Solar Panel Buyers Guide
The cost of solar panels has dropped significantly in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean everyone should rush out and buy them. Solar power is an excellent option for many people, but it’s not suitable for everyone. If you’re thinking about buying solar panels for your home or business, it’s important to understand whether they are the best choice for your specific situation.
Solar panels are an increasingly popular means of cutting household energy costs. While the upfront cost can be high, homeowners who install photovoltaic (PV) systems on their roofs will see savings in both electricity and installation fees over time. We’ll help you get a handle on what’s needed before installing a PV system at your residence-check out our article for more information!
PEC Electrical can help you find out if solar energy is right for you by providing free consultation services from one of our expert electricians who will walk you through all the aspects of installing solar panels on your house or property.
Solar system adoption in Western Australia is on the rise. According to recent surveys, ten Western Australian suburbs are among the 20 places in Australia where solar energy has been adopted. Mandurah is leading this list with a staggering number of adopters.
Benefits of Installing Solar Panels?
There are many reasons why solar power systems are being adopted. Solar systems are economically feasible; your monthly electricity bill can be reduced by 30-60% depending on your system. A 10kw system can reduce your quarterly bill from $800 to a whopping $68! This is a ballpark estimate with certain assumptions, but you can see that the savings are substantial!
Technological advances are reducing the cost of solar panels and lowering overall installation costs. Due to fierce competition in the market, companies are offering their customers attractive packages. The benefits of a solar system start with the installation process itself. In the following section, we will be looking at available rebates for residential households.
Different Factors to Be Considered While Buying a Solar Panel
Choosing solar panels can be a stressful experience because you have to consider so many factors, like the size of your home and how much energy it uses. Here are some simple guidelines that explain how different technical factors affect the cost and performance of solar panels.
Solar Panels Manufacturer
The quality of the solar panels used to make a solar array is critical, as it directly affects how much electricity can be generated. As you might imagine, many different types and qualities of solar panels are available on the market today.
You must know how the solar panels are manufactured and what materials the solar panels are made of to be as efficient as possible.
Manufacturer Quality Tiers Are Divided Into Three Levels:
- TIER 1 (BEST)
- TIER 2 & TIER 3 (CHEAPER or may be of LOWER QUALITY)
“TIER 1 ONLY CONTAINS THE TOP 2% OF SOLAR MANUFACTURERS.”
- Vertically integrated
- The company heavily invests in R & D.
- Advanced robotic processes are used.
- More than five years’ experience in manufacturing solar panels
“SMALL TO MEDIUM-SIZED SOLAR PANEL MANUFACTURERS”
- There is little or no investment in research and development (R & D).
- Not entirely relying on robotics. Manual labour is more often used to complete production.
- Manufacturing solar panels for 2-5 years
“THE ONLY ASSEMBLY OF SOLAR PANELS-90 % OF NEW SOLAR PV”
- There is no research and development (R & D) investment.
- Do not manufacture silicon cells, only assemble solar panels.
- Soldering of solar cells is done manually with human production lines rather than with automatic equipment.
- Assembling the solar panels for 1-2 years
PEC Electrical has a wide variety of solar panel options available for your home. You can find the perfect one based on what you need it to do and how much electricity you use each day, which will make this investment worthwhile in the long run.
Solar Panel Brands
Entry Level Budget Solar Panel Brands
Mid Level Solar Panel Brands
High End Top Solar Panel Brands
Want to know how solar panels can help
you save on electricity bills?
Speak to one of our friendly team at PEC electrical.
Inverters are the heart and soul of any solar panel system. They convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Without a solar inverter, a photovoltaic system can’t produce electricity. Choosing the wrong one could be a costly mistake that will hold back your energy independence efforts or, worse yet, damage your panels and void their product warranty.
Types Of Solar Inverters
The following describes each type:
Among residential inverters, this is the most popular type. All the solar inverters above (apart from Enphase) are string inverters. These convert almost all the energy generated by the sun into usable energy for your home. It is called a string inverter because you connect strings of solar panels to it.
It is a type of inverter capable of handling outputs of hundreds or even thousands of kilowatts. The enclosures resemble large metal cabinets and can handle megawatts of power. These aren’t usually found in home installations; instead, they are typically found in commercial or utility-scale installations.
It is recommended to use micro-inverters when shading across the solar panels or when the roof design requires that panels face different directions.
As micro-inverters allow each panel to operate independently, a single panel or some panels in shade will not affect the output as the panels in sunlight will work at their full capacity.
Standard hybrid inverters are the simplest and most economical way to add battery storage to a home and increase your level of self-sufficiency. However, they have some limitations compared to the more powerful off-grid inverters, the main one being the limited surge or peak power output during a power blackout (refer to the comparison chart below). Some hybrid inverters do not have backup power capability, or the backup power is limited, so only small (essential) loads like lighting and basic power circuits can be backed up in the event of a power blackout.
Top Solar Inverters Ratings
the factors involved in solar panel installation
By hiring an accredited solar installer, you can ensure that your panels are being installed to maximise their energy efficiency and safety. When installing the panels on your roof, some considerations need to be taken into account, such as orientation and tilting for maximum benefit from the sun’s rays while minimising the risk of shading by trees or nearby buildings.
Solar panels facing true north should be oriented as close to true south as possible since Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere. However, if your power consumption peak is in the afternoon and you are in a state where the electricity feed-in tariff incentive rate is less than the market rate, the northwest, west-northwest, or even the west could be optimal. Alternatively, a split array that matches consumption east to west could decrease imports by better matching consumption at the start and end of the day.
Solar panels need to be in full sun for the maximum amount of time each day. Solar panels should not be placed in shaded areas, and they must have a clear line of sight to the sky. When solar panel cells are exposed to sunlight, electric currents convert light into electricity through a process called photovoltaic conversion. Suppose there is insufficient lighting on your roof or it is blocked by objects such as trees. In that case, you’re going to seriously reduce how much power your system can produce because these factors will affect the flow of electricity through the solar panel.
A solar panel’s angle is a crucial factor in determining its effectiveness. In some places, the optimum performance angle over one year–which can be as low as 20° or up to 32° depending on location and weather conditions–can vary significantly from what seems optimal at first glance. For example, Perth has an average tilt of 22 degrees.
The mounting system is key to the success of a solar installation. If you live in an area with severe wind storms, it’s important that your equipment is certified for cyclones and high winds. Make sure to ask about warranty arrangements as well, so that if any damage or malfunction occurs within the first ten years from the purchase date (which would include movement due time), they’ll have coverage under their agreement terms.
As lithium-ion batteries continue to evolve, residential energy storage becomes more affordable and aesthetically pleasing. Energy storage has been largely confined to off-grid applications until the rapid evolution of these types of battery technology revolutionised this industry. As electric storage technology advances, it becomes cheaper, more efficient, precise, and visually pleasing.
Tesla, Sonnen, and Enphase Energy are now the newest players in solar power. These companies have developed a new form of battery storage for homes that you can set and forget! This means more solar households will soon be able to enjoy this eco-friendly technology without breaking their bank account or going through complicated installation procedures.
Tesla Powerwall batteries are modular, meaning that you can add more battery packs as necessary. For most households, though, large storage systems won’t be required considering mains electricity grid power will still be available to act as a backup in an extended heavy cloud event. A power blackout has also become increasingly rare-with most only lasting 1-2 hours at any given time.
“To get government incentives, your system must be installed by an appropriately qualified person.”
As part of its accreditation programme, the Clean Energy Council certifies and assures solar power system designers and installers:
- I have completed the required training.
- Following industry best practices
- Comply with Australian standards
- They regularly update the skills and knowledge they have about solar products.
A new solar system installed by an accredited designer/installer will provide you with a design and specification that considers the type of panel being used, energy efficiency ratings on all panels in use, and orientation when installing them (to get maximum output).
The Clean Energy Council suggests a full system quotation should include dimensions, quantity, size, capacity, and output for the major components, such as:
- Solar panels
- Mounting system
- Solar Inverter
- Additional metering if applicable
- Devices for logging data, if specified
- Travel and transportation requirements
- Other equipment that may be required
- Any trenches that need to be dug?
- A user’s guide for the system.
As part of the final quotation, the following should be included:
- Estimated daily electricity usage in kilowatt-hours
- A production estimate for each year
- Production estimates during the most favourable and least advantageous months
- What the installer and the customer are responsible for, including payment obligations.
- Information about warranties and guarantees, including Australian Consumer Law information
- In whose charge is it to connect the solar panels to the main electricity grid?
- The person in charge of changing the meters
- In the case of solar feed-in tariff incentives, the entity responsible for submitting documentation
- STCs: How will they be handled?
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR SOLAR PANEL INSTALLER
- Do they have accreditation? You want to be sure about your panel installation, so make the company tell you their accreditation number.
- Get an idea of how many systems the company or person installing the system has installed.
- Would they be able to offer performance guarantees along with their standard warranties?
- Are there any testimonials or feedback from previous customers about how the company performed?
- What are the standards of the products they use? Can they meet Australian standards with their products?
ASK YOUR ELECTRICITY RETAILER THESE QUESTIONS
- Am I going to be moved to a Time of Use meter with shoulder, peak, and off-peak rates?
- What will my energy bill be during and after peak times?
- Does becoming a solar customer incur any other fees?
- What are your feed-in tariffs?
- What is your solar retailer’s contribution, above and beyond what the state requires?
- What additional services do you provide for solar customers compared to standard customers?
ASK YOUR POWER SUPPLIER ABOUT THE METER CONNECTION
- What company will replace my meter?
- When I switch to solar energy, what kind of meter will I get?
- What is the cost?
- My meter over will take how long?
Buying solar panels can be a confusing process, and it’s hard to know what you’re getting into. The solar power industry is changing quickly, and there are many different options available. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices out there.
PEC Electrical has been in business for over 13 years, serving residential customers throughout Mandurah and the surrounding suburbs. We’ve helped thousands of homeowners reduce their energy bills with our top-quality products and installation services. Our team of experts will work with you to find the right solution for your home or business needs-from simple solar panel installations to whole-house energy solutions that include battery storage systems and smart home technology upgrades!
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