Solar is now more viable than ever before, with solar systems providing a return in approx 2-5 years for an average household system.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a solar system for our home. It can sometimes be hard to compare quotes and types of systems. Luckily there are now a range of handy resources to ensure we ask the right questions.
The Noosa Shire has seen a positive increase in solar installs since the Roadmap report was completed (Oct 2018). Residential solar provides a cost effective solution to reducing our energy bills and emissions.
WHat to consider
There are several key factors to consider when looking at how solar can benefit our bottom line. Once we have reduced the electricity waste in our homes it is time to acknowledge how much energy we are actually using. This is explained in the detail section of our electricity bill. As a rule of thumb a 20kWh per day consumption pattern would equal a 5kW solar photovoltaic system.
Choosing a Solar Installer
A trusted solar installer will make the journey easy. Choose local wherever possible to support our local economy. The solar photovoltaic (PV) systems should provide us with electricity for many years so choose a reputable business accredited by the Clean Energy Council.
Choosing a local, accredited solar installer from the area is also useful for any future service or cleaning requirements you may have. Feel free to ask for testimonials from other customers, a good installer should have a range of positive testimonials from recent customers. The solar installer should be able to model the impacts our planned solar system will have on our energy bill and should follow up to see that their system is performing to the right levels.
Monitoring of the systems performance should also be included as a standard for most inverter types offered in Australia.
Subscribe to our email updates so you can receive invitations to our up and coming seminar series, we will provide free independent information to help you on the journey.
Choosing a solar panel manufacturer
You will probably hear solar panel manufacturers referred to based on Tier. Buying panels from a Tier 1 panel manufacturer is highly recommended.
Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels operate well in Australia’s climate. Choose an accredited installer and ensure that they quote on Tier 1 solar panels with a proven inverter. A typical warranty for solar panels should be 25 years, make sure the warranty provided is for Australia. Choosing a solar manufacturer with an office here in Australia can provide more certainty in terms of your warranty.
The size and number of panels you install will depend on your daily electricity usage and roof space. With feed in tariffs increasing there is an option to sell the excess energy we produce to the grid.
Choosing an Inverter
The inverter is the device that converts the direct current (DC) energy into 240V alternating current (AC) electricity which is the voltage required to power all the items in our home.
There are 2 types of inverters you may consider. A string inverter means there is one inverter for the entire solar panel system or a micro inverter which means there is a small inverter connected to each panel. Micro inverters are particularly useful where there is partial shading over panels.
Inverters should come with a 8-15 year warranty. Choose a brand of inverter that has been on the market for many years. The Clean Energy Council maintains a list of approved modules and inverters that meet Australian Standards for use in the design and installation of solar photovoltaic systems. The solar panels will most likely be manufactured in China, as this is where most panels are now manufactured. Choose a Tier 1 panel manufacturer.
Racking and Mounting
Panels should face due north wherever possible. If this is not possible then the panels can be spread on the east and west roof spaces ensuring generation across the day with the east receiving the morning sun and west the afternoon sun. Securing the panels to a roof is also a very important part of the process. There are a wide variety of racking systems. We should ensure that the racking system chosen is best suited to our roof type and that all connections are waterproof and grounded.
Our home energy meter will need to be upgraded as part of the system install. This process is completed by our electricity provider and should be part of the solar installation process.
Zero Emissions Noosa Inc is commissioning a Toolkit on differing finance models to help our community navigate the world of solar financing. This Toolkit will be available in the second half of 2019 and will provide a good synopsis of the different approaches to help residents decide.
Solar PV systems generate small scale generation certificates (STC’s). Most solar providers will quote a price including the value of the STC’s, always confirm with the installer. The QLD Government is also offering a battery storage incentive and Energex is offering an energy efficiency air-conditioning incentive. There is also financial support for eligible customers.
The only restrictions on claiming the small scale technology rebate (STC) are:
the system installation must be less than 100kW in size
it must be installed and designed by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited professional (ask the installer to provide proof of accreditation)
panels and inverters must be approved for use in Australia by the Clean Energy Council.
The amount of STC rebates available decreases each year till it is phased out in 2030, so this is another reason why buying solar now can benefit your bottom line.