Electricians are warning Cairns residents about incorrect and poorly installed solar panels in the region. Nathan Trigilio and Lachlan Pearce of Pasma Electrical have been busy fixing jobs where solar paneling has been incorrectly installed. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKEMORE than 75 per cent of solar panels installed in Cairns homes could be at risk of catching fire or being blown away during a storm because of low quality, faults or poor installation.Pasma Electrical boss Bill Melville said he had capped solar panel replacement and repair work at 30 per cent of his business.“We could put on more crews who could retrofit and replace them but the sparkies don’t want to do it because it’s double the work,” he said.“We inherit people’s problems, we want to do new installs.“It’s endemic. If there are 25,000 solar systems in the city then close to 20,000 are underperforming, or illegally installed, or the consumer has bought faulty equipment.”Mr Melville said homeowners who bought “cheap and cheerful” systems not suited to Australian conditions were disappointed when they disintegrated quickly.More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days ago“Usually six to nine months later when they get their bill they realise the system’s not working,” he said.“One business owner in town had it for four years before he realised it wasn’t reducing his power bills.“I’ve dealt with 500 solar systems which have caught fire. If it was any other industry there would be a class action.”Mr Melville encouraged consumers to buy the best equipment and avoid devices that include a central converter with a DC system.“If there is not an Australian-based warehouse and an Australian landline to call avoid it,” he said. “A normal family, on a 5kw system might spend $5000, but in reality the materials cost more than $5000. Good quality systems start at $1650 per kilowatt.“And buy from a publicly-listed company, so what it says on the package, that is what it is.”
Do you suppose that it began during the Renaissance with some dad screaming, “Hey sonny boy, you are not leaving this house without a proper codpiece!”? More than likely, the problems that we have with our children’s mode of dress probably started when we finally had enough. Enough heat, enough food, enough free time to even notice what the kids were walking around in. Take my parents, people who came up during the Great Depression and never let me forget it. They had to deal with finding something to wear, anything to wear. I know a man who, as a boy, was asked to leave the family farm in Oklahoma because his family couldn’t afford to feed him. For two years he rode the rails without a change of clothes until he joined the Merchant Marine in San Pedro at the outbreak of World War II. Not in a hundred years had men worn their hair so long, and it caused fights. It caused an older woman that I once held a door for to scream (it’s impossible to believe now), “Get a haircut!” Kids were getting thrown out by irate dads because of hair and bell-bottoms which, in retrospect, should have gotten them hung by the fashion police. Then it all passed, sort of. We have since become a nation of copy cats, a race of people who choose an era. Today I’m a beatnik, tomorrow a hippie, next week I may be punk. It’s hard to believe that the spiked Mohawks standing stiffly atop the heads of goth kids have been around for over 20 years. Still, it shocks in a trivial way, in a way that makes us wonder, “Why bother making any statement at all if the statement isn’t original?” So I’ve seen a lot and have learned that fashion, like glory, is fleeting. Still, I am offended by my 14-year-old son’s baseball cap. Offended because it is gold with little gold “H’s” all over it and a big embroidered “H” at the front that made the thing look like something purchased in the lobby of a Hilton Hotel and worn at an off-putting angle on his head. Only he’s not a walking advert for Hilton. No, he’s an unpaid billboard for Hurley skateboard products. I try to be understanding because all week long he has to wear the dreaded blue cords and polo shirt of a Catholic school boy. Of course, this uniform business – while making things easy for parents – sometimes causes an outlandish after-school backlash. My daughters and their friends did the same thing only worse because they attended an all-girls Catholic school, a place of uncombed hair, ratty shirts and tattered blouses that gave way on weekends to outfits so risque they might make Hugh Hefner blush. In reality, the boy dresses like all boys his age with the pants moderately low – a wonderful style begun by beltless prison inmates – and thick skateboard shoes like something from “Young Frankenstein” only in plaid. Buying him a new pair of these things over the weekend at Sport Chalet, I asked, “Are they comfortable?” His reply, “No, but they look really cool.” Cool, with the laces worn loose and no knot in sight. Do you know how long it took to teach him how to tie those knots he now neglects? Meanwhile, all his shirts are printed with huge skateboard company logos on colors ranging from mud brown to just mud. Put together as an ensemble, the askew hat, shoes, shirts add up to one thing and one thing only – he is a 14-year-old boy. A boy lost in an uncertain in-between time. No longer a child but not yet a man, he scrapes by in a fashion hinterland inspired by the dumbest “sport” ever devised by boys boys like me, long-ago riders on suicide metal wheels. I look at him thinking how, at his age, I was making the transition from pegged black trousers to button-down collars and penny loafers in a time of iron-bound conformity, in a place where you were either a winner or a loser and I so desperately wanted not to be a loser. Which makes me no different from him with his small rebellions and a desire to look exactly like his peers. So what do I do? I let him wear the stupid hat but not sideways. And I let him have the baggy trousers and the mud-colored shirts. I let him do what he has to do, what he must do on his fast-track away from childhood and home. I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at [email protected], call 310-543-6681 or send a letter to Daily Breeze/John Bogert, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsFunny how those rough years followed the wild short-skirt flapper era exemplified by the chronically excessive Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. After that it was uniforms, followed by the post-war move toward motorcycle boots, cuffed blue jeans and white T-shirts. I know a local guy who knew James Dean back in the 1950s. He told me that this look, institutionalized in “Rebel Without A Cause,” had been the uniform of South Bay hot rod kids long before the movie appeared. At the same time there were beatniks in beards and berets, but they were scarce. The late Bob Denver, before occupying “Gilligan’s Island,” played a beatnik named Maynard G. Krebs on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” TV show. He once told me that he had to travel to San Francisco just to see what these exotic poetry-reading creatures looked like. Meanwhile, hemlines go up and down, mostly following the economy. They are shortish at the moment, but nothing when compared to the 1960s, when panty hose were invented to cover up what wasn’t being covered at all. This was back when boys – and older men who shouldn’t have – migrated en masse from the Elvis look to a Beatles look, to something well beyond that. And our poor parents had fits.