Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ask the weight loss expert teleseminar invitation

If it's weight loss you are seeking, then I urge you to invest 60 minutes of your time to find out how to start moving towards the body, health, energy and lifestyle you desire. It's a great time of the year to get a boost, so read on to see what we have in store for you.

Next week, I'll be joining forces with Craig Elliot, Mindset Coach and creator of the GET THE FAT OUT OF YOUR HEAD course to bring you a free tele-seminar, which I hope you can tune in for! 
This is something you can listen in on from the comfort of your own home,just by picking up your home phone and dialling in. You need to register for the call first though - to do that go to 

Here are just some of the things you will learn:

=> How a low fat - high carb diet makes you fat.
=> How calcium makes you fat and wrinkles your skin

=> How a low salt diet makes you fat and tired  

=> How ICL hair tissue mineral analysis can help you lose weight

=> How to use mineral therapy to bring about healthy weight loss 

=> How to work all the above to be in your favour to make you lean 
and full of beans.

And much, much more so grab your spot:  Click Here 

Craig's intention is to extract as much useful information for you as he can in the 60 minutes we have and to get to the most pressing questions you have - which you can either ask as part of registering for the call or on the call live which we encourage you to do. 

Craig will also share a few mindset tips to support you applying what you learn and to cultivate a slim, fit and healthy mindset. You'll also be able to get access to more of his material if you are on the call - his approach is all about having the right mindset to make all that you need to do on a physical level do-able, easier and self sustaining.

Just a heads-up...

We only have 100 phone lines available on this conference facility (actually
98 because Craig and I will take two of those lines)...

If you want to get in on this call, then don't waste any time - go grab your seat for this special teleseminar...

Note; If you are calling in from New Zealand (or outside of Australia)then even though the seminar is free, there will be your usual toll charges for the call which will just come in via your phone bill.  Craig worked it out to be under $20.00 which may vary a little depending on who you are with. 

I hope you join me on the call!    


Friday, October 22, 2010

Here are some quick links to help you find your way around Rusty Panels

Yes, I am doing the occasional update.  Because of the minimal input, things are not laid out as slick as they could be, so here are a few quick links to help you find your way around:
  • The new front page
  • Where you will find the latest information and the most useful pages to investigate
  • The older Rusty Panels site which still has some original information worth reading
  • The original "out of sight - out of mind page"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gary Moller's experience with rusting, corroding, fading solar water heating panels

This Sola60 panel (above) on our house looks impressive doesn't it? This is saving our family money on water heating and it is great for the environment. We are responsible citizens in this clean and green land. That was what we thought.
We noticed a steady drop off of peak water temperatures over a one year period, so I decided to investigate.

Here is another view:

There is extensive corrosion of the collector's absorber surfaces of this year old panel and what appears to be bleaching so that the surface looks grey-blue.

Here are the replacement panels that were supplied to us under warranty:

They are very smart looking. Now, here they are after a year:

These panels are bleached and have extensive corrosion (looks like sprinkled talcum powder) of the collector surface. And they now look kind of grey-blue which is not the best colour for absorbing solar heat.

Thankfully, they were replaced under warranty.
Here are the replacement ones seven months after being installed. Look carefully:

They are corroding again and we currently (30/11/2206) have a request with Sola60 to remove the system entirely from our roof because the warranty has not long to run and plenty of failed attempts have been had at resolving the problem. They were removed 24 January 2007.
Is there a problem?
The first clue that something may be amiss comes from the Branz report of Research Commissions:
"BRANZ Ltd identified that one of the biggest uncertainties in the cost/benefit analysis of solar water heating systems is the lack of reliable field data for system performances. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most existing systems fall significantly short of the calculated values used during the system design."
Could this shortfall be due to corrosion of the collectors?

How big is the problem? This is the question that I set out to answer by spending a few weeks trying to locate solar water heating systems in Central and South Wellington. This was not an easy exercise. I found several (Ours included).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

An example of a Beasley Centurion 315 (From Reid Technology) Installed May 2006

"A" writes:
I photographed this on 01/04/2006 in mid morning as I was hauling the first panel up to the roof. It was new out of its cardboard box. The shadow on it is from the lines and pegs on the clothes dryer behind the camera. Note the orange cord. It was a loop across the protruding pipe ends at the top end. The loop provided an attachment for the hauling line which passed through a pulley which itself was slung on a cord looped around an access hatch on the roof. I was concerned that by applying strain to the pipe end I could have damaged the internal structure; it was your web site information that relieved me of this doubt. You can just see the pipes inside.

This is how it looked yesterday afternoon 25/08/2007. Comparing the two pics, the same digital camera and settings were used, there is a difference in colour. The earlier one was strong deep blue, this is middling strong brown. The angle to the horizontal is nearly the same and the time is roughly four hours later. The glass looks less opaque. The sun has traveled further west. I couldn’t see the ribs in the panel in 2006 as clearly as I can now. Allowing for small differences it looks as though there has been a change in the internal conditions in the panel.

Note from Gary: the left hand panel may be more affected because the frost protection function may be reducing the amount of condensation in the right panel more than the other.

Is that down to damp affecting the flexible mask overlying the pipes? I say flexible because after contacting the supplier he said that there are four holes on the underside, so I explored with a piece of stiff wire and poked it up and felt and saw the overlay material deflected up toward the glass. I did that to prove that there was a hole and that there was nothing blocking it. Before I drilled the half inch hole in the lower edge and corner to drain contained water, I went through a week or more of doubt. Would I penetrate the pipe work? Would I damage the glass?

It took sheer determination to first drill a 1/16 hole as a leader followed by the half inch bit. Then I realised that the 20mm dia pipe inside allowed a fair bit of space around it above and below, probably 25mm top and bottom. Then I drilled a half inch hole top side just under the glass. That way I realised that I could suck saturated air out and replace it with dry air through the top hole.

Code of Practice for manufacture and installation of solar water heating systems in New Zealand

Code of Practice for Manufacture and Installation of Solar Water Heating Systems in New Zealand
Version: 1 October 2004 (Revision 3)
Here are some key extracts from this document that are relevant to the issues raised on this website:

Photo: Beasley Centurion 315 (From Reid Technology) Installed May 2006. Note condensation inside glass.

The collector shall be made from materials which in their application to the collector shall meet with the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code Approved Document B2.

Materials exposed to the weather shall be capable of withstanding the commonly encountered conditions such as solar radiation at the intensities normally encountered at the installation site, maximum and minimum temperatures at the installation site, and rain. The collectors shall

Page 20
withstand snow loadings likely to be encountered. Collectors shall be capable of withstanding impact by hail up to the sizes commonly encountered at the installation site.

Collector insulation shall not absorb moisture.

Materials of construction of the collector (including the absorber) shall not degrade under the
conditions met in normal operation. Nor should they become damaged or degraded under repeated stagnation.

For direct collectors, components of the absorber which come in contact with potable water
shall comply with the requirements of the NZ Building Code, Approved Document G12 and of AS/NZS 4020.

Collectors shall be constructed to meet the requirements of Section 4 of AS/NZS 2712.
Gary Moller comments:
There are numerous examples of solar water heating systems on this website that do comply with AS/NZS 2712. It is time for a rewrite of the Standard and there should be a product recall.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Nats claim solar power subsidy 'has backfired'

Nats claim solar power subsidy 'has backfired' 5:00AM Tuesday August 14, 2007
Changes to the solar water heating initiative have backfired, causing the first decline in the number of new installations in years, National's climate change spokesman Nick Smith said yesterday.Last November the Government announced a $15.5 million climate change initiative that included an increase from $300 to $500 in financial assistance to homeowners for loans.

Government spokeswoman Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the goal was to double the number of systems being installed.Figures from the New Zealand Solar Industries Association show that in the first six months of this year installations were down 5 per cent on the previous year.At June 2006, 2017 installations had been done, in comparison by June 2007 only 1923 had been completed. This compares with an average annual growth of 37 per cent before the Government announcement in November.

Dr Smith said the policy had backfired because Ms Fitzsimons believed she could regulate down the price of the solar water heater systems, when it was best left to the competitive market.

"A further problem is that the Government's new Building Act is adding hundreds of dollars in costs to solar heating systems by requiring building consents, when it would be far less costly to regulate standards through accredited installers," Dr Smith said.

Ms Fitzsimons said she did not think the pricing arrangement for solar systems was unreasonable."It has to be sold at a price which means it will pay for itself over its 20-year life," she said on TV3. "I don't want consumers to be conned into buying solar water heating that isn't cost effective for them."- NZPA
Gary Moller comments:
I wonder when the politicians are going to acknowledge the real reasons why there have been no sign-ups. It is because the New Zealand public is not stupid and NZ is such a small place that the word gets around very quickly. The internet helps and when it comes to the internet, the average Kiwi is savvy. The drop in sales coincides with the launch of this website in December 2007.

A "20 year life" is highly assumptive to the point of being ridiculous. I have yet to find a solar water heating system that is lasting anywhere near that kind of time without showing significant signs of deterioration. 5-6 years would be more like it (For evidence, browse the dozens of posts on this website using the "labels" tab in the right hand column).

If there is to be a 20 year lifespan, or near to that, then we must place the emphasis on quality rather than price. I do not believe that it is possible to make cheaper solar water heating systems without the serious risk of compromising performance and durability.

A solution to the problem of cost-effectiveness, in the face of the need to improve quality, is to increase the price of oil and electricity - but what politician is going to recommend that!

Smith seeks handouts for non cost-effective products

Press release: Jeanette Fitzsimons (Govt Spokesperson: Energy Efficiency)14th August 2007

Nick Smith’s proposal that the Government should subsidise solar water heaters that are not cost-effective for customers is astonishing, Government Spokesperson for Energy Efficiency Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

“This is the party that wants low taxes and reduced government spending. Yet Dr. Smith wants to use taxpayers’ money to give grants to solar water heaters that are sold at a price so high that the energy savings will never pay back the initial price,” Ms Fitzsimons says.

“The solar water heating programme agreed between the Government and the Green Party, has focussed so far on improving the quality of products and installations. This package includes: a new quality standard ; performance modelling to establish energy savings ; training courses for installers and an information website for consumers that shows which systems have passed their tests, and the price at which they will be cost effective.

“We are totally committed to ensuring the consumer gets quality and value for money when they choose to invest in solar heating,” Ms Fitzsimons says.

“The new grants for volume builders, announced just a month ago, are already bearing fruit.

“Builders are teaming up with solar suppliers, and the first grant for a group of at least 20 homes has been signed off. The informal advice is that builders are putting together proposals for a further 1,300 systems.” Ms Fitzsimons says.

Ms Fitzsimons is confident that the temporary reduction in sales cited by Dr Smith is a short term effect while the solar industry gets its systems tested and modelled, and more installers are trained.

“In the short term, I expect that most grants will go into groups of new homes,” Ms Fitzsimons says.

“In the longer term, with a number of new entrants waiting to enter the market,. I expect retrofit installation to resume. And they will be high quality products and high quality installations - at a price that is cost effective for the householder and for the country,” Ms Fitzsimons says.
Gary Moller comments:
This is probably as close as we are ever going to get in the way of an admission that there are serious quality issues to do with solar water heating systems.

While I have no doubt that the industry will eventually get its house in order, I still ask the question:

"What is Ms Fitzsimons and the others who have been actively encouraging the installation of these devices on rooftops, going to do to help the many thousands of families and small businesses who are lumbered with installation and performance problems?"

Why should they be left out in the cold to carry the inconvenience and costs of the mistakes and sloppy work of others who profited off them in the process?

Ms Fitzsimons has known for a long time that there were serious problems. I know because I told her so last year and she ignored the warnings. She went ahead and encouraged us to install products that may actually be damaging to the environment (Energy intense to produce, costly landfill material when dumped).

Further, how can a responsible environmentalist continue to encourage the installation of these devices when there is absolutely no evidence that the products of today are any better than those of yesterday? The NZ standard that Ms Ftizsimons places so much faith in for saving her scheme does not in any way address the quality issues that are profusely documented on this website. The Emperor has no clothes.

I would hope that the solar water heating systems that are being installed under the Government's grant scheme come with proof that they will last 20 years as the Government would have us all believe.

At the least, there should be some kind of product recall of the thousands of faulty systems known to already be out there.

Finally, I do tend to agree with her about Nick Smith. But both of them are skirting about the main issues - conveniently avoiding the inconvenient truth.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Zero subscribers to govt solar power scheme TV3 News

A government scheme aimed getting more New Zealand home owners to use the sun to heat their waters has failed to attract a single taker.

$15 million was set aside last year to subsidise home solar panels – but no home-owners have taken the offer up.

Here is the link TV3 News video, including a cameo by Yours Truly!
Gary Moller comments:
Again I take issue with statements by Janette Fitzsimmons. For a solar water heating system to be able to last more than a few years - let alone 20 - then the price paid has to be a factor. Solar panels are placed in the most exposed places - atop roofing, exposed to howling gales, salt-laden water, frost and baking heat - and intense UV in New Zealand.

I have heard this time and again from people within the solar industry that the only way the price will come down is by skimping on the quality of the materials. To date, the evidence of the New Zealand situation is that there are few solar water heating systems that are of a quality of materials and installation that will last more than a few years without showing signs of significant deterioration (This website is bountiful with examples and reports of the current shortfalls).

Incidentally, the Chromagen system that featured in the TV3 news item is quite expensive to purchase; but on close inspection, the quality of construction and attention to detail is obvious. Although it is still early days, no Chromagen units have yet been found with faults or signs of deterioration.

Go solar: But shop around and be prepared to pay more in order to get the quality necessary to get years of trouble-free performance.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Our family is reinstaling a new solar water heating system

Despite our previous negative experiences with solar water heating, our family is about to install a new solar water heating system on our house. More about this soon.

Far from being negative about the future of solar water heating in New Zealand, I am all for solar water heating. I believe that every NZ house with a sunny disposition should be employing solar energy capture systems like solar water heaters to reduce expenditure on household energy while improving quality of living.

Having said this, there is nothing to be gained and much to be lost if householders install poor quality systems that do not go the distance. Even a quality system will not perform or last if the workmanship of the installation is poor. There are good systems and quality installers out there; It is just a matter of doing your research carefully and selecting the best system for your requirements.

Please peruse this website using the search functions to in the right hand column to find your way. I strongly recommend that you take time to read the BRANZ reports that are on this website and read the responses on this website.

It is clear that pressuring the industry to bring down prices has been counter-productive. Low cost items simply may not be of a quality sufficient to withstand half a dozen years of being battered, soaked, frozen and roasted in the typical NZ roof setting - let alone durable enough to keep working for 20 years!

Energy conservation in the home is a multi-factorial exercise, since it is total energy consumption that is the key to reducing a family's energy costs - and saving the planet - of course!

As part of our family's programme to reduce our carbon footprint, we have amped up the insulation of our house by filling the internal cavities of the walls of our old house with foam insulation. For more information about this energy conservation measure, go here. However; in recommending this energy conservation measure, our family does not recommend this firm. They were very good on the sales pitch, but very poor on the after sales handling of us. Why do so many NZ companies keep letting themselves down on their customer service?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Janette Fitzsimons launches Government Scheme

"Some of you may be aware of concerns raised in the media recently about discolouration of solar heating panels from two suppliers.

This appears to be a fairly limited issue, but we are taking it seriously because it is important that consumer confidence in solar water heating is not undermined. We are advised by those two firms that there is no problem now with performance, but we have not had all the information that homeowners need from these suppliers to reassure them about the quality and longevity of those systems. At this point they are not participating in the Government solar water heating programme.

To provide further information for consumers on this issue, EECA expects to undertake independent testing of some discoloured solar panels to determine any impact on energy performance, and longevity.

My two key objectives in this programme are quality assurance and cost-effectiveness. We have taken a number of steps over the last year to improve these outcomes for consumers: there are now training courses available for solar installation at most polytechs, there is an NZ/Australian standard and we are performance modeling systems to be able to advise consumers how much energy they will save under standard conditions. Our new website provides a one stop shop for home owners wanting to know whether solar is right for their home and how to go about deciding what sort. It lists all suppliers who have been through the performance modeling process and qualify for the grants.

I believe we are on the way to ensuring a sustainable, larger scale solar water heating industry
and well informed building professionals and home owners."

Excerpt from the Speech by Janette Fitzsimons at Launch of Solar Water Heating Volume Build Scheme, Parliament Buildings, 25/07/2007
Gary Moller comments:
First of all, I do not think Janette is being entirely sincere when she says that the problem is a "fairly limited issue". I am sure she has read the Branz reports and she sure should be aware of this website (rustypanels) because I have been letting her office know about it.

I think it has been just a tad unfair as well and misleading to have singled out two players in the industry and to also do so without mentioning names because this reflects poorly on the ones out there that are doing OK. It would appear that the problems referred to, including poor installation as documented in the Branz reports (copies available for viewing on this website here) are widespread and not just limited to two operators. Why pick on just two?

Her comments conveniently avoid the issue of what is to be done, if anything for the thousands of New Zealand families and businesses who are now facing ongoing performance problems and costs with their solar water heating systems that they installed with the encouragement of the Green Party. So far, there have been no answers forthcoming. The good New Zealanders (including me) who voted her in have been left out in the cold.

While it is encouraging to learn that there will be some proper performance testing done, the results will be several months away. The question must be asked: "Where is the evidence that the solar water heating systems being installed between now and then are any better than the ones of yesterday?" There is none. Should the Government be spending public money on a technology that has yet to prove its durability? Is it not misleading the public?

Note: To be fair and responsible; responses by all to these articles are welcomed and will be published.

The rusty panels keep coming in!

These photos are of a six year old Solahart. What can be seen is extensive areas of dirty white and considerable moisture buildup under the glass.

This is typical of the pattern seen across the board with flat panel solar water heating systems.

The family that owns this lives on an isolated island without mains electricity. Repairs and replacement are not as simple as calling in a tradesman. Fortunately, they have a wetback backup for water heating. They estimate that performance is at least 50% less than when it was new.

Sadly, there appears little or no political, bureaucratic, consumer organisation or industry motivation to draw these problems to public attention.

Sadly, there seems no motivation at all for any kind of product recall. It appears the thousands of affected New Zealand families and businesses are being left out in the cold to deal with these problems on their own.

Sadly, there is yet to be any evidence whatsoever that the replacement panels of today are any better than those of yesterday.

On a positive note: Our family is soon going to reinvest in solar water heating. We are and have always been committed to energy conservation measures. But these have to be measures that really do work in a way that they really do return much more energy into the "system" than they consume in their production from raw material to product.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why even small amounts of corrosion, rusting, fading or bleaching may seriously affect the performance of solar water heating panels

This video explains why even slight corrosion, bleaching, discolouration or fading of the collector surfaces of a solar water heating system may cause significant and unacceptable losses in performance.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rusty Solar Water Heating Panels found in Austria

Here are some photos from Austria. No details given about the age or brand.

This is further evidence that there is a widespread issue that is bigger than New Zealand or Australia.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More about the Building Consent and Certificate of Acceptance for Solar Water Heating Installations

"Gary .....
Under the Building Act 1991 & 2004 Territorial Authorities and Councils are not and were not permitted to issue retrospective consents, in those days the work was classed as safe and sanitary (1991 Act)
Under the 2004 Act the same applies but no longer can Safe & Sanitary inspections be done, hence the introduction of The Certificate of Acceptance which is for Building work carried out without a building consent and is issued for the work that can be inspected and complies with the NZ building Code only and in no form is a Retrospective consent and never will be".
Gary Moller comments:
When reading the advice and information on this website, please bear this advice from Ron in mind. I will be progressively altering any terminology and details but this will take time.

If you suspect a possible warranty problem with your solar water heating system

"Hi Gary

I was up on the roof yesterday inspecting my one year old Solarhart system.
I was less than impressed with what I saw, a lot of corrosion or discoloration appearing on the black panels.
Considering this has only been on the roof for a year I hate to think what it will be like after five when the warranty runs out.
Who do I contact in the first instance, XXXX Plumbing did the installation but I don’t expect they cover the warranty.
Any advice would be appreciated.

Gary Moller comments:
This is a typical letter that I receive daily and am sometimes unable to reply to because of work commitments, so I thought I would publish it as an article to guide others.
  • Read the safety information on this site before clambering up on the roof.
    • Consider hiring an expert to do the assessment
    • I am compiling a list of impartial experts which you can find on this site.
  • The first action is to take digital photos of the detail of the panel surfaces. This may be very important for warranty claims. Even if any discoloration is slight at present, the photos become a record for comparison of further deterioration later on.
  • Inspect every aspect of your installation, including lagging, the way the system is secured and the materials used. Take photos. Please refer to the BRANZ reports on this website that list the many installation faults to look for.
  • Check the papers that the installer gave you to confirm the warranty term.
  • Confirm that there is a Building Consent for the work (An estimated 80% of installations since 2003 do not have this requirement)
    • If you don't have a Consent, ring your house insurer and check what your insurance exposure might be.
    • Check with your Council what is involved with getting one if you don't have one, including all of the costs.
  • Write to whoever did the installation, including copied of all the information gathered and state clearly what you want to happen. This should include:
    • Replacement of any faulty/damaged parts and rectification of poor workmanship
    • Keep a paper trail record and limit any dealings over the phone - keep it in writing in case you end up in dispute over anything.
  • If the installer refuses to address your concerns, or has done something to avoid liability like changing company ownership, write to their professional body such as the
    • Solar Industries Association
    • Plumbers Guild and so on
  • If your installer did not obtain a Building Consent on your behalf and the installation was after 2003, then you should advise the installer's professional association.
    • Complain to your local Building Inspector and ask their advice about what to do.
  • When seeking redress from the installer you should not have to pay for anything. The professional who you relied upon to do a professional job should pay.
  • Where it is a warranty replacement such as a corroding panel, require an extension on the warranty covering the part replaced, since there is no guarantee that the same problem will not recur.
  • If you are dissatisfied with progress or outcomes, take the matter up with the national distributor of the system that you have. If you remain dissatisfied:
    • Take the matter up with the Solar Industries Association
    • Write to EECA
    • Write to the Consumer's Institute
    • Write to the "Nailed" Consumer TV programme
    • Write to Fair Go Consumer TV programme
    • As a last resort I recommend taking the matter to a Disputes Tribunal
  • If it looks like things are not working out at any stage, please consider hiring an independent expert to inspect your solar water heating system and provide a report. Keep receipts and seek eventual reimbursement of all costs from the installer.
    • Advise the installer beforehand that you intend doing this and give them several days to respond before proceeding.
  • Finally, make sure that you send me a brief history of your situation along with photos and I might publish them (anonymously) for the benefit of others who may be facing similar issues.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A six year old Solahart that has changed colour

Let's have a look at a six year old Solahart panel (This system is owned by a young family):

Here's another angle, because it can be very hard to see what is beneath patternised glass:

As one installer jokingly said to me; "White is not a very good colour for solar panels".

The Government, the Green Party and environmental groups like Greenpeace are urging householders to be responsible and "invest" in solar water heating. A 15 million dollar Government campaign has been announced that will encourage approximately 15,000 to 20,000 extra systems to be installed by 2010. This could be a lot of landfill material if my experience proves to be the rule and not the exception.

"But surely these systems have improved over the last five years?" You respond.

You could be right; but I will counter this immediately by pointing out that the three different solar panel models that we have had on our roof are all less than five years old from today.

A very rusty Sola60 solar water heating panel

Here is a selection of photos of some of the panels which the owners allowed me to inspect, and which I was able to get up close to without risking breaking my neck:

Look at this Sola60 panel: Just two and a half years old, with visibly faded strips and corroded in places. No building consent.

Will this panel last five years; let alone 10-15? Look closer:

More examples of wet and corroding Solahart sloar water heating panels

Here are two photos of a Solahart installation that has significant visible deterioration to both collector surfaces. Again, please note the date on the photos (31/03/2007)

Solahart and Sola60 feature prominently. This is only because I have not found many other brands. My findings are not necessarily representative of the industry.

If you have an example of a good or bad solar water heating setup, then write to me here. Please include digital photos and contact details to verify the details.

Another example of something wrong with a Sola60 solar water heater

Here is another Sola 60 installation that shows deterioration of the collector surfaces (Please note the dates of the photos (31/03/2007)