FAQ - SOLAR INSTALLATIONS
Here are your answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about residential solar power system.
If you cannot find answers to your queries here, feel free to contact us anytime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are tradeable certificates that are created by the generation of renewable energy, which is defined in the legislation. Each REC is equal to 1MWh. Solar farms, wind farms, landfill gas plant, rooftop solar PV systems, Solar Hot Water systems, etc. they can all create RECs. RECs are classed into two categories, Large Generation Certificates (LGCs) and Small Technology Certificates (STCs). STCs apply to renewable power systems below 100kW in size. STCs have the advantage of being able to produce RECs before actual renewable energy production. Estimated production to 2030, up to a maximum of 15 years, is brought forward to create STCs, which are submitted by solar system suppliers to the Government for rebate. This rebate accounts for nearly half the cost of the solar PV system currently. The bigger the rooftop solar system, the more STCs created. Unlike LGCs, the STC price is stable because there is no limit to STC production. All electricity retailers in Australia are charged the cost of all STCs produced nation-wide, this cost being the Federal Government’s price cap on the STC. LGCs, on the other hand, are limited by numbers each year and to a total of 31,000GWh by 2020. Annual numbers are determined by the Federarl Government by requiring electricity retailers to have at least a percentage of renewable energy in their sales portfolios. If they don’t have enough renewable energy, they must buy LGCs to make up the difference. The price for LGC therefore can vary significantly with supply and demand conditions. LGCs are traded in the open market.
It is important to understand that a grid connected Ssolar PV system does not need to provide all of the electricity you consume in order to be of great value. A small system providing an average of, say, half of your average demand can reduce your electricity bill dramatically. Five years ago, a small system like 1.5kW would have been the most cost efficient. Today, with the cost of a solar PV system being about one-third of the level 5 years ago, most households have opted for 3-5kW system to reduce their grid consumption more. As the cost of rooftop solar systems has declined while the Residential Tariffs charged by Synergy have increased, installing larger solar PV systems makes more sense. We are happy to provide you with a system that supplies nearly 100% of your energy needs and help you calculate the optimal size that you should go for.
Regen Power pride ourselves on providing transparent costs. We usually provide you with a cost estimate by email after remotely checking your roof space and proposing a solar system to suit your needs. Once you’ve made up your mind, we send a quote subject to a site visit. During the site visit, which is totally free of charge, one of our assessors will confirm the precise location of the system on your roof and the price. Any variation that may apply, such as for multiple storey homes or system size or extra travel distances, will be made clear during the site visit by the assessor.
To sell the excess electricity produced by your solar PV system you will need to sign up for the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) with Synergy. If you have a digital meter it can probably be reprogrammed, however, older, analog meters will have to be replaced with digital meters. Regen Power cannot change or reprogram meters; this is done by Synergy. Synergy can provide you with information regarding the kind of meter required and how to apply for REBS. Please refer to Synergy’s website: http://www.synergy.net.au/at_home/renewable_energy_buyback_schema.xhtml or call Synergy on 13 13 53. If you have any query, please contact Regen and we will be happy to assist.
Changing the meter is at your own cost and subject to Synergy’s prices and terms and conditions. In January 2010, Synergy revised its prices to: $171 for a single phase meter; $268 for a three phase meter; $66 for reprogramming a suitable meter.
Your installation should take place between two and four weeks after all documents have been signed and the booking deposit has been received.
You will need to check how much of your roof space a larger system would take up. One of our sales people will be able to tell you this remotely and confirm on site visit. You will also need to decide how much electricity you would like to produce in the future as this will determine the size of the inverter purchased for the initial installation.
Yes, although less electricity will be produced. Under a slightly overcast sky, panels produce roughly half as much power as under full sun.
If you want to find out the average number of units produced by your system you need to count the number of days since connection to the grid and divide E-total displayed on the inverter screen by the number of days. The inverter screen also shows the day’s progressive production
These systems require little to no maintenance. Because there are no moving parts in a solar power system, there is not much to go wrong. Basically, make sure the modules are clear of bird droppings and dirt and trees aren’t shading the system. Also, make sure the system works by looking at the inverter display and check the performance once in a while. Other than that… keep smiling every time you see the sun and knowing it is working for you all day long.
Generally you do not need planning permission from your local council. If your house is a heritage listed building you might need planning permission and you should contact your local shire or council for advice.
All solar panels used by Regen Power are tested against international standardized tests (IEC61215). Part of these tests is the bombardment of ice balls, 2.5 cm in diameter at a speed of 82.5 km/h, on the solar panels. The solar panels are supported by our mounting system that has been tested to withstand winds with speed of 216 km/h and can work on almost every type of roofing material.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE SIZE OF MY SYSTEM?
The most cost-efficient system for an average household is a 6kW system, which can generate up to 32kWh per day on sunny days and an average of 26kWh per day over the whole year. This size is sufficient to cover most households’ daytime usage for most of the year. You can check your electricity bills to see your daily average consumption through the year and work on the basis that the size of the system should be able to generate a similar amount. Any query please call or write to Regen.
HOW MUCH ELECTRICITY DO I CONSUME?
Your electricity bill will indicate your average daily consumption in electricity units (kWh). There are 6 Synergy bills per year. Take the average of the last 6 bills to estimate your daily average over a full year (summer and winter cycles). You can also take the three bills in summer (October to March) to see your highest level of daily consumption.
WHAT IS THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF MY SYSTEM?
Photovoltaic systems have been around for 30 years and so far the original systems are still working fine, with only deterioration in their capacity to convert sunlight to electricity (the conversion efficiency factor). This rate of deterioration depends on the quality of the panels. Regen Power only sells Tier-1 panels. Accelerated testing by manufacturers estimates a lifespan of 40-42 years for these panels. Other system components have a shorter lifespan, however, and may need to be replaced during the system’s service lifetime. For instance, inverters’ life span is 5-10 years, with Regen Power providing manufacturers’ warranty of 10 years