All across Australia, people have started investing in a residential solar system to cut down electricity bills and take advantage of the glorious Australian sunlight. The solar system technology and efficiency have developed significantly over the recent years, so why not use it? They might seem huge and intimidating but aren’t as complicated as you might be thinking. If you are wondering whether you should get one, then you have come to the right place. We are breaking down everything you need to know before getting started!
Solar panel installation is easy enough but if you are completely in the dark regarding how they work & whether your house is suitable for them, then here’s our extensive list of everything you should know about residential solar systems before you get started-
Is your roof old? Does it need any repairs? Solar panels are large, heavy, and will need a strong supporting base. If your roof is damaged, repair it completely first before installing the panels. You should get it checked if it’s old or even new to make sure it can take the weight of the panels and mounts. Residential solar systems can be installed in open spaces or roofs, whichever is more convenient for the house. No matter which option you go with, get the area thoroughly tested before installation.
Something else that you should note is if the roof can last up to the solar panels’ warranty period. What we mean is, solar panels have a warranty of about 20-25 years. Can your roof take it for that long?
- Does Roof Layout Affect the Installation?
Roof layouts and designs don’t affect the solar panel installation process but the size does. The number of panels that can be installed isn’t always the same as the number of panels needed to generate the electricity your household needs. How many you can install will depend solely on the space available.
- Does Direction Matter?
Which direction generates the most energy and which is the lowest? We have some general directions that you should know:
- The panels that face East will generate more energy in the morning.
- Panels facing West will generate more energy during the afternoon.
- Panels facing North will generate more energy overall but less during the morning & noon.
According to people who have been using a residential solar system for a while, North facing panels generate 15% more energy than West or East facing panels. However, you can always choose a combination of North, East & West to get maximum energy if the roof design allows it.
- Does this hinder the water drainage system?
When it rains, the water slides down the panels but the racks or mounts can change the direction of the water. This might prevent proper drainage, which would eventually cause leakage. Hence, you should always talk to the installer regarding this concern so they can design the mounting rack accordingly. Professionals will be able to create a design that doesn’t hinder the drainage system of your roof.
- Do storms & hurricanes damage the system?
The mounts are built to withstand heavy rain and strong winds. But if your area faces a lot of storms and hurricanes, it’s safe to assume it would cause some damage to the system. You should consult with the installer beforehand if you live in such areas since sometimes there are insurances for such incidents.
- Is such a large investment worth it?
The upfront installation payment is not exactly a small amount so it’s only natural that doubts creep up your mind. You have to remind yourself that getting a residential solar system would cut down your electricity bill and every other maintenance & repair charges that come with them. Getting an off-grid system can cut down electricity by 90%, so yes the investment is well worth it!
- How many panels would I need?
This depends on various things such as how many your roof can handle, the budget, and the amount the local electricity retailer allows. Yes, sometimes local electricity networks put a limit on how many panels you can install but it’s nothing unreasonable. In general, the minimum you should get is 6.6 kW panels, which would approximately be 18 panels, with a 5kW solar inverter. That would fit a small house or a cabin. If your house is bigger then the installer will analyze your appliances and grid to recommend the right size. It’s difficult and expensive to add more panels to an existing system which is why you should get the correct numbers in the first go. Even if you do get a few extra panels, you won’t regret it since they are getting cheaper each year whereas electricity is getting more expensive.
- What are the warranties available?
There are different warranties on the panels, installation, and other equipment used in the system:-
- Solar Panel Warranty: The industry-standard warranty for solar panels is 25 years. If an installer offers you less than this, you might want to consider another retailer. Reliable and reputed retailers will always offer at least 25-30 years of warranty on the panels. This also covers the minimum power output. According to the industry standards, you will receive an 80% power output in the warranty period.
- Installation Warranty: This applies to any error or incident caused due to the wrong installation. These last for about 2-10 years and include defective items, shipping mishaps, damaged racks, and also any damage the roof sustains during the installation. The exact warranty differs from retailer to retailer.
- Solar Inverter Warranty: This differs from company to company, so research before you say yes. Solar inverters play a big role in residential solar systems, choosing the right one can make or break the entire system. There are different inverters and they have different industry-standard warranties-
- String Inverter: The industry-standard warranty on string inverters is 5-10 years. These are roughly the size of a briefcase or small suitcase.
- Microinverters: You can get about 20 to 25 years on these. These are around the same size as a paperback book.
- Types of rebates and discounts I can avail of?
There are a lot of laws and rebate programs all over Australia to encourage people to use solar panels. We have put together a report to help you-
- SRES & STCs: Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, also known as SRES, was started in 2011 to encourage the usage of renewable & clean energy all over Australia. SRES issues Small-scale Technology Certificates, also known as STCs, to both businesses and houses that install solar systems under 100kW. The STCs are made only after the Clean Energy Council accredited solar system installer commissions the system. The STC is based on how much energy your system will generate before the end of the year 2030. This means it’s calculated based on your location, how much energy your system can produce, and the time left till 2030. The rebate is roughly equal to 30-35% of the total cost of the system.
- Feed-In Tariffs: Australia has a lot of rebates and FITs (AKA Feed-In Tariffs) to promote residential solar systems. With over 29% of homes choosing residential solar systems, around 2.77 million solar systems are in use all across Australia.
- LGCs: If your system is over 100kW, you are eligible for the LGC instead. To get LGC, you would need to first register to be an official “accredited power station” with Clean Energy Regulator. The process is handled by the solar system installers, so you don’t need to scramble. They will just need to provide proof that your meter is up to the standards of the National Electricity Market and you will be able to track everything properly. This is for really large properties and commercial systems only.
Other than these rebates and discounts, there are a few laws to protect solar systems in Australia:
1. Australian Consumer Law gives legal protection to solar systems and punishes illegal or unreliable solar installations. This law applies to services and tools that are worth less than 40,000. This means commercial & residential solar systems that are less than 40kW will get legal protection.
2. Australian Contract Law presumably covers systems that are worth more than $40,000. You will need to get in touch with a lawyer to know more about getting this subsidy.
How do I know if I’m eligible for all these programs?
You will be eligible for them as long as you hire installers that are CEC (Clean Energy Council) approved. They will always use reliable brands and equipment for solar panel installation. False claims aren’t unheard of, so always ask for some proof of credentials before you sign any papers. Also, any good retailer that will handle the paperwork for the rebates would be handled by them as well.
- Can I Set The System Up Myself?
You shouldn’t try DIY with solar panel installation. They are huge and the mounting can be tricky and an entire team is needed to set everything up. It’s not a one-person job. The installation includes wiring, switchboard coding, mounting system, and battery storage. Some of these can be dangerous if you don’t work carefully. So it’s best to hire professionals instead of putting yourself in jeopardy.
- Is a Residential Solar System worth the investment?
Here are a few more reasons why you should seriously consider a residential solar system
- Unlike the previous years, solar panels are cheaper now, same with the solar panel installation charges. Moreover, the rates you search online doesn’t include the rebate discounts and incentives. So the overall cost would be less than what you see now and would be worth every penny.
- If you add batteries, you can disconnect completely from the local electricity retailer. It’s possible to cut down 90% of the grid use if the residential solar system is large enough.
- Residential solar panels can be used in remote locations which means you can use them for your cabins, beach houses, and holiday houses. Especially for smaller properties, they would be cheaper and you can depend solely on residential solar systems for electricity.
Australia gets around 300 gloriously sunny days every year. That’s a lot compared to what every other place gets. With the Government putting together rebates and incentives, residential solar systems have become cheaper in the last 8 years. Based on the Solar PV Index Chart, solar panel systems are currently 50% cheaper compared to what they used to be in 2012. So now is a great time to get a residential solar system if you have been wondering about them.
Now that you are aware of all your options and advantages, what is the best option available in the market?
GoRunSolar is a leading retailer of solar systems and solutions all over Australia. We offer services in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Ipswich. From residential solar systems to commercial ones, we cover everything which includes the paperwork for the respective rebates that you are eligible for.
All our professionals are CEC accredited and have years of experience. Our solar panels have a 25-year warranty on them and are fit for all sizes & purposes. We can help you reduce your carbon footprints, minimize the bills, get the best discount & rebates available for your respective system, all the while keeping your budget in mind. Our services don’t stop once the system is up & running, if you are facing any issues with the system then we provide post-installation services as well.We offer a free on-site inspection before commenting on anything, so if you are wondering where to start give us a call at <INSERT NUMBER OR CTA>. For more details, please <INSERT WEBSITE>.