What is a Solar PV system?
Photovoltaic (often abbreviated as “PV”) is a scientific term used in the solar power industry to describe the process and effect that the sun’s rays have with your solar panels to create electricity.
Your solar panels are made of individual cells with negatively-charged and positively-charged wafers. When light hits the cells, it energizes electrons from the negatively-charged wafers that flow as an electrical current through the conductor to the positively-charged wafers. This current can then be used to power loads that are connected to this conductor.
How much does a solar system cost?
The price of solar systems has dropped dramatically over the past few years, making it an increasingly attractive option for homes and businesses. The upfront cost of your solar PV system is affected by a number of different factors, including:
- Sun Icon government incentives and support schemes available
- Sun Icon contractor installation costs
- Sun Icon type and number of solar panels, which affect the output of your system in kilowatts (kW)
- Sun Icon type and size of inverter
- Sun Icon type of framing equipment and other system components
- Sun Icon height and accessibility of roof and whether it is tiled, metal or concrete
- Sun Icon any after-sales service agreements
As a very rough guide, the total cost of getting a home solar system up and running is between $2500 (for a small 1.5 kW system) and $11,500 (for a top-of-the-line 5 kW system). For businesses, the approximate cost of installing solar ranges from around $15,000 (for a 10kW system) to more than $200,000 (for a high-capacity 100 kW system).
Are German manufactured panels and inverters better than ones manufactured in Asia?
No, many world-class panels and inverters are now manufactured in Asia, just like components and technology for other industries. As technology gets better around the world, any tech giants of today source their manufacturing from all parts of Asia. Many of the parts for Apple products are sourced from different parts of Asia.
What does the inverter do?
An inverter converts the DC electricity generated by your solar panels into AC electricity that can be used in your home and fed back into the electricity grid.
What is the difference between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline solar panels?
Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline (or ‘multicrystalline’) solar panels. Although monocrystalline panels had the initial advantage of being seen as the superior technology in the Australian market, as time goes on and both technologies improve, it becomes increasingly apparent that the the quality and reliability of the manufacturer is far more important than which of the two technologies is chosen.
Typically Monocrystalline solar cell is a dark black colour, and the corners of cells are usually missing as a result of the production process and the physical nature of monocrystalline silicon.
Polycrystalline, on the other hand, is identifieable by its signature light or dark blue colour, but not uniformly so: some patches are lighter than others. The differences in appearance come about as a result of the manufacturing process.
How much money will I save with Solar Panels?
The amount of money your household will save on power bills by going solar is affected by a number of factors, including:
- Sun IconYour energy consumption and the size of your solar power system – if you use more power than your system is capable of producing, your savings will be reduced. This can be avoided by choosing the right-sized system for your needs.
- Sun IconYour feed-in tariff – this is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any excess power your solar panels generate.
- Sun IconYour usage patterns – solar panels can only generate electricity while the sun is shining. This means that households that use a lot of power during the day may attract greater savings than those that consume most of their power at night. However, you will still receive a feed-in tariff for any excess electricity you generate during the day.
- Sun IconWhere you live – Some areas of Australia receive a lot more sunlight than others. Also, solar panels perform optimally at 25 degree celsius and are tested at that temperature. As temperature goes higher than 25 degrees, there is loss of energy as heat. Read more about Temperature Coefficient of Solar Panels here.
Businesses have a couple of other things to take into account, including the tax implications of any revenue received from feed-in tariffs.
How can I check if my panels and inverter are approved by the Clean Energy Council?
The Clean energy council keeps a list of approved solar modules and inverters and it can be accessed at solaraccreditation.com.au
What is a solar feed-in-tariff?
A feed-in-tariff is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any electricity your solar PV system generates that you don’t use, and is instead fed back into the grid.