Solar Power Frequently Asked Questions

Solar Power FAQs

We have compiled this list of FAQ’s to answer specific questions, as well as to help you browse various topics to deepen your understanding of the technology involved, the solar industry in general and why it is so important to use a reputable solar installer such as Solaray.

Solaray has an extensive track record of supplying and installing quality Solar Systems, whilst providing the best customer service levels available in the industry today.

Our products are selected to provide the best combination of efficiency, performance and value for money. This, together with our customer service approach and rigorous installation standards, means you can be assured that a Solaray System represents the best available and cost effective solution on the market.

How Does Solar Power Reduce Your Power Bills?

In NSW, solar power is fed into the home as it is generated. The solar power is used first, before you draw power from the grid, which means that for every kWh of solar power used in the home you are directly reducing your power bill by the amount you would have otherwise paid for the electricity.

A number of people new to solar power get confused by feed in tariffs and where the real benefit of solar power lies. So let’s break down how solar power reduces your bill and why getting a large solar credit on your power bill is not the best result.

Is Solar Power Worth It in 2016?

It’s a question we get asked dozens of times a day and for most households solar power makes a lot of sense. The answer to ‘is solar power worth it?’ is different for everyone. Here are a few key questions you need to ask yourself to work out if solar power is right for you:

How much do you want to save a year off your power bills?

How much are you willing to pay to save $2000 a year (for example) off your power bills?

How quickly do you want a return on your money?

How much are you willing to pay for a solar power system?

Let’s answer these questions to help you work out not only if solar power is worth it but what size system will be the best fit for your household.

Solar Power Rebates in NSW- How it all works

There has never been a better time to buy a solar power system in NSW as system prices continue to fall and great incentives are still in place for eligible households. In NSW there are two main financial incentives for installing solar panels:

  • Small Scale Technology Certificates– which can be used to reduce the purchase price of your system.
  • Feed in tariff– an agreement with your energy retailer whereby you are paid for the excess solar power that you feed back into the grid.

Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs)

Small-scale Technology Certificates (STC’s) – previously known as Renewable Energy Certificates or RECS – are created when a Renewable Energy System such as a Solar PV system is installed.

The number of STC’s depends on the size of the system and therefore the amount of energy generated. In essence, one STC is created for every megawatt hour of production capability of the system. In simplistic terms, a 2kW solar system would be expected to generate between 2.4MW and 2.9 MW per year depending on location.

This is further multiplied by the number of years the system is likely to generate energy (for home solar systems, this is usually 15 years, although the life of the solar panels themselves is considerably more than that).

System Output STC’s Rebate*
2kW 41 $1,435
3kW 62 $2,170
5kW 103 $3,605

* Based on an STC price of $35. Real savings may be even greater!

What does this mean for me?

Your solar power installer will normally reduce the purchase price of the system by the value of the STCs created by your system. There is no additional paperwork, and you receive the value of the STCs at the current market price.

STC Price

The system for trading and pricing STCs for small systems is managed by the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).

STCs are bought by Liable Parties (usually electricity retailers) and must be surrendered at the end of each quarter. <p”>As the number of STCs that are required to be surrendered is a fixed amount each year, but the number of STCs created is variable, the price paid for STCs also varies and is determined by supply and demand. <p”>The Federal Government legislated in 2010 a fixed price for STCs by implementing a Clearing House system where STCs can be bought and sold for $40. However, there is no requirement for Liable Parties to purchase from the Clearing House, so they are likely to only do so if there is a shortage of STCs or the market price exceeds $40.There is currently a surplus of STCs in the market which means the market price of STC’s below $40.

Feed in Tariff

In NSW all new grid connected solar systems have Net Metering, where the solar power that is generated is fed into the home to help reduce your reliance on the grid. Because electricity has to be used immediately, any power that is not used in the home is automatically fed out to the grid. This power is bought by your energy retailer and you are paid a feed in tariff, which is reflected on your power bill.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has stipulated that t a fair and reasonable value for excess solar power exported to the grid is in the range of 7.7 to 12.9 cents per kilowatt hour. For example, if you have a 5kW system and you export all of the power to the grid on a typical Sydney day, you will receive a credit of approximately 20kW/h x 8c = $1.60.

What happened to the old 60 cent feed in tariff?

The 60 cent feed in tariff was a part of the State Government’s Solar Bonus Scheme that closed to new applicants in 2011. These systems have Gross Metering where all of the solar power is fed directly into the grid and households are paid a feed in tariff for all of the power generated. At the time, residential solar power systems were prohibitively expensive to install, and this state rebate was extremely successful in encouraging households to install solar systems and help grow the solar industry. As a result we have seen a dramatic reduction in the cost of installing a solar system.

Why should I consider solar now that the Solar Bonus Scheme has finished?

The benefit of a solar system is no longer in the feed in tariff, but rather in reducing the amount of power you buy from the grid. This is why it is vital to speak with a reputable solar installer to help you size up a system to reflect your daily energy patterns. Time of day metering is now being rolled out across the Ausgrid network, which means that during the peak period between 2pm and 8pm, you will be saving close to 52c for every kilowatt of solar power your system generates. System prices continue to fall, and coupled with the federal government’s STC incentive there has never been a better time to buy a solar system for your home.

But I heard that the rebates have finished?
Does solar power work on cloudy days?
What is a kilowatt hour (kWh)?
How much power will my solar system generate?
What size system do I need for my house?
What direction should my solar panels face?
Do I need a new digital meter?
Does having a digital meter mean I will pay more for my power?
I have heard that solar technology is progressing rapidly. When should I look at getting a solar system installed?
Do you offer payment options?
What maintenance does a solar system require?
What happens if there is a blackout?
I have 3 phase power. Do I need a 3 phase inverter?