Frequently asked questions

Why should you make the switch to solar?

There are many reasons why you should make the switch to solar including:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint – by joining the 20% of Australian homes who already use solar energy, you’re helping us to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and mining.
  • Save on your electricity bills – with a solar system, your energy comes from sunlight, which Australia gets an abundance of. You can even sell any excess energy back to the grid.

How does solar work?

Sunlight is partially made up of photons, which are the smallest measurable units of light energy. When these photons touch your solar panels, the panels then generate electricity. An inverter built into the panels converts this into a current, which makes the energy usable in your home. Any excess energy converted by your solar panels can be ‘sold back’ into the electricity grid or diverted to a battery storage system.

How much does a typical solar system cost?

The price of an average 5kW solar system has fallen by over 50% in the last six years, even without government subsidies in place. As a rough guide, the average 5kW system costs around $6,000 after the Federal rebate (but before State rebates and loans*).

*Currently, the Victorian State Government is providing a rebate of up to $1,850 and an interest-free loan of $1,850 for eligible solar systems.

How does the Australian Government solar incentive work?

The Australian Government provides incentives for solar systems, both small and large under the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The RET then incentivise the installation of small-scale solar systems under the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).

The SRES was developed to assist households, small businesses, and community groups with the cost of installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The SRES works by issuing Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) to homes and businesses that install systems under 100 kilowatts (kW) in terms of the DC Solar Panel capacity. The STCs are officially created once an accredited solar installer has commissioned the system.

How are STCs calculated?

STCs are based on the expected output of the solar system until 2030, when the rebate will cease. One STC is the equivalent of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy. So to calculate your STCs, you will need to calculate how many MWh are produced by your system each year until 2030.

The key thing for solar system purchasers to know is that installers assume responsibility for STCs. This means that you do not have to worry about how much you’ll be able to claim back as a ‘rebate’, rather the STC incentive will be presented in the form of a ‘discount’ directly to the price of your system



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Are you eligible to receive the Victorian Government solar rebate and loan?

Victorian households are eligible to receive a rebate and loan for installing a solar (PV) system if:

  • they are the owner-occupier of the property
  • the owners have a combined household income of under $180,000 per year
  • it is an existing property, valued at under $3 million
  • they do not have an existing solar PV system

How much is the Victorian Government solar rebate and loan?

Eligible Victorian householders can apply for a rebate (of up to $1,850) and an interest-free loan (of up to $1,850) to complement the Australian Government (STC) incentive.

How long will it take to install your solar system?

Depending on weather and the size of the solar system, it usually takes 1 to 3 days to complete the installation of a new system.

How long does a solar system last?

A solar system should last between 25-30 years, keeping in mind that the efficiency of the system is likely to decline over that period, particularly as years progress. In saying that, all systems usually come with a long and comprehensive warranty that covers both parts and performance.

How many panels will you need?

A typical family home uses 20kWh of energy a day, so in this instance a 5kW solar system (or about 15-20 panels) would meet most of this house’s needs. A 5kW system measures around 35m2, or 7m x 5m.

Where should you place your solar panels?

If you have enough space on your house or shed roof, north-facing usually works best in the Southern hemisphere. However, you can still catch enough sunlight on east or west-facing panels depending on the time of day. For example, systems with west-facing panels receive the most sunlight in the late afternoon, while east-facing panels receive more in the morning. Before picking out a space on your roof, make sure there isn’t any shade in the way. Shade can be caused by a taller property nearby, a large tree in front of your house, or even a fast-growing hedge by the side of your property

How do you save money on your power bills with a solar system?

Solar energy could help to cut your energy bills in two ways:

  1. Using solar energy lowers your dependence on your energy provider which helps to reduce your energy bills. You can also make conscious steps to reduce your energy consumption so that your house runs predominately on solar energy.
  2. If your panels produce more energy than you use, excess energy can be ‘sold back’ to the electricity grid. This is known as a feed-in tariff and may help you to offset your overall energy expenses. Most tariffs are around 8-15 cents per kWh (1 kWh is roughly equivalent to running a dishwasher for an hour, or watching a plasma TV for 3 hours).

How much money will you save with a solar system?

This depends on:

  • How much energy you use on average
  • When you use that energy
  • The feed-in tariff rate in your State
  • The size of the solar system you install
  • Where you live

So, let’s assume you’re paying 30c per kWh right now. If you use all of the solar power you generate, you could easily save $3,000 every year on your electricity bills. That would mean the solar system could start paying for itself in just 2-3 years.

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Will a solar system negatively affect the value of my property?

It is likely that the addition of a solar system will increase the value of your property, rather than reduce it. That is because a solar system presents as an asset to your household, whereby it helps to save you money by reducing your electricity bills.

Will my electricity be ‘weaker’ with solar?

No, the electricity generated from a solar system is identical to electricity drawn from the grid. That is why any excess electricity produced by your solar system can be ‘sold back’ to the grid.

Will my hot water temperature be affected?

No, the temperature of your hot water will be unchanged following the installation of a solar system. A solar system does not affect your home appliances and devices.

Will I run out of electricity with solar, particularly at night?

No, you will never run out of electricity following the installation of a solar system because you will still be connected to the grid. That means when there is insufficient electricity generated from your solar system, such as at night, you will begin to draw electricity from the grid, rather than your solar system.

What happens with a power outage?

When there is a power outage your grid-connected solar system will (by law) automatically shut down for safety reasons. In saying that, should you opt to install an off-grid system or equip your system with battery storage, then your home could continue to receive power even when there is a power outage.

Can you switch off your solar system?

Yes, your solar system has inbuilt isolator points which are there for safety and also used to control your system. That means, you can fully isolate and switch off your solar system as needed. In saying that, you must be mindful of the correct operating procedure of your system. Each system is different, and manufacturers usually specify how to switch off the system on the front cover of the inverter.

How does a battery work with solar?

A battery equipped solar system will enable you to capture and store energy for a future use. For example, when the sun is shining during the day, if you don’t manage to use all the power created by your solar system, then it could be stored in your battery, rather than fed back (‘sold back’) into the grid. The ‘feed-in’ tariff for most States is usually much lower than the ‘draw-out’ tariff so it makes sense to store solar energy with a battery.

Can you buy a battery for your solar system at a later date?

Yes, you can usually equip your solar system with a battery at a later date, however, this will depend on your inverter type. In saying that, a hybrid inverter can easily allow for the connection of a battery, however, a standard inverter will require additional componentry in order to facilitate the connection of a battery.

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