From the category archives:

Installation advice

Commercial Solar PV Price Index for January 2016

January 12, 2017
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Average commercial solar system prices continue at about $1.25/W for the fourth month in a row, starting off the new year with no eventful news. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All prices in the tables below include incentives available through the federal Renewable Energy Target as well as GST, but do not incorporate meter installation fees […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – January 2017

January 12, 2017
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Average solar system prices for the new year continue to hover around $1.62/W, as they have for the past six months or so. Smaller systems (1.5kW – 2kW) continue to be the dearest on a $/W basis, while larger systems (5kW – 10kW) offer the greatest value in terms of peak output capacity. By our […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – December 2016

December 15, 2016
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Average solar PV system prices for December sit at roughly $1.62 per watt ($1.62/W). Average system prices in Australia have hovered around this price point since about July of 2016, although there have been some changes on a city-by-city and size-by-size basis. Average solar PV system prices for December 2016 Prices in the table below include […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for December 2016

December 15, 2016
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Average commercial solar system prices saw virtually no change betwen November and December, according to data from the Solar Choice database. Prices have hovered around the $1.25 mark since September. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All prices in the tables below include incentives available through the federal Renewable Energy Target as well as GST, but do […]

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Is it okay to put my solar panels flat on my roof, or should they be tilted?

December 14, 2016
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Solar panel tilt angle and orientation are two of the most important factors in determining how much electricity your solar panel array will generate. If you live in Australia and have a grid-connected solar system, your solar panels will be installed at the angle and aspect of your roof. In most cases – provided you have […]

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Is a solar lease or solar PPA right for you?

December 12, 2016
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‘Solar leasing’ deals have been the main facilitator of residential solar panel uptake in the United States, with the majority of systems being installed under such arrangements. Although solar leasing schemes have been on offer in Australia for some time now, they have not proven to be an overwhelmingly popular option. Is a solar lease right for […]

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Solar power for homes: Still worth it in Australia?

December 6, 2016
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Lots of things have changed in recent years with regard to solar power for homes. The business case for going solar – the investment-worthiness of solar panels – has quickly progressed through roughly three stages since the solar panel boom began in Australia in around 2008. Making a long story short, these stages were: Stage 1 […]

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1kW solar PV systems: Pricing, output, returns

December 1, 2016
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Should you install a 1 kilowatt (kW) solar system for your home? These days, 1kW solar system installations are relatively rare, as larger systems frequently offer better value for money at only a modestly higher price. The smallest size of system that Solar Choice keeps track of in our monthly Solar PV Price Index articles […]

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What’s a partial off-grid solar-plus-storage system?

November 30, 2016
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Going partially off the grid is a smart alternative for homes who want to become completely energy self-sufficient. A partial off-grid solar system is one that runs a few essential electrical loads – for example, the refrigerator, lights and television – on a separate electrical circuit that has no physical connection to the grid mains. […]

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Blockchain network disruption soon to arrive – with Australian company at forefront

November 29, 2016
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An Australian start-up has been named as a global leader in the development of “blockchain” technology in a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The BNEF report named Perth-based company Power Ledger as one of the companies leading development of the technology, which it says has the potential to “rapidly disrupt” the energy market status […]

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Kilowatts vs kilowatt-hours in solar power & battery storage: Power, energy or capacity?

November 28, 2016
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If you’re shopping around for solar panels or a battery storage for your home, you’re undoubtedly come across the terms ‘kilowatt’ (abbreviated as kW) and kilowatt-hour (kWh). These terms might be a bit confusing at first, so we’ve written this article to explain these terms and make them easy to understand. Power vs energy (vs capacity) When […]

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Integrated solar roof tiles cheaper to install than regular roof, says Musk

November 23, 2016
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Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has suggested his newly launched integrated solar roof tiles could actually cost less to install than a regular roof – making the renewable electricity they produce “just a bonus”. Musk made the claim last Thursday, just minutes – according to Bloomberg – after Tesla and SolarCity shareholders voted in […]

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Can you go off the grid with a 10kW solar system plus battery storage?

November 22, 2016
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We previously wrote an article about the feasibility of an Australian home going off-grid with a 3kW solar system – quite a small system size for such an ambitious endeavour. In this article, we’ll look at the case for going off-grid with a 10kW solar system – the unofficial upper limit for residential solar system […]

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Solar energy self-consumption explained

November 18, 2016
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When it comes to solar power in Australia, lots of things have changed in the last few years. If you’re currently shopping around for a solar system, perhaps the most important thing you need to keep in mind is this: You’ll get the most out of your solar panels by consuming the energy they produce while it […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index: November 2016

November 16, 2016
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The average price of a commercial solar PV system dropped very slightly between October and November 2016 (from about $1.26 per watt to about $1.25/W) according to figures from the Solar Choice installer network database. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All prices in the tables below include incentives available through the federal Renewable Energy Target […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – November 2016

November 15, 2016
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Average solar PV system prices for Australia’s capital cities changed little between October and November of 2016, according to data from Solar Choice’s installer network database. Currently, the average price for a solar PV system in Australia sits at about $1.63 per watt. Average solar PV system prices for November 2016 Prices in the table below […]

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‘No more energy bills’ with solar? Buyer beware

November 3, 2016
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“Eliminate your energy bills!” is a phrase – frequently used in solar sales pitches – that Australian consumers should greet with a high degree of scepticism. If someone is making a promise that sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Let’s shed a bit of light on these claims so that you’ll know […]

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Tesla founder plans to lead global push to 100 percent renewable energy

November 2, 2016
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On Friday, in Los Angeles, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the latest elements of his plan to lead a global push to 100 per cent renewable energy: a solar roof shingle and the second generation of his home and utility scale battery storage offerings. While revealed with a lot less fanfare and a […]

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Why even partial shading is bad for solar power systems

November 1, 2016
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Solar panels work best when there is no shade cast upon them. In fact, a shadow cast on even just part of one solar panel in your solar array can potentially compromise the output of the whole system. What are some strategies for dealing with potential shading of solar arrays? (This article was originally published […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index: October 2016

October 26, 2016
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Average commercial solar system prices for all sizes that we track (10kW, 30kW, 50kW and 100kW) held stable at the $1.28/W low seen in September, according to data from Solar Choice’s installer network. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All prices in the tables below include incentives available through the federal Renewable Energy Target as well as […]

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NSW Solar Bonus Scheme feed-in tariffs end this year: What are your options?

October 20, 2016
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On December 31 2016, recipients of NSW Solar Bonus Scheme will cease to receive bill credits for their exported solar energy. The Solar Bonus Scheme (which closed to new applications in 2011) offered 60c per kilowatt-hour or 20c/kWh, depending on the signup date. Once the scheme ends, these rates will drop significantly, to as low as low […]

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JinkoSolar introduces modules with ‘next generation’ power optimisation

October 17, 2016
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Panel manufacturer JinkoSolar claims to have solved the issue of partial shading of solar panels with its new line of JinkoMX modules, which use an advanced power optimisation technology called a ‘cell string optimiser’ by Maxim instead of conventional bypass diodes. Partial shading and the problem of the ‘weakest link’ With conventional solar PV systems […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – October 2016

October 12, 2016
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Average solar system prices for Australia’s capital cities rose slightly (to $1.63/W) between September and October. Price increases were seen primarily among smaller systems (1.5kW – 5kW) in a handful of cities, while 10kW system prices remained steady. Average solar PV system prices for October 2016 Prices in the table below include both the up-front incentive […]

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Which electricity retailer is giving the best solar feed-in tariff?

October 10, 2016
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Feed-in tariffs in Australia: How they’ve changed Solar feed-in tariffs are arrangements where a solar system owner is paid for the excess solar energy that they send back into the grid. At one point in time, feed-in tariffs were mandatory in every state in Australia, and the rates they offered were quite generous. Much has changed, however, […]

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Home battery storage keeps the lights on in SA blackout

September 30, 2016

One of the promises of home battery storage was realised during South Australia’s historic blackout yesterday: Homes with batteries were able to keep the lights on even as surrounding building swam in a sea of darkness. The most high-profile of these was the home of Simon Hackett, head of Australia-based flow battery developer Redflow, whose […]

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Microinverters: Are they right for your solar system?

September 28, 2016
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As the name suggests, microinverters are small inverters for use in solar PV systems, usually installed at a ratio of one per solar panel. By contrast, most solar PV systems in Australia have a single, centralised inverter called a string inverter. What are the advantages of having a solar PV system that uses microinverters instead of […]

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South Australia’s 16c/kWh solar feed-in tariff ends 30 September 2016

September 28, 2016
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South Australia‘s 16c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) solar feed-in tariff will be the first state-backed incentive of its kind to cease payments. The 16c/kWh rate – referred to as the ‘Transitional Feed-in Tariff’ – was made available to SA households who signed up for grid-connected solar between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2013. The 16c/kWh […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index: September 2016

September 27, 2016
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The average price of a commercial solar installation fell to an all-time low of $1.26 per watt ($/W) between August and September, according to data from Solar Choice’s installer network database. The drop was consistent across all solar system sizes, although there were slight fluctuations from city to city. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All […]

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How many times per day should you cycle your batteries?

September 26, 2016
Battery cycling

There are a lot of different ways to potentially get value out of a home battery storage system. Something that not many storage system shoppers realises is that it is possible to charge/discharge (or ‘cycle’) your batteries more than once a day. In fact, in the right circumstances, cycling your batteries more than once a day can potentially […]

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One reason why solar is more expensive in the USA than Australia: Larger installer profits

September 23, 2016
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According to the data, average margin for a rooftop solar installation in the United States market is 40 per cent. In Australia, some installers are struggling to get into double figures. For Australian consumers, this means some of the cheapest prices for installed rooftop solar in the world – a fact more than 1.5 million homes […]

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Solar power in Hobart, Tasmania: Compare prices & installers

September 20, 2016
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Solar power system prices have fallen significantly in recent years in Tasmania, as well as throughout Australia and the rest of the world. It is for this reason that installing a solar power system in Hobart (not to menion the rest of Tasmania) is a good investment for the right homes & businesses. This article […]

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