Frequently Asked Questions

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Solar Frequently Asked Questions

Grid connect solar systems supply solar electricity through an inverter directly to the household and to the electricity grid if the system is providing more energy than the household needs. When power is supplied to the grid, the home owner usually receives a credit for that electricity; this is called a feed in tariff.

A feed in tariff is whereby a grid connected solar system owner receives a credit for the electricity their system generates by a utility or government agency. There are two different types of tariffs, gross and net. A gross feed in tariff pays a premium on all electricity produced whereas a net feed in tariff only pays on surplus energy created by the system. In Australia, net feed in tariffs are predominant.
Feed in tariffs are not paid out to customers, they are off set against your energy bills and therefore are deducted from fee charged for your electricity use.

Several aspects will need to be assessed to determine if your home is a good site for a solar system, such as orientation, space available, shadows on the space available and your current electricity usage. The best site will be one with adequate roof space that has no shade.

Yes you can add to your system. Additional solar panels can be added at any time to increase generating capability but you may have to upgrade to a larger inverter.

Solar panels will continue to produce electricity, just not as much. In a grid connect system, as you are still connected to the mains power supply, any deficit will come from the mains grid.

In order to install a grid connected solar power system at your premises; you will need to have a compatible switchboard and meter.

A meter exchange may be required after the installation of your new solar system. The energy produced by your solar system interacts with the main power grid and the loads in your house. Without an appropriate mains meter, any energy you sell to the power grid can be inaccurately measured, or even completely disregarded, greatly reducing the system’s effectiveness in reducing your energy bill. A ‘bi-directional’ meter is installed in place of the existing one-way meter, allowing the reading of energy in both directions.

The grid connect inverter will automatically shut itself off within a few milliseconds of a blackout, to prevent feeding power back into the grid; which can pose a threat to workers rectifying a blackout.

If your panels are tilted on an angle, they will self-clean whenever it rains. However, it’s possible that dust, pollen and bird droppings may still build up on panels. If you decide to clean your panels, it’s best to simply spray them clean with a hose on a cloudy day or in the morning when the water won’t dry quickly and leave smear marks. For safety, it’s best to stand at ground level to do this.

Unless you’re a trained, licensed and accredited solar panel installer in Australia, you’re not allowed to install your own solar panels. Apart from the safety risk, you may also void the various warranties, your home insurance and more.

This depends on factors like your how much and when you use electricity, future retail electricity prices and more. However, it’s safe to say if your current electricity bills are swallowing up a big portion of your income, when you switch to solar you will appreciate the immediate financial benefits solar offers. Solar panels will also deliver even bigger savings once they’re paid off.

Shading is a term for the shadows cast onto panels by nearby chimneys, antennas, trees, buildings or even clouds; it affects the panel’s ability to generate and conduct electricity. This loss is generally in proportion to the size of the shaded area/cells although for some imported panels even one shaded cell can reduce an entire panel’s output. Good placement of the system can avoid most shading.

Inverters convert the direct current (DC) generated by solar panels into alternating current (AC) that can be used by appliances. With a string inverter, a system will only produce as much electricity as its least productive panel. If each string of panels are facing in the same direction, a string inverter is a good, cost-effective option. Microinverters and power optimisers allow every panel in a system to work independently. These are good for homes where panels will face in multiple directions or where shading is significant.