Thursday, September 22, 2022

What To Know About Solar Panels

Whats The Difference Between Grid

180. Solar 101 – everything you need to know about going solar!

The first thing to decide when you go solar is whether you need a grid-tied or off-grid system.

Each has a distinct benefit:

Grid-tie systems save money on your electric bill. Its less expensive than buying electricity from the utility company. We recommend this to everyone by default if they can connect to the utility grid. Always build a grid-tied system if you have access to power lines!

Off-grid solar is for delivering power to remote properties without easy access to power lines. They cost more , and the main value is delivering power to a remote location.

Theres a third system type as well, which is a hybrid of the first two: it connects to the grid, but also includes batteries. Solar companies refer to these as either battery backup or energy storage systems. There are two main benefits:

  • Store backup power in case of outages
  • Store energy so you can use it or sell it later

Energy storage systems provide extra peace of mind and get the most from the electricity you generate. Its up to you to decide if its worth it to spend more on your system for the added flexibility.

Do You Trust Your Contractor

Installing a solar power system is both a home improvement and electrical project. This is why when you start your search for the right contractor, you validate that they have the correct credentials. For example, asking if they have accreditation from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is a good place to start.

Choosing a contractor that you feel will also be around for the long term is also an important factor to consider. While there is little maintenance that is required, if something stops working, you want your contractor available to fix it under warranty.

What Price Range Can You Expect To Pay For Quality Solar Power

As of January 2022, approximate prices for good quality solar panel systems in Australia, including full installation, are in the range of:

  • 3kW: $3,500 $5,000
  • 6.6kW: $6,000 $9,000
  • 10kW: $8,000 $12,000

To be clear the upper end prices are for top-end system installations , installed by a solar energy craftsman.

Note the above prices also include the discount from the solar rebate.

However, for those of you in Victoria, the above prices do not include the state-level rebate offered by the Victorian government .

If you want to downgrade to a reputable budget inverter , you may be able to save around $800 on these prices.

Costs can increase if you need a switchboard upgrade or other electrical work is required to make your home suitable for a solar power installation, or if the design of your home makes the installation more difficult.

If you decide to install micro inverters or an optimiser-based system over a string inverter, costs will also increase by approximately 20%.

Installing battery storage will at least double the systems price.

Pro-tip: Really cheap solar energy systems cost more in the long run, from repairs and lost output. I tell my friends to avoid these systems. It breaks my heart to see cheap solar panels go to landfill after a few years.

Also Check: How Much Solar Energy Do I Need For My Home

Batteries Do You Need Them

Solar batteries are great for energy security. The peace of mind from knowing that you will still have lights, refrigeration and other essential circuits no matter what happens to the grid can be priceless.

Batteries are also great fun. Seriously! There is something extraordinary about seeing your house run off nothing but battery power.

Batteries also provide a form of insurance against the risk of electricity prices going up and feed-in-tariffs going down.

A properly sized, correctly installed and configured solar battery can reduce your grid use by up to 95%, making you almost immune to electricity and feed-in tariff changes. To be clear no-one knows which way electricity prices and feed-in-tariffs will go. But if you have a battery, you wont care!

But these benefits come at a cost.

For example without a battery rebate it will cost around $10,000 to add a decent amount of quality energy storage to a solar power system in Australia. Take 30-50% off this price if you live in VIC, ACT or SA and are eligible for your states battery rebate.

The typical payback period of an unsubsidised battery of that size is at least 15 years. Most batteries have a 10-year warranty, and its anyones guess how long theyll last past that.

Compare this with a solar energy installation without batteries. A regular non-battery solar power system has a typical payback of around 3-6 years and will last about 25 years.

Is There An Alternative To Buying Solar Panels

Solar Panels Increase the Value of your Home · HahaSmart

Some homeowners opt to lease the solar panel system rather than purchasing it. They pay a monthly fee for the energy produced, which will be significantly lower than the fees paid to your local utility company. Leasing also means you dont have to worry about the cost of repairs or routine maintenance. However, through leasing, you wont be able to take advantage of the savings offered by tax credits and rebates, and the savings in the long run wont be as great as those who own the solar panels.

Read Also: Can You Sell Solar Panels

Solar Power Availability And Growth Facts

  • Until the sun fizzles out, solar power will continue to be a very reliable energy source our ability to harvest solar energy is solely dependent on technology, location, cost, and legislation.
  • At the moment, the state is actually producing more solar energy than it has the infrastructure to consume.
  • According to data from 2016, California generates the most solar power in America, followed by North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, and Utah.12
  • Las Vegas, Nevada is the biggest city in the country to operate on 100% renewable resources.
  • Pollution can obscure the suns rays and stop light from reaching the Earth. Theoretically, the more humans who switch over to solar energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the greater the Earths capacity to harness solar energy. It takes a village, right?
  • Fact: Burlington, Vermont, was the first city in America to achieve 100% sustainable energy production for its people.
  • As noted in 2016, more than 260,000 Americans currently work in the solar power industry.13 That number is expected to climb to more than 360,000 by 2021.14
  • In 2016, there was one new solar panel installation every 84 seconds.
  • NASA is presently working on a solar-powered aircraft.
  • China has the most solar power wattage in the world78,100 gigawattsfollowed by Japan, Germany, the United States, and Italy.15
  • Arizona and California are the sunniest states in America. No wonder theyre also leading producers and consumers of solar energy.
  • Should I Get An Extended Warranty For My Solar Power Battery

    Like solar panels, batteries will come with warranties which are usually Like solar panels, batteries come with warranties which are usually between 5-15 years. As with solar panels, the low number of moving parts means that any faults will likely come to light well within the warranty period. Check the average lifespan of the battery you are considering – a quick google search for the name of it and “average lifespan” should help you work out if it’s likely to need replacing within either the normal or extended warranty .

    We hear that people who opt for extended warranties enjoy great peace of mind in the eventually that something goes wrong with the kit.

    Now that you’ve completed our battery storage masterclass, you should be in a much better position to make the right choice for your system. We cover more about other system aspects in other articles, but if you have any questions in the meantime, check out our Guru FAQS or drop us an email via .

    Read Also: How Many Inverters Per Solar Panel

    Have Realistic Price Expectations

    If you are paying substantially less than many other similar size systems quoted, you may find poor quality equipment and/or poor installation work. Quality equipment and installation isnt cheap and, like all other purchases, you often get what you pay for.

    Compare components and warranty periods and check into the company providing the installation. While large, well established companies can pass on substantial savings due to increased buying power, other companies often reduce costs by cutting important corners.

    Are Solar Panel Batteries Worth It

    Practical Caravan on solar panels

    Whilst there is an additional cost, there are plenty of benefits. If you use most of your energy in the evening, i.e. when the sun isn’t shining and you aren’t producing solar energy, a battery can help store the excess energy from daylight hours for you to use in the evening. This helps to reduce your reliance on the grid and stops you from having to buy as much energy. If, however, you use most of your electricity during the day, when the panels are producing electricity, it may not be worth it.

    How do I know if a solar battery is the right fit for me?

    When using our free and impartial tool, youll be asked to select a usage profile which describes how you use energy. We then map this against what would be produced by your solar panel system, which will look something like this:

    This is a MakeMyHouseGreen usage profile featuring a house with fairly constant usage throughout the day, with small peaks in the morning and evening. The household generates 4025kWh per year with its 10 solar panels facing south. Without the battery, the household uses only 40% of the generated electricity, with the rest being sold to the grid. Adding a 7.2kWh battery means the household is able to use 74% of what it generates.

    To see the effect a battery would have on your usage, tick the box on the right-hand side, under the System tab when using our platform. Toggle this on and off to see the change.

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    What Is Solar Power

    The sun doesnt just provide warmth and light its also a source of energy.

    Solar energy is the energy we generate from sunlight. Through a process known as the , we can convert energy from the suns rays into electricity that can power our TVs, refrigerators, lights and other appliances.

    To generate solar energy for your home or office, you need a solar power system.

    Etfe Vs Pet Solar Panels

    Other than ETFE, the other common coating film for flexible solar panels is PET.

    PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate, which is clear, sturdy, and shatterproof plastic. ETFE is gradually replacing this material as the outer covering system of flexible solar panels.

    Below is a table highlighting the main differences between ETFE and PET solar panels:

    FACTOR
    A stable molecule that can tolerate chemical stresses Low tolerance to chemical aggression

    Summary: Solar panels should be coated with ETFE as it is the best alternative to PET. Although ETFE is more expensive, its superior to PET in all other aspects.

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    Can A House Run On Solar Power Alone

    Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining – which means when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.

    How Do Batteries Work With Grid

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    Grid-tie systems dont need batteries, but adding them still has its benefits. The main benefit is backup power in case the grid goes down .

    Batteries have other benefits as well. For example, they can store power temporarily and sell it back to the utility when time-of-use rates are higher, ensuring you sell power to the utility at peak rates.

    Recommended Reading: How Much Sunlight Do Solar Panels Need

    How Long Does It Take To Install Solar Panels For A Home

    Choosing the right solar panels and finding an installer you trust can be time consuming. After all, youre going to be counting on your PV panels to power your home for decades to come. By the time you have an appointment to get the panels delivered and installed, youre ready for the process to be over! The good news is that installing solar panels for your home usually takes just one to three days, depending on the size and number of your panels.

    You can stick around to help the installers with any questions, or get out of the house so you dont have to listen to people walking on the roof all day. Installers will take care of everything from roof prep to meter installation at the same time the panels are placed.

    Efficiency And Applications Of Etfe Solar Panels

    ETFE modules are high-efficiency solar panels boasting around 15-25% efficiency at peak performance.

    This makes them as good as conventional solar panels, not to mention that they offer a ton of other benefits.

    ETFE solar panels are the perfect power solution if you can answer YES to these questions.

    • Does the application require weight savings?
    • Do I need a portable configuration for a power solution?
    • Is the installation needed on a curved surface?
    • Do I need a power solution for outdoor projects?

    As such, ETFE solar panels are commonly installed on golf carts, caravans, camp trailers, RVs, camper boats, tub trailers, and airstreams.

    Even though the top surfaces of some of these modes of transportation are curved, flexible ETFE solar panels are the perfect power solution.

    If installed properly, flexible ETFE PVs will keep everything streamlined and wont cause any mobility problems.

    Additionally, ETFE modules can charge small devices such as cameras, smartphones, and tablets.

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    Solar Panel Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know

    Start here if you’re considering solar panels for your home.

    The question of whether to get home solar panels is no small decision. There’s the issue of whether the energy savings will offset the costs. You may wonder whether you need a new roof first or how long solar panels last. There are many factors to consider before buying home solar panels. Below we’ll go into the basics of solar panels and answer all of your pressing questions so that you can make the right choice for your home, budget and energy goals.

    How Is Solar Panel Efficiency Measured

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    The concept of solar panel efficiency is often misunderstood. Most panels have an efficiency rating in the range of 15-25%, which sounds really low without context.

    Some people hear this and think, wow, I only get 20% of the production from my panel? That sounds like a waste. The assumption is a 100-watt panel would only produce 20 watts of power. But thats not what we mean when we talk about efficiency.

    In reality, the efficiency rating measures how much of the suns potential energy is converted to solar power. Using the same example, a 100-watt panel with a 20% efficiency rating will absorb 20% of the potential 500 watts of continuous power coming from the sun.

    Dont sweat too much about panel efficiency. The only real benefit to more efficient panels is that they fit more solar in less space.

    High-efficiency panels matter if youre trying to build in a tight space, but theres nothing wrong with building a larger array with less efficient panels. The latter option typically reduces the overall cost of the system .

    Learn more with our guide to solar panel efficiency.

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    Tips For Buying Your Solar Power System

    Buying a home solar power system can be a very exciting experience, but dont get too carried away by advertising. Be sure to focus on the important aspects of your purchase as its a substantial investment and one youll be living with for a long time. The following are some buying solar tips on what to look for when purchasing a system.

    They Are Helping To Save The Planet

    According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical home solar PV system could save around 1.3 to 1.6 tonnes of carbon per year. In the grand scheme of the climate crises, these may seem like small and insignificant figures but spread across thousands of businesses and households, these carbon savings are having a huge impact.

    Also Check: How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In Alaska

    Do You Have The Right Insurance

    Having the right insurance to cover both yourself and any damage to your home during installation is something you absolutely need to consider. Many problems can arise during the installation of your solar panels that you might not even think about until it happens. In addition, before the work can even begin many building codes, requirements for rebates, legal regulations and certifications require insurance. These rules and regulations vary by state, so it is important to contact the correct resources for your state before your project starts.

    What Happens To Solar Energy I Dont Use And How Can I Reduce My Reliance On The Grid

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    Energy from the day can be stored in a battery bank, which can then be used at night or on cloudy days when solar panels are less efficient.

    Our innovative eddi device is perfect for maximising self-consumption of energy as it stores and diverts surplus power to your heating and hot water, all while reducing your utility bills! Along with our harvi and zappi products, our smart home bundle will improve your self-consumption further, as they can be set to recognise when the economy or agile tariffs are available. If you do not have a self-consumption feature installed with your solar panels, any surplus energy will be released into the main electricity grid instead.

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