Most solar panels are made in Asia to high international standards. For example, don’t be misled by words like ‘German designed’, when in fact they are just assembled in Germany. Most solar cells and components for solar panels are manufactured in China and assembled either in China or somewhere else in the world.
Are there government incentives? There is an Australian government incentive for the property owner purchasing a solar hot water or solar power system. Most people call these a government ‘Rebate’ but in fact it is an incentive to purchase a solar product (carbon reducing appliance), a reward for reducing carbon emissions into the environment. The value of the incentive is reflected in a dollar value that is related to the size and type of solar system purchased and how much carbon emission it saves the environment.
Which way do my solar panels need to face? Ideally a northerly direction is best, this way you will gain the most benefit of your solar system. Your solar dealer should be able to assist here and show you examples of your potential performance using accurate satellite mapping and suggest the best location to gain the maximum benefit on your roof.
Will a roof mounted solar panels eliminate my power bill? The average solar power system will only produce power during the day, so you can set appliances like pool pumps, heating and cooling during the day to reduce you power bill, but it will not affect your night time power use i.e. lighting, computers and TV use. Thus it is unlikely to eliminate your total power bill.
Do I need to clean my solar panels? The answer is dependent on how dirty they get, but yes, this will improve performance. Areas of high dust and air pollutants could build up on the panel glass and will affect the performance of the panels over time. Rain will remove the surface dust, but if your panels are heavily soiled with bird droppings, leaves and dirt, this will need to be removed as it will impede your energy production.
Can there be extra charges when purchasing a rooftop solar? Yes, there can be many, dependent on your house and the degree of installation difficulty i.e. 2 storey, 3 phases, split arrays etc. An experienced solar consultant should visit your home and offer advice, which will enable you to receive an accurate quote for your installation.
Does my meter need to be upgraded? Yes, when you register your initial application with your power provider this will alert them that your meter will need to be changed or upgraded to make it “Two Way”. This means your meter will have the ability to accept power from the grid and export any surplus power from your solar panels back to the grid. In some cases your meter may have to be upgraded or changed. The price for this can range from under one hundred dollars to a few hundred dollars and is an additional cost that is separate from your purchase of a solar system.
Two kinds of solar system warranties are normally offered. The first one is the panel performance offered by the manufacturer which is usually 12-25 years and the second is the inverter manufacturer warranty which is usually 5-10 years. The installers should also offer a warranty on the quality of their work, such as guaranteeing they made no holes in your roof which are likely to lead to leaks for a specified period of time.
How long do solar panels last? Generally speaking, a solar panel will last 30 years or more and lose some ½ percent (0.5%) conversion efficiency annually.
Will panels harm my roof? The panels will not harm your roof in any way when properly installed. They actually protect the areas located directly beneath them from the ravages of weather, light and heat. You can save heating and cooling costs when you install your panels wisely. Proper home preparation and choosing the right CEC (Clean Energy Council) approved installer will go a long way to ensuring a job done right.
What does a solar array consist of? All solar power systems consist of photovoltaic (PV) panels, an inverter that converts DC to AC power for your in-home use, certified mounting rail and approved solar electrical wiring.
Panels come in various wattage sizes in the Australian residential market. Generally panels range from 190W to 250W. It is the combined total of the panel wattage, not the inverter size that determines how much power your system generates e.g. 8 x 250W panels with a 2kW inverter = 2kW solar power system. 8 x 250W panels with a 3kW inverter is still a 2kW solar power system.
Product warranty details should be readily available from your solar retailer when making a purchase or easily downloaded from their website. The warranty details should contain the manufacturer contact information for you to make a claim if and when required. Manufacturers have Australian based agents that look after product supply and warranties. If they are not supported in Australia you will not be able to make a warranty claim.
Can you add extra panels at a later point? Upgrading a solar power system through the addition of panels to an existing inverter with available load capacity is possible. Be aware that in doing so, you need to consider:
Possible impact on any Feed-in Tariff you currently receive
Make sure the technology is compatible with your existing system
Changes to regulations since your system was initially installed which may necessitate wiring upgrades and such things