to carefully consider smart energy efficient homes. Not only will you enjoy the savings on your power bills, but it was also add undeniable value to your home in the future to potential tenants or buyers.

As technology continues to advance, new and improved products become available which means there are always exciting new ways for homes to improve their energy efficiency.

For many, a simple review of their current household situation and consumption will provide a range of valuable options detailing ways to improve the overall energy efficiency of their home.

It’s important for residents to be aware of which tariff their household is using and to also understand how to effectively utilise their energy consumption in accordance to maximise savings.

As the innovation of the green home continues to emerge and evolve, homebuyers and renovators should be excited about the greater choice in sustainable solutions and energy efficiency that will follow.