From the category archives:

Installation advice

Does rooftop solar still make sense in 2017?

February 16, 2017
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Rooftop solar on its own is already affordable enough to be a smart choice for virtually any Australian home with an unshaded roof and some daytime electricity usage. This is true even in the absence of generous, state-backed solar feed-in tariffs and the (slight) reduction of the up-front incentive for solar available through the federal Renewable […]

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

February 15, 2017
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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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Residential Solar PV Price Index – February 2017

February 14, 2017
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Despite the decrease in the incentive available under the federal Renewable Energy Target that came in effect from last month, average solar PV system prices have moved little, according to our data. Although this month did see a slight reduction in prices (down to $1.60 per watt from $1.62/W in February), this is mainly attributable to changes in […]

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The heat wave sent spot market prices soaring: What does it mean for solar?

February 13, 2017
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Wholesale electricity prices on Australia’s eastern seaboard went through the roof this past weekend as homes as businesses pumped their air conditioners in an attempt to stave off the brutal and unprecedented summer heat. What are the implications of high spot prices for solar PV systems large and small in Australia? High temperatures –> high […]

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Sizing inverters to optimise solar panel system efficiency

February 6, 2017
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The efficiency of the inverter drives the efficiency of a solar panel system because inverters convert Direct Current (DC) (as produced by the solar panels), into Alternating Current (AC) (as used by the electric grid). This leads many to wonder what effect over-sizing or under-sizing an inverter will have on overall system efficiency. This entry […]

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Should you oversize your solar array / undersize your inverter?

February 3, 2017
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After numerous questions about the relationship between solar panel power and inverter power, I decided to put together this blog post. Now logically, if you have (say) 3,000 Watts of solar panels on your roof, you would expect that a 3000 Watt inverter would be the perfect match, right? Not necessarily! There are a number of […]

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What size solar power installation should you buy?

January 25, 2017

A Solar Choice broker will help you, at no charge, decide what size solar energy installation best suits your needs and budget. In the meantime, we hope the following article will assist you in making the right decision. (This article was originally published in 2009 – we updated in January 2017 to reflect the new […]

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Solar-plus-storage: How much battery capacity do you need?

January 20, 2017
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Lots of Solar Choice customers ask about battery storage for solar power, but not many have a clear idea of how much battery capacity they need. This article takes a look at the factors that come into play when considering how to choose the right amount of battery capacity for your solar-plus-storage system. How much energy independence […]

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5kW solar systems: Pricing, output, and returns

January 17, 2017
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The average solar system size in Australia has grown in recent years to about 5 kilowatts (kW). What are the price ranges, electricity yields (in kilowatt-hours, kWh) and financial returns that a household can expect from a 5kW solar PV system? This article was originally published in 2012 – we’ve recently updated it to reflect […]

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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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Solar power in Sydney, NSW: Compare prices & installers

December 19, 2016
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Sydney is a great place for solar power, and roughly 10-15% of Sydney area homes have solar panels installed on their roofs. This article is an overview of everything you need to know if you’re considering solar power for your Sydney home – including how you can compare system prices and installers who operate in your […]

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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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