About Solar

About Solar

It’s normal to have lots of questions when transitioning to solar power. Our experienced team are always here to discuss any queries you may have, and we have also listed several frequently asked questions below:

Solar panels convert sunlight into DC electricity. The inverter then converts this to AC electricity, so it can be used at your property or fed back into the grid if you don’t require the power.

Here at Adapt Energy, we specialise in grid connected and hybrid solar PV (photovoltaic).

‘Solar photovoltaic’ (solar PV) is the technical term for solar electricity panels, and it refers to the conversion of light into electricity.

The ‘hybrid’ part is referring to batteries. The reason it’s a hybrid is because you have the best of both worlds with batteries and grid power, instead of relying 100% on one or the other. 

Batteries are becoming increasingly popular, and more of our clients are opting to to install batteries, but many are still starting with grid-connected solar, with the view to add batteries in the future.

 

Once you have solar PV installed, any power you use during the day will primarily come from the solar system.

Any excess energy the solar system produces will be fed back into the grid, and your retailer will purchase this energy from you, which this will appear as a credit on your bill (subject to approval). 

If you require more power than is being produced by your solar system, you will pull it from the grid as you do now.

The rate of power is now generally higher than the feed-in tariff offered for excess power fed into the grid. This is why, in order to maximise your savings, it is beneficial to use the energy that you require during the day.

Solar produces power during daylight hours, and will start producing power as soon as light touches the array.

The hours of production vary depending on your location and the system design, but as an example your hours of production might be from 7am to 5pm.

In order to work out your system’s average daily production on a conservative basis, multiply the panel output by the figure relevant to your location:

 

Adelaide4.2
Alice Springs5.0
Brisbane4.2
Cairns4.2
Canberra4.3
Darwin4.4
Hobart3.5
Melbourne3.6
Perth4.4
Sydney3.9

 

Here are some examples using Adelaide’s figure of 4.2:

  • 6.5kW System x 4.2 = 27.3kWh/day
  • 8.5kW System x 4.2 = 35.7kWh/day
  • 10.6kW System x 4.2 = 44.52kWh/day
  • 32kW System x 4.2 = 134.4kWh/day
  • 100kW System x 4.2 = 420kWh/day

This average daily production will vary depending on the time of year, and of course the weather conditions.

On a clear summer day this figure can potentially be over 50% greater, and on a dark cloudy winter day the production can be considerably lower.

The system gradually builds up in the morning and increases production towards the middle part of the day, tapering off later in the afternoon. It produces power like a bell curve on a graph, with the best production in the middle of the day between around 9am and 3pm.

See the examples below, with the green being power fed into the grid, the grey being solar energy consumed on site, and the black line being the 24 hour energy consumption.

5.4kW residential example:

32kW commercial example:

 

For residential households, many people are away from their home for large parts of the day, and the majority of the power currently consumed may be first thing in the morning and later in the day.

There are many options for adapting your usage to benefit more from the solar energy produced. For example, fridges and freezers will run 24/7, and often use more energy during the day when its warmer, but there are a few more tips to utilise the solar energy:

  • Put a delayed start on washing machines and dishwashers
  • Put your electric hot water system on a timer (we can do this on the day of the solar installation)
  • Use energy at weekends (ironing, vacuuming, washing etc)
  • Run your pool pump in the day on a timer
  • Install panels facing west so they are performing better in the afternoon when you are using power
 

Although the feed-in tariffs are generally lower than the price of power, even if you don’t use a large portion of your energy during the day, installing a larger system and feeding the excess energy back to the grid can still offer a very attractive return on investment.

With increasing feed-in tariffs on offer of 10-16c/kWh even when only using 20% of the energy produced during the day, you can still often achieve a return on your investment within 5 years.

Use our solar savings calculator to work out your savings and return on investment.

Installing batteries is a great way to further reduce the amount of energy you purchase from the grid.

Once you have batteries installed to your grid-connected system you now have a hybrid system. When you have excess energy being produced, it will be used to charge your batteries, and once fully charged this excess energy will be fed back into the grid.

Your primary source of energy will still be the solar system, then secondly when required (generally at night time) you will use your batteries; then finally if required you will use grid power.

Before considering batteries, you should ensure that all of your roof space is utilised, as it is generally a better investment to have a larger system selling the energy back to the grid, which can potentially result in a zero bill or even a credit without the expense of installing batteries. Ask our team about maximising your saving potential.

 

With residential or smaller commercial buildings, often the largest system possible offers the best long term investment.

This is because the upfront rebate (STCs) is offered based on the panel capacity, so the larger the system the larger the rebate.

This often makes the larger systems (6-30kW) better value for money.

Also, with increasing feed-in tariffs, you effectively get paid for what you sell back to the grid, and this can offset large portions of your evening usage and supply charges.

With larger commercial properties, we tailor the system to to fit your usage as accurately as possible, as there is generally no feed-in tariff offered on systems above 30kW inverter capacity; but we look at this on a case by case basis.

Larger system benefits:

  • Larger upfront rebate
  • Better value
  • Greater overall savings on the bill
  • Larger system ready for batteries in the future
  • Once broken even, greater savings moving forward
  • Offset/ reduce costs of evening usage and supply charges with energy sold to the grid

Larger system drawbacks:

  • Larger upfront investment (only if paying cash)

Have you considered finance? Your system could simply pay for itself!

Smaller system benefits:

  • Can sometimes offer shorter return on investment
  • Less money upfront

Smaller system drawbacks:

  • Less overall energy savings
  • Less opportunity to store energy for batteries

  • Adding panels later is more costly

Read more about the benefits of going big with our residential solar 16.9kW case study.

 

Panels very rarely run at 100% efficiency, so in order to get the most out of your inverter capacity you can oversize it by up to 33%.

This allows you to reach a higher production level earlier in the morning, and maintain it later in the afternoon. It also means when it is a bit cloudy your extra output can make up for some of the losses.

Common examples:

  • Residential 6.5kW (PV) with 5kW inverter
  • Residential 10.8kW(PV) with 8.2kW inverter
  • Residential 13.2kW(PV) with 10kW Inverter
  • Commercial 39kW (PV) with 30kW inverter

Getting solar installed for the best price will make the return on investment seem very attractive, and the numbers will often stack up well on paper.

In reality, this is generally too good.

Solar is an investment, and it’s all very well your system paying for itself in under two years… but if the system breaks down shortly after, the whole exercise has been pointless.

It’s important to consider the quality of the system, the level of workmanship provided and the ongoing support from the installer and the manufacturer of the equipment within Australia.

It’s also worth thinking about how long you intend on keeping the property or staying in the premises.

In order to maintain the highest possible standards we refuse to compete with the absolute bottom of the market, but we do have a wide range of products to suit all budgets.

All of our systems are high quality, and would offer a great investment in the majority of cases, but one of the main factors when deciding if it’s worth spending more on a system is how long you are going to keep hold of the property.

If you are going to be in the property for 10 years or more, the extra 5-10% production you can get from a top-of-the-range system will provide you with a better financial return in the long run.

Secondly, the reliability and build quality you will get from the top-of-the-range system will result in a longer lasting, hassle-free solar system for up to 25 years and beyond.

  • Going to keep the property for up to 3 years? – Go value
  • Going to keep the property for 5-10 years? – Go premium
  • Going to keep the property for 10 year plus? – Go platinum and consider batteries
 

This is based on our standard price for a 6.5kW system with the price of power at 0.28c/kWh (inc gst) and the feed-in tariff at 10c/kWh.

Value system

  • 50% usage of solar energy during the day
  • 2.18 years payback
  • 45.87% ROI per annum

Premium system

  • 50% usage of solar energy during the day
  • 2.79 years payback
  • 35.84% ROI per annum

Platinum system

  • 50% usage of solar energy during the day
  • 3.06 years payback
  • 32.68% ROI per annum

For a more detailed breakdown of your savings and return on investment, see our solar savings calculator.

These figures are one of the reasons our top-of-the-range Platinum Solar Package is our best selling option.

The reason being is that you can have one of, if not the best solar system on the market, whilst achieving an exceptional return on investment.

Once you have broken even, you really do have a system you can rely on that will continue to perform at the highest possible level for many years to come.

 

Just to put it into perspective, your energy costs are inevitable and have increased exponentially over the years.

The price of power is at an all time high, and Australia has some of the most expensive prices for electricity in the world.

If you can own your own energy station producing renewable energy, your costs will be heavily reduced in the long run, and you will ultimately be left with more money for yourself, your family and/or your business.

If you have the money to invest in solar and purchase the system outright, you can achieve a far better ROI than having the money in a savings account, with most people achieving 20-30% per annum.

On the other hand, if you don’t have the spare capital, why not use the money you are already budgeting for power and redirect it towards your own solar system?

 

When you have a solar system installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer using a Clean Energy Council approved inverter and panels (< 100kW), you will be eligible for the STC (Small Scale Technology Certificates) program.

This is a Federal Government scheme that is being reduced by one fifteenth at the end of each calendar year from 2017, until it reaches zero in 2032.

This is for the number of STC certificates eligible for each system, which also varies depending on your location and its average amount of sunlight. The price of each certificate also fluctuates and varies depending on demand from 0-$40 (the lowest it has been was around $17).

The rebate is currently at a very healthy price, but could potentially drop significantly at any given point. This is why it’s advisable to secure your STC (“rebate”) price while it’s still high.

The larger the system, the greater the number of STC certificates that will be eligible.

Examples:

  • 3kW system = 50 STCs at $36 each = $1,800.00
  • 6.5kW system = 107 STCs at $36 each  = $3,852.00
  • 10.8kW system = 178 STCs at $36 each = $6,408.00
  • 33kW system = 545 STCs at $36 each = $19,620.00
  • 99kW system = 1,635 STCs at $36 each = $58,860.00

The STCs will be offered as an upfront, point-of-sale discount for the solar system and installation.

Contact us and we will provide you with a quotation, including your STC discount.

 

Once your system is installed you can read our Solar User Guide for more information and advice on owning a solar panel system.