How does solar PV work?

Solar PV panels generate clean electricity by converting the energy in sunlight. This conversion takes place within modules of specially fabricated materials that make up the solar panels. It is a relatively simple process that requires no moving parts. In most cases solar panels are connected to the mains power supply through a device called an inverter.

How can I reduce the cost of installing a solar PV system?

Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) are created for eligible solar PV systems. The number of STCs created for a system is based on its generation capacity. The STCs are usually assigned to the installer who pays an agreed price per STC and this amount is subtracted from the total system price. The PV solar system owner can also sell the STCs themselves through a STC trading agency if they prefer.

Solar Credits allow the number of STCs created to be multiplied by 2 for the first 1.5kW of capacity. Any system capacity above 1.5kW and below 10kW is still assigned RECs but without a five times multiplier. Put simply, solar credits increase the amount of money you get back for your STCs.

How much will a solar PV system save me?

The output of a solar PV system depends on several factors including the size of the array, angle and aspect of installation, the extent to which trees and other structures shade your panels, cloud cover and daylight hours. Based on average daily figures, a 1.5kW system installed in Sydney with an ideal aspect and no shading would be expected to generate about 5.85kWh of electricity per day. Source: Clean Energy Council – Solar PV Consumer Guide Vol2.

What size system should I install?

The size of the system you install depends on a few factors including: the physical area of unshaded space available, the amount of money you wish to spend and what proportion of your electrical consumption you wish to generate.

Will my solar system provide me with power in the event of a blackout?

If a blackout occurs, the solar PV system will switch off and will not produce any energy. This feature is designed to protect electricity workers who may be sent out to fix power lines by ensuring that no power is fed into the grid during a blackout.

What is a net feed-in-tariff?

Energy generated by your solar PV system is consumed in your household first, thereby reducing the energy you need to purchase from the grid. Under a net feed-in tariff, a premium may be paid for any solar energy that goes back into the grid from your house. So if you have surplus energy generated by your solar panels, you may get paid for it; and if you use all of the energy you generate it will be offset against your normal electricity bill. Customers are advised to shop around with electricity retailers for the best net feed-in-tariff.

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