Frequently Asked Questions

What is Solar?

Solar energy is energy generated by the conversion of light which is radiated by the sun. Solar products use this free energy and convert it into usable sources of power for you. Solar products are a clean, green, renewable and quiet source of power that last for many years.

What are the benefits of solar power?

A Solar Australia Solar Power System:

  • Reduces the amount of energy you need to purchase from your energy retailer
  • Provides clean, green, renewable and quiet energy generation
  • Protects you against future energy price increases
  • Increases the value of your property
  • Creates a healthy solar industry, benefiting our Australian economy through local employment
  • Reduces peak electricity demand and our carbon footprint, providing a brighter future for generations to come

Why should I choose Solar Australia?
  • Custom-designed solar solutions: We design each system to meet your individual needs
  • 5 years workmanship warranty: We offer industry-leading warranty terms
  • Expert installation teams: Our installation crews are fully Clean Energy Council Accredited, have installed over 20,000 solar systems and come recommended by leading energy authorities
  • High quality panels and equipment: We source only the best quality panels and equipment available on today’s market so you have the assurance of quality that comes with a Solar Australia installation
  • Well established and here to stay: We are a well-established, local company with a reputation built upon the best products and services
  • We offer a complete service: Advice, Design, Supply and Installation

How much solar do I need for my home?

Solar is not an off-the-shelf product. Our friendly Site Inspectors will assess your family’s energy requirements and provide an obligation-free quotation on a customised PV system, designed to meet your specific needs. Click here to compare solar panel options.

What is a solar power (Photovoltaic or PV) system?

A Photovoltaic (PV) system consists of an array of solar panels which are designed to convert the sun’s radiant light into electricity. These panels are connected to a solar power inverter which converts the electricity produced by the panels into usable power.

How does solar work?

The sun’s rays hit the solar panels which creates DC electricity. This electricity flows through the cabling into the solar power inverter, which converts the DC into AC electricity which can be used by common appliances.

In a grid-connected solar PV system, this AC electricity flows into the bidirectional (net) meter at the property which then sends the power into the property as free electricity. If power is being consumed at that point in time then this free power supplements the supply to the property, reducing the amount of power being purchased.

If the solar PV system produces more power than is required, this excess power flows back out into the grid or into your solar battery if you have one. For more information visit How Solar Works.

Do I still need grid power supply?

Your Solar PV array will supplement your grid power supply. This means that in a suburban residential setting, you will need grid supply for your non-daylight energy consumption as well as any usage in excess of your PV array’s supply. Your PV array will REDUCE the amount of energy drawn from the grid during solar hours.

If you produce more energy from your PV array than your household requires, then the excess energy is fed back into the grid. Retailers will pay you around 12 cents per kW (this may vary between retailers).

What happens with my Solar PV system at night?

At night time, your PV array will shut down and your inverter will go to sleep. During this time your household’s energy consumption will be drawn from the grid. In the morning when the sun hits the PV array, your inverter will wake up again and start producing clean, free energy for your home.

What happens on cloudy days?

On cloudy days, your PV array will still produce free energy, albeit at a reduced efficiency due to the diffusing effect of the cloud cover. You can monitor your PV array’s production by accessing the display panel on your Solar PV Inverter. Solar Australia will provide you with an annualised daily estimate of solar production which takes into account normal periods of overcast weather and this Clean Energy Council accredited Design Summary will be provided to you upon installation.

What happens in a blackout?

When the grid supply voltage drops to zero (as in a blackout), your Solar PV Inverter’s safety function disables your Inverter so that it is safe for linesman to repair the fault. When the grid voltage returns to normal parameters your Solar PV Inverter re-activates so that you can start benefitting from free energy again.

A solution for customers in areas prone to blackouts is a grid-connected battery backup system which uses the solar panels to charge a bank of batteries for when the grid voltage drops to zero (blackout). Your power supply will then switch over to the batteries to run your essential household appliances, uninterrupted by power outages.

Where should the solar panels be located?

Solar panels can be located on your roof or on the ground, depending on your individual requirements. Roof top solar panels are more common and generally should be located on the north or west facing aspect of a structure.

What is solar battery storage?

When you install a solar battery, the excess energy your solar panels generate will be sent to your battery. This stores the sun’s energy throughout the day, often when you are at work. You can then schedule your battery to deliver the stored power to your house when you need it most, such as peak times in the night when the sun has gone down.

This puts you in control of your power and drastically reduces your power bills.

What does a Solar Battery look like?

There are various shapes and sizes. A battery for a residential home can resemble that of a small fridge, portable air conditioner or computer tower. For commercial applications the units can be on a larger scale.

What are the benefits of Battery Storage?
  • Maximise savings – store your solar energy and use it more efficiently
  • Offset reduced consumer feed-in tariffs – use stored power to avoid drawing from the grid at peak times when electricity is most expensive.
  • Protect from interruption of supply – storms and heat waves can often disrupt grid supply

Is Battery Storage safe?

If used properly and maintained; Battery Storage is considered perfectly safe. Of course there are potential risks, however they are no different to the many electrical hazards already present in the average home.

What is the difference between AC and DC?

The power that you draw from a power point is called AC (alternating current). Solar Panels and Batteries produce DC (direct current).

A typical Solar Storage Solution will produce DC power. The DC power is then converted to AC via the inverter, to make it compatible with the appliances in your home.

What size Battery do I need?

Residential Battery Storage Systems typically range from 3 to 14 kWh in size and commercial (small scale) can range up to 200kWh. Various influences can affect the suitable size:

  • Financial budget
  • Average household energy consumption
  • Size of Solar Panel system
  • Weather conditions
  • Intentions of use (supplement or self-sufficient)

Can I take my Battery if I move house?

It is possible to take a Battery if you decide to move houses, in the same way that solar panels can be moved.

The system must be removed and re-installed by an accredited installer in order maintain warranty.

Does my Battery require maintenance?

Most battery maintenance is not complicated, however it is important for ensuring that your system is performing to it’s best ability.

As it is good practice to carry out visual checks on your inverter, it is also a good idea to do the same with your Battery Storage. If you notice that something doesn’t look right, then please call our Battery Support Line on 1300 027 077.

What is the difference between solar hot water system and solar panels?
  • A solar hot water system uses the sun’s free energy to heat a premises hot water supply.
  • A solar system uses the sun’s free energy to create electricity for the premises.
  • The two are separate systems with different components.
  • The collectors used for this purpose are called Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels.

How does solar hot water work?

With a roof mounted solar collector, the sun’s radiant heat hits the solar hot water collector and heats the hot water collector. This heat is transferred into the liquid (potable water or glycol) to then be stored (potable water) or transfer the heat into your potable water supply for later use. Often a backup electrical element supplements this heating process during winter or periods of low solar irradiation and high hot water demand.

A Heat Pump solar hot water system operates similar to a household air conditioner or refrigerator (in reverse). Air is drawn into the heat pump with a fan and then through an evaporator which contains a special type of refrigerant. This refrigerant, R134a has a boiling point of -21oC, meaning that your heat pump will still function in extremely cold conditions. The refrigerant, now in gaseous form, is then compressed by the heat pump, which generates an incredible amount of heat. This heat is then transferred into the storage tank, heating your household’s water supply for later use. Since the heat has been extracted from the refrigerant, the cool liquid returns to the evaporator to start the process all over again. To learn more about our range of solar hot water products visit Solar Hot Water.

How much energy will I save with solar hot water?

The amount of energy you will save varies; based on your location, water usage, and type of system you install. On average, an electric hot water system accounts for about 30% of your total household energy usage. Installing a solar hot water system will save you up to 80% of the energy used by your existing electric hot water unit.

What are the benefits of solar hot water?
  • SAVE up to 80% on your water heating bills
  • REDUCE your household carbon emissions
  • INCREASE the value of your home or property and;
  • PRODUCE free hot water from the sun.

What are the different types of solar hot water systems?

The main solar hot water technologies currently available in Australia are heat pump solar hot water, flat panel solar hot water and evacuated tube solar hot water. For more information visit our Solar Hot Water page.

What are the benefits of evacuated tube solar hot water?
  • Evacuated tubes passively track the sun – the curved nature of the tube collector means that this system can function efficiently on east and west roof aspects, providing more flexibility with installation
  • 15 year warranty on major components
  • Lightweight and durable design – no heavy tanks or collectors on your roof
  • Excellent cold weather performance
  • Frost protected without the use of glycol
  • Low maintenance design Up to 80% energy savings when compared to electric storage hot water heating

What are the benefits of heat pump solar hot water?
  • Do not need direct sunlight to work efficiently – uses ambient thermal air temperature to heat your water
  • Are ground mounted with no materials on your roof
  • Can save up to 75% of your household hot water’s energy consumption when compared to electric storage hot water heating
  • Can come in a single-piece, all-in-one design for easy installation
  • Indoor installation available (for a room of air volume >13m3)
  • Active defrost function for colder climates

Which is the correct solar hot water system for me?

Our qualified Solar Consultant will come to your property, assess your requirements and provide a free, no obligation quote on the correct system. Click here to book your free site inspection.

What is the difference between a Gross Meter and Net Meter?

A Gross Meter sends all the solar electricity generated back to the grid, bypassing the property. This means you pay for all the energy you use in your
household – and receive a payment (or a ‘feed-in tariff’) for the solar energy your system feeds back into the grid.

A Net Meter sends energy to your household first, before sending the excess energy back into the grid. That means only solar energy that’s not used in your home is sent to the grid – and you receive a payment (or ‘feed-in tariff’) for that excess.

Since the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme expired on the 31st of December 2016 all homes and businesses are fitted with a Net Metering system to ensure you get the most from your solar system.

When should I get the meter changed?

We recommend that you get your gross meter changed as soon as possible. If you haven’t done so already please give your energy retailer or Solar Australia a call to get you switched over.

What will happen if I don’t do anything and leave my solar as it is, with a gross meter?

If no changes are made to your solar system will continue to send all your free energy back to the grid and you will be paid five cents per kilowatt hour. You will then be paying your energy provider 26 – 47 cents per kilowatt hour for the power you use through the day.

What rebate will I get from my provider?

It depends on your energy provider. Most electricity retail companies pay for the solar energy created and sent back to the grid. This will generally be around 12 cents per kW (this may vary between retailers), reducing your power bill further.

What if my switch board (meter box) needs to be upgraded

It is a requirement in Australia that we keep everyone safe – our employees and your family. When electrical work is performed at a property the switch board (meter box) either needs to be to an Australian Standard or brought to the Australian Standard before work commences. Because requirements can differ from property to property we are unable to quote over the phone without seeing the switch board (meter box) first.

Do we need to worry about FiTs?

A correctly designed system will utilise a high percentage of generated power in-house. If solar generation is sent back to the grid most electricity retail companies pay for the solar energy created rates can vary depending on size of system and energy retailer.

Is it worthwhile doing?

It costs considerably less to generate your own solar power than to purchase it from the grid. Call us today to speak with one of our friendly consultants about the any benefits of solar power for your business.