What’s Included With A Solar Installation… And What’s Not
When it comes to solar power, the solar panels up on the roof are the star of the show, generating clean solar energy to reduce people’s power bills.
But what’s actually included with a solar installation, and importantly, what’s not included?
Let’s go through the details.
What Are The Components Of A Solar System?
A solar system includes:
- Solar panels
- An inverter, or 1 microinverter per panel
- A mounting kit to suit the roof type (mainly tile, metal or kliplok)
- Cabling from the panels to the inverter
- Safety switches with clear labelling
- A communications gateway
- Online monitoring
What is included with the installation?
Solar System Design
The first step to a successful solar installation is the design of the system. Our designer will make sure your system is optimised for your roof, and for your lifestyle. We want to make sure you generate solar power when you need it, such as in the afternoon by having solar panels on a western-facing roof.
Planning For A Successful Install
Before the installation, we ask you to send us a photo of your meter board and one from the street. We need to make sure that access to the roof is possible and safe, and that the meter board is up to scratch. If we need to check anything before the installation, we will send an installer out for a site inspection.
Grid Connect Application
Our install planners will do the grid connection application with your energy distributor. For most systems, this is a formality, but there is a little more work involved for us with larger systems.
Once the grid connect application is approved, we are then able to book you in for an installation date. We will ask you what days are suitable, and we will also ask you for some flexibility, especially at the moment because of all the wet weather. If it rains or if there are high winds, our installers aren’t allowed on the roof due to safety reasons.
The Day Of The Installation
On the day of the installation, we like someone to be home because we need to turn off the power for a short while. It’s good if someone is home to make sure everything turns back on ok.
Demonstration of the System
After the installation is completed, we will demonstrate how the system works, and ask you if you have any questions. Our install coordination team is available on the day as well so you can call our office if you have any questions.
We don’t have a call centre or long hold times, making it easy to get things sorted during the installation.
Notify Your Retailer & Meter Change
Once the installation is completed, we will notify your retailer that you have installed solar. You will then be able to call your retailer to negotiate a new contract for your electricity. Most retailers have a specific solar plan that includes a good feed-in tariff.
Configuration & Monitoring
With an Enphase system, after the installation is completed we will configure and set up the system in Enlighten, which is the system management portal that gives you back-to-base monitoring, the possibility for remote firmware updates and your online monitoring.
The system connects to your home WiFi using the gateway that is installed with the system.
If you have any questions about your online monitoring, or if there are any issues with how the system is configured, you can once again call the Solaray Team and we will be happy to help.
Help To Underst Your Power Bill Savings
The final piece of the puzzle is when the next power bill arrives, where solar has been installed for the full quarter.
We can help you understand what has happened since the installation. We find a lot of solar households use a lot more electricity after going solar, so its a matter of talking through how much power you are using compared to how much electricity you are generating and working out the best way to manage the system.
What’s Not Included With A Solar Installation?
The main thing that isn’t included with a solar power system is storage. To store power for the evening you will need to add a battery. A Tesla Powerwall is the main battery available in Australia at the moment, and more information about the Tesla Powerwall is available here.
In terms of hidden extras, we find that some solar installers will have a list of ‘add-ons’ that aren’t included in the price of the system. It’s important to ask that the quote is for your house and not a generic price.
Solaray quotes are for an installation on your house, so we take everything into consideration.
Examples of add-ons that I’ve seen other installers leave out of the quote but have a confusing list add-ons include:
- Double-storey fee
- Travel fee
- Cathedral ceilings fee
- Roof type (we don’t install on slate or asbestos roofs)
- Tilt frames for tilting panels on a flat roof (typically around $40 to $80 per panel
- Removal of an existing system
- Installing panels sideways, or landscape
- Installing panels on multiple roof areas or orientations – sometimes there needs to be additional hardware per string
Next, the meter in your meter board needs to be replaced. We will help you organise that with your energy retailer, however, it is not the solar installer that replaces the meter but the energy retailer.
The next two issues are mainly to do with older houses.
Firstly, on very old roofs we find that sometimes tiles will break when someone stands on them. Our installers will replace the tiles for you if they break any, however, you will need to have spares on hand ready to go on the day of installation. If you don’t have any spare tiles, we can help you source new ones in time for the install day.
Older Meter Boards
The other issue that can arise with older properties is that the meter board isn’t up to current regulations. We aren’t allowed to work on a meter board that isn’t up to current standards and so the meter board needs to be fixed before the installation. Typical things that we will identify from the meter board photo that you send us include the meter board being too high, or certain components not being on the board when they should be.
We can help by offering you a quote for the work, or you can choose to get it fixed yourself by a certified electrician.
Finally, cable runs. From time to time we will do installations on buildings that require a long cable run back to the meter board. For example, we may install panels on a garage or shed and the meter board is on the other side of the house.
We do not include additional work for a cable run like this in our quotes. We have had customers previously dig a trench before the installation, but because each situation is different we ask that you call us for more information if you think the cable run from the panels to the meter board will be an issue. In these situations, we will normally say that you must install an Enphase system so that the cable isn’t high voltage DC, but rather a safer AC cable.
Similarly, we will sometimes work with builders on new builds to run cables through internal cavities before the cladding goes on the walls or roof, what we call a rough-in. We can also do the rough-in for an additional cost, however sometimes building companies don’t allow third parties on site. If that is the case we can help make sure you run the right cable.
For more information and personalised advice, you can fill in the form below for a callback from the Solaray Team, otherwise, you can give us a call on 1300 525 451.