Solar Energy FAQ’s
Solar Energy FAQ’s
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions about solar power installation in Melbourne and the services we offer, then we have the answers. If you don’t find the information looking for, then we are more than happy to answer your enquiry on 1300695644 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a solar panel?
Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic solar panels, convert ambient light from the sun into electricity. The panels are made up of several photovoltaic cells comprised of two wafer-thin silicon layers that when impacted by the sun create an electric current.
Solar panels have a variety of uses including powering transport, lighting, remote power sources and come in all shapes and sizes.
The most common sizes for residential and commercial purposes range from 270w through to 330w.
What’s the benefit of solar power?
Making the switch to solar power should be a no-brainer. Fossil fuels are running out and with the growing impact they are having on the environment, it’s not a question of if, but when you decide to make the change to renewable energy.
Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that is not just good for the environment but, with the increasing expensive of fossil fuels, is quickly become the cheapest form of energy. Not only are they, arguably, the most reliable and simplest renewable energy source they are straightforward installation and minimum maintenance required.
Why should I choose solar panels?
Solar panels are a great way to lower your electricity costs while also gaining independence from energy companies. When generating electricity, your solar panels can run all appliances in the home meaning you use zero power from the grid.
Any excess electricity not used can be sold back to the grid, which is then off-set against your monthly bill. The more power you produce, the lower it will be.
What is the difference between a solar power system and a solar hot water system?
Both systems use the sun’s energy to produce power, but harness it in different ways. Solar panels use sunlight to create electricity while solar hot water systems use heat energy to produce a hot water supply.
What is a ‘grid-connected solar power system’?
This sounds more complicated than it is. A grid-connected solar power system simply means any solar power system connected to the national power grid. An inverter will be installed to transform the DC power created by the panels into AC, which can then be sold to the grid.
This allows you to ‘sell’ any excess power created back to energy companies and reduce your electric bill.
What size solar power system should I buy?
Whatever size solar power system installed, you will see a decrease in your electricity bill and reduce your carbon footprint. It’s estimated that an average household uses around 6000 kWh per year, so a system around 5kW is seen as the optimal set-up.
How much will it cost?
There’s no set cost for an installation, but for a simple 5kW system you would be expected to pay anywhere from $5000 to $7500 depending on the quality of the solar panels and inverter installed and the on site conditions.
Good news – you will also start seeing a return on your investment almost immediately after installation. A 5kW system has the ability to offset approximately $2000 worth of electricity each year , deliver your money back in 3-5 years and save you up to $50,000 over the life of the system.
Will I make my investment back?
Yes, you can expect to make your investment back and quicker than you might expect. An average 5kW kw system will take an estimated three to five years to repay the cost of installation depending on the quality of the system
Will solar panels still work during bad weather and the winter months?
Solar panels rely on ambient light to generate electricity, so your system will produce power during bad weather and winter months, just not as much as in sunny weather.
Will my solar panels make power during blackouts/power surges?
A grid-connected solar power system won’t work during a blackout because the inverter will automatically disconnect from the power supply to avoid electrocution. It means you won’t be able to access electricity or send power to the grid.
Do I need permission from the electricity supplier or council before I install solar panels?
Large systems may require pre-approval from your electricity supplier. Every case is different, so it’s best to consult with your solar representative before going ahead with installation. Freedom Energy take care of all network applications as part of our service.
How much roof space do you need for a solar power system to be installed?
The roof space needed for solar panels to be installed is totally dependent on the size of the power system you opt for. As a guide, a 5kW system requires approximately 34m2 of space and will need to be fitted on an un shaded, north-facing or north/west facing area.
Thankfully, the majority of roofs in Australia more than fit the criteria and so there should be no trouble in finding somewhere to fit solar panels.
Is it expensive to fit to an old house than being a system for a new house?
The costs involved in installing solar panels are more influenced by the shape of your roof than the age of it. A new build has the advantage of being able to have a roof designed specifically to accommodate solar-panels, which will keep costs low.
Will solar panels damage my roof?
Your roof is incredibly resilient and should support the solar panels without any reinforcement needed. The roof mounting system is designed to interface through the roof and attach to the rafters.
The mounting system will spread the load of panels across the roof preventing point loading of one section and ensuring safety even during exposure to high winds.
Are solar panels easy to maintain?
A roof isn’t exactly the most accessible area of your home, so solar panels are designed to need little to no maintenance. A build-up of dirt and dust can effect output by up to 5%, however thanks to the slope this is often easily removed when it rains. If there’s no rain for an extended period, you may need to clean the panels that can be done using a hose.
What should I do if my solar panels are damaged or vandalized?
Freedom Energy install corrosion and hail resistant panels designed to perform under Australian conditions, however If you do experience any damage from a weather event your insurance company will replace the panels provided the system is noted in the policy.
Do I need home building insurance to install?
You won’t need home building insurance, but as with any major household items, you can list your solar panels on home and contents insurance.
If I move home, can I take the solar panels with me?
When you move, you can remove solar panels from your existing home and move them to your next property, or you could leave them where they are.
Solar panels greatly increase the value of a home, so it could be a useful tool to negotiate a higher sale.
How long does the installation process take?
Freedom Energy strives to ensure the installation is an efficient process and it will typically take one full day for a team of two A grade electricians to install a 5kW system.
We don’t believe in cutting corners, so depending on the difficulty of the job, some may take a little longer.
What’s involved in the installation?
A feasibility study is performed to assess the characteristics of the site.
A detailed quote and financial model is created to confirm commercial viability of the installation.
A satellite roof map is developed to confirm the positioning of solar panels.
Network applications are lodged to gain permission to install the system
Once approved the installation takes place – the home owner is not required on site all day however it’s advised that they are there to meet the team and confirm any last minute requests or changes.
Upon completion, an independent compliance inspection is ordered and performed.
Compliance documents will be issued and along with other connection documents emailed to your retailer. Our work is then complete.
Your retailer will then arrange the digital reconfiguration of your meter and your system is connected to the network.
Why does my meter get reconfigured?
Your electricity meter will need to be digitally reconfigured that will track the amount of solar energy sold back to the grid, so your energy company can accurately calculate your electricity bill.
Do solar power systems ever pay themselves back?
Yes, solar power systems can more than pay themselves back – and quickly! A properly installed 5kW system, which is recommended for the average household, will take around three to five years to pay back your investment.
Systems have the ability to produce energy for up to 25 years so once paid back you can expect up to 20 years of free electricity and up to $50,000 in savings over the life of the system.