Frequently Asked Questions

Solar Information

Why choose solar panels?
Apart from the benefit of cutting your household’s carbon footprint, solar systems can significantly improve your electricity costs and in some cases completely abolish them all together. Some customers even get paid by the electricity company for the solar energy they create at home.

What does PV stand for?
PV stands for Photovoltaic which is the technology that solar panels are made up of that convert the sunlight to electricity.

How does a solar system work?
First the sun shines on the solar panels that make energy through from the suns radiation. That energy is collected by the solar panels in the form of DC current electricity. This DC electricity is the same current used on Automobile car batteries. The solar panels are then connected to an inverter which converts the DC electricity to AC. This AC electricity is the same current found in your home. To learn more about how this works, please visit our solar education section found under the information tab.

What affects the energy output of my solar system?
The energy output of the solar system is dependent on a number of factors. First, it is dependent on the size of your system. The larger the system, the more energy the system creates. Secondly, factors such as weather and climate in your area affect the amount of energy the system creates. If you live in areas that do not have many cloudy days then you will be able to make more electricity. To get more detailed information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team.

How much electricity will my 1.5 kw system generate?
Our team use a principle of multiplying by 4. So if you have a 1.5 kw system, then you will generate 6kwh hours per day in ideal circumstances.

What size system will cover my entire electrical demand?
An example for a household that uses 8,000 kWh of electricity per year or 24 kWh of electricity per day should have a system size of 5-6 kw. It is also suggested that the household have a battery system installed with the system to store the suns energy for evening load demands. To get more detailed information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team.

What maintenance is required?
Solar systems are almost maintenance free. There are no moving parts and as a result require very minimal maintenance. The panels need to be kept free from obstructions such as major dust, leaves and anything else that might block the sunlight but you will find that the weather’s wind and rain do this job for you. After installation, you will be given user guides that will detail the system’s needs.

What happens on a cloudy day or in winter?
The solar system will work even on cloudy days and in winter. The only difference is that the amount of sunlight that the panels will gather will be less than on an ideal cloud free summers day. With the price of solar panels being so affordable these days and with the costs getting cheaper as time goes by, to counteract winter or cloudy days, we suggest adding greater amount of solar panels and perhaps a larger sized inverter as well. To get more detailed information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team.

What happens at night?
This question is answered by what type of system that you have or will choose to install. Customers who install battery powered systems will receive power from the batteries after the sun goes down. Only if or when the batteries are depleted will the system switch over to grid based power. Customers who install grid tied systems do not have batteries to turn to and will draw power directly from the grid after the sun goes down.

What if there is a power outage in my area?
Again, this question is answered by what type of system that you have or will choose to install. Most grid tied systems that do not have batteries have a built in protective feature called “anti-islanding”. This protective measure ensures that when there is a power outage, repair or service people working to fix the problem are not exposed to electricity generated by your system to the grid. Systems with batteries that use the grid as backup can work even during power outages depending on which type of inverter is chosen. If you wish to have power outage protection, it is best to choose an inverter that does not have the protective “anti-islanding” feature and instead has a relay that detects a power outage and forms a separate circuit standing alone from the grid. To get more detailed information of the current technologies available and information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team who are experts regarding these systems.

Installation and Equipment choice

What are the main types of residential solar power installations?
There are 3 main types of residential solar installations that are commonly used here in Australia. The first system is the system that we recommend the most and we view as providing the best financial benefits is called the battery powered with grid as backup system. This system shares all the characteristics with a completely self sufficient off grid system with the difference being that it utilizes the grid as a backup source of electricity. The next type of system is the off grid systems which is completely self sufficient and free from grid electricity. Mostly farms and other remote areas use these kinds of systems. They work by storing the sun and other energy sources into batteries for their power needs. The last type of system is the grid tied system which does not have any batteries and relies on complete grid interaction during the day and night time needs. To learn more about these systems and their benefits, please see the information found under the packages section of this site or contact our team.

How much does it cost to Install a system?
The equipment you choose and where you install the systems vary and as a result so do the costs associated with installing solar systems. To get more detailed information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team.

Are all solar panel system brands the same?
Solar Heroes make available many different types of systems to our customers. Quality and costs do vary and we are not biased towards any particular brand or country of origin. We listen to your needs and offer systems that will best suit you. It is our opinion that systems and components that are manufactured in Asia vs Germany or other countries are very reliable and in some cases more reliable. We find that as technology advances, it is wise to choose more cost effective solutions from Asia.

What type of panels & inverter do you use?
We have warehouses in every Australian state and hold a wide variety of brands and styles of equipment. There is not one particular brand or type of equipment that we insist upon as we believe that not all situations are the same and circumstances vary and may require different types of systems for each situation. If there is equipment that is required that we do not have in stock in our warehouse, we have access to order for immediate direct delivery Australia wide. Please also note that all equipment used and installed by Solar Heroes is CEC approved and meets Australian standards.

How many panels will be installed on my roof?
Typically it is best to think of the amount of panels is in direct relationship to the size of the system and also the wattage of each panel installed. So for instance a 3kW system will have 12 x 250w panels (12 x 250 = 3000). If 300 watt panels are used then only 10 would need to be installed.

How are the panels attached to my roof?
Mounting hardware is ordered with the equipment. The type of mounting system is dependent on the type of roof you have and the material the roof is made from. For detailed information that is specific to your circumstances, please contact our team.

Are the solar panels recyclable?
Solar panels contain substances such as glass, aluminum, and semiconductor materials that can all be successfully recovered and reused in either new solar panels or other products.

Do I need to have a pitched roof for solar?
It is said by many that having the solar panels on an angle will increase the efficiency which is true however studies show that the gain of efficiency is small vs the costs of having to install angled brackets etc. With the low cost of panels, it is more advantageous for customers to simply install more panels on flat surfaces to make up the small difference.

Who installs my system?
Solar Heroes have a network of installation specialists right around Australia who are ready to take on your installation requirements. To get more details please contact our team.

How long will the process take to have my solar power system installed and producing energy?
Depending on the type of system you are installing and whether your meter needs to be changed over, it can take 1 week or up to 8 weeks depending. The actual installation of the equipment typically takes a few hours but changes to accounts or meter updates from utility providers can lengthen the time the process takes to complete. To get more detailed information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team.

Are your systems resistant to storm damage?
Solar panels are designed to withstand exposure and extreme weather including rain and hail. You will find that solar panels are actually more resistant to hail and heavy weather than many roof tiles.

What are the Warranties?
As a general rule, warranties duration for solar systems are broken down into categories:
25 years for panel efficiency
7 years for workmanship
10 years for mounting kit
10 years for inverter
10 years for batteries
Our after-sales service is second to none so if you were to have an issue with your system, please contact us and one of our staff will assist you to get you back up and running as quickly as possible.

What is the process I can expect if deciding to go ahead?
Let our expert team discuss with you and find the best solution to meet your needs. Our team will organize for an inspection of your property that the system will be installed on. A quotation with all relevant installation costs and details will be sent to you for approval. Once you approve our quotation, you are to transfer the deposit to secure the equipment and schedule the installers. The remaining balance is to be completed prior to the installation or delivery of any of the components. If you are having a system installed that is to be connected with the electricity grid, there will be an inspection by an independent government assessor which we will organize and liaise with. We will also oversee and liaise with the electricity distributor regarding any change over of electrical meter if required.

I live in a residential apartment building. What are my solar energy options?
Solar powered electricity isn’t just limited to standalone houses. Solar Heroes offer systems that can be integrated into multiple dwelling buildings.
We recommend that Apartment / Unit owners who are interested in setting up a solar system speak with the body corporate of their buildings to discuss the possibility.

Government Incentives and Schemes

What is the Renewable Energy Target?
In August 2009, the Australian Government implemented the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme. This is designed to deliver on our nation’s commitment to ensure that 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply will come from renewable sources by 2020.

What are STCs and how do they affect the upfront cost of my solar system?
STC stands for Small-scale Technology Certificates. They are an electronic form of currency and tradable like a share. When you install your solar system, the value of the STCs is used to significantly reduce the upfront cost of your system.

How are STCs calculated?
The amount of STC certificates that are applied to your system depends on the size of the system you install and also the amount of energy your system will generate which is dependant on where you live.

Should I keep and trade STCs myself?
This is certainly an option. In order to trade STCs and be paid a spot rate at the market, you have to register with the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER). For details, please visit www.orer.gov.au. Most people who order systems with us let us handle the STCs and instead choose for us to purchase the certificates from you and instead apply a credit on your system. To get more detailed information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team.

I heard the value of one STC is $40?
This is not exactly right. STCs are sold on a spot market which functions like the stock exchange. Depending on supply and demand, the price varies. Historically, the price per STC has been between $10 and $39. However, besides the spot market, STCs can also be traded in the ‘clearing house’. The clearing house is a virtual entity. Here, sellers will have to wait for three months until they are paid a fixed rate of $40 per STC. Unfortunately, what we are seeing is that nobody buys from the clearing house because the spot market is always cheaper than $40. To get more detailed information on current STC pricing and information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team.

I am an existing Solar Bonus Scheme customer receiving the 44 cent feed in tariff rate. If I move house, can I take my system with me and continue to receive the 44 cent tariff?
No. Moving premises will require a new connection application to connect a solar PV system at your new address and you will loose your 44 cent tariff agreement.

I heard people say they receive 44c and 66c feed-in payments. How did they do that?
Customers receiving the 44c and 66c rates have installed their systems when these rates were available and are able to keep them until the 1st of July 2028. In that time, customers currently receiving these rates are given strict guidelines to maintain these rates such as not missing any bill payments, not being able to alter or upgrade their system and also not being able carry on the agreement to other premises or names. In otherwords, they cannot move or transfer the bill into anyone else’s name.

Financial and other Benefits

How effective is a solar system in terms of value for money?
Australia is world famous for its sunny climate however we do not always best use our abundance of sunlight. Sunlight is a natural clean energy resource and once you pay the initial outlay for the solar system to be installed all the electricity generated by your solar system is absolutely free. Your solar system lifespan is over 25 years so imagine how much it could reduce your household running costs over this time.

How much money will I save?
There is no standard answer for this question. This is dependent on many factors, including size of the system, how many kilowatts the system produces, how much power is consumed by the house during daylight hours and more. . To get more detailed information regarding your exact circumstances, please contact our team.

Are there other benefits from having solar panels?
Yes, by reducing Australia’s dependency on electricity generated from coal, we not only reduce CO² emissions, we also reduce the demand on water that power companies require to generate this electricity. Currently 130 billion litres of drinking water is used just to generate coal-based electricity.

Furthermore, if more Australians installed solar panel systems it will reduce the stress on our electricity grid. This in turn will minimize the number of blackouts occurring during times of peak electricity use.

Will a solar system affect the value of my home?
Yes. Your property will increase in value by at least the net cost of the system. It is an asset that will add value to your home and appreciate in value with your home. Any upfront costs you have to pay will be recouped if you ever sell the property. Until then you have free clean green electricity.

Environmental Benefits

What is my carbon saving?
Depending on your system size, your family’s carbon footprint could be reduced by up to 6.9 tonnes per annum by investing in solar. Just one tonne of carbon covers a space of 10m x 10m in the sphere: a significant area of pollution.

What is the energy payback time for monocrystalline panels?
The energy required to produce solar PV panels will be offset within 2 – 4 years, depending on your climate zone (and level of sunshine) by the clean energy that the panels will produce.

Considering solar panels are warranted to perform for 25 years, there is at least 21 years of free clean energy to be produced from your solar system.


Upgrades

Can I increase or decrease the capacity of my system and still receive the 44 cent rate?
If you upgrade your inverter to a larger capacity you will no longer be eligible for the 44 cent tariff. Any change to your inverter that increases its capacity will require you to lodge a new network connection application for the tariff of the day.

You can decrease the capacity of your inverter at any time without affecting your eligibility under the 44 cent tariff. You will need to follow the technical requirements specified by your electricity distributor when any change to your system occurs. Systems are required to be compliant with the relevant Australian Standards.

What happens if I applied for a 5 kilowatt system and install a smaller inverter, and then upgrade the inverter to 5 kilowatt at a later date? Will I receive the 44 cent rate for all of my exported energy?
No. If, for example, you obtained approval from your distributor for a 5 kilowatt inverter but have installed a smaller 3 kilowatt inverter, you must contact your distributor prior to the installation to provide them with your updated inverter details. Your updated inverter details (3 kilowatts) will become your new approved inverter capacity at that time. If you then wished to upgrade your inverter to 5 kilowatts at a later date, you would need to lodge a new application for the premises and will receive the tariff available at the time of the application for your total household solar PV output.

You must not install a larger inverter than approved by your distributor.

I am on the 44 cent tariff and have a 5 kilowatt inverter with panels of a lesser capacity. Can I add additional panels to my system?
Yes. You can add more panels to your system without affecting your eligibility to continue to receive the 44 cent rate. Systems are required to be compliant with the relevant Australian Standards. Please notify your electricity distributor of your intention to add panels to your system.

I am currently on the 44 cent tariff. My solar PV system has broken down/been damaged and I want to replace it. Will I still receive the 44 cent tariff?
Yes. The Solar Bonus Scheme allows like-for-like replacement of components, should a component require replacement, without affecting your eligibility.

I am on the 44 cent tariff. What happens if I need to replace my inverter and the same size inverter is not available on the market?
The Solar Bonus Scheme allows like-for-like replacement of components, should a component require replacement. An increase in inverter capacity will impact your eligibility for the 44 cent tariff. If an inverter is not available at the same size as your original inverter, a smaller inverter must be installed to remain eligible for the 44 cent tariff. Systems are required to be compliant with the relevant Australian Standards.

Battery Systems

Why choose battery systems with solar power?
As your solar system helps you take control of your power bill you can even further increase your electricity bill savings by using your stored power at night that are stored in your batteries. When using batteries, you still have mains power to make up the shortfall if any.

Does the battery powered solar system disconnect from the electricity grid and supply power to my home during an electricity outage?
Yes. If you have an inverter that has an islanding feature, the inverter will continually monitor the the availability of electricity from the grid and should there be an outage, the unit will disconnect itself from the grid and supply your home electricity from the battery solely. The actual amount of time the battery will last depends on the size of your battery bank, how much energy is stored in the batteries at the time of the outage and your electricity use during the outage.

What is the life of the battery?
Battery banks for solar systems typically last for a period of 20 years when setup and operated in optimum conditions.

How big is the battery cabinet?
The latest battery technology is very slim and does not occupy large amounts of space. Imagine how batteries in a laptops or mobile phones look. Depending on the size of the battery bank you choose, the cabinet can be as small as a microwave or as large as a full size hot water tank.

What type of battery is used?
We offer all the types of battery systems but we suggest the use of Lithium batteries which is the same technology found in Laptops and Mobile phones.