The sight of solar panels on rooftops would have been an odd sight several years back when the concept of renewable energy wasn’t popular. However, a lot has changed since then, and as solar technology and its products grew in prominence, solar panel installation became pretty common. Many Canberians have warmed up to the idea of having their roofs packed with solar panels because of the immense benefits that come with them.
As a resident of Canberra, the capital city of Australia, you may be considering installing a solar panel system, but you’re yet to do so because you either still need some convincing or you don’t know how to go about it. This is where we come in. Through this article, we’ll provide you with information on all that you need to know about solar power, the cost of installation, calculating the system size you need, and so on. Let’s begin with the types of solar panels and what distinguishes one from the other.
Types of Solar Panels
There are three major types of solar panels on the market.
This solar panel is the most popular, durable, and effective solar panel. When it comes to energy efficiency, monocrystalline panels have a rating of 24%. With minimal maintenance, these panels can serve you for a period of 25-40 years. The only downside with monocrystalline panels is their price tag, but we consider it a fair bargain considering the value it provides to homeowners in Canberra.
Monocrystalline panels are manufactured with a pure, non-toxic, and stable silicon ingot, which is a key component in making the wafers of the panel. These solar panels are dark in colour, which makes them blend easily with the colour of the roof, Monocrystalline panels are the best panels for homeowners with a small roof and a sizable budget.
As the name suggests, polycrystalline panels are made from different silicon crystals, which is why it’s also referred to as hybrid panels. These silicon crystals are melted as one and poured into a mould to make these panels. Though they are not as efficient as monocrystalline panels, they still have an energy efficiency rating of 20%. In the area of durability, these panels have a lifespan that ranges between 25 and 35 years.
A downside to using polycrystalline panels is that, unlike the other panels, it has less tolerance to heat and it’s not ideal in areas that get full sunlight hours. It’s also bulkier than the other solar panels and will require more space when installed as rooftop solar panels. Its blue colour makes it stand out on your roof but in a visually appealing way. It’s ideal for homeowners with large roofs and residing in areas with less sunlight.
This aptly-named solar panel is very sleek because of the semiconductor materials used to manufacture it. It’s the lightest solar panel and it’s so flat that it adds very little weight to the roof after its installation. However, thin-film solar panels are the least durable panels with a lifespan of 10-20 years. It’s also the least energy-efficient with a rating of 19%. It’s ideal for homeowners on a budget because it’s more affordable than monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. So, if you were put off by the cost of the other two panels, you can go for this one.
Why You Should Switch to Using Solar Power
Installing solar panels has many benefits for the homeowners in Canberra.
Solar PV Systems Are Cost-Effective
A solar system may cost you a lot to install at first, but in the long run, the system pays for itself and you’ll discover that you’ve saved some money from using it. With a solar system, you will either pay less or nothing in energy bills depending on if you’re using a grid-tied or an off-grid solar system. Considering the durability of a solar system, it’s a no-brainer to figure out that the upfront cost of the solar panel installation will be significantly less than the amount you’ll pay in electricity bills within that same period.
Solar power is clean energy that comes from the sun and its generation has no impact on the environment. Unlike other energy sources like fossil fuels which come with greenhouse gas emissions and pollute the environment, solar energy doesn’t harm the ecosystem. Solar installation is what you should go for if you want to reduce your carbon footprint and promote environmental sustainability.
Homeowners With Solar Systems Can Earn from It
Homeowners with solar panels installed on their properties can export excess energy generated to the grid and get compensated for it via solar feed-in credits.
Solar Systems Enhance the Property Value of a Home on the Market
A home with a solar system installed attracts more attention from prospective buyers on the property market than a house without one. The reason is that buying such houses means there will be minimal or no energy bills to pay. So, having a solar panel installation is an investment if you intend to put the house on the market later on.
Requires Very Little Maintenance
This is a major reason a lot of homes have installed solar PV systems. The solar panels just need to be wiped with a clean towel once or twice a year (depending on how dusty the area is) to remove dirt and debris from their surface. Solar batteries and inverters can be replaced once in ten years. This means you don’t have to worry about operating, servicing and maintenance costs with a solar installed in your home.
It’s Very Durable
Solar panels have an average lifespan of 25 years, that’s a very long time. This makes it an ideal purchase since it will increase the value of your building. Installing a new solar system means you’ll enjoy clean electricity for a very long time. This makes it worth investing in.
Makes You Independent of the Grid
With solar panel installation in your home, you’re capable of independent energy production since you don’t need electricity from the local utility company to run your home. You will also be unaffected by a blackout or brownout in the area.
How to Calculate the Size of the Solar System I Need?
To calculate the size of the solar system you’ll need to install, you should first consider how much energy your home consumes on an hourly basis. Your electricity bill usually contains your monthly energy consumption and you can use this to calculate your hourly energy requirement. To calculate the size of the solar system, you need to multiply your hourly energy requirement by the peak sunlight hours in your area of residence and divide it by the panel’s wattage.
Let’s do a little maths.
The average hourly energy requirement in Canberra is 0.70 kWh (700 watts)
According to solar experts, the peak sunlight hours in Canberra is 4.8 hours.
For the panel’s wattage, let’s assume a rating of 350 watts.
The size of the solar system = 700 watts x 4.8/400 watts = 3360 watts/350 watts = 9.6 (approx. 10) solar panels.
This means the average household will need 10 solar panels to produce 6.1 kWh of electricity annually.
Factors to Consider Before You Install Solar Panels in Canberra
When it comes to solar installation, there should be no rush. You have to consider certain factors to ensure your home is suitable for solar panel installation. Most of these factors will be checked out by a solar panel installer.
The State of Your Roof
The condition of your roof is a significant factor to consider when going for rooftop solar panels. This is because the installation of solar panels adds weight to the roof, and if the roof needs repair or can’t bear the weight of the size system you want to install, a solar system isn’t ideal. Check for roof leaks and carry out any necessary repairs before the installation. If you proceed with the installation even when your roof is not suitable for it, you’ll spend more later on to dismantle the solar panel installation and fix the roof.
The Size of Your Roof
How big is your roof? When it comes to a rooftop solar system, the larger the roof, the better. This is because there will be more space to install solar panels, and in some cases, extra panels, to power the home. Imagine your home’s energy requirement needs at least 12 solar panels, but your roof size can only accommodate eight panels. Even the best solar panel installers can’t pull it off and will advise you to use the ground for installation.
According to solar installers, the best roof tilt or slope for optimal energy generation is towards the South. The roof is also suitable for solar in Canberra when facing the East or West.
Connection to the Grid
There are different types of solar systems – off-grid, grid-tied, and hybrid solar systems. A grid-tied is the most affordable option because its setup doesn’t involve solar battery storage, while an off-grid system will require adequate battery storage since all your electricity will come from there. A hybrid system is more expensive than a grid-tied system because it involves battery storage but not at the same capacity as the off-grid solar system. So before you contact a solar panel installer, decide on the type of system you want to install.
Your pocket also plays a crucial role in installing a renewable energy system. If you consider the purchase and installation of an off-grid system too expensive, you can choose a hybrid or grid-tied system, depending on the best system. You can also check for government rebates in Canberra or interest-free loans from the federal government with a favourable payback period. Alternatively, you can ask Canberra solar installers if they have a payment plan for customers who can’t pay upfront.
The Cost of Installing Solar Panels in Canberra
There’s no exact figure because it depends on the type of solar panel system and the capacity/size that will be installed. However, considering all factors, the installation cost will range between $3,800 to $8,400. Considering the average cost of electricity bills in Canberra, it’s safe to assume that a PV system will pay for itself within a few years if we stick to the minimum average cost of installing Canberra solar.
How to Choose a Solar Installer
Canberra is home to several solar panel installers, and it can be a headache trying to pick a reliable one that will execute the solar installation project perfectly. It shouldn’t be a hassle if you know what to look for in installers in Canberra. Below are some of the key things to look out for:
This is very important. No homeowner will entrust the job to an average solar installer. One way to check a company’s track record is to inspect its portfolio for previous projects. The richer the track record, the better. This will help to narrow down options because when you’ve seen proof of what a company has done, you can easily trust them with the project.
Years of Experience
You should look for an installer that has considerable experience in solar installation. The longer the time the company has been in business, the better. This is because a company with at least ten years in the industry will be more experienced and less prone to mistakes than a few years of experience.
Some Canberra solar installers make provisions for budget-conscious customers who can’t afford to pay the full amount upfront. They do this by offering instrumental payment plans that could stretch across 3-10 years.
Certifications And Licenses
The greatest single mistake concerning solar installation as a homeowner is hiring a company that’s not licensed or certified to install solar in Canberra. Ensure that whoever is selling and installing those solar power systems for you has an electrical licence from the ACT government. The reason is that only someone with ACT licensing can provide the certificate of compliance for the PV system and the wiring. Don’t take the presentation of a licence at face value. Verify the validity of that licence by checking it on Canberra’s list of licensed electricians.
The manufacturer’s warranty on the product either has to be the same as or very similar to the retailer’s warranty. Usually, the panels’ warranty ranges from 10-25 years, while the battery storage and inverter have the same warranty period of 10 years. Also, make sure there’s a workmanship warranty.
Solar panel installers usually give quotes after assessing the site and determining the size of the solar system you’ll need. Go for an installer with a competitive quote. You can get the best deal by getting quotes from 3-5 different companies and comparing them.
Ratings & Reviews
This is the best way to get an installer. By reading reviews from previous customers about the expertise of an installer, you’ll know if you should hire them or not. Go for installers with glowing reviews and high ratings.
This is just as important as the skill of an installer because the more accessible a company is, the more customers it will get. We recommend an installer that has a responsive customer support service. You may have complaints or enquiries and want to contact the company after installation.
The Best Solar Panel Installers in Canberra
Below are some installers you should hire if you want to install a PV system for your electric vehicle chargers, home, or business. They have the Clean Energy Council permission and approval to operate in Canberra.
- Area of specialty: residential solar, commercial solar, solar battery storage, solar hot water systems, solar repairs, and anti-islanding
- Years of experience: more than a decade
- Address: 9/12, Cheney Place, Mitchell, ACT
- Phone: 0261887553
- Website: www.ecgelectrical.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Area of specialty: air conditioners, battery storage, electric vehicle chargers, residential and commercial solar, induction cooktop, solar heaters.
- Years of experience: 10 years
- Address: 2/157, Flemington Road, Mitchell, ACT
- Phone: 1300140305
- Website: https://www.solarhub.net.au/
- Email: email@example.com
- Area of specialty: rooftop solar for residential and commercial purposes
- Years of experience: 11 years
- Address: 8/189, Flemington Road, Mitchell, ACT
- Phone: 1300461897
- Website: https://mondiaux.com.au/solar
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Area of specialty: solar heat pump, electric vehicle chargers, inverters, battery storage
- Years of experience: more than three years
- Address: 111 Canberra St, Canberra, ACT & 490 Northbourne Ave, Dickson ACT
- Phone: 0261059982
- Website: https://sunbuiltsolar.com.au/
- Email: email@example.com
Solar System Incentives in Canberra
ACT Battery Rebate Program
There’s good news for Canberra residents: the next-generation energy storage program provides incentives for home battery storage. Through this program, the ACT government offers to reduce the cost of installing solar batteries as long as the homeowner goes with certain solar energy providers. It’s a helpful programme for Canberrans and may be adopted by other cities in the country.
This incentive was launched in 2016, and since then, it has reduced the cost of more than 600 battery installations in ACT. This scheme offers $825 per kilowatt of battery sustained peak output. Residential buildings can get up to $24k+ from the program, while commercial buildings can get up to $41k+.
Federal Rebate Programme for Solar (STC)
Through this program, the Australian government has been able to offer up-front cost incentives. The subsidy comes from small-scale technology certificates, which utility companies and other relevant outfits are mandated to buy under the country’s national Renewable Energy Target. The appeal of this program is that you don’t even need to claim the subsidy; it’s applied to the cost of the PV system you’re buying. The volume of the subsidy depends on the capacity of the system you’re buying. For instance, a 5KW solar system attracts a subsidy of $2,287.