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Grid Connect Solar Systems

How Does Solar Power Work?

Solar panels generate power from the sun’s rays. This power then goes through the inverter, changing it from DC power to AC power, which is what our households operate on.

Your house uses any solar power you generate first, then if your system produces more power at any given time than the house is using, this excess power goes out to the power lines (grid), to be then used elsewhere. Your Power Company may pay you for this power.

Should your house use more power than your solar system generates, it will then draw power from the grid ─ e.g. night time use. In the event of a blackout, for the safety of the linesmen working on the fault, you too will have a blackout. A Hybrid system however, will keep working, as it will switch from Grid power to Battery power.

A new electricity meter is required which then measures both the power you generate and the power you export.  What’s missing from this picture?  The power you use!  Because your premise is net metered you will not see the power you use as it is being used before it goes through the meter.  However, there are energy monitoring solutions that can solve this issue, or you can take readings off the inverter itself. 

Getting Started...

To get an idea of your daily power usage, we like to see your electricity bill.

We explain the amount of power various sized systems will produce and we can then discuss what you would like to achieve with your solar power system, and what government incentives may be available.

You can either have a system that will generate a component of your power requirements, or one that will produce all your requirements.

For example: Five 200w panels will generate approximately 1 kw of power per daylight hour.

Inverters

The inverter and its size is the key to your system.

Its size determines the maximum number of panels allowed, or the ability to expand your solar system, should you decide to down the track. An over-sized inverter with too few panels may not start up and isn’t recommended. These issues will be explained to you to help you make an informed decision regarding your system.

A Solar Hybrid system such as Selectronic’s SP Pro Solar Hybrid system may also be an option for you. It’s an energy management system that incorporates the use of solar power, batteries and the power grid─ allowing you to be your own energy manager by choosing whether to use these individually or combined…making even greater savings on your power usage. 

Solar Panels

The solar panels are the main component to your system, as it is the panels that generate the power for you. Solar panels are primarily measured by their wattages, with many different sizes ranging from 5w to 350w. The most common sizes that we use in a Grid Connect System, are 250w—350w panels.

Solar Integrity will design and install any size system for you, and we only use panels that meet Australian Standards and are approved by the Australian Government and the Clean Energy Council.

Solar Incentives

There are several solar incentives available to people with a small generation power system.

Small Technology Certificates (STCs) are the incentive offered for installing small renewable energy power generators for householders and small business owners. These systems can be solar, wind, hydro or a combination of these.

STCs are a tradable commodity and the value of the STC is determined by supply and demand, as with the share markets. STC prices, therefore, can fluctuate. If you require more information about what STCs are, please contact our team.

Feed-In Tariffs

Most states have a feed-in tariff which is when your power company recognises you for the power your system has generated.

The two types of feed-in tariff are Net and Gross.

Net: After your premises uses the power it needs, any unused power generated by your system is exported to the grid and you are paid for this excess.

Gross: You are paid for ALL the power generated by your system. This was in operation in various states in Australia, but no longer exists for new customers.

NSW operates on net metering. Currently, your retailer determines what you may be paid, so you will need to contact them, to inquire about their feed-in tariff process. For more information you can ask us, or refer to www.myenergyoffers.nsw.gov.au and click on the “NSW solar bonus scheme”. 

VICTORIA also operates on net metering and offers a 6c feed-in tariff; however some retailers may offer a slightly higher amount. Again you can ask us, or refer to www.dpi.vic.gov.au/energy and click on “feed-in tariff”. You should also contact your electricity retailer and inquire about their processes for this tariff.

Energy Monitoring

Finally, in recent years we have seen the emergence of energy monitoring units.  Most inverter company’s have their own monitoring systems now, so we would recommend the one that matches your system.  However, there are also now great, affordable after market ones available.  Ask us for more information, and about one that will suit you. 

This is a great way to see how, where and when you are using your power, but also you keep an eye on your generation.  

Maintenance

There is little maintenance involved in Solar Grid Connect systems. Solar Integrity with provide you with all the necessary information. 

We also ofer a maintenance program, where we call you every year and schedule your system for a  general clean and check over; a report on your system will then be sent out to you.

The Clean Energy Council reports: "By installing a renewable energy systerm you will be aiding in the fight to stop, and reverse, the effects of climate change." According to http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change just 1kW solar power equals a saving of 1-4 tonnes of greenhouse gasses per year.

For many people, solar technology is new and may seem a little daunting. Solar Integrity, however, is here to help and offer you advice throughout the process... from information gathering, to advice on how to get the maximum benefit from your investment, and there are many things that will help you do this.

Contact the Solar Integrity team to discuss your solar system options