Q. How does solar power work?

A. Solar PV (photovoltaic) relies on solar irradiation (light) to produce power. The PV modules are generally fitted to a north facing roof and then connected to an inverter which converts the power produced by the modules from DC to AC (same as the electricity you draw from the network). Solar PV systems can be installed to connect to the main electricity grid or in the absence of mains can be installed as a remote area power (RAP) system with battery/generator backup.

Q. What happens when the weather is cloudy or cold?

A. Solar panels require light to generate electricity. They will still work when it is overcast although not as efficiently and how much the output is reduced will depend on how overcast it is. A clear cold day is optimum for solar generation as the panels perform better in cooler temperatures.

Q. What is the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels?

A. Monocrystalline panels are produced from a single, pure silicon crystal and may have a slightly higher efficiency than a polycrystalline panel which is produced from multiple silicon cystals. Both are readily available in the marketplace from all reputable manufacturers

Q. What mounting options are available for solar panels?

A. Solar panels can be installed on mounting rails to a tin or tile roof, with tilt brackets if required for a flat roof or to improve the orientation.  Where roof mounting  is not ideal and there is available space they can be mounted on the ground on frames which are fixed to footings. Panels can be located on multiple orientations where the roof has many faces but we must design these systems with multi-power point tracking inverters or micro inverters  to maximise your system output. With many years of experience and relevant qualifications we can design the most appropriate and efficient system for each situation.

Q. What is the life expectancy of a PV panel?

A. PV panels are warranted for output for 25 years. As they are static and contain no moving parts it is quite likely they will last considerably longer than the warranted period although at a lower output than when they are installed due to the slow degradation process of the silicon.

Q. How many panels are required to produce a kilowatt (kW) of electricity?

A. This is determined by the output of the panel. We retail panels for home/commercial installations which range in output from 200W to 250W peak.

Q. How much power do we use in our home and how much can we offset with solar power?

A. An Australian home of 4 people with all electric hot water, heating, cooking etc uses approximately 12000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year or 32.87kWh/day on average. Your electricity bill will tell you what your household average/day is.  How much of this can be offset with solar power depends on usage patterns and the type of system installed. Contact us today for an assessment and recommendation.

Q. If I produce more power than I use will I be paid for what I export to the electricity grid?

A. In NSW there is currently no mandated feed-in tariff. Some retailers will pay a nominal amount for exported power. Please check with your retailer. Under the current arrangement you benefit 1:1 for any power you use which is equal to or less than what you are currently generating. You will pay the standard tariff for power consumed above generation and you may be paid a nominal amount for any power produced which is in excess of your consumption

 Q. How can the amount of electricity generated by a solar system be monitored?

A. Your inverter will provide generation information. How detailed this information is depends on the inverter installed. We can also install a monitor which can be located inside the home so you can watch what your system is doing at any given point in time and maximise your benefit by changing usage habits as required.

 Q. Do I need any approvals /permissions to install a solar power system?

A. All grid connected solar power systems need to have approval from Essential Energy  to ensure the grid can cope with your generation.  Installing renewable technologies such as solar hot water or solar power may contribute to BASIX for new builds.

Q. Will solar power protect me against blackouts?

A. Standard grid connected solar PV systems will not offer blackout protection. Systems with ‘local power out’ battery storage will ensure continuous supply but are limited by the amount of storage capacity so should be sized according to your consumption/peak loads. Newer inverter technologies will look at the big picture and determine whether you are producing power in excess of ‘moment in time’ requirements and feed into battery storage for later use or where you are generating less than ‘moment in time requirements’ or the grid is unavailable (blackout),  it will look to the batteries for available power.

Q. How long does it take to install a solar system and will my power supply be interrupted?

A. Installation time depends on the system size and the location of the panels. Generally speaking a system up to 5kW can be installed in 1 day with our experienced team. The electricity supply will only be interrupted for a short period of time when we are working on your switchboard connection, this is for the safety of our team and our customers. We endeavour to minimise disruption to your premises.

Q. How much will a solar system cost?

A. Cost is relative to system size and the components used. There are many ‘cheap’ solar power system providers popping up in the market place. We work hard to ensure we provide you with the most reliable, reputable, competitively well priced components that are backed up with manufacturer warranties and our own longevity and experience in the industry. We install locally and are available to our customers at all times.

Q. Can I increase the size of my solar PV system in the future?

A. We design systems which are relative to your current requirements and usage patterns. System size can be increased should your requirements change in the future providing there is sufficient installation space. Should the maximum input of the inverter be surpassed by additional modules we can upgrade to a larger inverter or add an additional inverter to cope with the additional input. All systems must be approved by Essential Energy for connection to the grid and exceeding the previously approved output would require additional approval.

Q. Is there a rebate available for solar power systems?

A. Installation of a renewable energy generation system (eg. Solar power or wind turbine) creates Small Scale Technology Certificates (STC’s) which are then traded like a commodity. The number of STC’s is determined by the generation output (kW) and the value of the STC’s is determined by the market. Most customers choose to offset their system cost by assigning the STC’s to us when the system is installed for the current market value. We then take the liability to trade the certificates and the customer benefits from a point of sale discount. The Solar Credits Program where the first 1.5kW of installed capacity attracted a multiplier on the STC’s ended 16.11.12. The current number of STC’s for 1.5kW is 31. STC spot price will be given on your quotation and can be checked at Green Bank

Q. How much maintenance is required for a solar PV system?

A. A visual inspection should be carried out at regular intervals (3-6 monthly). The panels are essentially self-cleaning with rainfall but periods of extended dry weather may mean your panels could use a spray of water to remove any build-up of dust or bird droppings which may affect performance. No chemicals or detergents are required. Dynamic Solar can provide a maintenance service where requested.

Q. I am not connected to the main electricity grid, can I install a solar PV power system to run my home?

A. Yes. Solar PV systems can operate as remote area power (RAP) systems. These can also be integrated with alternative generation devices such as wind turbines or generators and rely on battery storage from which you will draw your power. Oftentimes a RAP system is cheaper than connecting to the grid and whilst there are replaceable components, you will never have an electricity bill.

Q. How much generation will I require for a remote area power (RAP) system?

A. RAP’s are sized according to the power requirements of the installation location. From a fishing shack to a 4 bedroom family home or chicken farm, we can design an appropriate RAP system. Load analysis is extremely important to ensure your requirements are met by your RAP system. Speak to our experienced staff to assist you with this task.

 Q. How does solar hot water work?

A. We install Apricus evacuated tube solar hot water systems.  These systems are high efficiency, lightweight, low maintenance solar hot water systems which are available with an electric or gas boost, glass or stainless steel tank. The round tube design passively tracks the sun throughout the day to give the highest possible performance.  The sun’s energy is absorbed by the tubes and is then transferred to your water via innovative heat pipes located inside each tube. The heated water is then returned to your tank for use. These systems are extremely frost tolerant without the use of old technology, glycol.

Q. How much will I save if I switch to solar hot water?

A. Electric hot water typically accounts for 1/3 of a households’ electricity consumption. A solar hot water service will reduce this, on average, by 80%.

Q. What is the best position to install solar hot water?

A. Apricus solar hot water systems are a split system design with the collectors located on the roof, ideally north facing (due to their high efficiency NE or NW are also appropriate locations) and the tank located on the ground

Q. How much will solar hot water cost?

A. This is determined by the number of collector tubes, tank size and style (glass lined or stainless steel) and boost option (electric or gas). Solar hot water systems also attract STC’s (Small Scale Technology Certificates) which will reduce your system cost. The number of STC’s is determined by the system specifications and the installation location. The value of the STC’s is market driven and we will provide this information to you when we quote. STC spot price can also be checked at Green Bank