Canberra “Green Solar Energy” Seminar

I have been asked to give a talk at the Canberra Green Energy Forum based out of the A.N.U. on November 3rd 2012 7-8pm. I aim to discuss solar power integration with modern building practices as described elsewhere on my blog. The implementation and uptake of Solar panels in the A.C.T. has been phenomenal however, my view is that the next generation ‘thin film’ P.V. panels and solar tiling systems will offer a more integrated and visually appealing way of using solar technology to reduce power bills and domestic “carbon footprints”.

Canberra home With Solar P.V. Tiling System Installed

Canberra home With Solar P.V. Tiling System Installed

The current trend is to use mono or poly crystalline panels mounted on aluminium frames which are then secured to the homes roof. Whilst this has proven reliable and works well (with over 360,000 solar P.V. installations completed in Australia since November 2010) the aesthetics, from a ‘designers’ point of view, leave a lot to be desired.

The ‘solar tile’ technology developed by 3M and the likes integrates solar P.V. into the actual roofing tile and the entire structure can incorporate solar, unlike conventional solar / roofing systems.

Further information:

A.N.U. Solar Research

Seminar Information and Bookings: 0455774342


John’s Solar Power Adelaide Update October 2012

-Update 8 October 2012 . John kindly sent through an update . A couple of people asked about our solar installation and Terry in Norwood, Adelaide asked about the S.A. solar feed tariff – John from his solar panels Adelaide website  sent us through this update yesterday;

There is growing speculation that  the S.A Government will follow Victoria and Queensland in ‘culling’ the F.I.T. – Quite amazing – for a Federal Government, supposedly intent on boosting ‘green – energy’ and renewable energy sources they have in fact actually done the opposite. I spoke with Brian Taylor for Adelaide Solar Supply Pty Ltd – he says he has not seen the industry quieter in over 5 years and a cut to the tariff ill kill the solar industry in Adelaide.

Anyway, the advice is, is you are looking at a solar power installation in S.A. dont leave it too long as it may not be quite as attractive if the F.I.T. is killed off. The popular solar systems sizes being installed in Adelaide are:

  • 1.5KW
  • 2KW
  • 3KW
  • 4KW
  • 5KW

For commercial solar installations, companies have been looking at massive 100KW systems – these are beneficial for businesses using substantial power – up to $4000 per month in electricity bills.

John can be contacted at (08)87668443 or


Canberra Solar Power Consultancy

The A.C.T. Government has announced as of May 2012 that the renewable energy targets set in 2010 have been met and actually exceeded by 4 percent , meaning Canberra now derives 24 percent of its energy production from solar powr, wind power and to a lesser extent bio-mass production.

The Australian National University (A.N.U.) has a significant globally recognised  solar energy research untit (see for further information). They have active research programs run by Phil King Phd. on photovoltaic solar cell manufacture and production and concentrator solar thermal technology implementation,

Martin Ferguson (M.P.) at the A.N.U. Solar Facility

designed to increase P.V. output by focussing light onto the solar panels. Their ctivities include defect detection and surface passivation in silicon wafers; high performance silicon solar cells, including SLIVER solar cells; modelling; plasmons and nano PV technology; hybrid PV/thermal parabolic trough concentrator systems; and solar cooling.

Lucas Sena from GoSolar A.C.T. has been detailing his experiences with solar power installation in Canberra and the uptake has been quite phenomenal compared to states like N.S.W. where renewable energy has been side lined it seems by the O’Farrell Government. Lucas claims that larger 5 kilo watt solar panel systems are now increasing in popularity as the cost of solar installation has decreased by 40 percent since 2009, mainly driven by Federal Government solar incentives and the ‘Solar Bonus Scheme’. Over 44,000 homes in Canberra have had solar panel systems installed in the last 4 years. Lucas says the move towards high quality and high reliability systems has been the trend over recent years as the media has run many stories on ‘low quality’ solar inverters and ‘dodgy’ solar installation practices. He mentioned that even without Government rebates solar is likely to become the ‘renewable energy source of choice’ in Canberra as the much touted ‘Carbon Tax’ starts to bite from July this year.

Both Lucas and Paul Davies from the A.N.U. think that solar panel efficiencies has easily reach greater than 30 percent over the next few years and access to carbon credit schemes will drive this research and fund it for several years to come.

I am currently interested in developing a consultancy that can integrate the A.N.U. research with both industrial scale and domestic solar installations, not only around Canberra and the A.C.T. but potentially to a global audience. The solar power initiatives at federal Government levels, supported by quality research at the A.N.U. and ‘ground level’ implementation and installation by groups and businesses like Lucas’s make for an attractive solar ‘co- operative’ that can feed high end solar products into ‘main stream’ Australian renewable energy programs – an exciting thought!



Adding Solar Power to the Mix

The current boom in solar power in Australia has finally come my way. After we designed a new 3 car garage i realised i had the perfect space to install solar panels! It was a north facing area, approximately 30m by 40m – yes pretty huge area. We have an electricity bill of $1220 per quarter which is really getting out of control. The Government is offering up to $2800 for solar installation – this covers most of the cost of the solar panels and solar power inverter. I was going to try and install 20 or 3o Suntech solar 250watt  panels and go the full monty on a 5kilo watt solar system when I saw lot’s of people here in the Adelaide (where i’m on holiday) with solar panel mounted on their garage roofs – Eureka moment. I spoke to John from the solar power Adelaide news site  (see links below)- he recommended using an aluminium frame mounted at around 25 degrees to ensure the solar panels receive maximum sunlight. Coupled with that he suggested a 5KW SMA inverter which he said was one of the most popular solar inverters being used in Australia currently. John tells me that in Adelaide the solar installers are doing around 300 solar panels installations per day! That a lot of solar panels.

Anyhow i now have the solar panels mounted on a nice frame, facing north. On a sunny day they produce 20KW of power per day!!!! Thats absolutely amazing and i think this covers around 50 percent of our average electricity usage , meaning our power bills will be around $200 per month now, from $400 per month previously! A big thanks to John from the solar panels Adelaide resource and his inspiration that has proven to be a great help in cutting our greenhouse emissions and our power bill- cheers John. Johns final words of wisdom were:
1. Use BIG FAT wires, especially if you go for MPPT solar inverter.
2. Know exactly what you want before you enter the solar panel agent’s door. Do not allow them to downgrade quality of the solar panels or solar inverter.
3. Never allow the solar installation company to put a solar panel where it might be shaded by something else on the roof of your neighbours roof like a chimney. Watch out for trees casting shadows.
4. Get a solar inverter with a MPPT charge controller and one that has enough capacity to allow for more solar panels to be added in the future.
5. Get a solar metering controller that is temperature compensated.
6. Get a string of solar power regulators to charge the controller .


Looking for a Design Consultancy Graduate Course ?

I have been in design and design consultation for over 20 years. I am very happy to recommend the University of Sydney Urban design course. It is a very in depth course covering topics as diverse as conservation, energy conservation,hydraulics, energy management , solar power implementation, photographic design techniques, computer modelling and can lead to excellent post graduate work. Details at

I would definitely not recommend distance learning, always make sure you learn from from an accredited university or college. That way, you know you are getting a quality program for your money as they have to be able to meet the standards set out by the Australian government.

My dear daughter Danielle wrote this about her study experience. “My name is Danielle and I am an aspiring professional Interior  Designer. I am currently a full-time student in a university studying  business management and also a part-time student in a college studying  architectural interior engineering. I am also a student of Sydney  School Of Interior Design! (I do 70+ hours a week of school!)  Anyways, I want to, and will, run my own interior design company  someday called Lilac Dream-Interiors. (Lilac is a universal color for  change.) My passion is interiors, and I love Architectural Digest and
Western  Interiors magazine, they are awesome. I also love writing, museums,  antiquing, and cultural events and exhibits. Above all else i think Sydney university is a GREAT place to learn design!”

YalaSofa – Australian Living

Hi – Thanks for dropping by. I am James Bryant I work in green technology and design and thus have developed an affliction with modern, sustainable home design (both interior and exterior), innovation, new ways of living and enjoying life in Australia.

I am best known for my design of sofas but have been involved with Industrial design , green technology and human sciences for over 30 years. I live in Glebe, Sydney and am currently available for freelance design work.  I hope you enjoy browsing my blog.

Return From My India Trip

I really very happy to say i have just returned from India and loved the country and culture and i would love to talk about it. I think the design and textures of that country are magnificent and can lend themselves well to Australian lifestyle. Usually, the middle class people don’t spend much money on decorating their homes. Indian Home Interior DesignThey will decorate with what they have and get as presents like statues(Lord Ganesh statue is very popular), wall decorations,etc. Almost every house has a showcase in the living room with many little dolls, artificial flowers,etc.They don’t spend much money on furnitures, curtains or other decorations. And about painting, they like light colours on the walls, usually plain without any designs.(the walls of the temples will be very colorful and decorative and some old, royal houses will be like that) They don’t use wallpapers at homes. Most of the people just whitewash their house once a year. Or they will paint the house when there is some function like wedding.(Our house are built with bricks only not with wood). And those who can and like to spend money, they decorate either in the traditional style or western style. I love the traditional style with terracotta tiles, cane furnitures and brass pots and plants and terracotta figures. If you let me talk about those things, i will keep talking forever and you , dear reader will get bored.

argyle sofa

On Design and Decoration:

Many young people ask me about how to get into the industry. What matters most to me on this subject is whether you are looking to become an Interior Decorator or Interior Designer; huge difference.If you are wanting to be a decorator, then whether you choose a physical school or distance ed shouldn’t matter as long as they are an accredited school. What you would be doing boils down to color, texture, and look of an area. (Not knocking any decorators out there; just trying to give a very brief explanation!).If you want to be a designer, you’ll need a 4 year degree by an accredited school. The extra courses (besides basics) are for drafting knowledge as well as being able to know about ergonomics, plumbing and electrical standards, building codes, etc. You’ll also know about architecture (whether that wall you want to knock out is a load bearing wall or not, etc.). What you would do combines architecture with all the great things decorators do.


New Design Project scheduled for June 2012 – Our New House!

I am excited to report that Jan and i have a new home! We move in, in late June this year. One thing we learned the HARD way, is what to do and what NOT to do when selling your home:

We learned somethings the hard way. Never spruse up too much as people looking for a house to live in will come in and re-do your ideas of decore all over anyway. And I have been turned off when out looking for a house to buy. I do not want the owner to go to extreams and try to cover flaws..and I ask questions on the sly as to why they are selling and what over the years caused problems,etc. Then I also check with the neigbors or some of their friends and family…I do not buy sight-seens as is…heaven forbid. And when I sell our home I am up front wiht them…this was fixed back give a date and year or month. We tried to keep the drains working and when they glogged up we made sure to auger them, or these pipes are mostly all new, some are the older style. Whatever the thing is they are asking about. Electric outlets, and so forth needs to be well addressed. Now make sure you have written what you intend to take and intend to leave. For instance..if you bought a copper ornament and it is attached to the wall that you got in another country…beware..this may be one item that catches the buyers eye to want to buy your property.. We had to leave all my bolted down art work, and some light fixtures, because we had no idea, that is the reason the house sold. However I got smart..on another property…before we showed the house on market…take down everything you intend to take with you, and put something else in that place. Lights fixtures, we make sure now that all is plug ins..ceiling and etc..or a light we care less about if we move. BUT heirlooms..need to be taken down. We even had to replace some brick in a stone wall-as these were my grandfathers and father, when they worked at the brick yard, and made only a few special for bicentanials. Outside is the same..if you have a patio with build in benches that are keepsake..then get them out befor you show the property. Mirrors on walls, furniture and etc, all has to be written keep-or don’t keep. Not always will the appliance go with the house. You also may not wish to sell the air-concitioning unit you installed a year ago. THINK-before YOU put property up for sale. AND never refinish wood floors, or lay carpet…these people will change it anyway…

To do list…clean the house and don’t fret if there is a newspaper or a book left on the sofa, this is home…make it look like you enjoy living here. Bake, or go out and buy some fruits and etc to sit in pretty dishes,…platters of mixed cookies..and have the coffee pot brewing, or a loaf of home baked bread or buns in the oven. Sit on the back burner some vanilla-on very warm heat..the aroma is what always catches my nose, when I walk inside a house to buy.. mabe a candle sitting in a safe place..and Please no animal trails or odors from uncleaned cages or litter box. If necessary have the animals well groomed..and make them behave…barking dogs or cats that rub legs freely is a NO! no when showing your house. And do let the owner know, that you will be snooping in every nook and cranny. This is inside a closet-far corner..checking for cracks that have been previous done over..and foundation..and insulation,,check basement for tattle tail leaking..and etc. If necessary go to the roof and look at the sheeting there, the tiles, and whatever has been used, and how soon will this need repaired. We have found beautiful homes on market, and the roof didn’t sell us, or the fact the heating and insulatuion was not up-dated. Patios, how much sand is around the house to cause ants-to flow in. Water, taste it. Never leave one stone unturned.