How Does Solar Energy Work?
Sunlight reaches a solar panel and causes the release of electrons in the silicon cell. These electrons then flow into wires known as ‘bus-bars’ that are placed on-top of or beneath the silicon cell. The flow of these electrons is known as D.C (direct current) electricity. Every panel is then connected up together and the D.C electricity flows into a solar inverter that converts the D.C into usable 240 volt A.C electricity. This is the same electricity that powers everything in your house.
Do I Have To Go Off The Grid When I Switch To Solar?
Absolutely not. There are two types of solar system. On-Grid solar and Off-Grid solar. They are actually quite different to each other and serve very different purposes.
An On-Grid solar system is the most common type of solar. It’s what you see driving around the CBD or in residential areas. On-Grid involves your inverter being tied directly to the grid. This means the inverter is constantly syncing up with the grid to make sure that it sends back power that is in sync with the grid. If you get a blackout, the inverter will actually turn off as it requires power to operate. This is a slight downside, but the rarity of blackouts and the huge benefit that solar provides definitely outweighs this con.
An Off-Grid solar system is usually installed in rural areas where the grid isn’t connected to the property. An Off-Grid system requires a special type of inverter that is able to run off a generator or battery power. Off-Grid Solar is usually very expensive in comparison to On-Grid Solar, and this is because of the need for a special inverter and a back-up generator. This cost however is usually less than upgrading the mains connection and upgrading the transformer near your property. Off-Grid solar is a very popular option for many rural Armidale and greater New England residents.
Do I Have To Clean My Solar Panels?
Solar panels can build up dust and debri over time. It is recommended to have your panels cleaned once per year in order to maximise their performance.
How Much Can I Expect To Save?
The savings from a solar system depends upon the size of the system, the quality of the components and installation, as well as the energy usage in the house. Here’s a rough guide based on ideal solar conditions and accessing the best solar feed-in tariffs.
5kW – $300 – $500 per quarter
6kW – $350 – $550 per quarter
8kW – $500 – $700 per quarter
10kW – $600 – $850 per quarter
13.2kW – $850 – $1200 per quarter
How Much Does Solar Cost?
The cost of a solar system depends on the components selected, as well as the rebate offered for that system size. The Clean Energy Council recommends that a solar system be between the following ranges.
2kW $3500 – $6000
3kW $4500 – $7500
4kW $5500 – $9500
5kW $7000 – $10,500
10kW $13,500 – $26,000
An entry level solar system will be at the start of this range, with better products representing the top end of the range.
Are There Still Any Rebates From The Government?
The Federal Government is still offering a generous subsidy to homeowners installing solar on their properties. The size of this subsidy depends upon your location and the size of the system installed.
For a standard residential sized system of 6kW, you would expect to attract around $4000 in solar subsidies.
It is standard practice for your solar company to claim this on your behalf at the point of sale and take this figure off the total system price. This is because it can take months for a homeowner to claim their own rebate, whereas a solar company will be claiming rebates daily and have access to better submission methods, meaning that it can be claimed faster and for a better amount.
How Much Money Do I Get For Sending Solar Back To The Grid?
At the time of writing, Origin and AGL are both offering 20 cents feed in per kilowatt hour sent back to the grid.
This is the best feed-in tariff available. Other companies will generally offer around 10 cents.
We advise all of our customers to take advantage of the 20 cent offers while they still exist.
Do I Need Permission To Connect Solar?
Armidale is located within Essential Energy’s supply network. This means that every solar system is required to have an approval to connect. We do this application for you as a part of our service.
How Soon Will I Notice A Difference On My Bill?
It is likely that you will notice a difference on your very next bill, provided that you aren’t too far into the current metering period. If you are close to a meter read when your solar is installed, expect the following energy bill to be much lower.
Will Solar Increase The Value Of My Property?
It is suggested that solar may increase the value of a property by upwards of $10,000 or more. Retirees are now valuing solar systems more highly when considering a property purchase. Adding solar to your property certainly wont hurt!
How Does Solar Help The Environment?
Installing solar on your property reduces the amount of coal and fuel burnt to generate power to supply your home.
If you were to install a 5kW system for example, it would be the equivalent of planting 160 trees per year! Not only this, but you would be reducing the amount of fuel burnt by 2654 litres per year. You would also be stopping 3017 kilograms of coal being burnt per year. You have the potential to make a real difference by installing solar!