Part 1: Is Going Solar Right For Me?
- Is Going Solar Worth It?
- Federal Rebates
- State-Level Rebates
- How Do Solar Panels Work?
- How Much Does Solar Cost?
- How Can I Finance My Solar?
- Environmental Benefits
- Is My Home Suitable for Solar?
- Installation – What to Expect
- How Will Solar Affect My Roof?
Part 2: How Do I Go Solar?
- How to Choose Solar Panels
- How to Choose Your Inverter
- What Warranties Should I Have?
- What Size Do I Need?
- Which Direction Should I Get?
- How To Choose Your Installer
Part 3: Post-Installation Solar Tips
Our number one priority is the health and safety of our people, our partners and our community. Since installing solar panels does not require our suppliers to be in close physical contact with anyone – our suppliers are still installing. They are practicing social distancing, so will not shake your hand or come closer than 1.5m as well as ensuring good hygiene practices including regular hand washing and using hand sanitiser.
Going solar in Australia now offers an unparalleled chance for homeowners to permanently lower their electricity bills by 30-60% with clean, renewable energy. Ever-rising electricity rates mean that going solar has become more than an environmentally friendly move; for many households, it’s become a financially prudent one as well.
Still, going solar is a major undertaking. So to help you make this important decision with knowledge, accuracy, and confidence, we created this comprehensive and reader-friendly guide to choosing the best solar panels for your home.
Read the guide below or download a pdf to save it for later.
If you have any more questions or would like help finding a trusted solar panel installer, simply complete this short form, give our friendly energy advisors a call at 1300 23 68 55 or contact us online. We look forward to helping you!
Your Guide to Choosing the Best Solar Panels For Your Home
Table of Contents
- Is Going Solar Worth It?
- What Federal Solar Rebates Are Available?
- What State-Level Solar Rebates Are Available?
- How Do Solar Panels Work?
- How Much Does A Residential Solar System Cost?
- How Can I Finance My Solar System?
- How Will Going Solar Help The Environment?
- Is My Home Suitable for Solar?
- What Should I Expect On Installation Day?
- How Will Solar Panels Affect My Roof?
Part 2: How Do I Go Solar?
- How to Choose Residential Solar Panels
- How to Choose Your Solar Inverter
- What Warranties Should My Solar Components Have?
- What Size Solar System Do I Need?
- Which Direction Should My Solar Panels Face?
- How To Choose Your Solar Installer
Part 3: Post-Installation Solar Tips
Australia is, literally, the sunniest place in the world. We enjoy the highest level of solar radiation per square metre of all seven continents.
So thanks to recent technological developments, going solar in Australia offers an unparalleled chance for homeowners to permanently lower their electricity bills by 30-60% with clean, renewable energy.
In fact, even ten years ago solar panels didn’t always pay for themselves; now they do so in only 3-5 years, thanks to record-low solar panel prices and increased panel efficiency.
Combined with continually rising electricity rates (63% in just the last decade) this means that going solar has become more than an environmentally friendly move; for many households, it’s become a financially prudent move as well.
Still, going solar is a major undertaking. You’ll have to consider many questions along the way, such as:
- Is going solar right for your household?
- Should you invest in solar batteries as well? If so, when and how?
- How big does your system need to be?
- What components should you look for?
- How will you recognize whether they’re good or not?
- How should you prepare your roof for solar panels?
- How will you finance going solar?
- How will you find and recognize a reliable solar installer?
The right answers to these questions will look different for every household. So to help you make these important decisions with knowledge, accuracy, and confidence, we created this comprehensive guide to choosing the best solar panels and batteries for your home.
With this resource in hand, you’ll have thorough, homeowner-friendly information that will help take you through the process of going solar from beginning to end.
Part 1: Is Solar Right for Me? 10 Questions to Help You Decide
1. Is Going Solar Worth It?
Given a sturdy, unshaded roof with regular exposure to daylight, a solar panel system will save you money in two main ways:
1. Free Electricity = avg. 30-60% Lower Electricity Bills
For the typical customer, your free, sun-generated energy will replace 30-60% of your electricity bills, since you’ll no longer need to buy that electricity from your power company.
2. Feed-In Tariff = Electricity Retailer Pays You for Free Electricity
When your solar panels generate more electricity than your house is using at the time, your solar system will feed that extra energy into the grid. Your power company will then pay you for that electricity via a feed-in tariff.
This payment will show up as a credit on your electricity bill, as shown in this example:
In 2020, you’ll typically receive 6-18 cents/kWh; find which retailer in your area offers the best feed-in tariffs using Wattever.
Feed-In Tariffs: A Note
Some homeowners have heard that feed-in tariffs have dropped, and wonder if solar is still worth it.
While the expense of early 2010’s solar panels made high feed-in tariffs financially necessary at the time, the last 8 years have seen the development of drastically more efficient panel manufacturing technologies. These decreased manufacturing costs have made solar panels costs decrease from an average of $12,500 in 2012 (for a 5kW system) to approximately $5,500 in 2020*.
That’s why high feed-in tariffs are no longer needed to make solar a wise investment. Even with low tariffs, the typical 2020 solar system will pay for itself within 3-5 years.
*See ‘how much does solar cost’ for a complete breakdown of 2020 prices.
2. What Federal Solar Rebates Are Available?
The Federal Government’s Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme takes an average of $3,000 off a typical residential solar installation.
How It Works
For each kilowatt of panels you install, the government generates a certain number of small-scale technology certificates (STCs).
Since electricity retailers must buy these STCs to meet their renewable energy obligations, you receive roughly $30 for each STC.
For a 5kW system, this equates to approximately $3000 off the cost of the system.
When looking at your solar quotes, note that most of them will already have taken into account the STC discount, so unfortunately you can’t claim an additional $3000 off the quoted price.
The good news is that your solar installer will manage the entire STC sales process for you. So don’t worry about selling the STCs yourself (unless you’d prefer to.)
Also note that the clock is ticking on this rebate; this scheme is currently being phased out until 2030, so the value of STCs is declining by 7% at the start of each calendar year (January 1st).
So to take full advantage of this rebate, start looking at reliable solar quotes now.
3. What State-Level Solar Rebates Are Available?
Several states also offer significant solar rebates:
The ACT Government is currently providing a solar panel incentive for pensioners. Eligible households can claim a rebate of up to 50% off a solar power system. These households can also claim an interest-free loan to pay back the remaining costs over a three year period with no deposit. For more information, see the ACT Government website.
New South Wales
The NSW Government’s Empowering Homes Program, currently running as a pilot in the Hunter region, provides interest-free loans for solar-battery systems to eligible NSW residents. Interest-free loans of up to $9000 for a storage battery, or up to $14,000 for a solar PV and battery storage system, will be available. Eligible households include owner-occupiers with an annual household income of up to $180,000. For more information, see the NSW Government website.
The Solar Homes program provides eligible Victorian households with a rebate of up to $1,888 of the purchase cost to install solar PV panels. Eligible households can also claim an interest-free loan equivalent to the amount of the rebate. A rebate of up to $1,888 is also available for rental properties. For more information, see the Solar Victoria website.
4. How Do Solar Panels Work?
Fortunately, solar systems require absolutely no technical expertise (or even effort) on the homeowner’s part.
But while you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy their benefits, it’s still good to understand the 7 main components of a solar system and how they work together:
1. Direct Sunlight
During daylight hours, direct sunlight creates electricity whenever it hits your solar panels.
2. Solar Panels
The most visible part of a solar system, solar panels are made from silicone. Since silicone produces electricity when UV light touches it, your solar panels convert sunlight into DC (direct current) electricity.
Since your home’s appliances require AC (alternating current) electricity, your solar panels send their DC electricity into an inverter that converts it into AC current.
Inverters come in two types:
- String inverter (one for the entire solar panel array)
- Microinverters (one for each solar panel)
Your inverter sends AC solar electricity to your main switchboard, which in turn sends it to your home’s appliances.
5. Home Appliances
Since you’re now using free solar electricity from your own array, you don’t have to pay your power company for it!
6. Smart Meter
Your smart meter will record and track all energy flows, so you don’t have to. This includes noticing when your solar panels are producing more electricity that your home needs at any given time. At such times, your smart meter will automatically feed the excess solar electricity into:
7. The Grid
Your smart meter’s connection to the grid allows your electricity retailer to credit you for that excess electricity (in the form of feed-in tariffs) and also allows your home to automatically draw power from the grid when needed (i.e. at night).
5. How Much Does A Residential Solar System Cost?
Probably less than you think. Federal government rebates and falling solar manufacturing prices make solar systems more affordable than ever before.
On average, with federal solar incentives factored in, a professionally installed 5kW solar system (a common residential size) with high-quality solar panels will cost:
- $5500-$8000 (string inverter system)
- $8000-$9500 (microinverter system)
The average residential solar system pays for itself within 3-5 years in the form of lower electricity bills.
The price of your solar system will vary according to:
Cheap, poor-quality panels and inverters may be up to 50% cheaper than the above price, but are best avoided. You’ll pay more in the long run via possible malfunctions, shorter lifetimes, and subpar efficiency.
Instead, choose premium panels and inverters with extended warranties from a well-respected installer.
Micro-Inverter vs. Single String Inverter
While microverters make your solar system produce more efficiently than a single string inverter, they’re about $2,000 more expensive.
(Learn more about the differences between string inverters and microinverters in Micro-Inverter Vs. Single String Inverter below.)
Some homes and areas are more installation-friendly than others. Your installation cost may be higher if your home has:
- Difficult-to-access location
- A long distance between your solar panels and your switchboard
- A flat or extremely angled roof
- An outdated switchboard (upgrading it may cost $800-$1,000)
- No smart meter (depending on retailer policy) – Check with your electricity retailer — some energy retailers may upgrade or reconfigure your meter for free.
In your search for the right installer, you may run across significantly lower solar quotes than the above recommended prices. While tempting, such cheap quotes usually mean you’ll end up dealing with:
- Possible Company Liquidation (610 Australian solar installers have gone out of business, usually due to cutting their margins too tight)
- Poor Quality Panels And Inverters (which may compromise safety and/or require you to replace them prematurely)
- Inadequate After-Sales Support
The best way to determine the exact price for your home is to get a quote from an experienced, qualified, and well-reviewed installer.
6. How Can I Finance My Solar System?
The best way to pay for your solar system is cash-down.
However, since that’s not always possible for all households, other trustworthy solar financing options include:
If you can’t afford to pay cash up front but have a good credit score, a low-interest green loan is often the next-best option.
Green loans are unsecured personal loans that customers use to purchase environmentally friendly products such as solar systems and storage batteries.
Institutions that currently offer green loans include:
- Bendigo Bank
- Community First Credit Union
- Hunter United Credit Union
- Nova Credit Union
- Parker Lane
Interest-free Solar Loans
While heavily promoted by many solar installers, those installers don’t always tell you that some interest-free solar loans increase the solar system’s quotes price by 15-25%.
Though several state governments are currently offering interest-free loans to support the uptake of solar panels. Find information about the Victorian and NSW Governments’ current interest-free solar loan offerings here.
Personal loans create a nice in-between option for solar customers with decent-but-not-stellar credit ratings. While the interest rates are usually higher than those for green loans, they can be lower than the monthly payment for interest-free solar loans.
Solar Mortgage Addition
Current mortgage rates of 3-5% create a very low-interest option for your solar panel payments. This can be a good option for those who wish to avoid incurring the substantial fees that can come with a new loan.
Unlike the previous options, a solar lease doesn’t allow you to own your solar panels until the lease is completely paid off. Although you can start saving with solar energy right away with no up-front cost, solar leases also have higher average interest rates and lower lifetime savings than you’ll get with green or personal loans.
In general, solar leases are most suitable for large commercial solar arrays, not small residential systems.
Solar Power Purchase Agreements
With this option, you never own the panels on your roof at all. Since the operator retains ownership of the panels, you buy solar electricity from them for a lower price than you’d pay for grid electricity.
The most tempting aspect of a power purchase agreement is that you have no up-front costs and can start lowering your electricity bill right away.
However, you will never get truly “free” electricity or any other benefits of panel ownership.
For in-depth analyses of each above financing option, read: Solar Finance Options | Solar Loans & Payment Plans
As with any significant financial decision, make sure to assess your situation (preferably with a financial advisor) before making any major choices.
7. How Will Going Solar Help The Environment?
A grid-connected solar system helps the environment because whenever it produces energy, that clean electricity immediately reduces grid demand on the local centralised power station. Thus, the power station uses less coal or gas-obtained electricity.
Each kilowatt-hour of solar generation reduces power station generation accordingly, but the trade-off is actually even better.
While the power station must supply not only the end-user demand, but also the losses incurred in the power lines (which can be over 20% for remote locations), solar generation is completely localized and therefore has little to no distance loss.
It’s true that manufacturing solar system components, such as the panels, requires some energy. However, just one year of a typical solar system’s renewable power generation completely offsets the energy used to produce it.
8. Is My Home Suitable for Solar?
Nearly every roof in Australia is suitable for solar panels, but certain conditions can decrease the panel’s efficiency or increase their installation cost. So here’s your home solar suitability checklist:
Every roof material is suitable for solar, except for slate. (Because slate is so fragile, most installers aren’t willing to work on it).
A 5kW system (a commonly installed residential system size in Australia) contains 15-20 panels and requires approximately 25-35 m2 of roof area. Even if you don’t have this roof space available, you can still benefit from a smaller system.
A moderate roof angle is best for solar electricity production. If your roof is either flat or very steep, your solar system may require tilt frames (and thus additional expense) for optimum sun exposure.
Most roofs in good condition will support the typical solar panel’s 10-20 kg per square metre.
However, your roof does have to be in good condition.
If it needs any repairs or replacement, take care of that before installing any solar panels. A good solar installer will be happy to assess your roof condition for you.
Ideally, your roof allows panels to face north, west, or east. Since south-facing panels receive less sun exposure in Australia, they are generally not recommended.
Shade can significantly impact the amount of electricity produced by solar panels. Look for trees, chimneys, TV antennas or neighbouring buildings that can cast shade on your roof.
If your roof does have some shade, think about how your solar system can avoid it. Perhaps you can place the panels on another part of the roof, or remove the cause of the shading by trimming a tree. Also consider a solar system with microinverters or DC optimisers, both of which optimize energy production even with a slightly shaded roof.
Ask your solar installer to help you determine if and how shading will affect your solar production.
If you live in a cyclone-prone area, make sure that you have a cyclone-certified solar mounting system to protect it during extreme weather.
Want to see if your home is suitable for solar? Give us a call on 1300 23 68 55 or email us.
9. What Should I Expect On Installation Day?
Your solar installers should:
- Install your rooftop solar panels
- Run electric cables to your inverter
- Mount the inverter on your wall
- Connect the inverter to your smart meter
- Install isolation switches on the roof, next to your inverter, in your smart meter box
- Test the entire solar system
- Give you a demonstration of the system
- Ensure that you are satisfied with their work
- Ask you to sign the paperwork for the solar panel system, the Small Scale Certificates, any other state rebates.
10. How Will Solar Panels Affect My Roof?
No roofs will be harmed during a proper solar installation.
Certain roof types do have custom mounting procedures:
No roof tiles are broken during a solar installation. To support the panels, installers remove the tiles, install brackets to the rafters, and then re-install the tiles in their original state.
To ensure that your solar system is firmly mounted to the frame of your metal roof, your installer will remove existing screws and replace them with strong, stainless steel screws.
Metal roofs only require one roof penetration (to run the D.C. cable to your inverter) which is fully waterproofed.
Part 2: How Do I Go Solar?
1. How to Choose the Best Residential Solar Panels
Look for solar panels with:
Approval from the Clean Energy Council
Ensure your solar panels’ quality and safety by only purchasing modules approved by the Clean Energy Council, the foremost clean energy accrediting body in Australia.
- 270-330W Output
Most cost-efficient solar panels produce about 270W-300W under direct sunlight. Premium monocrystalline panels can produce up to 330W, but are also more expensive. They may be a good option for homes with limited roof space.
- Multiple Australian Installations
The more a solar panel brand’s products have been installed here, the more they’ve been tested — and proven reliable — in our unique weather conditions.
Manufacturing Company with Office(s) in Australia
If your installer ever goes out of business, you’ll depend on your manufacturer’s Australian office to provide warranty support.
Recommended Solar Panel Brands
Examples of reliable & cost-effective brands that fulfill the 4 above conditions include, in alphabetical order:
Mono- or Polycrystalline? Don’t Stress About It
You’ll probably hear about the two main solar panel technologies:
- monocrystalline (mono)
- polycrystalline (poly)
For residential solar panel arrays, it really doesn’t matter which type you get. Only vast commercial arrays and solar farms will find any significant performance difference between the two.
What’s much more important is that you buy solar panels from a respected brand like those above, with a 10 year+ product warranty. This is the key to making sure that your home benefits from high-quality, dependable, efficient solar panels.
2. How to Choose Your Solar Inverter
Your solar inverter not only converts direct current (DC) electricity to appliance-friendly alternating current (AC) electricity, but also manages its voltage to keep you and your family safe.
Thus, a high-quality inverter is essential. While your installer will help you choose between these two types of inverter systems, it’s best to know their basics:
A string inverter system has only one inverter, usually located next to your switchboard.
This inverter connects to all of the panels in your array via one or two strings of wires, which send all solar-generated energy to the string inverter.
While these inverters are about $2,000 cheaper than microinverters and DC optimisers, they often aren’t as efficient:
- Shading Decreases Entire System’s Efficiency
Since the panels are all connected to the same inverter, any issue that causes one panel to produce less electricity (such as shading) will reduce electricity for all other panels on that string.
- No Individual Panel Monitoring
Since you can’t monitor the performance of each individual panel, it will be harder to detect a malfunctioning panel.
- Inverter Issues Stop All Electricity Production
Any inverter issues will stop your entire panel array from producing usable electricity.
There are two types of panel-optimised inverters: microinverters and D.C. optimisers.
Both types increase solar electricity production, because each individual panel in the system has its own inverter or optimiser.
So even if shading decreases the electricity output of one particular panel, none of the other panels’ production will be adversely affected.
Power-optimised systems also make it easy for you to detect any individual panel issues, and offer more flexibility in panel layout for steep or otherwise complex roofs.
However, they are about $2,000 more expensive than string inverters.
Which inverter type should you get? It depends on your location, shade, and available roof space. Your installer will discuss these variables with you to arrive at the best recommendation for your individual needs.
Recommended Inverter Brands
Examples of commonly installed and highly-reviewed inverter brands include:
3. What Warranties Should My Solar Components Have?
- 10+ year product warranty
Covers you from panel defects, premature wear and tear, and manufacturing issues. Some premium brands come with up to 25 years of product warranty.
- 25+ year power output warranty
90% production after 10 years, 80% after 25 years. Does not cover your panels if they break or malfunction.
- 5-10 year product warranty (preferably 10 years)
4. What Size Solar System Do I Need?
The most commonly installed residential system size in Australia is 5kW (approximately 19 panels).
However, your installer will analyse your available roof space, sunlight exposure, and electricity bill to estimate a size for your individual house.
Since solar energy prices have plummeted so much recently, many Australian homeowners are installing larger systems (5kW+) for one or more of these reasons:
- Shorter Payback Period
- Ability to Power More: battery storage, electric car(s), all-electric and/or zero-emissions home
- More Efficient Labor Costs: The labour associated with installation makes up a large proportion of the total cost of systems, so it’s more budget-friendly to install a large system in the first place than to expand it later on.
- Greater Power Production in Winter
While larger solar systems have many benefits, some distributors may still limit the size of your system depending on your location and property. Check with your solar installer for any size limits that may apply.
Want to chat with an energy advisor about what size is best for your home? Give us a call on 1300 23 68 55 or email us.
5. Which Direction Should My Solar Panels Face?
Ideally, solar panels face due north to receive the majority of annual daytime sun.
East-facing panels receive almost as much sun as north-facing panels (85-90%). If you’re often home during the morning, east-facing panels will help you take full advantage of the morning sun.
West-facing panels also receive about 85-90% of the sunlight north-facing panels enjoy. They’re especially productive in the afternoon and early evening.
In the southern hemisphere, south-facing panels receive relatively little sunlight, so are usually not recommended.
6. How To Choose Your Solar Installer
When going solar, choosing the right installer is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make.
To find a good one, look for the following:
Clean Energy Council Approved
The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is the most highly renowned body for clean energy in Australia.To enforce and improve solar industry standards, they run two accreditation programs:
1. Clean Energy Council Accredited Installer
This program trains and accredits installers to ensure that solar power installations meet industry best practice standards.
A CEC accreditation is the minimum needed for a solar installer, and is necessary for you to claim the Federal Government’s solar rebate.
Look for this logo:
2. Approved Solar Retailer
Companies who have signed the Solar Retailer Code of Conduct are committed to responsible sales, marketing activities, and solar industry best practices.
This is the highest solar accreditation currently available in Australia.
In addition, if you live in Victoria and would like to claim the Solar Homes rebate, your supplier must be a CEC-approved solar retailer.
Look for this logo:
A professional quote is computer-generated with solar software (not handwritten). It should show you exactly where the panels will be installed on your home, and how much energy production you can expect from the estimated amount of sunlight.
Also make sure that the quote gives all warranty details.
610 solar installation companies have gone into liquidation in Australia since 2011. Make sure your solar installer has been in operation for at least five years; this indicates that the company is financially stable and likely to stay in business for the long term.
The installation warranty covers you if there’s anything wrong with the installation itself. Good suppliers offer an installation warranty of at least 5 years.
Customer Service and Reviews
These are trademarks of any reputable company, including solar installers:
- Informative, Transparent Sales Process
- No Pressure Tactics — You should never feel rushed towards a decision
- Quick, Attentive, and Courteous Communication (Both on phone and in person)
- Timeliness in keeping appointments
- Post-Installation Service
- Numerous Positive Online Reviews
- High-Quality Materials – Ask them what products and brands they offer, and why. Established businesses will give you evidence-based reasons for offering specific solar products.
Part 3: Post-Installation Solar Tips
1. How Can I Save Most with My Solar Energy?
Since your solar panels produce electricity during daylight hours, the simple way to maximize this free energy is to have as many appliances as possible run during daylight hours. Automatic and smart timers make this easy.
Set Appliances To Run During The Day
Many appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines come with a time delay function. This allows you to load the appliance in the morning, then set it to run during the day (when your solar panels are generating most electricity).
Set Your Heating and/or Cooling Cycles During the Day
Heating and cooling cycles use up much of a household’s energy. Time your aircon and/or heater to run during peak daylight hours. Not only will you return to a comfortable pre-cooled or pre-heated home in the evening, but you also won’t need to buy so much power from the grid.
- Run Your Hot Water System During The Day
If you have a hot water heat pump (highly recommended, since it will help you save even more on electricity bills), set it to run during the day.
Want to maximise your solar panel performance? Check out this fun activity.
2. What Are My Current Feed-in Tariff Rates?
Australian Capital Territory
While the ACT government no longer regulates feed-in tariffs for rooftop solar systems, you can find all their annual reports on ACT solar rates and tariffs on their feed-in tariff page, including their most recent updates. Visit Energy Made Easy for a comparison of electricity retailers operating in the ACT. Tariffs vary from 0 cents to 16 cents per kWh.
New South Wales
Voluntary Retailer Contributions cover New South Wales solar feed-in tariffs. In other words, retailers don’t have to pay for solar electricity imported to the grid (but most of them still do). The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal New South Wales set a benchmark range for electricity retailers which is currently 8.5 cents to 10.4 cents per kWh. Though, tariffs currently being offered by electricity retailers range from 0 cents to 21 cents per kWh.
As of March 2020 the Northern Territory’s gross feed-in tariff of 23.7 cents a kilowatt-hour – an enviably high rate.
Queensland rates vary according to whether you live in southeast or regional Queensland.
Voluntary Retailer Contributions cover current solar feed-in tariffs in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast (up to Noosa). They’re called voluntary because electricity retailers don’t have to pay anything for your solar electricity. Fortunately, in most cases they still do.
Regional Queenslanders receive a fixed feed-in tariff for regional customers, currently set at 7.842 cents for the 2019-20 financial year.
For the most up-to-date information on both regions, go to the Queensland Government’s websites:
South Australian feed-in tariffs vary by electricity retailer. As at March 2020, rates range from 0-20 cents per kWh. Find the latest updates and information at the South Australian Solar Feed-In Payment Page.
As of July 1 2019, Tasmanian solar systems under 10 kW receive a set feed-in tariff rate of 9.347 cents/kWh.
Find the latest updates and information at the Tasmanian government’s Feed-in Tariffs page.
All electricity retailers in Victoria with more than 5,000 customers must offer a minimum solar feed-in tariff rate.
Retailers can choose to offer one or both single and time-varying options. Most customers choose a single rate, which remains the same for all electricity exported at any time of the day.
In July 2019, the Victorian government set the state’s feed-in solar tariff single rate to a minimum of 12 cents/kWh.
(However, some retailers may offer higher rates up 15 cents per kWh.)
Find complete updates and information at the Victorian government’s official Feed-In Tariff Page.
Solar owners in Western Australia typically receive 7.1 cents per kWh, however check your retailer’s feed-in tariff page to see which are available for you:
Beware Unusually High Feed-in Tariffs
If a retailer offers you a feed-in tariff that’s higher than usual for your area, examine their usage rates and supply charges carefully. It may mean that you’d pay more for electricity through them. Use the Australian Government website, Energy Made Easy, to compare electricity tariffs.
3. Will Extreme Weather Damage My Solar Panels?
It’s very unlikely.
In order to pass Australian standards, solar panels must be able to withstand the direct impact of hail stones with a diameter of 35mm – roughly the size of a golf ball.
But just in case, we do recommend adding your solar system to your home insurance.
4. How Will a Power Outage Affect My Solar System Output?
If the grid fails, Australian law mandates that all grid-connected solar panel systems automatically shut off.
This mechanism prevents solar systems from feeding energy into a dead grid, and thus endangering electricians as they work on the line.
Your solar system will shut down the instant the blackout begins and reconnect the instant it ends, needing no action on your part.
5. How Do I Maintain My Solar Panels?
How to Clean Solar Panels (If You Must)
Rainfall cleans most solar panels enough so homeowners don’t have to.
However, after a dust storm or particularly long drought, you may wish to hose off your panels so that their production isn’t decreased by dust, dirt, or bird droppings.
Every five years or so, have a level 2 electrician check your solar panel system. They’ll ensure that all components are functioning properly.
Since solar panels are completely automatic, you don’t have to worry about any in-person monitoring.
However, this makes it all the more important to set up your solar system’s monitoring system properly. It will allow you to see:
- How much electricity your panels are producing at any given moment
- How much electricity they produce in a day
For an additional cost, you can also set up more advanced monitoring which reveals your household’s momentary and daily energy use as well.
Some systems also alert you automatically to any malfunctions. Then you can essentially forget about the system — your software’s monitoring everything for you already.
Ready for the next step?
Whilst this guide answered the major considerations of going solar, we know that you’ll probably think of many more as you consider this decision.
Our not for profit team of experienced solar advisors is here to answer any questions you have: just get in touch with us at 1300 23 68 55 or via email for friendly, unbiased professional guidance.
If you’re ready to get a free, no-pressure quote from a fully vetted solar installer, click here.
And finally, thank you for reading Your Guide to Choosing the Best Solar Panels for Your Home! We hope you found it helpful in your journey towards a comfortable home with lower electricity bills