FAQ

Why Should I Go Solar?

What are the financial benefits of solar energy?

When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future.

What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?

As the name implies, solar panels use sunlight as the source for the energy they generate, making it a 100% clean alternative to traditional fossil-fuel energy and drastically reducing the overall negative impact on the environment.

How do I find out how much I pay for electricity?

You can check your regular power bill and make a simple calculation of the total price divided by your hourly consumption rate. You can also contact us and we will gladly assist you in solving any energy-related doubts.

How does solar impact my property values?

Being owner to a solar-cell arrangement increases the value for your property dramatically in relation to its size, since you can factor into negotiations a decrease or full elimination of the expected payment in electricity bills, a basic service nobody could avoid paying otherwise.

What is net metering?

Net metering is an enabling policy to store self-generated electricity for later use, instead of being forced to use energy the moment it is produced. It also includes local policies for paying back any excess energy fed back into the state electricity grid.

How much does it cost to install solar panels?

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:

  • government incentives and support schemes available
  • contractor installation costs
  • type and number of solar panels, which affect the output of your system in kilowatts (kW)
  • type and size of inverter (the part of the system that converts the electrical output of your solar panels into AC electricity for use in your home or business)
  • type of framing equipment and other system components
  • height and accessibility of roof and whether it is tiled, metal or concrete
  • 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).

For more on the costs involved in going solar, refer to our guide to installing solar for households or businesses.

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:

  • Your 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.
  • Your feed-in tariff– this is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any excess power your solar panels generate.
  • Your 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.
  • Where you live– some areas of Australia receive a lot more sunlight than others, so a solar PV system in Brisbane will usually generate more power than one in Hobart.

Businesses have a couple of other things to take into account, including the tax implications of any revenue received from feed-in tariffs.

A Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer must provide a site-specific estimate of your system’s energy generation. Many solar companies will also calculate the impact this has on your bill.

For more information on the factors that affect solar savings, download our free guide to installing solar for households or businesses.

What is a solar feed-in tariff (FiT)?

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.

Feed-in tariffs differ between states and retailers – our guides to installing solar PV for households and businesses have more details.

What is a small-scale technology certificate (STC)?

STCs are government incentives that help reduce the upfront cost of installing your solar PV system. The value of STCs your system receives differs depending on its size and location.

To be eligible for STCs, your solar system must be installed by Clean Energy Council accredited installer.

For more information on STCs, visit the Clean Energy Regulator website or download our guide for households or businesses.

How can I select a reputable solar retailer?

There are two ways to ensure you are buying your solar PV system from a reliable retailer:

  1. Choose a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer.

Approved retailers have signed the Solar PV Retailer Code of Conduct, which means they are committed to ethical sales and marketing activity, use high-quality components and will guarantee the operation of your system for at least five years.

You can trust an Approved Solar Retailer to handle every part of the process involved in installing solar, from planning the best system for your needs to helping you get it connected to the grid.

Find an Approved Solar Retailer in your area.

  1. Shop around and do your research.

Before you select a system, make sure you talk to multiple solar retailers about your options and obtain several quotes.

For advice on things to watch out for and useful questions to ask, visit finding a solar retailer or download our guide to installing solar for households or businesses.

How can I tell if my installer is accredited?

If you’re buying from an Approved Solar Retailer, you can rest assured that your system’s installers are accredited by the Clean Energy Council.

If you’re not buying from an approved retailer, you should ask to see your installer’s accreditation card:

Where can I find a list of approved solar PV modules and inverters?

The Clean Energy Council maintains a list of all solar modules and inverters that meet Australian Standards for use in the design and installation of solar PV systems. Only systems that use products from the approved lists are entitled to rebates in the form of small-scale technology certificates (STCs).

Please note that the Clean Energy Council does not certify modules and inverters directly. For a product to be included on our approved lists, the manufacturer must provide a certificate of compliance from a recognised certifying body.

Can I recycle my solar panels?

Reclaim PV Recycling operates an Australian solar panel take back and reclaiming scheme throughout Australia. Reclaim PV has announced recycling partnerships with panel suppliers Suntech, Yingli Solar and Canadian Solar.

When you are buying your solar panels, check with your supplier whether they have a recycling program in place.

Does the Clean Energy Council door-knock or call consumers?

No. The Clean Energy Council does not door-knock or call consumers.

We understand how frustrating it can be for people when someone knocks on your door or calls your phone to try selling you something. The Clean Energy Council does not sell any solar products. We work with the renewable energy industry and do not contact consumers.

If a company contacts you and says they are from, or affiliated with, the Clean Energy Council, they are not. We suggest you report these people to your state consumer affairs agency (listed on our website). If your number is on the Do Not Call register, you can also report the matter to ACMA. If you would like to find out more about buying solar, have a look at the consumer information on our website or speak to an Approved Solar Retailer. 

Solar Safety And Reliability

Is solar power safe?

The Australian solar industry is well regulated and safe.

Solar panels and inverters sold in this country must comply with a range of standards that maximise safety and reliability. The Clean Energy Council maintains a list of currently approved solar panel modules and inverters.

The Clean Energy Council’s Solar Accreditation scheme ensures that the people who design and install solar PV systems are across all the latest safety requirements. Accredited installers are qualified electricians who have undergone additional training and assessment in the installation of solar PV systems. Systems must be installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer to be eligible for small-scale technology certificates (STCs). 

Initiatives such as the Clean Energy Council’s Approved Solar Retailer scheme are also ensuring that the Australian solar PV sector stays safe and reliable. 

To keep your system running safely and effectively for many years, you will need to maintain it correctly. See our after installing solar PV section for details on inspecting, maintaining and upgrading your system.

Do solar panels work at night or during cloudy weather?

Solar panels do not generate power at night. Once the sun goes down, your home or business will start to draw power from the main grid as usual.

Solar panels still work on a cloudy day; however they will not generate as much electricity as when the weather is clear and sunny.

What should I do if my solar PV system stops working?

If your solar PV system is still under warranty, you should contact the retailer you purchased your system from to arrange repairs. If you bought from a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer, you can rest assured that every part of your system is covered under warranty for at least five years.

If your system is out of warranty, you should contact your retailer or an accredited solar installer. However, you may be responsible for the cost of any repairs.

For more information on what to do if your system stops working, refer to solar PV warranties, complaints and disputes.

How can I make a complaint against a solar installer or retailer?

If you have a faulty workmanship complaint about an individual Clean Energy Council accredited installer, you can lodge your dispute with us online.

If you have a complaint against a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer, please fill complete the retailer complaints form. Approved Solar Retailers have signed the Clean Energy Council’s Solar PV Retailer Code of Conduct, meaning they are committed to responsible sales and marketing activities and solar industry best practice.

Please note that we are unable to take action against solar retailers that have not signed the Solar PV Retailer Code of Conduct – in this situation, please contact the Fair Trading office in your state.

For more information see solar PV warranties, complaints and disputes.

Is Solar Power Worth It in 2019?

Good quality solar power systems have never been so affordable and this year we will see many households add battery storage to their system to store excess solar power that can be used in the evening. We are now installing 365W solar panels, a huge improvement from the standard 250W panel we were installing only two years ago. If you have been considering solar, 2019 is the year you should seriously consider getting a solar power system installed.

Let’s answer these questions to help you work out not only if solar power is worth it but what size system will be the best fit for your household.

Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs)

Small-scale Technology Certificates (STC’s) – previously known as Renewable Energy Certificates or RECS – are created when a Renewable Energy System such as a Solar PV system is installed.

The number of STC’s depends on the size of the system and therefore the amount of energy generated. In essence, one STC is created for every megawatt-hour of production capability of the system. In simplistic terms, a 2kW solar system would be expected to generate between 2.4MW and 2.9 MW per year depending on location.

This is further multiplied by the number of years the system is likely to generate energy (for home solar systems, this is usually 15 years, although the life of the solar panels themselves is considerably more than that).

 

System Output

STC’s

Rebate*

2kW

41

$1,435

3kW

62

$2,170

5kW

103

$3,605

How Do Solar Panels Work For My Home?

How do solar photovoltaic (PV) panels work?

Photovoltaic Solar Panels absorb sunlight as a source of energy to generate electricity. They are arranged over roofs and open spaces according to local Sun conditions to maximise the gains, constituting a photovoltaic system that stores energy into a battery, for any use no different from a regular contracted energy service.

What does this mean for me?

Your solar power installer will normally reduce the purchase price of the system by the value of the STCs created by your system. There is no additional paperwork, and you receive the value of the STCs at the current market price.

STC Price

The system for trading and pricing STCs for small systems is managed by the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).
STCs are bought by Liable Parties (usually electricity retailers) and must be surrendered at the end of each quarter. As the number of STCs that are required to be surrendered is a fixed amount each year, but the number of STCs created is variable, the price paid for STCs also varies and is determined by supply and demand. The Federal Government legislated in 2010 a fixed price for STCs by implementing a Clearing House system where STCs can be bought and sold for $40. However, there is no requirement for Liable Parties to purchase from the Clearing House, so they are likely to only do so if there is a shortage of STCs or the market price exceeds $40.There is currently a surplus of STCs in the market which means the market price of STC’s below $40.

Feed in Tariff

In NT all new grid connected solar systems have Net Metering, where the solar power that is generated is fed into the home to help reduce your reliance on the grid. Because electricity has to be used immediately, any power that is not used in the home is automatically fed out to the grid. This power is bought by your energy retailer and you are paid a feed-in tariff, which is reflected on your power bill.

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