Frequently Asked Questions

A great page for learning the basics of residential solar power in Perth.

Compare your electricity bill with the electricity generated by a solar power (PV) system in Perth -  Perth Solar PV Case Study

 

SOLAR POWER - HOW DOES IT WORK?

how-solar-renewable-energy-works

Solar panels generate clean electricity by converting sunlight into electricity. When the sunlight hits the silicon cells, it creates an electric charge. The electrons generated convert into usable DC power.

 

HOW DOES A GRID-CONNECTED SOLAR POWER SYSTEM WORK?

grid-connected system

Australian houses run on 240 Volt AC power. An inverter is needed to convert DC (direct current) into AC (alternating current). A house with a solar PV system will always use the electricity generated by the solar panels before sourcing power from the grid. At night electricity comes from the grid.
PV systems with a battery backup will store electricity for night time use.

HOW MUCH POWER WILL I GENERATE?

In general, every kW of solar panels on a north facing roof (at approx. 20-degree) will generate an annual average of 4.5 kWh (units) per day.

HOW MUCH DO SOLAR PANELS COST?

The cost of solar panels is linked to the Australian dollar. When the Aussie dollar goes up, the cost of solar panels goes down, and vice versa. If you want to know the true cost of a solar PV system, have a site assessment conducted. 

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF AUSTRALIAN STANDARDS?

AUSTRALIAN STANDARDS

Only buy solar panels and inverter models that meet Australian Standards. Solar power systems must also comply with the Clean Energy Council Design and Installation Guidelines. 

WHAT DOES THE IP RATING MEAN?

IP rating small

The Ingress Protection Rating (IP) is the protection level of an enclosure. The code has the letters IP followed by two digits. These ratings provide consumers with a better idea of the product build quality. The first digit is the protection of foreign objects. The second digit is the protection from water ingress.
Sunday Energy only uses inverters with an IP rating of 65.

6 is “dust tight” – no ingress of dust; complete protection against contact.
5 is “water jets” – water projected by a nozzle against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.

WHAT ABOUT WARRANTIES AND GUARANTEES?

Most solar panels come with a performance warranty of 25 years.
An Inverter warranty should be 5-10 years.

ARE THERE ANY GOVERNMENT REBATES OR INCENTIVES?

recycle

There is one.

Small Scale Technology Certificates (STC). The price of these certificates changes according to market conditions. You can claim this discount when you purchase a solar PV system. Your solar designer and installer must be accredited by the Clean Energy Council in order for you to claim the STC discount.

Example:

kW x Location x Years x $$ Value

kW= the size of the solar power system - the combined wattage of the solar panels (example: 12 x 250 Watts panels = 3kW)
Location= this figure is 1.382 (based on Perth solar radiation levels)
14 years= STC claimable years   
$$ value= we sell the certificates on the open market. The polluters buy the certificates to offset their pollution.

If STC demand is high (lots of pollution generated due to a high demand for coal-fired electricity) the price can go up to $40 per certificate. If the demand is low, the price drops.

WHO CAN DESIGN AND INSTALL A SOLAR POWER SYSTEM?

clean energy

Only Clean Energy Council accredited designers and installers can sign off on your installation in Western Australia.

WHAT SIZE SOLAR POWER SYSTEM DO I NEED?

There are several factors to consider when determining the size of your solar power system:

  • The available roof area
  • Your budget
  • How much money you want to save

WHAT TYPE OF SOLAR PANELS ARE AVAILABLE?

solar panels

There are three main types of solar panels available.

  • Mono Crystalline (Monocrystalline c-Si) These panels have been around for more than 50 years.
  • Poly Crystalline (Polycrystalline c-Si) These panels are similar to Mono Crystalline panels. Poly Crystalline manufacturing requires less heat; this makes them cheaper to manufacture. Their efficiency is slightly lower than mono-crystalline, generally 14- 15%. In a cost per watt analysis, the Poly Crystalline wins every time.
  • Thin Film  These panels have a lower efficiency of 8-9%, so the panel is double the size of mono and poly versions. Research is continuing to improve the performance of Thin Film or Amorphous panels. The most common varieties of Thin Film or Amorphous panels are:
    • Cadmium Telluride Thin-Film panels (CdTe)
    • Copper Indium Gallium Selenide Thin-Film panels (CIGS)
    • Amorphous Silicon Thin-Film panels(a-Si)

WHAT IS THE CORRECT ANGLE FOR SOLAR PANELS?

If you have a 30-degree roof pitch (facing North), you are at maximum efficiency. If your roof pitch is 20 degrees (like most houses in Perth), you are at 98% efficiency.

WHAT ABOUT EXPOSURE TO THE SUN, DUST AND DIRT?

Solar panels function best when in full sun from 8 am to 4 pm and should be kept free from dust and dirt. 

DOES TEMPERATURE AFFECT THE ELECTRICITY GENERATED?

The effect of temperature on solar panels is minimal. Good airflow under and between solar panels reduces this effect.

WHAT DOES AN INVERTER DO?

Solar panels produce low voltage DC electricity. The inverter converts the DC electricity into 240 Volt AC electricity; feeding that power into the house.
The DC-AC conversion efficiency of an inverter is 95% to 98.5%

WHAT DOES SYNERGY HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

Synergy has monopoly control of the residential market in Perth. As of 1st of July 2013, all Synergy clients wishing to install a solar PV system are first required to complete Synergy's Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) application form - The REBS contract will enable you to receive payment for excess power feed back into the grid. The second part of the application is an approval from Western Power to connect your solar PV system to the grid. Once both Synergy and Western Power have approved the installation, you can have your solar PV system installed.

How long does this process take? About 4 - 6 weeks.

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