Frequently Asked Questions
Is there any government incentives?
Both the State and Federal Government provide 2 forms of assistance when installing a solar system. A rebate when you purchase the system, which comes off the price of the system.
Small Technology Certificates (STC’s) is available to all businesses and residential properties presently, each system is eligible for rebate depending on renewable energy produced from system over the lifetime of the system. For example a 5 kw system would be allegeable for 88 STC’s at a price of between $20 – $40 per certificate depending on the market
Secondly the purchase of the power you don’t use during the day. Feed in Tariff in VIC is 8 cent per KW. For all power that is not used in your house and exported to the grid by regulation at the moment is paid to the customer.
HOW SOLAR POWER WORKS
What is a solar energy system and how does it work?
Your solar system works by converting light from the sun into energy which you can use in your home or export to the grid. Panels on your roof generate DC (Direct Current) Electricity, this is fed into an inverter which converts the DC electricity into 240 volt AC (Alternating Current) Electricity which can be used in your home.
What important equipment is required to install solar?
A standard grid connected solar power installation consists of the following components:
o Panels – The panels convert sunlight into DC electricity and then feed this electricity to the inverter.
o Inverter – The inverter converts the electricity produced by your panels from DC electricity to AC electricity which is what your appliances use. The inverter also records the electricity produced and on some models, can communicate with your computer.
o Bi–directional meter –Your meter records energy drawn from and sent back to the grid.
o Mounting System – This is what connects your system to the roof.
Does my solar cover my whole electrical usage?
NO. Your solar power system generates electricity during peak daylight hours. Any electricity produced during this time that is not consumed will be sold back to the grid. When the sun goes down and solar is not being produced, power will have to be produced from the grid / retailer.
Do solar panels work on cloudy days?
Your system will still produce electricity during cloudy days however production will be less than on sunny days. Sunny days will produce up to 3 to 4 times more power but solar will still cover general ideal power loads in house on cloudy days if designed correctly.
Can my solar system be upgraded in the future?
Yes. There are two options moving forward, Micro inverters are a simple plug and play arrangement and individual inverters can be added to existing system in line with the extra panels.
Option 2. On initial consult a larger inverter can be installed. This will allow for more panels to be installed at a later day. Designing for this is very important though. Where a larger system is required that is not supported by the existing inverter, an additional inverter can be installed next to the existing one.
What factors will impact on solar energy generated?
Below are examples of factors that can alter the potential power produced.
o Panel Orientation –A system facing due east or due west will produce around 10 to15% less than one facing due north. Unless unforseen reasons occur Velocity Solar will only install on the east , west or north side of a roof.
o Roof Pitch –A 30 degree pitch is optimal however you will only lose around 1% production for every 5 degree deviation from this.
o Estimated production – Velocity Solar will complete a estimated production calculation for all clients using statistics from the Burro of Meteorology (BOM). Australian cities are some of the best cities on earth for solar.
o System Capacity – Distributors have the facility to limit capacity of installs but the larger the system, the more energy will be produced.
o Shading – Solar systems hate shade, small amounts of shade during 9am – 3pm can have a dramatic effect on production. Micro inverters are now available which eliminate the significant losses of conventional system, A must for shaded sites. Shading outside of these hours in certain circumstances is acceptable however it’s best for us to complete a shade analysis if you have any doubts.
Does solar work when my power goes out?
No. Once the voltage in the grid drops below a certain level, your inverter will shut down until the grid is back up and running. This is a safety precaution so if a electrical technician was working on the power lines they would not be electrocuted by solar installations.
Is planning approvalrequired?
If your property is heritage listed you will need to attain planning approval. If you live in a complex governed by a strata agreement, you will need approval from the body corporate. Some new estates also have frontage regulations for estate. In most situations though there will be no issues with installing solar.
Does the solar installation have to face north?
Solar Power systems can be installed on roofs facing anywhere from due east to due west. North is the best direction for solar production, however a well-designed system will match your solar production to your home’s electricity consumption. In most situations customers use more power in the afternoon so with reduced feed in tariffs it can be more efficient to install on the west.
Can solar be installed on a flat roof?
Systems can either be installed on flat roof or tilting frames can be installed at an extra expense. A general rule of thumb, if the angle is less than 10 degrees tilting will be beneficial in the long term. This will also help with self-cleaning of the panels.
What is the correct size solar system for my home?
All solar installations are different and dependant on many factors. These include:
o How many panels will fit on your roof?
o Your budget.
o Your needs, a smaller system may be enough to offset your whole bill.
o Your future plans, if you intend on starting a family and staying in the house long term, go bigger.
How long does installation take to install?
o 1.5kW – 3 kw can take between half a day and a full day
o 5kW – can take between 1 to 2 days
o 10 – 30KW dependant on installation weather, but usually allow 1 week for install Based on a “standard” installation.
Once I have signed up, what’s the process?
Once you have decided on the system you would like installed, we will contact your distributor to obtain a Pre-approval for the inverter size allowed on site. When approval / amended approval has been granted, we will arrange an installation date with you, as a general rule Velocity Solar will always endeavour to complete installation in 2 – 4 weeks. On completion we will complete all the relevant paperwork on your behalf to connect to the grid.
HOW SOLAR POWER WORKS
How long will my grid connect solar power system last?
REC, Trina, JA solar, Yingli panels carry a manufacturers warranty of 10 years and a performance guarantee of 25 years and SMA and Aurora inverters are covered for 5 years as standard. Enphase micro inverters have a 10 year manufacturers warranty. Inverters should have a working life of between 15 and 25 years and panels 25 years as well.
Is the system installed by qualified electricians?
Yes, our expert installers are qualified licensed electricians accredited by the Clean Energy Council of Australia for the design and installation of your system. All installers shall have accreditation with them on installation.
What maintenance is required?
There is minimal system maintenance required over the life of the system. In general the cleaner your panels are the better your production. There are different ways to clean panels we believe simply hot water and a non abrasive cloth will clean most panels, followed by quick hosing down. The panels will self clean when it rains. Velocity Solar will also help with this process , please discuss this with a team member.
Can I insure my system?
Yes. The system can be covered under home and contents insurance. Contact your insurer for further details.
Do I need a new meter?
95% of meters installed in Victoria are now Bi directional Smart Meters and will not require changing due to new solar installation. A small fee will be incurred du to reconfiguration of the meters though on completion of the job.
How will I be benefiting the environment?
Producing energy via a solar energy system helps the environment by reducing the need to burn carbon emitting fossil fuels such as coal and gas.