Solar panels Queensland

Queensland solar panels: Compare installers and system prices

by Solar Choice Staff on March 12, 2013

in QLD,Solar and Renewable Energy Policy,State Government solar feed-in tariffs

Solar panels are proving to be a popular investment option in Queensland, even after the reduction of the state’s Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff incentive. The economics of installing solar panels in Queensland are still compelling in spite of the incentive changes brought about under the new government; a steady number of homes and a growing number of businesses are looking into going solar as a way to save on energy bills.

To instantly compare solar PV system prices for your area of Queensland, fill out the Quote Comparison Request form to the right of this page. You can also call Solar Choice on 1300 78 72 73.

Queensland solar panels: Why invest in a solar system?

There are essentially 3 reasons for the current level of popularity that solar panels enjoy in Queensland.

First of all, Queensland is home to some of the sunniest regions of the country, and it is aptly named the Sunshine State. The amount of sun that shines in an area has a direct impact on the theoretical upper limit for the amount of power that a solar panel system can produce. More sun equals more solar energy, which equals greater savings on power bills.

Secondly, the price of installing solar panels in Queensland has fallen dramatically in the past few years, thanks to both global and local factors. Solar Choice publishes a monthly article on the current average and median prices of solar systems in all of Australia’s capital cities, called the Solar PV Price Index. System prices are broken down by city (Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth) and system size (from 1.5kW to 5kW).

(See the most recent Solar PV Price Index.)

Lastly, the price of electricity is rising across the state, and homes and businesses are looking to cut down their bills. Combined with energy efficiency and smart power usage, installing solar panels in Queensland is one of the best way to reduce the amount of power purchased from electricity utilities.

These three factors mean that solar panels offer a great return on investment (ROI) for the right household or business, with annual ROIs of over 10%–much better than the interest rates on offer from most banks for standard savings accounts.

Who should invest in solar panels in Queensland?

Since the reduction of the rate for the state’s feed-in tariff scheme, the case for going solar has changed from what it was previously. The segment of the population for whom solar panels are a good investment is now narrower than what it was when the feed-in tariff was in place.

Since benefiting from having solar panels in Queensland requires using the solar energy as it is being produced, solar would most benefit businesses that operate during daylight hours or homes that are occupied by one or more residents when the sun is out. Since the government is only offering 8c per kilowatt-hour (kWh, or unit) of power that is exported to the grid (whilst 1kWh of power purchased from the grid costs well over double that)–and this 8c/kWh is only a temporary offering–any home or business in Queensland that has solar panels should endeavour to use as much of that power as possible.

This is known as ‘self-consumption’, and it is the key to getting the most out of a solar system. (Read more: Solar Feed-in Tariffs vs Solar Buybacks.)

How to get the most out of solar panels in Queensland: Self-consumption

In order to get the most financial benefit out of solar panels in Queensland (without solar energy storage, which remains prohibitively expensive), it is necessary to time power use as much as possible to coincide with solar energy production. The amount of power being produced by a solar panel array at any given point in the day varies depending on the sun’s position in the sky, and therefore the amount of solar radiation falling on the solar panels. The sunlight is weaker during the morning and evening, and most intense in the middle of the day–between about 11am and 2pm. In the solar industry, the total amount of solar energy is tallied up in a measurement called ‘peak sun hours’ (PSH). As you can see, as much as practicable it makes sense to slowly ramp up energy usage as the sun rises, and then gradually reduce energy usage as the sun begins to go down.

Peak Sun Hours chart

Intensity of the sun throughout the day. (Image via JS Solar.)

Ready to shop for solar? Compare solar quotes from installers in your area.

© 2013 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Roslyn Cross September 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Is it worth getting solar panels if there is quite a bit of shade from trees in the area, coming onto most of the roof, particularly in the afternoon. We live in Queensland

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Solar Choice Staff September 12, 2014 at 6:44 am

Hi Roslyn,

It might be worth it, but it’s also distinctly possible that it is now. How much shading on the roof? Is it completely covered in the afternoon?

You can read more about solar panels and shading in this article.

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Brendan Hoffman September 12, 2014 at 10:35 am

this was very helpful with my assignment ;)

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Mary October 1, 2014 at 7:31 am

I already have 22x 190 watt 24 v solar panels and was wondering how many KW does that equate to?
And how do i work out the storage capacity in ah say if i had 12x2vx500ah batteries… does that equal 6000ah storage ?
I am just looking at whats available atm. Once i buy my new place it will be stand alone…
Thanks for your time
Mary

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Solar Choice Staff October 2, 2014 at 6:30 am

Hello Mary.

22 x 190W = 4180W, or 4.18kW–this is your solar panel array’s nameplate capacity in kilowatts.

Volts x amps (current) = watts. When you multiply this by hours, you get watt hours (Wh, although this is usually measured in the industry in terms of kilowatt-hours, kWh). So the 12 x 2V x 500ah battery bank you’re describing would be 12,000Wh or about 12kWh of storage. This is sizeable for a low-energy home, and should be sufficient for you if you’re careful with your energy usage.

Hope this is useful to you. Energy storage costs are changing rapidly, and batteries for solar may be a viable option for many homes and businesses before the end of the decade.

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Bryan January 24, 2015 at 5:04 am

Thats right, you do have 12000 amps hrs available providing they connected as a 2 volt system, if you increase the voltage the amps stay the same so at 24 volt you have only 500amp hrs available

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Bryan January 24, 2015 at 5:10 am

6000amp hrs available for the correction

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Elizabeth October 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Hi!

We live in Qld and have a 3kw system with a 50 cent feed back to the grid. We pay 25 cents for our night electricity from the grid. Simple question…..is it better to use out bulk electricity (washing machines etc) during the day, or at night. Basically which is more economical?

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Solar Choice Staff October 15, 2014 at 1:43 am

Hi Elizabeth,

In your case, with the 50c/kWh feed-in tariff, it’s better if you export as much power as possible to the grid: self-consuming the solar power is worth less to you than exporting it to the grid. Run as many of your appliances as possible when the sun is not shining.

The opposite is the case for people who go solar these days, with only an 8c/kWh feed-in tariff available: self-consuming their solar power is worth more than exporting it.

Hope this helps.

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Charlie Lee October 26, 2014 at 2:45 am

Hello, I am currently a year 12 student in a school who is assigned a task to investigate about cost of solar panel installation fee.
I would like to ask for the general installation cost for Monocrystalline solar panels, Polycrystalline solar panels and CIGS technology solar panels.
How much difference would they have generally?
If I set the price for monocrystalline as 100, what others would be?
Thank you

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Solar Choice Staff October 29, 2014 at 7:37 am

Hi Charlie,

We don’t publish prices specific to different technologies, but you can find historic installation price data here.

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Mignon October 29, 2014 at 12:19 pm

We use up to 2000kw per quarter. We live in North Queensland. We were thinking of a 5000kw system but is that too much? Should we just get a 3000kw system?

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Solar Choice Staff November 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Hi Mignon,

To answer your question in brief–a 3kW (3000W) or 5kW (5000W) system is not unusual for a household in Queensland with moderate electricity usage. These two system sizes are pretty popular across the country these days.

The best way to go about getting pricing on a system through Solar Choice is to fill out the Solar Quote Comparison request form on the right side of this page. By doing this you will be able to compare a number of solar installation companies which operate in your area, as well as their prices and the products that they offer. They’ll also be able to give you some idea of what size of solar system would best suit your needs.

Best of luck going solar.

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Glenn Jones November 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm

G’day,
I have a 5.5 kW solar panel array, facing west. It was 5kw but had to be re-installed so I had another 250 watt panels fitted. The inverter is a 5 kW Samil. I have noticed that the system now peaks at 3.08 kW for about 5 hours a day with on average about 23-24 kw/hour per day. The retailer of the system thinks it is ok, the electricians think it is suspicious. The retailer doesn’t think the electricians know what they are talking about. My point is that output doesn’t climb above the same figure at 10:00 AM even when the sun is directly overhead 3 hours later.
Is that normal? Before it was rewired and the two panels added I remembering it getting to 3.7 kW on several occasions.

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Solar Choice Staff December 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Hi Glenn,

Is the system’s overall daily output slightly higher now with the 5.5kW system than it was with the 5kW system?

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Andrew August 14, 2015 at 7:39 am

Sounds like the inverter is capping output if it is maintaining that figure for such an extended period. Although it could be caused by incompatibility between the two types of panels. Are the new ones exactly the same panel?

A 5kw inverter should be capable of reaching more than 3.08 kw, even if a 5kw solar array may not make the full 5kw based on conversion efficiency or shading.

You note that it may have reached higher figures before. Perhaps disconnecting the two new panels might be a good start. If 3.08 is still all you get, the inverter is the next spot to look.

If you obtain more than 3.08, then the panels are your next issue.

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Steve November 26, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I live in North Qld and have a 7kw system with 5kw inverter which produces more than the home consumes. But at 6.5c sell back it is no longer worth selling energy back to Ergon. Is there some way of banking the excess energy produced to use at night?

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Solar Choice Staff November 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Hi Steve,

At this point the best options for you would be to 1) try running more devices during the daytime (as much as you can) or 2) look into energy storage.

The former might be preferable, as it would require just some modifications to your behaviour rather than purchasing additional components–and while energy storage is on the cusp of affordability, it’s still not within the grasp for most ordinary households.

Hope this helps! It’s really not great that the utilities don’t offer more for solar power, but many homes & businesses are still finding it worthwhile. We usually recommend that anyone thinking about getting a system should size it to meet only their daytime electricity needs. You save a lot more by self-consuming the power than by exporting it to the grid.

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David December 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

Well, you may be able to settle my issue. I don’t understand electricity flow.
I have 3 phase power from the street to a pole inside my property.( about 175m).
The meters are in the meter box, on that pole, which is some 100 plus meters from our house.
The phases are split, and we have single phase installed on the house and shed, with three phase also in the shed.
The power from the pole( grid), that has the meters, runs to the house runs underground.
I am installing a ground mounted solar system, 3 KVA, that develops AC power straight from the collectors, using micro invertors.
So AC cabling needs to be connected from the solar, to the grid system.

I need to prepare a trench to ,so as the electrician can run a 16mm underground ,and connect that wire to the existing grid line to the house..That is about 52m.
All good so far.

My question is, how does the solar power get metered, if the solar cable does not actually go back to the new electronic meter. He advised that the solar generated power can be connected on the existing line anywhere at all. It doesn’t seem right to me.
Any ideas.

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Felicity December 12, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Hi I am about to move into a house that says it has 5KVA solar …

What does 5KVA mean and how many watts is the system.

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Solar Choice Staff December 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Hi Felicity,

KVA (kilo-volt-amps) is usually used when talking about DC (direct current) electricity. This roughly translates into 5kW (kilowatts) once your system’s inverter changes the electricity from DC (which the panels produce) to AC (alternating current, which devices in your house use). There may be a slight difference, but it won’t be much.

Also, 5kW = 5000 watts. You can read more about 5kW solar system here.

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Geoff December 12, 2014 at 6:10 pm

We installed a 5kw solar system in June 2014 with only a 8cents sell back. Our power bill was around $900 per qrt. Now it’s around $350. Saving $2200 P/A. This will pay for itself in 5 years. We have a 42000ltr pool running the filter 6 hrs a day 9.30am to 3.30pm house pump being on tank water, 520ltr fridge/freezer plus 150ltr freezer everything else is electric, stove, hot water, etc. 2 adults 2 children 10 & 7. As lithium batteries prices have reduced I can see us storing power soon and no power bills at all. Geoff. Whitsundays.

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Solar Choice Staff December 16, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Hi Geoff,

Energy storage is certainly growing in popularity, but we advise that you wait until you find a deal that truly adds value to your solar PV system. An appropriately-sized solar system (i.e. one that produces just enough power to meet your daytime electricity needs) should have a payback period of under 7 years. If you go with energy storage, make sure whatever package you’re getting stays close to that mark.

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Jenny L December 22, 2014 at 10:24 pm

We have a 3 kw array of panels and a 5 kw inverter. We are lucky to have 50 cents rebate. We have a pool and electricity costs are high. We want to buy more panels to max capacity for inverter.Are we able to continue receiving the same rebate for the new panels if we buy more?

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Solar Choice Staff December 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

Hi Jenny,

We get this type of question quite a bit! The short answer (for Queenslanders, anyhow) is ‘yes’. As per the DEWS.qld.gov.au website:

I am on the 44 cent tariff and have a 5 kilowatt inverter with panels of a lesser capacity. Can I add additional panels to my system?

Yes. You can add more panels to your system without affecting your eligibility to continue to receive the 44 cent rate. Systems are required to be compliant with the relevant Australian Standards. Please notify your electricity distributor of your intention to add panels to your system.

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Aaron M December 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm

We use about 25.15 kWh of electricity a day on average, we are only eligable for the 8c/kw rate of power that is exported to the grid. I believe most of out power is used during the day, what size solar power system would you recommend for us if we wanted to cut the bill by at least 50% (from $700 to $350 per quarter)? Is this even possible or likely?

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Solar Choice Staff May 5, 2015 at 11:53 am

Hi Aaron,

Our PV system ROI calculator is a useful tool to use if you’d like to get an idea of what size system would work best for you. It allows you to adjust variables for the proportion of electricity you use during the day vs at night (your ‘self consumption ratio’).

Assuming you use 70% of your electricity during the daylight hours, that means you need a system that produces about 17kWh of electricity per day. A 3.5kW system should be suitable for this.

You can instantly compare prices and products from installers in your area by filling out our Solar Quote Comparison Request form. (Our comparison and advice services are free to our customers.) We don’t automatically supply prices for 3.5kW systems, but you can view prices for 3kW and 4kW systems. These should give you an idea of what a 3.5kW system would cost, and then you can speak with your installer about getting something in between.

Best of luck going solar!

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SUZY January 23, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Thinking about installing solar panels in our home. What’s the maximum kW you can install in South East Queensland, will it go down and when?

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Solar Choice Staff January 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Hi Suzy,

There is no strict limit to the size of the system you can have installed, but your network company (Ergon) did impose some new rules last year which limit your choices to some degree.

The gist is this: Unless your solar system is installed with some kind of export control device to prevent your excess solar power from going into the grid, you’ll have to have your system inspected and approved by Ergon. This is because, as much as possible, they want to limit the amount of solar power being sent into the electricity grid. There are also additional technical requirements for solar systems over 3-5kW.

But even more important than either of these things is the question of accurately sizing your system in the first place. Because there is no state feed-in tariff anymore, it no longer makes sense to install the largest solar system that you possibly can. Instead, what you should aim to do is install a system that is sized appropriately for your home’s electricity needs.

Remember: Solar only makes financial sense these days if you consume all of the energy your panels produce during daylight hours, because your electricity retailer will only give you approximately $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of what you export to the grid. This is about 1/4 of what you could save by making sure that you use that electricity yourself (by running more appliances while the sun is shining.)

Hope this helps.

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Jarod April 3, 2015 at 3:54 pm

I was told by AGL energy that the cables from the solar panels come inside the roof. Is this true with all systems as my residence roof is exposed, would this mean exposed cables to be seen from inside the house?

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Solar Choice Staff April 10, 2015 at 5:52 am

Hi Jarod.

It really depends on customer preference – a good installer will ask you what you prefer and work with you on it. As long as the cables are protected they can be ran outside if need be. If they need to be run inside then they will be hidden as best they can and placed in a conduit to avoid exposed cables.

Hope this helps!

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Annie May 18, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Hi,

Are there any types of roofs which are unsuitable for solar panel installation? We have a decramastic roof. Thanks

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Solar Choice Staff May 19, 2015 at 9:25 am

Hi Annie,

We know that some installers definitely will not install on a decramastic roof, but some of them may. You may want to check with a few installers to find out if anyone will do it in your area. You can get in touch with with several installers in your area by requesting a Solar Quote Comparison by filling out the form to the right of this page.

Best of luck!

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Steve May 19, 2015 at 10:36 am

Hi,
Just wanting to clarify. I was told that in Ergon territory commercial solar on a 3 phase system is risky, as if one of the phases uses less power than what is being produced by the solar system for that phase, the system is automatically shut down. Therefore being impossible to see if it is viable or not, as if the system is not balanced and one phase is using little or no power then the solar system will be shut down.
How can this be the case? and is there anything that can be done to combat this?

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Solar Choice Staff May 20, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Hi Steve,

I wonder if you’re talking about export control? Under the grid connection guidelines introduced in July of last year, grid-connected solar energy systems are required to have some kind of export control functionality in Queensland. These devices won’t necessarily ‘shut down’ your solar system, but they will in some way control the amount of excess solar power that ends up going into the grid from your system. A number of export control devices are now available on the Australian market for this purpose, including the ZED1 and devices from Zero Export Controls.

Hope this helps and that it clears things up for you!

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Emily May 26, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Hi,

Our 3kWh system is only giving us $30 off our bills.Its a household of 4 people, only one person is home during the day, we do all our major energy consuming activities during daylight, have led lights etc.

I have seen that 3kWh on average generate 12kWh of energy. Given this,
if our average daily use is 24kWh should a bill of $600 be around $300?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Solar Choice Staff May 27, 2015 at 10:02 am

Hi Emily,

Sorry to hear you’re having trouble. You’re right to be concerned – by the sound of it, you’re doing what you’re supposed to but not seeing the benefits that you should.

Just to clarify, is your daytime electricity use 24kWh or is that your electricity use for a 24-hour period? Using our solar calculator, I played with the numbers a bit, assuming that you use around 18kWh during the daylight hours and manage to power about 10.4kWh of that with your solar. In this case, your electricity usage expenditure should drop much more significantly, as you’ve indicated you expect it to.

One of two things are likely to be happening here. The first (which is unlikely) is that your meter is connected up incorrectly so you’re exporting all of your power to the grid and only getting 6-8c/kWh for it instead of the full offset value (which I imagine is around 25c/kWh). The second is that you might be consuming less electricity than you think you are on a daily basis; one way to find out could be to install an electricity monitor (you can read a review of the relatively inexpensive Wattson device here).

Hope this helps, and best of luck with your system.

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Emily June 14, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Thank you for you reply. It is very much appreciated.

The 24kWh is the average use per day according to our electricity bill. The research I have done has indicated our bills should be lower. Thanks for your advice supporting this.

I will do some further research and I will look into the Wattson device. Thanks for the recommendation.

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Solar Choice Staff June 15, 2015 at 11:05 am

Good luck with your system, Emily.

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Su July 12, 2015 at 1:46 pm

We live at the top of a hill, facing east/west, getting sun all day long, in Qld. Would we still have to have our panels north facing?

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Solar Choice Staff January 20, 2016 at 11:47 am

Hi Su,

It’s up to you in the end – there is a slight drop in total energy yield (about 10-15%) if you have your panels east-west as opposed to north-facing. However, if you use more electricity during the morning or evening hours, a west-facing system might make sense for you. This especially true if you’d be spending extra money to build a structure or mounts on which to install the panels in order to make them face north – which might not be worth the additional investment.

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Charles August 20, 2015 at 2:43 pm

we have a 3kw system and according to our daily reading on the inverter we are producing an average of 10 kwh/per day at least that is what I have found over time. Whenever I have checked the inverter reading.
we use our power almost exclusive during the day apart from the TV for two or three hours at night.
However our bills indicate that we are producing an average of 6kwh per day. upon checking my meter i have noticed that the reading averages 3kwh per day. So I am asking myself what is really happening? are we being taken for a ride?. when a solar company contacted us about installing solar panels I told them that solar was useless and they offered to find out why I thought so that there could be a problem. they agreed with my figures and told me that i should contact both Ennergex and my solar system supplier.
i urge your readers to check their meters and inverters as i believe they are both either faulty or we are being duped and given false reading.
i really hope that you could shed some light if you think i am wrong.
Please advise me to the contrary.

I also forgot to mention that the company’s installer should have increased the tilt of our solar panels for ultimate efficiency.

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Solar Choice Staff January 20, 2016 at 11:24 am

Hi Charles,

We certainly would advise anyone with a solar PV system to keep tabs on their system’s power output and energy production – most quality systems will come with some sort of interface for performance monitoring.

If you are on a net metering setup (which most new solar homes in Australia are these days), then your electricity bill (or meter) will not show the total energy produced by your solar system. This is because the solar energy produced flows first into your appliances – it’s only the excess solar that is measured by your meter and which shows up on your bill. Your inverter readings are a more reliable indicator of the amount of energy your solar system is producing, and 10kWh/day is reasonable for a 3kW solar system in southern Queensland in the non-summer months – especially if the panels are not tilted at the optimal angle. If your meter shows that you are exporting 3kWh/day, this means that you’re self-consuming 6-7kWh of your solar energy produced, approximately.

When you talk about your meter reading averaging about 3kWh/day, do you mean that this is the energy you purchase from the grid? This could be due to your evening energy consumption, coupled with instances during the day when your solar panels can’t keep up with your household electricity demand – for example, if you’re running a vacuum at the same time as a washing machine, there may not be enough instantaneous solar energy to meet this demand, and so you’d end up drawing power from the grid instead.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you still have questions/concerns.

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Laurie Jackson September 26, 2015 at 8:04 am

My 3 kw ENA inverter has stoped working. The installer who has an office 4 hours away has said that they do not service the Townsville area any more and cant help although the inverter is still under warranty.
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW I AM TO HAVE MY INVERTER FIXED OR REPLACED.
Please advise

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Solar Choice Staff September 28, 2015 at 10:15 am

Hi Laurie,

Sorry to hear about the problems you are having. If they were an installer in our network we might be able to talk to them for you but unfortunately we do not work with them. (We have removed their name from your comment as a matter of site policy.)

You could try contacting the inverter manufacturer directly to see if they have a network of service technicians in your area. Alternatively, you could look into Solar-Safe, whose business model is providing after-service care for solar system owners. They work through a network of certified master electricians around the country. You can read more about them here.

Best of luck!

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Jennifer Waite October 23, 2015 at 2:53 pm

We use approx. (our last a/c) 16.27kwh per day.

Our last a/c is credited 201 kwh @ 50c on Qld Bonus & Retailer buy back.

Should I be using tv & dish washer etc. during daylight hours?

Would appreciate your advice.

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Solar Choice Staff October 28, 2015 at 11:56 am

Hi Jennifer,

Since you’re on a 50c/kWh feed-in tariff, the best thing you can do from an economic perspective is allow all of your solar power to go into the grid to maximise your credits. Using the solar power directly during the daytime will save you a smaller amount per kWh (whatever you pay for retail electricity). The 50c/kWh rate is almost certainly higher – and will therefore offer you more benefit. While people on a lower feed-in tariff rate (e.g. 10c/kWh) should try to use more power during the sunshine hours, in your case you should lean towards trying to use more power when the sun is not shining.

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bob marsman November 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm

we get a rebate of $26 per bill for our power use,at this rate it will take 30 years to recover the cost of the system.this has to be the biggest con job ever perpetrated .the people who conned us are no longer servicing hervey bay.re solar you obviously get nothing for your money.

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Solar Choice Staff November 9, 2015 at 9:27 am

Hi Bob,

These days, a home with solar panels gets the most out of their system by ‘self-consuming’ the solar power their system generates during the daylight hours. Electricity sent back into the grid is not work much (6-10c/kWh, depending on your retailer). By self-consuming the solar energy, you don’t need to purchase as much energy from the grid; your bill should be lower by virtue of this. The installer who sold you your system should have explained this to you clearly – and if they did not, frankly speaking they’re probably not an outfit with much integrity.

The $26 ‘rebate’ is a credit only for the solar energy that you export to the grid (i.e. the solar energy that you don’t use yourself). If your feed-in tariff rate was 8c/kWh, that means you exported approximately 325kWh of solar energy over your last billing period, which may only be a portion of the total energy produced (meaning that you would have self-consumed the other portion). What you will not see on your bill is the amount of solar power that you self-consumed – that’s because the savings there are to be had through avoidance of purchase of electricity from the grid.

Ignoring the amount of the credit, was your overall power bill lower this time than the last time? If it was not, then you may want to look into ways that you can shift more of your electricity usage to the daylight hours. You may also want to approach the company that installed your system – if they did not clearly explain how solar works in modern times, you may have grounds for reproach.

Hope this clears things up a little bit. Good luck with your system.

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Kim November 14, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Hi we recently moved to a property with a main house and granny flat. We have a 5.5kw system for both houses. We do all our washing etc during the day as we only get a 6c/kW rebate. Our bills are still $500-$600 per quarter even with doing this. My whole house also has LED lights installed. Should our bills be this high, we had really hoped they would be significantly lower considering we are using the bulk of our power throughout the day, any ideas or suggestions would be welcomed :)

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Solar Choice Staff November 16, 2015 at 10:30 am

Hi Kim,

Thanks for commenting. What’s the monthly average kWh usage on your electricity bill?

There are a few possible explanations for your current situation.

Firstly, you might want to check and make sure that the solar panel array was switched back on when you had your home reconnected to the grid after you moved in (it may have been shut off for safety reasons). If you don’t see any solar feed-in tariff credits on the bill, this might indeed be what happened.

If you do see feed-in tariff credits on your bill, the next thing you’ll want to check is whether you’re solar system is connected on a gross or net metering setup. Since you’re in Queensland (where there was never a gross feed-in tariff incentive), it is most likely on a net metering setup – this is a good thing. Gross metering sends all of your solar into the grid (at only a nominal rate, as you’ve pointed out), whereas a net metering setup allows the solar to flow first into your house and only into the grid if it is not used.

You’ll also want to consider other possible sources of electricity usage. Does the house have a pool? Pools can be extremely electricity hungry, resulting in bills of $1000 per quarter or even more. The bill you’re seeing could be the bill after it’s been softened by your solar self-consumption – it might have been even more without the solar!

If none of these are the issue, then you might want to have an electrician check whether the system’s inverter is appropriate for your connection type. E.g. Are you on a single phase or 3-phase connection, and is your inverter a single phase or 3-phase inverter to match it? If you’re on a 3-phase connection with a single-phase inverter, your solar panels may not be benefiting you as much as they should, as the energy they produce may not be going where it is needed most.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that the solar system is functioning properly – that there are no issues with the inverter or the panels themselves. Again, if there is an issue on this front, it should be relatively easy to determine that this is the case by looking at stats from the inverter – most inverters have either an LCD interface or via an ethernet or WiFi connection.

Hope this helps! Good luck with your system.

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Kim February 5, 2016 at 11:53 pm

Thanks for the great advice, sorry for the late reply I lost the webpage. Will be getting my electrician to check things out this week and check all the other things you mentioned :)

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Solar Choice Staff March 9, 2016 at 9:39 am

Great – good luck to you, Kim.

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chaz Barton February 3, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Hi !! Thinking of buying a Bosch 3kw solar inverter only , what do they go for , and how much is the extra 5 year warranty . Thanks .

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Solar Choice Staff February 4, 2016 at 8:59 am

Hi Chaz,

If you’re looking only for the product itself, I’m afraid we can’t help you and you’d be best off getting in touch with Bosch or one of their distributors directly. If you’re looking for a fully installed system, we can help you by providing you with a comparison of solar quotes – please fill your details into the Solar Quote Comparison Request form to the right of this page.

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debra February 15, 2016 at 9:11 pm

I have a 5kw inverter / 12 panels NORTH facing on the 52c FIT
I am after 12 more panels which direction would be the best to place them on

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Solar Choice Staff February 16, 2016 at 9:49 am

Hi Debra,

North is generally the best direction if you have space left on your roof – if not, west is the second best option, mainly because they’ll generate more energy in late afternoon, when you’re more likely to be using appliances.

I’m assuming that your inverter has dual-input multiple power point tracking (MPPT) – basically, this will allow you to ‘plug in’ another string of solar panels. If you don’t have this functionality (i.e. only one MPP tracker, even with dual input), the overall efficiency of your system could be negatively affected. However, most modern inverters in the 5kW range do have it, so no need to be overly concerned.

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Mark Allan March 17, 2016 at 3:09 pm

With solar panels, can I still use a generator when there is a power outage ? Will it just power the house or will I loose it to the grid ?

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Solar Choice Staff March 21, 2016 at 8:47 am

Hi Mark. The answer to your question depends on the type of inverter your system has. Most standard inverters have ‘anti-islanding protection’, which means that when the grid goes down, your solar system automatically shuts down for safety reasons. However, certain inverters do allow you to use solar energy, a battery and possibly even batteries in the event of a blackout. You’ll need to ask for this functionality directly when speaking with your solar installer, as it does not come standard in all solar systems (yet).

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Alan March 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Just curious. I have an Auzion 1.5 KW system with 8 panels on the roof. It is actually a 1.4 system with a 1250 w inverter. I am only generating 2 kw /day on my infeed. I get 52c rebate presently, but I have been told that if I upgrade I will lose my 52c. Is this correct?

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Solar Choice Staff March 21, 2016 at 8:44 am

Hi Alan,

If you upgrade the inverter size then yes, unfortunately you will lose your 42c/kWh feed-in tariff entitlement. Our recommendation for anyone on a generous feed-in tariff (such as yourself) to do everything in their power to continue receiving it.

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Dee March 23, 2016 at 4:49 pm

We are thinking of getting solar power one installer suggested Hanover has any one got them and how good are they we live on the Gold Coast
Would be interested in some feed back please

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Jeff April 22, 2016 at 11:47 am

I purchased 24 x 250w Phono panels and a %Kw B&B Inverter in July 15. It consistently reflected around 5Kw production peaks even through winter in Brisbane. In early April 16 the Inverter failed ( allegedly because the readout was in part sun) and a new one was installed under warranty. The new unit rarely peaks at 3 kw even on 29c days . They tell me its working well but I feel something is wrong.
Please comment

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Solar Choice Staff May 31, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Hi Jeff – definitely sounds like something is fishy there. One possibility is that as the season has changed you’re not getting some shading that wasn’t there previously in the winter. Try to see there’s anything up there casting shade on your panels. Barring that, it’s probably worth having the company who installed your system come back out and have another look at it.

Good luck!

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Carlos June 2, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Hi all, i just received my bill for the feb to ma period i live in the gold coast and never had any questions or concerns about my 5kw system until now. looking at the bill i can see a “flexi Saver” generate with a current reading of 3342 but a total usage of 0 KWH. previous billing from November to February had the same reading of 3342 and an usage of 68KWH. is there something wrong with my system? is almost 3 yrs old?

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Solar Choice Staff June 7, 2016 at 10:10 am

Hi Carlos,

By ‘usage’ do you mean ‘solar export’? It’s a bit hard to work out otherwise. If you are talking about solar export, then it might make sense that the figure dropped from 68kWh down to 0kWh (although highly unlikely that it went down to nothing). The days have been getting shorter, which means your solar system might be producing less energy in total, which in turn means that you might be self-consuming more of it directly (so that there’s none left over to go into the grid). Judging by the fact that you only exported 68kWh over the last billing period (which I assume was for 3 months?) and you have a 5kW system (quite large for a household), I imagine you have heavy daytime electricity usage.

Depending on whether or not you have access to the 44c/kWh solar feed-in tariff or only the 6-8c/kWh currently on offer by most electricity retailers, you’ll want to aim to use your solar energy differently. Basically, if you have access to the 44c/kWh rate, you’ll want to export as much solar as possible (within reason) to maximise savings; if you have access only to a lower rate, you’ll want to try to self-consume as much solar as possible to maximise savings.

Hope this helps.

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