Q.How do Solar PV systems work?
Solar photovoltaic (PV) also known as solar panel electricity systems capture the sun’s energy using PV cells. They convert sunlight directly into electricity via panel arrays affixed on the roof. These systems work every time the sun is shining. However, the PV cells don’t require direct sunlight to work as they can still generate some electricity even on a cloudy day.
They cut electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions. They also support each household’s contribution to lessen climate change. Surplus solar electricity from your solar panel can be fed back into the grid which effectively makes your electricity meter run backwards and essentially saves you money. Victoria is eligible for Feed-In Tariff Scheme which pays you 0.8 cents per watt of electricity you don’t use and export back to the grid. Most retailers are paying an additional 0.8c giving the market rate of 0.16c which in turn combined is designed to reduce your electricity bill.
Q.What government schemes are in place to lower the cost of purchasing a solar PV system?
Currently, there are three types of financial assistance offered for solar PV systems in Australia: Renewable Energy Certificates, Solar Credits, and
Q.What is STC?
The moment you install solar power, in essence, you are helping Mother Earth. Why? Because you decrease greenhouse gas emissions. And this entitles you to Small-Scale Technology Certificates or STCs which are tradeable commodity attached to eligible installations of renewable energy systems. Before, the original term used was ‘Renewable Energy Certificates’ (RECs) but in January 2011, it was replaced by ‘STCs’. However, the latter is still an umbrella term pertaining to both Small-scale and Large-scale certificates.
Like other commodities, the price of STCs is not fixed. Inevitably, it varies with supply and demand. Prior to January 1, 2011 the price of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) was very volatile as it would fluctuate daily. Now, regulation has been put in place to stabilize their price. Likewise, a new term was coined – Small-scale Technology Certificates.
One STC is equal to 1MWh of generation from a renewable source and is part of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. This target is an industry development mechanism created by the Government in 2001. The government is going to be revising the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme by June 30 this year; therefore it is most important to have your system installed before the existing multiplier disappears and prices go up.
Q.How do I as a consumer benefit from STC?
As stipulated under the new Renewable Energy Target (RET), STCs as tradeable commodities, may be exchanged to an electricity supplier for a point of sale discount on their renewable generation unit. Saving themselves is the value of the STCs generated. The new Solar Credits Scheme has been in operation since 2009. Households are entitled to claim five times the normal amount of STCs for the first 1.5Kw worth of supply.
STCs depend on zones that are set by the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator. There are 4 zones based on how much sun a specific suburb gets – with zone 1 being the sunniest down to zone 4.
Q.How do I go to get the Solar system installed & connected?
With Gryphon Solar, it is a 3-step process,
1. Call us on 1300 464 797 and book a Free on-site Solar Assessment – Our expert solar consultant will come out to your home, assess the suitability of roof space, look at your electricity bill, and recommend the best suited solar pv system.
2. How to place an order for your solar system – A completed signed quote with a 10% deposit is required.
3. Installation – Each solar system installed is approved by a registered solar designer. Installation is conducted by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited installer within 3-4 weeks of deposit. Each solar system is independently assessed by a government electrical inspector. We will liaise with your electricity distributor and retailer to install your bi-directional solar smart meter.
Q.What size system do I need?
This all depends on various factors; these include roof size and the cost of your electricity bill. It also depends on what you would like to gain out of your solar system. A typical Australian house consumes around 10-12 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day so a 3kW system would displace typically around 25% of your average electricity bill. Our sales consultants will discuss all factors with you and determine what will best suit your needs.
Q.How much power my system can generate?
The output of a solar PV system depends on its size. The most common household systems are between 1.5 and 3 kilowatts while some property owners have installed systems of up to 5 to 10 kilowatts. By Clean Energy Council data, a typical 3kW system in Melbourne generates 10.8 KWh per day on average based on 3.6 daylight hours over a year (Perth 4.4 daylight hours). You can wander around to the inverter or smart meter and see what you are producing at any given time or use your smart phone to monitor your system.
Q.What happens to my connection to the electricity grid?
Most of our customers will stay connected to the grid. This happens after your system gets checked by a licensed electrical inspector and a Bi-direction meter installed or re-programmed. The advantage is that you can sell power back to the grid when you’re not using all of the electricity your system creates (i.e. at daytime), and use power from the grid when your system isn’t generating electricity (i.e. at night).
The power that you sell back to the grid reflects to your existing bill as credits – (the current feed in tariff price in Victoria is 0.8 cents per kilowatt), which offsets your power usage and at night you’re charged a kw rate for time of use.
Q.What is the meter for?
The meter is installed so that you can accurately measure how much power is used in your house and how much power is excess that you feed back into the grid. Any power that is fed back into the grid, you do get paid for by your electricity retailer. This is normally around 0.8 cents per kW.
Q.When will my meter be changed?
Once your system is installed, inspection by an independent Licensed Electrical Inspector is typically done within 10 working days. We then contact your electricity retailer and distributor for them to change over to a bi-directional smart meter or re-program your existing smart meter. This normally takes them more or less 4 weeks.
Q.How much roof space is required?
All panels measure 992cm in width and 1640cm in height (based on 250w panels). Each kW you install requires 4 panels. A typical 1.5KW system generally needs 10-12sqm of roof space.
Q.How long does an installation take?
It all depends on the size of the system:If the size system is between 1.5kW and 2.0kW, it can take approximately 3-4 hours.
If the size of the system is between 3kW and 5kW, it normally takes 5-6 hours approximately.
Q.Does the price quoted including meter & paper work?
The price includes organising your meter paper work to facilitate the changeover only. However, it doesn’t include the cost of the re-programming of your smart meter and or replacement of the conventional meter. The smart meter cost is an additional expense to the customer and the cost varies from distributors (please call your retailer for a price)
Q.Once the system is installed, is it generating electricity?
NO. Once the smart meter has been re-programmed or replaced but the Victorian distributor only then you are generating electricity to use in your house.
Q.What type of panels & inverter do you use?
Please feel free to have a look at the product range of panels and inverters on our website www.gryphonsolar.com.au. Our panel brands include Canadian Solar, Renesola Virtus along with SMA, Aurora, Replus Micro, Solaredge and Macsolar inverters combined are all TIER 1 (A grade) manufacturers accredited by the CEC and pass the highest stringent Australia Standards. As of July all solar panel manufacturers will have to have fire rating certification under the new CEC guidelines otherwise cannot be sold in Australia.
Q.Who installs my system?
Gryphon Solar designer installers are all fully qualified ‘A’ grade electricians and each installer is Clean Energy Council Accredited.
Q.What are the warranties?
The inverters have up to 5 years warranty, while the panels have a 25-year efficiency warranty and 10 years product warranty. The installation is covered by a Gryphon Solar 10 year workmanship warranty.
Q.How do I maintain my solar panel?
When it comes to maintaining your panels, it is extremely easy, due to the angle of the panels the rain normally keeps them clean. If you do feel you need to clean them yourself, soapy water is sufficient or the use of your garden hose.
Q.How long until installation after the deposit?
You normally look at between 3-4 weeks turnaround for installation.
Q.Do I need to have a pitched roof for solar?
You can have solar on a flat roof or a pitched roof. If you do have a flat iron roof you are looking at additional costs with tilt frames. This can be discussed with your solar sales consultant.
Q.Is the roof material affects the installation?
Our experience installer can handle almost all kinds of roof materials &structure, be it Tile, Metal. However, there are some roofing materials ie Asbestos or decrabond and certain slate that cannot be installed.
Q.What happens in a cloudy weather or if it is raining?
It doesn’t have to be sunny for your panels to work because it’s the UV rays that are used by the system. In heavy fog or overcast day it may just produce 25-30% of what it normally would.
Q.What happens to solar in hail?
All panels that Gryphon Solar use are tested to Australian standards and can potentially withstand golf ball sized hail stones. However, please ensure your system is fully covered with your house insurance in the event of a natural disaster etc.
Q.If new technology is realised, will it make my system obsolete?
If the system has been sized properly to meet the electricity needs of your home, new technologies will not offer any advantages.
Q.How long will my system last?
Our solar panels have an efficiency warranty for 25 years. Inverters typically are 5 years (can be extended) with the exception of Replus Micro Inverters that are 25 years. Gryphon Solar provides 10 years on installation. The energy generation efficiency of solar panels do degrade somewhat over time, however this is usually marginal, and equivalent to an extra day of reduced sunlight.
Q.If the power goes out, will my solar system keep making energy?
No. By regulation & for safety, your solar system will automatically be turned off and reset when the grid power is restored.
Q.Where can I find more information?
Talk to one of our expert solar consultants on 1300 464 797, or alternatively, you can view and download the latest CEC consumer guide at their website on www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au.