Where are the prices?
The prices and other details are on the launch page.
When does the bulk buy close?
This bulk buy round will close 15 June 2017. If you are not sure about committing please register your tentative interest using this Google Form and we’ll confirm with you later in the process.
When do I get my solar installed?
Once you have indicated that you are ready to proceed we’ll pass your details to the installer and he will get in touch with a quote. Once you’ve accepted the quote he will schedule your job on a first-in, first-served basis. Installations should begin around the time the bulk buy closes on June 15th.
What happens if not enough people sign up, or drop out?
Once you have signed a contract with the installer your installation will proceed at the agreed cost regardless of how many others join the bulk buy.
Can I join if I live outside the Sutherland Shire?
Probably, yes. The installer will decide if he is able to travel to your property. Scheduling priority will generally be given to those who live in the Sutherland Shire. If you are keen please sign up and we’ll be in touch.
What size system should I get?
The right size will depend on various factors including your budget, availability of suitable roof space and your objectives. It is easier and cheaper to install a larger system up-front rather than starting smaller and adding panels later. This article provides several reasons for “going big” up front. This article presents an economic analysis showing that larger systems should save more money over time, despite the larger up-front cost and regardless of how much energy your household uses.
If your objective is to be as self-sufficient as possible then you’ll probably want a larger system. A 5kW system will produce about 19kWh per day on average. This is roughly equal to the average daily energy use of a fairly energy-efficient household. During winter it will produce less than 19kWh and during summer it will produce more. Installing an inverter larger than 5kW on a single phase supply requires permission from the network operator, although this permission is often granted. If such permission is required it will be arranged by the installer.
Can I have 6kW of panels with a 5kW inverter?
Yes, it is possible and generally recommended to install more panel capacity than the inverter’s rating. A multiple of 1.3 is the maximum, eg a 5kW inverter can support up to 6.5kW of panels. Installing more panels will result in greater energy output and does not damage the inverter. Adding more panels will increase the price but is good value per additional kW. The installer can provide more details and a quote for your particular situation.
Can I get a different size to the sample prices, eg 4kW?
Yes. You can discuss your requirements with the installer and he will quote accordingly.
Which inverter should I choose?
Both options (SMA and SolarEdge) are quality, high-performing products. The main benefit of the premium SolarEdge inverter is the use of DC optimisers on each panel. This allows for increased system output in the following cases:
- partial shading of some panels
- differences in the orientation and tilt of panels
- differences between panels caused by manufacturing variation, dirt, bird droppings etc
This article demonstrates how the SolarEdge system can produce more output even if there are no partial shading issues.
The SMA inverter supports two groups (or “strings”) of panels and requires all panels in a group to be installed with the same orientation and tilt. If this is not possible on your roof and/or if you experience partial shading then the SolarEdge system may be a better choice. The installer can advise on your particular situation.
The SolarEdge inverter also comes with a much longer warranty: 12 years vs 5 for the SMA. The SMA warranty can be extended for an extra fee.
Which panels should I choose?
Both options (Trina and LG) are quality, high-performing products.
The premium LG panels:
- produce more power per panel: 330W vs 295W for Trina, so less panels are required for a given system size
- should produce more power in low light situations
- have a 12 year manufacturer’s warranty vs 10 year for Trina
- more details about the LG panels are explained in this article
The Trina panels produce more output per dollar of cost compared to the LG panels and may be more economical in most situations.
Do these systems support a battery?
There are three kinds of home batteries:
- AC batteries, eg Tesla Powerwall 2
- DC low-voltage, eg some LG Chem
- DC high-voltage, eg Tesla Powerwall 1, some LG Chem
AC batteries, such as the Tesla Powerwall 2, should be compatible with any solar PV inverter, including those offered in this bulk buy. AC batteries have a built-in inverter and do not rely on the PV inverter.
The SMA inverter does not support DC batteries directly. DC batteries can be added later by adding a separate battery inverter.
The base SolarEdge inverter does not support DC batteries, but can be upgraded to a SolarEdge StorEdge inverter that supports some DC high-voltage batteries. Selecting a StorEdge inverter to begin with is cheaper than retrofitting a separate battery inverter (the “SolarEdge Interface”) later. If you plan to install a DC battery at some point you may wish to select the StorEdge inverter up front – please see the pricing table for costs.
Will these systems let me go “off grid”?
No, all inverters offered here are grid-tied and must be installed with a connection to the grid.
What happens in a blackout?
The SMA inverter and the regular SolarEdge inverter can not function during a blackout. It is not possible to generate or use solar PV electricity during a blackout with a grid-tied inverter.
The SolarEdge StorEdge inverter with a DC battery would allow some loads (eg lights, fridge etc) to continue operating during a blackout.
What is consumption monitoring? Why does it cost more?
The consumption monitoring feature provides monitoring and reporting of your household’s energy use at frequent intervals eg every 15 minutes. This feature provides insight into when your home uses energy and how much, providing crucial information to manage and optimise your self-consumption. For example, you can determine how much energy your dishwasher uses and when to run it so it can be powered by solar energy instead of importing energy from the grid. This will save money, which will help offset the additional cost of the monitoring option.
Both SMA and SolarEdge inverters require an extra device to enable consumption monitoring, hence the additional cost. Without consumption monitoring both inverters will only monitor PV output and the only visibility of energy imports and exports will be your electricity bill.
How does the monitoring work?
Solar PV systems provide detailed monitoring of your solar production, and also home energy consumption and excess solar exports with the consumption monitoring options.
Both inverters (standard and premium) connect to your home internet connection via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable and send monitoring data to a system on the internet.
You can view your monitoring data from anywhere with an internet connection. Both systems provide apps for Android and Apple IOS. You can check the performance of your solar from work!
What if I don’t have a fixed home internet connection?
If you don’t have an always-on internet connection in your home (eg ADSL, Telstra/Optus Cable, NBN) you can still get solar – but the monitoring won’t be available. Please speak with the installer for more details.
Is my roof suitable for solar panels?
Most roofs are suitable for solar panel installation. If you have any concerns please mention them and the installer will speak with you about them.