FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much should I be paying for a solar system to be installed on my roof?
That is a very general question and will depend on a few factors:
The size of the system you need which is dependent on how much energy you use during the daytime and the available roof space.
The distance between where the solar inverter will be installed and the location of your meter box.
The type of roof you have and the building height (tin or tile roof and single or multi-story).
The installation location (remote areas may attract additional cost).
The market value of small-scale technology certificates (STCs) which will effect how much discount you receive upfront under the Government's Solar Incentive Scheme.
The total cost to install a solar system also depends on factors such as the type of system (grid-connect/off-grid), the products (panels, inverters, batteries, mounting equipment, electrical equipment) the size of the system (the number of panels and inverters to be installed), equipment hire needed (such as cranes or scissor lifts) and the complexity of the installation (such as large scale commercial systems that may require network protection devices to be installed, upgrades to existing electrical systems, engineer certification etc). All installations are carried out by fully licensed Clean Energy Council accredited installers.
This is some general pricing for complete solar systems, fully installed, which is calculated after the Government Solar Incentive discount has been applied:
3kW System: $3,500 - $5,000
5kW System: $5,000 - $7,500
10kW System: $9,500 - $13,000
Will I still have to pay for electricity after I install solar?
Yes. Solar only works during the daytime so unless you have added a battery storage system, you will still use power at night which you will be drawing from the electricity grid as usual, at approximately $0.28 cents per kWh used. There will also be meter and service charges from your electricity supplier. These charges are usually around 10% of your total bill.
Does solar work at night time?
The simple answer is No. You will need to install batteries alongside your solar system which will be charged by the solar panels during the day for your night time usage.
I have had Solar on my house for 5 years and it has worked out great, is it beneficial for my business as well?
Yes, definitely yes! Solar for business is fantastic. Most businesses consume up to 80% of their electricity during sunlight hours so the solar system will be supplying this power, rather than drawing it from the grid. The less power you draw from the grid, the less you have to pay the electricity company. In a lot of situations, solar will reduce a commercial electricity bill by as much as 70% which will give a return on investment of 2-2.5 years.
I have a solar company trying to sell me Chinese-made solar products, are they any good?
The short answer: there are good and bad products. It depends on a lot of different factors, some of which we cover on our products page.
Approximately 95% of all solar products (inverters/panels) are manufactured in China. This is not a bad thing, as manufacturing costs are often lower in China, which helps to make the products more affordable for the end customer, you! A lot of the world's leading solar companies manufacture their products (or components of them) in China. These companies have world class engineering, technology and quality control in operation, and environmental standards as good as any European manufacturing plant. It's a little like when you buy a car, Hyundai vs. Mercedes: the difference is in the engineering, quality and the warranty back up if something goes wrong.
In Australia, we have very stringent regulations and standards for solar products imported into the country. This is managed by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) which constantly monitors the quality standards. If manufacturers do not meet the standard, they are removed from the CEC approved list of solar panels and inverters.
Is it true that the Government subsidise some of the cost of the system up front?
Yes... although technically it is not 'subsidised' by the government, it is an incentive scheme created by the government to encourage home and business owners to install solar sooner rather than later. The incentive is based on Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) that are created when a solar power system is installed. The number of STCs issued depends on the size of the system and where in Australia it's installed. The $ value of these STCs fluctuates on a daily bases, depending on supply and demand.
Instead of system purchasers being faced with the hassle of claiming and redeeming the value of the certificates themselves, some solar companies, such as Swiss Solar, will calculate the value of the STCs for you and deduct the amount off the upfront cost of your system as a discount that you will see on your quote.
Be aware that the Government Solar Incentive Scheme began being phased out on the 1st of January 2017, and the next reduction will happen at the end of 2017. Currently, the scheme subsidies around 42% of the cost of a system. Swiss Solar give you the discount upfront and claim the subsidy on your behalf.
Is solar popular at the moment or are we just guinea pigs for a new industry?
Solar power has been around for many years and the technology has come a long way in a very short time.
The RET or Clean Energy Regulator posts statistics every month on the rate of solar installations across Australia. From January 2017 to April 2017 over 35,000 systems were installed in Australia with Queensland being the driving force with 10,070 installations. Today, 1 in 3 Queensland homes have rooftop solar panels. With electricity prices skyrocketing out of control, thousands of smart Australian home and business owners have made the switch to solar and are enjoying much lower electricity bills now, and for decades to come.