The guide to solar energy.
This cheat-sheet guide is for you if you are thinking of investing in solar energy.
If you read this overview, you’ll understand much more regarding solar energy than 99.9% of Australians, be able to go toe-to-toe with a solar salesman, and be certain you’re paying the right amount of money for a properly-sized solar system installment for your house.
The remainder of this web site includes whole lots more info on every little thing you might potentially require to learn about solar power. But there is a lot information on this internet site and it can feel a little like rolling down a rabbit hole.
That’s why we developed, this guide to solar energy, which may take 10 mins to check out (for business property owners, read our the Guide to Solar Overview– it’s composed specifically for businesses).
If you’re feeling pretty positive about solar energy systems already and you’re just seeking to obtain quotes from quality pre-vetted Australian installers that We have, then simply read on or call us direct.
Otherwise, right here’s what you should understand prior to you getting quotes for solar power:
1. The three main parts of a solar power system.
2. The most crucial point to determine before you obtain solar power installed: how much power you utilize in your house, as well as when you utilize it.
3. The amount of panels should you purchase?
4. The solar refund: still quite to life as well as kicking and also generous.
5. Don’t get the ‘rebate’ and the ‘feed in tariff’ confused
6. Roof covering direction/angle for optimum solar power generation.
7. Typical payback for solar power.
8. Expenses for high quality solar energy systems, as well as why quotes can differ wildly in cost.
9. Batteries– do you require them?
10. Just how are you intending on spending for your system? Recognizing finance.
Solar energy systems panels.
The panels, which can either be poly-crystalline or mono-crystalline.
The two major types of solar panel innovation being used for domestic homes– there’s additionally a 3rd type, cast mono, that’s a crossbreed of both.
No matter if you obtain a mono or a poly panel. What is necessary is you get a good brand that will last 25+ years set up on your roofing.
There are great budget plan brand names and great premium brand names. However there are likewise ‘no-name’ panels that are re-badged scrap, and are unlikely to last greater than 3-5 years on an Australian roofing system. Avoid mounting those modules whatsoever prices.
Pro-tip: Don’t stress and anxiety over photovoltaic panel innovation. Mono- and also poly-crystalline are both as great in Australian environments.
You can select to install a budget (think Kia), routine (think Toyota) or premium (think BMW) solar panel brand. You usually get what you spend for.
You probably do not know a good panel brand name from a lemon, and why should you? Here’s a handy rip off sheet of a lot of the prominent solar panel brand names in Australia, so you can see where they being in the marketplace.
The listing is not extensive– if you’re uncertain regarding a brand, ask us– but the picture below represents over 90% of what’s being estimated in 2020 in Australia (and is basically a winner):.
If you intend to play it safe, adhere to the brand names on this picture guide.!
The 2nd primary element of a solar power system installment is the inverter, which can be either a string inverter (around the dimension of a brief-case) or micro-inverters, which are roughly the size of a paperback book.
Micro-inverters cost more than string inverters, however bring a variety of benefits.
A string inverter is set up on a wall and all the photovoltaic panels connect to it. A micro-inverter goes on the back of each photovoltaic panel.
There is likewise a third choice, power optimisers, that are kind of a hybrid in between the two. You can read about the advantages and disadvantages of each inverter choice in a detailed short article right here.
Pro-tip: Never mount a string inverter where it will be in complete sunlight. Pick a shaded spot, an awesome garage, or ask the installer to develop a basic shade over the inverter. Straight intense sunlight eliminates inverters, due to the fact that it cooks them– and also Australia’s sun is especially severe.
The task of the inverter is to transform the DC electrical energy solar panels create right into 230V Air Conditioning electrical power, which is what whatever in your house usages.
The inverter is the part probably to fail in a solar energy system setup in the very first 10-15 years. This is because they strive all day, and they do wear.
So even if you are on a limited spending plan, I would certainly advise thinking about a premium-end inverter.
Here’s a run-down of the popular inverter brands in Australia right now, as well as where they rest on in regards to price and high quality (once more– this list is not extensive, yet any kind of reliable installer has a 95% chance of quoting you one of the adhering to brand names):.
The 3rd main part of a solar power system installation is the racking/mounting. This is what is safely connected to your roof covering and also what your solar panels are placed on.
There are a wide variety of racking brand names around. The distinction in between a spending plan end brand and a premium end brand is around $100 per kilowatt of solar power mounted.
The chart below provides brand names we know of.
# 2 The most essential point to determine before you get solar power: how much electrical energy you use in your house, and when you use it.
When solar power is produced by your panels, it will initially be used by home appliances in your house, with any kind of excess solar energy exported to the grid. Your power merchant will certainly pay you a small amount (around 7-20c) for every kWh your setup exports to the grid.
It is better to use the solar power produced by your system than export it. Self-consumed power conserves concerning 30c per kWh as you don’t have to acquire that power from the grid. Exported electricity gains a ‘feed in toll’ of about 7-20c per kWh.
So self-consumed solar power is about 2-3x better than exported solar electrical energy.
This indicates Australian homes using a lot of electrical energy throughout the day, or can set their home appliances to work on timers, are an all-natural suitable for solar panels as well as can see really brief paybacks of 3-5 years (20-25% returns).
If you are at home during the day or have pool pumps that run all day, your self-consumption can be up to 65% (with exports only 35%) and a solar power system installment is most likely to be an excellent financial investment.
If you are not in the house during the day, you will generally self-consume regarding 20% of the outcome of an appropriately sized solar power system setup, pressing the straightforward payback bent on 6-8 years.
Keep in mind that this is still a 12-15% return on your financial investment.
Prevent any solar energy firm that determines your payback based upon 100% self-consumption. Almost no-one has 100% self-consumption. The firm is being dishonest so as to get your sale.
# 3 The amount of solar panels should you get?
My response to this inquiry has actually changed significantly compared to just a couple of years back.
This is because costs for solar installment have actually fallen significantly, electrical energy rates have actually increased, and feed-in tariffs (what you’re paid for exporting excess electrical power generation) have actually also climbed.
The only limitations currently are your budget plan, what your roof can effectively fit, and also the amount your DNSP (Distributed Network Provider) allows you to mount.
For the majority of homes, the minimum you should consider is getting 6.6 kW of panels (approx. 20 in total) with a 5 kW inverter.
The largest regret I have actually learnt through solar power owners is they didn’t consider exactly how winter months as well as cloudy days limit their cost savings. They want they would certainly mounted extra panels when they had the opportunity.
It’s pricey as well as difficult to add panels after the set up, while adding photovoltaic panels to the initial quote can be surprisingly cheap.
I’ve written about this topic in more information right here.
# 4 The solar rebate: still significantly alive and also kicking– and also generous.
The renowned Australian government ‘solar rebate’ (technically referred to as the ‘STC system’) acts as a point-of-sale discount rate off the final cost of a solar energy system installation. The subsidy is worth about $550 per kW of photovoltaic panels installed, however this will differ relying on where you live.
As an example, a 6kW system draws in around $3,300 in rebates.
Anyone can claim the refund, even if you’ve currently purchased solar power systems in the past and also wish to buy a new system.
The only constraints on claiming the rebate are:.
– Your system installment must be less than 100kW in dimension.
– You get it installed and created by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved expert (you can ask the installer on the day to supply proof of certification!).
– You make use of panels and solar inverters approved for use in Australia by the Clean Energy Council (such as the ones I mentioned in # 1).
The federal solar rebate is gradually being terminated. It decreased by one tenth these days’s worth every January until it goes to zero in 2031.
For Victorians, the Labor government presented a state-level refund that presently supplies eligible recipients (as much as) an added $1,888 off the expense of a solar system.
# 5 Do not get the ‘refund’ and also the ‘feed in tariff’ confused.
We’ve already found out the ‘feed-in toll’ is the price you are paid for solar electricity you export into the grid.
In between 2009 and also 2012, people joined to generous feed-in tariffs that paid them anywhere between 20c per kWh and 66c per kWh of electricity exported. These charitable tariffs were developed to kick-start the solar energy industry when solar power systems were far more costly.
Solar power systems have actually lowered in rate by 80% in Australia since 2008, and also the feed-in tolls have lowered to 7c– 20c, relying on your seller.
This reduction is why you see numerous individuals howling ‘solar energy isn’t worth it any longer! The refund has actually been massively decreased!’.
They’re really confusing the refund with the feed-in tariff. The government refund is still active and kicking and isn’t being minimized significantly anytime quickly.
We have actually run the numbers, and even with these reduced feed in tolls it’s easy to get a 5 year payback on your solar power system.
# 6 The essentials of roof direction/angle for optimum solar system positioning.
Initially– the absolute basics. The sunlight increases in the east, as well as embed in the west.
– East-facing panels will peak in power production in the morning.
– West-facing panels will peak in the late afternoon.
– North-facing photovoltaic panels will peak around midday (as well as offer one of the most power general).
A functioning home can self-consume much more solar energy with eastern and also west dealing with panels, since they provide much more energy prior to and also after school/work, accelerating their system’s repayment.
Sadly, I’ve talked with more than one house owner with a huge east or west roof covering ripe for solar power who thinks it just isn’t worth it if their panels can not face north.
It utilized to be true if you could not mount panels on a north-facing roof, then a solar energy system wasn’t worth it.
Currently costs of solar energy systems have gone down so much, you can get a fantastic roi from eastern encountering panels, west encountering panels, or a mix of north, eastern as well as west.
Sometimes it can also make good sense to have southern dealing with panels– though this would certainly be a last resort.
The ideal panel angle to make best use of the energy produced over the entire year is merely within a few degrees of the latitude of your area:.
So, for my house in Adelaide, the optimal photovoltaic panel angle is around 35 ° from horizontal.
If you’re not able to install your panels at the suitable angle, do not stress excessive. The photovoltaic panels in my very own installment go to 15 degrees, and I only lose 4% in yearly energy return contrasted to the best angle.
Usually, unless your roof is level, the excellent angle is whatever your roof covering is developed at.
# 7 Regular repayment duration for a solar power system.
A well-designed planetary system installment has a normal payback period of around 4-7 years in Australia.
This can differ wildly depending upon your electrical power use as well as your system size, however when you get quotes for solar power systems, the installer ought to do a repayment evaluation for you to approximate your payback duration.
# 8 What price-range can you anticipate to pay for top quality solar power, and why can quotes differ extremely in price?
Since July 2020, approximate rates forever quality solar panel systems in Australia (Tier 1 panels + quality string inverter), including full setup, are:.
3kW: $3,500– $5,000.
5kW: $4,500– $8,000.
6kW: $5,000– $9,000.
10kW: $8,000– $12,000.
To be clear– the top end costs are for top-end systems (e.g. LG/Sunpower panels with full panel degree optimization), set up by a solar power ‘craftsman’.
Note the above prices additionally consist of the price cut from the solar ‘discount’.
Nonetheless, for those of you in Victoria, the above prices do not include the state-level rebate supplied by the Victorian federal government (which gives a further refund of approximately $1,888).
If you intend to downgrade to a reliable spending plan inverter (e.g brands on the left hand side of the inverter chart higher up this web page), you may be able to conserve around $800 on these prices.
Expenses can raise if you require a power switchboard upgrade or various other electric job to make your house appropriate for solar power, or if the design of your house makes the system installment harder.
If you choose to opt for setting up mini inverters or an optimiser-based system over a string inverter, prices will certainly also boost by approximately 20%.
Mounting battery storage (for an off-grid or hybrid system) will at the very least double the rate of the system.
# 9 Batteries– do you require them?
Batteries are terrific for energy protection. The comfort from recognizing that you will certainly still have lights, refrigeration and other vital circuits whatever takes place to the grid can be priceless.
Batteries are also wonderful fun. Seriously! There is something extremely unique regarding seeing your home run off nothing but battery power.
Batteries likewise offer a type of insurance policy against the danger of electricity costs increasing and feed-in-tariffs going down.
A well sized, appropriately set up and configured battery can reduce your grid usage by up to 95%, making you practically unsusceptible to electrical energy and also feed in tariff changes. To be clear– no-one understands which means power rates and feed-in-tariffs will certainly go. However, if you have a battery you won’t care!
But these advantages come with a price.
As an instance– without a battery refund– it will certainly cost around $10,000 to include a suitable amount (around 10 kWh) of energy storage space to a solar energy system in Australia. Take 30-50% off these expenses if you stay in VIC, ACT or SA as well as are qualified for your state’s battery rebate.
A regular repayment duration of an unsubsidised battery of that dimension has to do with 15 years. A lot of batteries have a ten years service warranty.
Contrast this with a solar power installment without batteries. A routine non-battery solar power system has a common repayment of around 3-6 years, and also will certainly last about 25 years.
So– if you are acquiring batteries just to conserve cash, unless you can access a state based battery refund, setting up battery storage space isn’t worth it for you. Our suggestions is to wait 2-5 years for battery prices to come down prior to investing in energy storage space.
Definitely don’t await batteries to find down in cost prior to buying a solar energy system, since that is locking in more years of high power bills every quarter.
You don’t even need to buy any unique type of system to be ready for batteries. Every grid connect system ever before mounted in Australia works with batteries utilizing a special box called an ‘AC paired battery inverter’.
You can buy one of these when you get your batteries, as well as solar cell installation will certainly be really straightforward.
However if you desire a battery for power safety, insurance coverage versus altering electricity prices, and for the amazing innovation, go for it. I have actually obtained one on my home as well as I enjoy it.
A note about state battery rebates: In South Australia, some postcodes in Victoria and ACT you can now get a battery subsidy which could halve the cost of an installed battery, potentially giving a sub 10-year payback.
A note about Virtual Power Plants (VPPs): A new phenomenon for 2020 is the VPP. In a nutshell, you can get a cheaper battery if you are willing to hand over control of it to your electricity retailer. They will then be able to charge and discharge your battery at will to profit from electricity price fluctuations. These VPPs are very new– so buyer beware! My personal take is if you want more control of your energy use– don’t relinquish control to a big energy company.
# 10 How are you planning on paying for your system? Understanding finance.
Most Australians buy solar power systems with cash. If you are debt-free and have cash looking for a place to go, then investing in a solar power system is worth serious consideration.
A solar system installation currently generates a tax-free, reliable return that, at the time of writing, is far higher than bank interest rates or government bonds.
However, some of us don’t have the luxury of easy access to thousands of dollars. Many solar installers offer “no interest” finance– and if that sounds too good to be true, it’s because it probably is.
If you see a deal that claims ‘no interest’ your BS detector should be going off. All finance has a cost– the “no interest” deals often charge the installer a fee of around 15-25% on top of the cash price.
That cost is passed on to you.
Now– don’t misunderstand me. Plenty of reputable solar installers, not just the ripoff merchants, offer “no interest” finance because many customers demand it.
But in my experience, you can get a much better deal overall by shopping around for a low interest finance provider and avoiding the easy-sign-up, ‘no interest’ deals.
The next step.
So there you have it, my 101 guide to solar power for your home.
If you have any burning questions about the information in this guide,
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