Until about a decade ago, one had to strain his eyes to find a home with solar panels on the rooftop. But, enhanced concerns on climate change, a series of local and federal tax incentives coupled with lower cost of solar panels have contributed to the significant proliferation of solar panels in different parts of Australia. While Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne lead regarding solar penetration, other parts of Australia are catching up fast. Importantly, every household that has installed solar panels reduces the carbon footprint by a massive 35,180 pounds of CO2 every year. That is the equivalent of 88 trees planted every year! While euro solar is working hard on to reduce carbon emission in Australia. They are also planning to expand their good cause into the global environment.
But, between a plethora of technical jargon, a sea of financing plans and installers by the dozen, it does get pretty challenging to determine what works best for you. This discussion is therefore intended to help you understand solar panels in layman terms and all the other related issues.
Solar panels consist of photovoltaic or PV cells that convert the heat energy from the sun into electrical energy. The generated electrical power by the solar panels is Direct current or DC, and you need an inverted to convert this energy into AC or alternating current to make it adaptable to domestic needs.
You need technically competent professionals to install solar panels on your rooftop. Although many vendors do offer DIY kits, you are better off leaving the job to the professionals considering the intricacies involved. Panel placement, electrical wiring and pan electric power direction are some of the essential elements in solar panel installation.
Choosing a professional installer: The following are the primary attributes that you should look for, in a professional installer:-
Solar installations are expected to last several decades. Therefore, a professional installer should offer warranty for periods ranging between 20 and 30 years for the quality as well as the performance of the panels (in conjunction with the panel manufacturer). Similarly, the inverter that is part of the solar panel installation should guarantee for at least ten years from the date of installation.
Look for manufacturers from home soil
In Australia, it is always desirable that you look for an Australian solar panel manufacturer. Don’t get lured by cheaper offers from manufacturers from other countries. In the long run, you will appreciate that local laws protect your interests better though you may never need to invoke them.
Check if the vendor has his installation team or whether he would outsource installation to someone else. Always prefer vendors offering their installation team because of the higher level of accountability.
Licences and accreditations
Check out the license and certification of the chosen provider so that you know you are in safe hands.
Testimonials and references
Can the Vendor provide some references and testimonials of recent origin? Get the contact information for these people and actually, speak to them for an unbiased opinion. When you talk to 3 or 4 past customers, it gets easier to weigh their opinions and strike a balanced view.
License and Bonding
Ask to see the license and bonding information of the vendor and ensure that no major complaints are pending against the supplier.
The typical size of solar panels for Australian homes ranges from 1.5 kW to 10 kW through a decent average would be 5 kW. The pricing can vary significantly depending on the size of your system. Primary considerations that go into the pricing are the amount of power that you expect from the system, the roof area available, the investment you can make and service level expectations including warranties.
The price of solar panels in Australia has been consistently dropping since 2011, and in the last quarter of 2016, the drop has been as much as 60%. However, the biggest system may not always be the best for you. The amount of power that you expect to generate from the system, your consumption and the amount of power that you can supply to the grid are the key factors that determine the best system for you.
A professional installer can guide you on the incentives and tax credits available for installing solar panels which can vary from one state to the other and from time to time. As at 2016, the Australian government is offering a 30% tax credit for commercial and residential properties converting to solar energy. This offer is currently valid only until the end of 2016.
For Australian homeowners having difficulties making a significant upfront investment in solar panels, leasing is a more convenient option. The Lessor pays for the installation, and the Lessee (the home owner) makes a monthly payment over an extended time frame, generally up to 10 years.
For homeowners enjoying a respectable credit score, many banks and other financial bodies provide loans for installing solar panels. These loans are generally on very attractive terms and could be a more viable option for such customers.
The actual installation of solar panels for your home can complete typically in less than a week. However, it could take several weeks or perhaps even months from the date of your signing a contract to actual execution depending on various local regulations to comply with and permissions needed. Planning ahead is, therefore, the key to a smooth transition to solar power.
Consider the amount of unhindered sunlight that falls on your roof across a month and a year. In some regions, this could be significantly low for varying reasons. Solar panels may not be an efficient solution for homes in those areas. Similarly, if you have too many trees surrounding your roof and the tree branches are obstructing sun rays, you may want to reconsider your decision. This is the assumption that your neighbours do not want to chop off their tree branches for your benefit.
In conclusion, here is a helpful guide to learn more about solar panels and how they can benefit you.