Solar questions

Common Solar Questions, Answered!

1. If you are not at home throughout the day, is there any sense in having solar?

Even if you’re not home during the day, your house is never totally turned off, it’s still drawing electricity. Solar electricity that you don’t use within the household is sold to the grid, so there are some decent feed-in tariffs available to take advantage of. The Feed-in tariffs themselves vary between energy retailers, as discussed below.

2. The Solar Incentive has ended. Is Solar still worth it?

There is a common misconception that an incentive and a feed-in tariff are the same thing and offer the same reductions.

The STC scheme, which is the government incentive, reduces the cost of a solar system by the STCs being issued to qualifying solar power systems and solar panels. Then redeemed for a dollar value that is deducted from the cost of the solar system. The value of an STC at any one time depends on market conditions.
When you purchase a solar power system most companies have already discounted this value for you in your solar quote. That’s because they take over the hassle of registering and selling the STCs on the market from you. We give you a point of sale discount based on your STCs.

On the day of installation, you assign the STCs over to us, then we complete the registration of these certificates with the Clean Energy Council on your behalf and eventually recoup their value. You don’t have to wait for this to happen, we do. You get an immediate deduction in cost.

The Energy retailers on the other hand were offering high feed-in tariffs three to four years ago. Throughout Queensland, for example, you could receive 44 to 60 cents a kilowatt hour, which has now ended. The feed-in tariffs are also now industry based, varying from 7 to 20 cents.

3. How many solar panels should I get?

This all depends on how you use your power, or more accurately how you can use your power. If there is someone home all-day doing chores throughout the day you can get away with less panels. 3.5kW is the lowest I would normally recommend in a house. That size would allow them to cover their baseline, fridge, freezer, tv, that sort of thing, and still have one big appliance running. That may be a dishwasher, washing machine, dryer but not 2 of those at the same time.

If, however when you do the chores you get in and do everything in one hit you will need more panels to make sure you aren’t purchasing your power from the network.

Having said that, if you have 1 overly big appliance, say a big air conditioning unit or a pool, you would be better off going with a larger system because you don’t want to find that you have to choose between keeping cool or having clean clothes tomorrow.

This is the type of thing people do not normally think about and companies do not mention. They assume that you are the “average household”. We have personally always hated “average”, averages can be handy, but an individual is never in line with the average. Everyone has their own way of doing things that no one else quite matches.

4. Does Solar still work in a Blackout?

Generally, solar systems do not operate in blackouts without designated batteries for that specific situation. So most solar systems won’t operate during an outage without batteries, and whether you have a battery or not, if the sun falls behind a cloud, you’re going to lose power production.

The reason behind the system not running is due to the system transporting surplus electricity back to the grid. This becomes a danger and high-risk factor to each electricity line and electrical worker operating between you and the power plant. To prevent any harm, the system shuts off until the grid line is safe and secure.



Tamika Brettell

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