We do our very best to answer all the questions you have on our pages, but we've put our more frequently asked questions into an easy to read section. No matter your questions about solar, panels and inverters, Easy Solar is here to help, find all the answers below:
I'm a Beginner in Solar. Can You Explain How Solar Works?
Solar panels have photovoltaic cells, which are made of silicon. These cells can capture the power of the sun, transforming it into DC energy. Typically, these panels measure 1.70m x 1.00m for a residential property. Tempered glass surrounds the panels so that they can easily withstand harsh weather.
The panels are connected to an inverter, which is wired to the main switchboard. The job of the inverter is to convert the DC energy to AC energy.
Before distributing the power throughout your home, it will first be fed through the switchboard and meter. If you have a solar battery, you can utilise it to store excess energy. This way, you can still use it at night or when the weather is not ideal for capturing solar power.
Without a battery, the solar system will still work flawlessly. You also have the option to send the energy you have stored back to the grid, which will grant you a "feed-in tariff."
To get an in-depth view of how solar power is produced through your solar PV system, you can read our blog post here.
How Do I Know the Right Size of Solar System for My Home?
There is no one specific answer to this question because each estate has its own requirements. In most cases, a small property with a monthly power bill averaging $200 can use a 3kW system. It consists of a 3kW inverter and 3.5kW solar panels.
If you pay more than $200, you can go with the biggest system that you can afford. You are entitled to a rebate when you have up to 6.6kW solar panel with a 5kW inverter. When used regularly, you can get up to 70% off your power bill.
For three-phase properties, each phase can have 5kW, totalling 15kW of inverter capacity. The larger the size of the inverter, the more panels it can handle.
Aside from your energy requirements, you should also consider the design and size of your roof. As a rough guide, a 6.6kW system will require 20 panels (more or less). Your roof should be able to handle this number.
This blog post will help you choose the right size of your solar system. Scroll down to the sections titled "How Much Power Do You Need" and "Can Adding More Panels Increase Power?" to get the answer you need.
How Do I Know if I Have a Single or Three-phase Power?
If you do not know whether you have a single or three-phase power, do not be embarrassed. Many Easy Solar clients are not aware of the type of power they currently have in their homes.
There are a few ways for you to determine the answer:
- The easiest is to check your meter and count the number of fuses you have under. A single-phase power obviously has only one fuse, while three fuses mean you have a three-phase property.
- Another way is to check the size of the main switch. If it only takes one spot, it is a single-phase power. If the pole is one pole wide, you also have a single-phase property. Meanwhile, if the switches take three spots in the switchboard, you have three-phase power.
Most homes only have single-phase, while commercial properties often have three-phase power. If your home requires a lot of power, you may need a three-phase system to avoid any power fluctuations.
In most states, including Western Australia, if the property is single-phase, it only needs an inverter up to 5kW. Larger capacity may result in the removal of the feed-in tariff.
What Can You Tell Me About the Solar Rebate?
If you have just purchased a solar system in March 2020, the federal government will give you a subsidy or discount worth $555 for every kW installed. This price is based on the small-scale technology certificate (STC) price of $37. Therefore, if you have a standard 5kW system, you can get about $2,775 off your purchase. That is already a lot of savings!
On the other hand, the not-so-good news is that this subsidy will soon end. It is not something new. This subsidy has been reducing every year, starting in January 2017. It will be scrapped altogether in 2031.
The solar rebate is also affected by the demand for the system. It means that if the demand grows significantly, this particular rebate will reduce. The STC mentioned above takes part in this mechanism. If the STC price is high, it means you get more "rebate" as a consumer.
We go in-depth on this topic here where we discuss what solar rebates are, how they work, and how they differ from feed-in tariffs. The blog post also gives you more information about the cancellation of the rebate.
How Does the Payment for the Solar System Work?
Easy Solar will ask you to give a 10% deposit for the installation and the equipment that will be used. This deposit serves as a security for the service. You can pay the remaining balance on the day of the installation.
Solar has become quite inexpensive in just the last few years. It used to be way above $10,000 and then went down to $7,500. Today, the entire system is approximately $5,000. Even better, there are ways to get a bigger discount through the government rebate.
To help our clients more when financing their solar system, we have partnered with Australian Solar Finance (ASF). We aim to make the whole process quicker and more straightforward. Therefore, if you are approved, you can immediately get the confirmation in as little as 90 minutes.
Easy Solar pre-vets clients so that everyone has a chance to get financial assistance for their system. We will then submit your application to ASF, and you will know the result in a few hours or less.
If you are interested, take the time to read our finance page here. We explain how the process works and how it can benefit you. If you need more assistance, you can call 1300 646 419 or fill out the form on the same page.
Do I Have to Get Approval Done?
Yes, you will still need to get approved before you can get the financial assistance you may require for the installation. Although we pre-vet our clients, it is still the ASF's final decision whether or not your application is accepted.
Our goal is to make everything easy for you. It is why you can leave the application to us. We will simply talk to you to get some pertinent information. We will also need you to provide us with a copy of your Synergy account. This copy should contain both the front and back of the document. We will also ask for the date of birth of the person named on the bill.
After completing these steps, we will send the application to the Australian Solar Finance (ASF). Typically, you will receive a notification about the approval or rejection of your application anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes.
The deals are competitive, but the final rate will depend on you, the customer. Some customers will receive lower rates than others. The decision considers various factors, including your credit rating and history, which will all be checked first.
For more information about our financial assistance through the ASF, you can check out our finance page, where we talk about the process thoroughly.
How Do I Choose the Best Solar System for My Home?
It is tempting to buy brands that offer lower prices for solar panels. After all, they promise to give the same output and performance as popular brands. You may already expect that they will not last long, and you may be fine with that. In reality, you will spend more on these cheap systems. You will encounter quality issues, deal with untrustworthy companies, and suffer from poor workmanship. Still not convinced? This blog post will show you how bad it can get when you choose these products from solar sharks.
Easy Solar recommends Tier-1 panels endorsed by Bloomberg, a research company. These panels include ET Solar and Risen Energy. Cost should just be one of the main factors to consider. You should also deliberate on the quality, reputation, durability, performance, and warranty of the product.
If you are going to focus on cost alone, you should think about why some products are more expensive than others. Often, the final price of the panel is determined partly by its capacity, size, and quality of materials, certifications, and longevity or warranty period.
If you purchase a full system, the price you pay will depend on the number of panels you will have installed as part of a package. The more modules you go for, the less costly it becomes per unit.
When is the Best Time to Go Solar?
The answer to this question varies depending on where you live. Some will tell you the best time to install solar is during the summer, while others will say during autumn or fall. Winter may be a good time, too, because not many people will decide to buy solar. Therefore, the prices will be lower. Others will also say that spring is a good time.
In other words, solar can be installed at any time of the year, and you can reap the benefits. If you live in Perth or any part of Western Australia, we recommend that you have the installation during spring.
Here's why: Summer is when the bills typically go up. People use their air conditioners and fans more. Because of the hot weather, many Aussies would rather stay at home to watch TV and avoid the harsh sun. Before your bills go up, it makes sense to have solar installed in spring. This way, you can benefit from the lower energy costs in the summer.
You also do not have to worry about the coming winter months since you already have solar to cover your heating bills. If you want to know more about the benefits of installing solar during springtime, this blog post will help.
Can I Save Money if I Install the Solar System on My Own?
Yes, you will undoubtedly save a lot of money if you install the system yourself. You will not have to pay for the installation and other services of a professional, such as Easy Solar. However, you will end up paying more as a result.
Solar systems are comprised of sophisticated pieces of equipment. Even if you are an electrician or an engineer, you still need experience in installing solar on your own. It is why Easy Solar pros first have several years of practice and familiarity with the systems before attempting any installation in homes. In other words, solar systems are not designed for DIY-type projects.
Most systems are also grid-tied, which requires a contract with a professional company. Easy Solar will help you get the most out of the rebate program requirements. At the same time, we ensure that the entire system will perform well with the utility connection.
The cost and risk linked to poor installation will greatly outweigh any savings you can get with self-installation.
Installing on your own can also cause you to choose the wrong solar products. Worse, you could opt for cheap solar systems just to save more money. This blog covers the dangers of going the cheap route.
How Long Does a Solar Installation Take?
The length of the whole installation process will depend on many factors, including your property. There is no definite answer to this question. Nevertheless, throughout our years of experience in installing thousands of solar systems in Western Australia, we can tell you that it will take about five hours. This duration will either be shorter or longer, depending on the obstacles in the area.
The type of roofing material you have can also determine how long the installation will take. For instance, you have corrugated iron as your roofing material. The good news is that the panel brackets are easy to attach to them. However, if you have terracotta roof tiles, the installation can take longer because the tiles should be removed with care first before replacing them.
The installation will usually be completed in one day. You can contact Easy Solar to get an estimate about when the installation will be finished. With our company's expertise and industry knowledge, we guarantee that you will receive an organised and efficient service for a quicker process.
Do I Need to Be Home on the Day of the Installation?
Yes, you should be home while the installer visits your home. Even though the installation process is ready to be carried out, there may still be a few questions that you need to answer. For instance, a tree branch is hindering the panels' view of the sun. Other issues, such as the type of roofing you have, can only be solved when the homeowner is present.
It makes sense to have the installation on a roof that is nearing its end of life. Note that solar panels can stay efficient for decades, so they can easily outlast your roof. We will make sure to discuss any problems that you could come across.
When you are home, you can read the contract thoroughly before you sign it. The agreement contains all the details of ownership, performance expectations, financing, and a few other pieces of information. You also be able to ask other questions before proceeding. You can only do this when you are at home during installation.
Additionally, when all the work is done, you will need to sign a document that says the job is complete.
How Long Will It Take for Solar to Help Me Save Money?
Solar systems pay for themselves eventually. Therefore, you save money in the long run. The break-even point is when your savings are more significant than the money you spend during the installation and purchase of the system.
The solar payback time is typically in just a few years, depending on a few factors, such as your battery size, your area, roof angle, and retailer. In Perth, payback is anywhere from three to seven years. If your system does not have a battery, you will get your investment back in six years. Perth and the entire WA enjoy more sun than those in lower Victoria and other southern areas. It is why WA residents get faster solar payback time.
Aside from the actual payback, you may also want to consider small-scale technology certificates and feed-in tariffs. Both the STCs and FiTs provide discounts on the total amount of the investment. Therefore, they help reduce the length of time you have to wait to reach the break-even point.
Learn more about the solar rebate here.
How Do I Know if There is Something Wrong With My Solar Array?
Almost all inverters have built-in monitoring. This feature allows you to know if there is a problem with your solar array. You can also use the monitoring function to get a good idea of your home's electric load. From there, you can differentiate how much the PV system is making for you.
If the solar array is not working, it may be because your grid power went down, too. This problem occurs in those with grid-tied solar systems. You cannot do anything about it since it is a part of protecting the line-workers who may be fixing the issue. The good news is that you can use a battery backup if your area often experiences power-outs.
If your solar panels or inverter stops working, all you need to do is contact Easy Solar. We will keep them up and running again. Your solar array has at least five years of warranty, so you do not have to worry about the expenses.
Do I Need to Worry About Cloudy Days, Dust, Pollen, Snow, and Other Obstructions?
We are happy to quash any concerns you may have, especially about clouds and snow. Our professionals will ensure that you have a system that will meet your power requirements. Before installation, we take weather data, along with the position of your roof and other elements that can affect the performance of the system.
Having installed thousands of solar arrays across Western Australia, we understand the best types of systems that work for homes in the area.
Pollen, dust, and snow are a reality that you have to face when installing a solar array, even in sunny Perth. Nevertheless, we always ensure that our systems can withstand the harshest weather. After a storm, snowstorm, or cold fronts, your panels will be covered by debris. It can be anything from snow to ice to branches. Don't panic! These obstructions typically clear out on the next sunny day.
There is a healthy production loss because of the snow and other weather conditions. Still, it will be relatively minor. To ensure that you keep your panels clear, you should clean them at least once a year.
What About Cleaning and Maintenance? Should I Go Up the Roof to Clean the Panels?
Solar panels are not as demanding as you may think. They usually only require cleaning once a year unless you live near a factory or a polluted area. You may have to clean every few months to make sure that the panels and the whole system continue to be efficient.
Even without attentive care, solar panels can last for several years. Some of the high-quality ones can work up to 40 years. However, if you want to make sure they remain viable for decades, cleaning is one of the ways to care for the panels.
Easy Solar offers solar system maintenance, which includes cleaning services. This way, you do not have to be concerned about going up the roof to clean the panels yourself.
If you are interested in cleaning the panels on your own, make sure that you read this post first. We discuss how you can DIY the cleaning process, as well as other maintenance tasks.
Warranties and Solar Systems - How Do They Work?
There are hundreds of panels and inverters on the market. Some have a minimum warranty, but others have better offers. For inverters, the industry standard is five years. You can always purchase extended warranties, which will allow you to prolong the guarantee of the product.
It is not rare to find companies offering ten years warranty, which shows they have good faith in their product.
On the other hand, panels have more extended warranties, which are divided into two categories. The first one is the warranty on the assembly, which is about ten years long. You can find other manufacturers offering up to 12 years of warranty, but there are a few with 15 years in total.
The second warranty category is for the performance of the panels. The industry standard is 25 years, which means that the panels will start to reduce inefficiency, usually 80% less, once they reach the age of 20.
Always speak to the salespeople before you purchase. This way, you get advice on which ones are the best. Some have better warranties, but they can be expensive. However, it is an ordinary matter with any product, not just inverters and panels.
To avoid any warranty issues, make sure that you follow the guidelines of the manufacturer. Companies require you to make sure the panels are checked once a year and cleaned regularly to prevent nullifying the warranty. You can hire people to clean or avail a maintenance program. If you like to DIY, you can wash it with a hose, no need for a squeegee.
Get in contact with us, we would love to hear from you!