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BELOW IS A LIST OF FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SOLAR FOR YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS

Get in touch with us if you are unable to find the answers to your questions

WHY SHOULD I GO SOLAR?


 

q: What are the financial benefits of solar energy?

A: When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future. How much you can save depends on the utility rates and solar policies in your area, but going solar is a smart investment regardless of where you live.

q: What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?

A: When Solar power, like other renewable energy resources, has many environmental and health benefits. Going solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulphur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems.

 

q: How do I find out how much I pay for electricity?

A: The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity (and how much electricity you use per month) is to take a look at your utility electricity bill to find out exactly what to look for Solar power.

q: What is net metering?

A: The Net metering is the system that power companies use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate.

q: How does solar impact my property value?

A: Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation.

q: Energy bills savings calculator

A: Please note, that a majority of our handmade items seller are also the manufacturer’s, so they are working on a first come first serve basis. Typically, they build many items in batches. Sometimes restocking material can effect your turn around time. As your order get registered within the store, they’ve being arranged on a waiting list. As to when do manufacturers start your order’s  processing and get it shipped is usually based on how many current unsent orders do they have at that very specific moment of time… So our system will approximate an estimate as to when you may receive your order. Please watch the sidebar here on the FAQ page to see what the estimated current wait time is. You will receive an email alert from USPS with your tracking information once your item ships.

HOW DO SOLAR PANELS WORK FOR MY HOME?


 

q: How do solar photo-voltaic panels work?

A: Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and businesses run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.

 

q: Do solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?

A: The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night. However, because of high electricity costs and financial incentives, solar is a smart decision even if you live in a cloudy city.

 

q: What happens if there is snow on solar panels?

A: Solar panels convert sunshine into power, so if your panels are covered in snow they can’t produce electricity. Snow generally isn’t heavy enough to cause structural issues with your panels, and since most panels are tilted at an angle the snow will slide off. If snow does accumulate, your panels are easy to clean.

q: Can I go off grid with solar panels?

A: When you install solar panels on your property, you will still be connected to the grid. This allows you to draw from the grid when your system is not producing all of the power that you need and send power back to the grid when you produce more than you use. It is possible to go off the grid with a solar energy system that includes battery storage, but it will cost significantly more and is unnecessary for the majority of homeowners

q: Will I still receive an electricity bill if I have solar panels?

A: Unless your solar energy system includes battery storage and you are fully off the grid, you may still receive a bill from your electricity retailer. However, you can dramatically reduce your bill, or even cut the amount you owe to $0, with a solar panel system that matches your energy use.

q: Do solar panels work in blackout?

A: If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and electricity utility repair-people from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, there are certain inverters you can buy that provide backup power in a blackout when paired with a battery.

q: How much does it cost for maintenance of solar panels?

A: Solar panel systems are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. In most cases, you don’t even need to clean your solar panels regularly. If something does happen, most equipment manufacturers include warranties, although warranty terms depend on the company.

WHAT ARE MY SOLAR FINANCING OPTIONS?


 

q: What solar energy rebates and incentives are available?

A: Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. The Federal Government operates provides the rebate under SRES scheme, also known as the STC rebate. In some states further rebates and interest free loans are offered by the State Government in addition to the above. Most of the state incentives are income tested.

 

q: What are my solar financing options?

A: There are three options: you can purchase your system in cash, take out a solar loan to buy your system, or sign a solar lease/power purchase agreement (PPA). In some states, the government either provides or facilitates interest free loans for eligible consumers.

 

q: Should I buy or lease my solar panels?

A: The decision to buy or lease your solar energy system depends on your reasons for going solar. If you are interested in maximizing the financial returns of your solar energy system, buying the system outright is probably a better decision for you. However, if you prioritize an easy, maintenance-free way to reduce your energy bills and help the environment, you should consider a solar lease.

q: Which is better – solar loans or solar leases?

A: Solar loans and solar leases each have advantages and disadvantages. Both options reduce your monthly electricity bills and your impact on the environment, but the terms and conditions of each type of agreement are different.

q: How do I find / choose the best solar loan?

A: Many different institutions offer solar loans, including local and national banks, specialty financing companies, manufacturers, and credit unions. To choose the best solar loan for you, compare options from a few different financing providers.

q: How do I get a quick estimate of my solar savings?

A: Use the comprehensive solar calculator to find you potential savings with solar panels.

AM I READY FOR SOLAR?


 

q: Can I afford to go solar?

A: If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. $0-down solar financing options, including both solar loans and solar leases, make it easy for homeowners with good credit to start saving on their electricity bills by going solar. With the extraordinary rebates and incentives being offered by the Federal and State governments, the cost of buying solar panels systems is probably at its historically lowest point.

 

q: Is my roof suitable for solar panels?

A: North, north-west, north-east facing roofs with little to no shade and enough space to fit a solar panel system are ideal for installing solar panels system. However, in many cases there are workarounds if your home doesn’t have the ideal solar roof.

 

q: What size of solar system should I get?

A: The size of your solar energy system will depend on how much electricity you use on a monthly basis, as well as the weather conditions where you live. Take a look at your past electricity bills and compare offers from licensed, pre-screened solar installers to determine the best system size for your needs. You can try our comprehensive solar estimator to determine the system that should suit your requirements.

q: Which is better – solar loans or solar leases?

A: Solar loans and solar leases each have advantages and disadvantages. Both options reduce your monthly electricity bills and your impact on the environment, but the terms and conditions of each type of agreement are different.

q: Do I need to replace my roof before installing solar?

A: Solar energy systems can last for 25 to 35 years, and it can be costly to remove and reinstall them if you need to replace your roof. If your roof needs maintenance in the near term, you should complete it before you finish your solar installation.

q: How long will my solar panels system last?

A: In general, solar panels are very durable and capable of withstanding snow, wind, and hail. The various components of your solar power system will need to be replaced at different times, but your system should continue to generate electricity for 25 to 35 years.

q: What happens if I sell my house?

A: If you own your solar energy system, your solar house will sell at a premium: studies have shown that solar increases property values. However, if you lease your system, that is not the case. You will need to either buy out your lease before you sell your home, or work with your leasing company to transfer the lease agreement to the home’s new owner.

HOW DO I EVALUTE SOLAR QUOTES?


 

q: How do I choose a solar installer?

A: There are a few criteria that everyone should use when choosing a solar installer. Confirm that they are certified, licensed and insured, have relevant experience, and can provide references. All Smart Quotes Australia’s approved partners CEC accredited and are pre-screened to ensure that they meet these high-quality standards. Meet with your solar installer in person before you sign an agreement to ensure that you are comfortable working with them

 

q: How do I compare solar quotes?

A: If you have multiple quotes from different solar installers, comparing them can be difficult. Not all solar installers use the same underlying assumptions and metrics when they provide equipment and financing options to homeowners. At Smart Quotes we try to make this process simple by understanding your requirements and connecting you with 3 providers that best suit your requirements.

 

q: What are the different types of solar panels?

A: While every solar panel brand and product has unique specifications, Panels can be classified as tier-1, 2 and 3. Tier-1 being the more reliable ones. Please note that most of the panels are manufacturing in China. Majority of the tier-1 panels are Chinese made. Based on technology, panels can be classified in two categories, Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline with the later being slightly more efficient that the former.

q: What are the different types of solar inverters?

A: An Inverter converts the DC power to AC power. Based on technology inverters can be classified into three categories, String/Centralised inverters, Microinverters and Power Optimizers.

q: What happens during the installation process?

A: The first step to going solar is to register your interest with Smart Quotes to receive and compare multiple installation quotes. These quotes will include a variety of equipment choices, financing options, and solar company reviews. When you find the one, you’re happy with, your installer will conduct a site visit to assess your property. Once you accept a quote, your installer will file the paperwork necessary to have your system approved. The actual installation takes a day or two to complete. Some states have a pre-approval process which may require getting govt approval before an installation is started.

q: Should I ask for solar monitoring system for my solar panels?

A: Most of the inverters these days come with a default wifi monitoring device (external or built in). If your inverter does not have the wifi monitoring capability, you should consult with you solar provider and arrange for one. The wifi monitoring device allows you to monitor the performance of your system on your smart phones and tablets.

q: Do I need to install solar batteries with my solar panels?

A: Solar power systems that include solar batteries, known as solar-plus-storage, are increasingly popular, but can be pricey. Luckily, batteries are not necessary for most solar homeowners. As long as you are connected to the grid, your system does not need a battery: excess power goes back into the grid, and you can draw from the grid if you need more electricity than your panels can generate.

FEDERAL GOVRNMENT SUBSIDY

The Federal Government subsidy scheme, officially known as the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), entitles individuals and small businesses large rebates when installing eligible small-scale renewable energy systems (under 100kW) such as solar PV systems. The size of the system determines the number of small-scale technology certificates (STCs) it’ll receive. STC’s have a dollar value which can fluctuate depending on solar system demand, changes in Government and many other factors. The amount of STC’s you receive for your solar system and the worth of STC’s at the time will determine the subsidy for your system. The value of the STC fluctuates based on market demand. The number of certificates a system qualifies for decreases every year until 2030 when this rebate is planned to be finished. Another important fact about the STC’s is that Australia is divided in different zones and each zone depending on its placement will attract different number of certificates. It would be fair to say that since the number of STC’s in QLD are higher than VIC, the value of this rebate would be slightly higher in QLD as compared to VIC. A 5kW solar pv system will usually attract 82 certificates in QLD as compared to 71 certificates in VIC. With an average current market value of $36 / certificate the system can be expected to attract a STC rebate of $2,952 in QLD and $2,556 in VIC. In the last couple of years the STC market prices have been as high as approximately $38 / certificate and as low as $26 / certificate. Most solar retailers discount their system prices by the amount of the rebate applicable on the date of purchase of the solar system. Systems over 100kW (commercial size) are not eligible for the SRES however they may be eligible for the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET)

QUEENSLAND

Along with the Federal Government Subsidy, a scheme “Affordable Energy Plan” is available for residents in Queensland. The State initiative offers the residents to choose one of the three options (subject to conditions and qualification criteria):

Interest free loan of up to $4,500 to be repaid within 7 years;

Interest free loans and grants for battery storage. Grants up to $3,000 or interest-free loan up to $6,000 to be repaid within 10 years; or

Interest free loans and grants for combined solar and battery systems. Households can apply for a loan up to $10,000 and/or a grant up to $3,000. Small businesses can apply for the $3,000 grant only.

In certain parts of Queensland, the QLD government has recently released the new trail of 1,000 rebates of up to $3,500 for eligible landlords to install a solar system with solar monitoring technology. There are terms and conditions and eligibility criteria attached to this rebate.


Further details of the program and eligibility are available on  https://qld.gov.au/

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Along with the Federal Government Subsidy, South Australian residents have access to the Home Battery Scheme and Virtual Power Plant.

Under the Home Battery Scheme, SA residents can access subsidies to help pay for the installation of home battery systems as an additional component to the current or new solar PV system. The subsidy is available to all South Australians who own or occupy a home in South Australia and will be calculated on the kilowatt-hour capacity of the battery purchased. Energy Concession Holders are eligible for a higher subsidy, ensuring low-income households are supported to access the scheme. The subsidy is taken off the cost of the home battery system and given to the System Provider once the system is installed.

Energy concession holder: $600 per kWh

All other households: $500 per kWh

The Virtual Power Plant initiative is open for South Australians to register their interest. A virtual power plant is created by a network of home solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery systems all working together to generate, store and feed energy back into the grid. Energy from the home solar PV and battery systems installed will provide electricity for your house.
Subject to the trials’ success and funding the full program could be rolled out to 24,000 more public housing properties and 25,000 private properties from mid-2019.

Further details of the program are available on  https://homebatteryscheme.sa.gov.au/

VICTORIA

Along with the Federal Government Subsidy, Victorian residents have access to Solar Victoria Homes Package. The residents can choose one from the rebates offered under the package.

The Solar Panel Rebate entitles Victoria households to receive 50 percent rebate (of up to $2,225) when solar PV system installation. This is on top of the Federal Government Rebate (STC) that was already in place. Being able to claim both subsidies will mean that you can save approximately two-thirds of the overall costs of a solar system. To be eligible to claim the rebate, Solar Victoria has laid down the following criteria:

The combined household income of the family to be less than $180,000 per annum before tax;

The household does not already have a solar panels system installed on the property; and

The person claiming the rebate to be the owner-occupier of the property that is valued at under $3,000,000

To be able to claim the rebate, a person intending to install solar panels and claiming a rebate under this package, will need to get an eligibility confirmation from Solar Victoria before signing a contract with a solar provider. Once the eligibility is confirmed by Solar Victoria then only the solar system can be installed for the rebate to be claimable. Only solar retailers who have signed the CEC’s (Clean Energy Council’s) code of conduct will be able to participate in this program. As such, it is a very important consideration for you to ensure that the solar company you are considering for your installation is a CEC approved retailer.

Solar Hot Water Rebate are available for up to $1,000 for solar hot water systems, a good option for households who cannot install a solar PV system. The solar hot water rebate applies to installations that replace an existing hot water system that was at least three years old and is not available to new build homes.
Following eligibility criteria is applicable to this rebate:

The household has a combined income of less than $180,000 per annum before tax

The household does not already have a solar panel system installed

You are a home owner-occupier of a home that is valued at under $3,000,000

Are you replacing an existing hot water system OR an existing solar hot water system that is at least three years old?

Confirm that you haven’t applied for or received a rebate for solar PV under the Solar Homes Package?

Interest-free loans. As part of the Solar Homes program a loan scheme will commence for solar PV systems for owner-occupiers from July 2019. This will allow Victoria residents to access the benefits of renewable energy at no up-front cost. Eligible households will be able to install solar panels on their home, saving households hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills. Households will be required to pay back the amount of the loan over four years, which will assist Victoria residents with budgeting for their cost of living. Households who choose to access the solar PV rebate before the loans scheme opens in July 2019 will not be able to apply for the interest-free loan.

Solar for renters. Under the program, renters will make a 25 per cent contribution toward the cost of installation through a small levy on rent spread over four years, with the government and the landlord to cover the rest. For example, for a $4,000 solar panel system, the government will cover half ($2000), the landlord will invest $1,000 over time, and the renters will pay a small monthly levy over four years that will total the remaining $1000.

Owners corporations will also be eligible. In order to receive the 50 per cent rebate and no-interest loan, they will need to demonstrate that the benefits of installing solar panels will be passed on to tenants.

Solar batteries rebate. From 1 July 2019, the Solar Homes program will introduce rebates for up to half the value of the installation of a battery storage unit for 10,000 households that already have solar panels installed. Eligible homeowners will be able to save up to $4,838 on this installation. This will save households with an average 11kWh battery around $650 a year on their electricity bills, in addition to savings they are already making with solar panels. This will also pave the way for future microgrids, allowing households in a local area to share their stored power to lower electricity prices even further.
Victorians with a household income of up to $180,000 who live in their own home valued at up to $3 million are eligible for these rebates.

Homeowners will only be eligible for one rebate across the Solar Homes program.
Further details of the package are available on  https://solar.vic.gov.au/

NEW SOUTH WALES

New South Wales residents currently have access to the Federal Government SRES subsidy.

The Solar for Low Income Households Trial provides an opportunity for low-income households in NSW to reduce their electricity bill through rooftop solar. Up to 3,400 households who receive the Low Income Household Rebate can choose to forgo their rebate and receive a free 2.5 kW solar system. This program will allow households to generate and use solar electricity in their home, with the potential to save more than $600 each year on electricity bills. This is more than double what they would receive from the rebate, meaning they would be around $300 better off each year.

The Trial will be rolled out in five regions, selected to maximise the benefit of solar for local households. The regions are: Central Coast, North Coast, Sydney – South, Illawarra – Shoalhaven and South Coast.
Further details of the Trial are available on  https://energy.nsw.gov.au/

TASMANIA

Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (TEELS) Under the scheme, Westpac offers Tasmanian residents and small businesses the opportunity to apply for a Westpac Credit Card with zero interest for 36 months for the eligible energy efficient products up to a value of $10,000. Customers will need to:

Submit a TEELS request via the websiteand wait for Westpac to invite them to an appointment to discuss application.

Customer will need to have sourced a quote to take to the appointment with Westpac.

Once the credit card is approved by Westpac, the customer can purchase and will need to provide Westpac with proof of purchase.

Energy efficient appliances can include heat pumps, double-glazed windows, solar panels and solar hot water systems. This has been extended and will now run until 30 April 2019, or until the additional $20 million finance pool is exhausted.
Further details of the program are available on  https://www.auroraenergy.com.au

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australia residents currently only have access to the Federal Government’s SRES subsidy

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Northern Territory residents currently only have access to the Federal Government’s SRES subsidy

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRIOTORY

There are currently a number of programs under the Efficient Energy Improvements Schemes to facilitate uptake of solar and battery storage.

The ACT currently has a battery storage rebate program in collaboration with a number of select home battery suppliers.
There is also a solar program for low-income households.

Low Income Solar Rebate: Eligible participants for the low-income households solar program are able to access a subsidy of up to 60% (capped at $3000) of the total cost of a solar system. There is a 3-year interest-free loan to cover the balance. There are a number of eligibility requirements including, but not limited to holding an Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card; being a homeowner in the ACT and not already having rooftop solar PV installed.

Household Battery Storage: Under the Next Generation Energy Storage program, the ACT Government is supporting up to 5,000 battery storage systems in ACT homes and businesses. The value of the rebate is $825 per kilowatt (kW) up to a maximum of 30 kW. This equates to about $4000 benefit for a 5kW system. The program is delivered through eight battery storage providers, which were selected by the ACT Government after a competitive selection process. There are a number of eligibility requirements including, but not limited to holding an Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card; being a homeowner in the ACT and not already having rooftop solar PV installed.

Further details of the program are available on  https://www.actsmart.act.gov.au