FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does Solar work?
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels capture the sun’s UV light, converting the energy into a DC electrical current. The energy is being created from light, not heat. We have chosen our panels carefully to ensure they still work on cloudy days. An inverter is installed on the side of the house to convert the D.C. to A.C. allowing you to use the electricity for your pool, fridge, TV or any other electrical appliance. Solar panels only produce energy during daylight hours and do not store energy so you will benefit most from a solar system if you are able to use power during the day.
Surplus solar electricity from your solar panel is fed back into the grid. In NSW Electricity retailers pay between 6c and 10c for every kWh you send back. It is possible to store your energy in batteries, however, at this stage they are very expensive, incredibly large and not very efficient. The new generation of cost efficient batteries will be available late 2015, early 2016.
Will a Solar System work for me if I am not home during the day?
Your home uses power when you are not there. Fridges, freezers, swimming pools, charges or any appliances plugged in are drawing power. You will benefit most from a solar system if you are able to use power during the day. If you have appliances like washing machines and dishwashers that have timers, then you can program them to work when solar is active and you are not home. Our solar consultants can help you assess this.
What government grants are available?
Solar Energy not only saves you money but saves the planet through lowering your greenhouse gas emissions. This entitles you to Small-Scale Technology Certificates or STCs. These are credits issued by the government for the amount of energy you generate from today until the year 2030. The number of credits you are entitled to is related to the size of your system. Every year the number of credits available reduces. As the STCs are a traded commodity their value will also fluctuate. The more people that are buying solar the lower the value.
This means that the price of STCs is not fixed but your savings would be roughly between $2000 and $10,000 depending on the size of your residential solar installation. Make the most of the STCs and install your solar system now!
What size system do I need?
This depends on various factors including; roof size, your electricity bill, your future plans and your budget. In NSW there are regulations as to the size of the system depending on the number of service meters. If you are a single phase property you are capped at under 5kW system. With 260W panels this is a 4.94kW system which will produce on average 21kwh per day. If you have 3 phases you can go up to a 12kW system and produce 52kwh per day. Our consultants will analyse your bill and discuss your day to day running of your home to help you ascertain the right size for your needs.
How much power will my solar system generate?
The power generated through your solar system will depend on the number of panels you install and the size (in Watts) and quality of those panels. The power generated will change due to the seasonal differences in the length of the day and the amount of daylight. The longer days in summer will produce roughly double the amount of energy versus winter’s shorter days.
Will I still be connected to the electricity grid?
In NSW if you are already connected to the grid, you will continue to be so. You will buy electricity back from the grid in the evening and you will sell any excess electricity back to the grid during the day.
What is the solar meter?
Your old meter will be upgraded to a Bi-directional or polyphase meter which will measure your energy used and energy sent back to the grid. This does NOT mean you will be changed to time of day metering. The meter is installed so that you can accurately measure how much power is used in your house and how much power that you feed back into the grid. You will receive between 6c and 10c for every kWh you send back.
When will my meter be changed?
Meterbox upgrades need to be completed by a level 2 electrician as it is a specialist job. Unlike most companies, Solar Energy employs a level 2 electrician to complete this task and includes this in your package. It can take up to 10 days post installation as any new meter needs to be sent by your electricity grid supplier.
How much roof space is required?
We will assess and measure your roof via satellite. Your solar consultant will show an image of your roof with solar panels placed in the agreed locations. All panels measure 1000cm in width and 1670cm in height (based on 265W Q Cells panels). Each kW you install requires 4 panels.
How long does a solar installation take?
It depends on the size of the system. Residential systems are normally completed in one day. Occasionally adverse weather conditions can delay completion of jobs if the safety of our installers is compromised. The solar meter may be installed up to 2 weeks later.
How do I get a Solar Energy System installed & connected?
Fill in the Quote form or give us a call to book an appointment with a solar consultant. They will help you work out the right size and the best product options for your needs and budget.
Once you are happy with your decision to proceed, our solar consultant will help you complete the paperwork. If you require finance, they can help you with this too.
On receipt of your approved paperwork, Solar Energy will apply to your electricity provider on your behalf and will arrange for the installation. We will look after everything for you. Once approval has been received from your provider we will book an installation date with you. We should have you up and running within 2 – 3 weeks. You start saving money straight away!
Does the price quoted including meter & paper work?
Yes, the installation of the meter and the application process are all included in the investment quoted.
Once the system is installed, is it generating electricity straight away?
The system can generate electricity straight away but it should not be turned on until the solar meter has been installed.
What type of panels & inverter do you use?
Solar Energy only supply Tier 1/Tier 1 Premium and Premium quality products. We have a range of products to suit your needs and your budget. Please select the tab for products at the top of the screen.
What are the warranties?
Our premium package has panel warranties 20% above industry standard.
The panels 25 year performance warranty means that the panels will be working at a minimum of 83% of start performance at 25 years
The panels have a 12 year manufacturer’s warranty
The inverter has a 10 year warranty
Life-time warranty on electrical installation
10 year warranty management service (no call out fees if you have a warranty problem)
Our Value package has standard industry warranties
The panels 25 year performance warranty means that the panels will be working at a minimum of 80% of start performance at 25 years
The panels have a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty
The inverter has a 5 year warranty
Life-time warranty on electrical installation
1 year warranty management service (no call out fees if you have a warranty problem)
How do I maintain my solar panel?
One reason for tilting panels is so that they self-clean in the rain. It is however recommended that you clean your panels once a year. Layers of dirt from birds, trees or pollution will cause a film that will reduce the efficiency of your panels. The panels simply need wiped down with soapy water. If you are able to do this yourself you must turn the system off first. There are many companies, including Solar Energy who you can employ to clean them. If you already have solar and would like your panels cleaned please call 02 9080 1850 for a quote.
How long will it take to get the system installed?
We can have you up and running in around 2 – 3 weeks after completion of paperwork and deposit.
Do I need to have a pitched roof for solar?
You can have solar on a flat roof or a pitched roof. If you do have a flat metal roof there may be additional costs for tilt frames. This can be discussed with your solar sales consultant.
Can you install solar on any roof type?
Our experience installer can handle almost all kinds of roof materials & structure. However, there are some roofing materials that are not suitable, like slate tiles.
What happens in a cloudy weather or if it is raining?
Your solar system will work on cloudy days, as UV light is still coming through the clouds. If it is daylight it is working. If there is heavy cloud the system will produce a reduced amount of energy. Our Premium package panels are specifically chosen as they are highly affective in low light – cloudy days, mornings and evenings.
What happens if my panels are shaded?
Shading can cause problems for solar panels. If you have shading from a neighbouring roof or a large tree over the North of your house, you may not have a suitable roof for solar. Your solar consultant can help you ascertain the amount of shading you can expect and how much that will affect your production.
How can I track my solar production?
All of our inverters are capable of tracking the energy that you produce. You can choose to view it on the inverter screen on your computer, tablet or mobile phone. You can view how much energy has been produced that day or you can choose past time periods.
Will my solar panels be damaged in a hail storm?
Solar panels are warranted to cover hail stones up to 40mm.
Will my solar panels be damaged in a hail storm?
This all depends on various factors; these include roof size, your electricity bill, your future plans and your budget. In NSW there are regulations as to the size of the system depending on the number of service meters. If you are a single phase property you are capped at under 5kW system. With 260W panels this is a 4.94kW system which will produce on average 21kwh per day. If you have 3 phases you can go up to a 12kW system and produce 52kwh per day. Our consultants will analyse your bill and discuss your day to day running of your home to help you ascertain the right size for your needs.
Could there be a new technology in 5 years that will be better?
Technology is advancing rapidly. However, if we have enough roof space and we design your system properly you shouldn’t need anything else for the next 25 years. You should see a full return on your investment in about 5 years. So waiting 5 years will cost you more! It will cost you 5 years worth of electricity from your retailer PLUS the increased cost of the system, as there is likely to be no Government rebate scheme to assist with your investment.
When there is a power outage will my solar keep working?
No unfortunately not without a very expensive battery option. You have a 2 way stream going in and out of the grid. So for safety, your solar system will automatically be turned off and reset when the grid power is restored.
How do I choose a reliable solar company?
While investing in solar is one of the best things that you can do for your pocket and the environment, some people have unfortunately not had the best “luck” with their investment and have lost a lot of money. They may have taken a risk on a cheap solar bargain and the solar company has gone into liquidation and the panel company has closed up shop and re-opened under another name. What can you do to avoid it happening to you?
· Check how long the company has been established for. Make sure they have at least been around for 4+ years
· Check the installers are accredited by the Clean Energy Council
· Are the panels and the inverter they are selling you still in production? If not your warranty cannot be fulfilled. Watch out for “end of line” products often sold in “special sales”
· Getting a bargain is great but we don’t recommend you choose a 25 year investment on price
· Watch out for aggressive sales techniques. Take your time to review and make your mind up
· Only invest in brands that have offices in Australia. If your solar company goes under, you want to be able to phone someone in Australia to get your warranty honoured.
· Stick to tier 1 panels from companies that have been producing panels for more than 5 years
· Have the company taken the time to get to know you, and your power usage? Have they taken the time to recommend you the size of system that fits your needs?
How long will my system last?
Our premium solar panels have an efficiency warranty for 25 years, Inverters for 10 years and Solar Energy provides 10 years’ warranty on installation. This is the minimum time they should last. The energy efficiency of our Q Cells warranty states that the panels will be working at 93% or above of their initial yield in 25 years. The energy generation efficiency of solar panels do degrade somewhat over time. Our panels are specifically chosen for their consistency of production and advanced testing methods to make sure that they retain their power production capability.
Where can I find more information?
Call us on 02 9080 1850 or email us on email@example.com and we can arrange an appointment with a solar consultant.