What To Consider Before Installing Solar Systems

When looking into solar as a way to reduce your reliance on the grid and energy bills, you’ll want to get the best out of the the system and maximise the energy output of the panels. To be able to do this there are a few factors to consider before installing solar that’ll impact the amount of energy your system will generate.

Things to consider include; Solar Panel Positioning and Your Roof Direction, Your Energy Habits and whether you are Building, Purchasing or Renting.

Solar Panel Positioning and Roof Direction

The position and direction of your solar panels can affect how much sunlight they’ll receive and therefore how much energy is generated for your use. First off, avoid having your Solar Panels installed where it could get shaded throughout the day. E.g. near large trees.

If shaded areas are unavoidable, micro-inverters may be a great option for you to discuss with an installer when enquiring about quotes. If your roof allows for a combination of panels placed facing different directions, you can maximise the suns movements throughout the day.

Sun Path Over House During Summer And Winter

 

  • NORTH Facing Panels

    In Australia North facing panels receive the most sun throughout the day.

    If North facing panels aren’t an option on your roof it’s not a deal breaker!

    You can choose other panel directions based on your high energy consumption times.

  • EAST Facing Panels

    Generates more energy in the morning and less in the afternoon (12% less energy than North facing).

  • WEST Facing Panels

    Generates less energy in the morning but more in the afternoon (12% less energy than North facing).

  • SOUTH Facing Panels

    Avoid where possible as south facing panels can generate up to 28% less energy than North.

     

 

Your Energy Habits

To maximise your potential solar savings those installing solar will need to adjust their energy habits and shift the majority of their energy usage to during daylight hours, whilst the solar panels are generating energy. See below on ways you can do this as well as other tips that will assist in maximising your solar savings.

  • Get on Top of Your Appliance Use

    Use more energy during daylight hours, whilst your solar panels are generating energy by:

    • Using rechargeable appliances so you can charge during the day and use at night e.g. cordless vacuum
    • Setting timers on appliances, so they run during the day e.g. washing machine
    • Having less appliances on at the same time e.g. run the dishwasher after the washing machine has finished
    • Turning appliances off at the wall when not in use, as the standby mode still uses energy
    • Wash clothes in cold water
    • Check the seal on your fridge door, if its faulty your fridge will be using more energy to stay cool
  • Lighting

    Switching to LED lighting in your home, and sensor lights outside

  • Cooking

    Investing in a slow cooker! Not only will you make some delicious dishes, but you will be optimising the energy during the day and avoiding the use of an electric stove, which are high energy consuming!

  • Heating & Cooling
    • Air conditioner and heater- while the suns still out, set your aircon or heater on timers, to bring your home to your desired temperature and then switch it off at night
    • Use fans instead of air conditioning
    • Check your windows and door seals- if they are faulty your homes air temperature will change, and you’ll find yourself reaching for the air conditioner or heating remote again
  • Invest in a Solar Battery

    A solar battery is an additional battery component to a solar system that becomes charged from solar panels. This battery then stores that charge to be used later. The stored power can be used when a homes’ solar panels are no longer generating energy – in other words the sun is not out

  • Other Handy Tips
    • Insulate your home
    • Do an energy audit to see where your high energy use is coming from, so you can better manage your consumption
 

Are You Building, Moving Or Renting?

  • Building

    If you’re in the stages of building, it is a good idea to start planning your solar installation before the completion of your home. For quotes to be tailored to your property, Solar Providers will generally need to view and assess the roof of your household.

    Less than 3 months to completion

    If you’re less than 3 months away from your roof being completed, solar providers will be able to provide you with accurate quotes if you can supply the following information;

    • Roof space
    • Roof orientation
    • Potential obstacles or shade restrictions (large trees)
    • Household size

    More than 3 months to completion

    If your home is more than 3 months from completion, not to worry! Complete our quote request form and we will be in touch with you in a few months to kick start your solar planning.

  • Purchasing

    Whether you’re preparing to move into your first house, move into a new house or buy an investment property, solar can be a hugely valuable addition to the property and assist in greatly reducing your power bills. To ensure the process runs smoothly and to provide the most accurate quotes, solar providers will require you to be moving in or obtaining ownership of the property within 3 weeks, before supplying quotes.

    If the property you are purchasing has an existing system that you are wanting to upgrade, expand on or add a battery storage component to, suppliers will require access to the roof, the system, original warranty and paperwork of the current system, if possible, before providing an accurate quote.

    More than 3 weeks away from moving in or obtaining ownership

    If you’re more than 3 weeks away from moving in or obtaining ownership, not to worry! Complete our quote request form and we will be in touch with you in a few months to kickstart your solar planning.

  • Renting

    For renters who are wanting the benefits of solar energy, the first step is expressing your interest with your landlord. Switching to solar energy is a mutually beneficial upgrade for renters and property owners.

    A landlord that is not able to or not interested in paying for the cost of a solar system, may want to consider a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A PPA allows a third-party installer to pay and install a solar system at a property, under the approval of the property owner. The property then acts as a host for the solar system and will produce the energy for the tenant/renter to use. The energy used will be sold to the renter/tenant by the third-party installer at a fixed and reduced rate, in comparison to the grid.

 

Where in your solar journey are you?

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Beginners Guide to Solar Power

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Become an expert and better understand the ins and outs of solar power and solar PV systems for your property.

Includes detailed explanations and diagrams of the various types of solar systems and their parts, solar battery storage systems, Government incentives, expected ROI periods, finance, energy saving tips and more!

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.