From the category archives:

Installation advice

Sizing residential solar & battery systems: A quick guide

April 26, 2017
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What size solar panel array do you need for your home? And if you’re considering battery storage, what size battery bank would be most appropriate? This article includes tables that provide an at-a-glance guide, as well as links to more comprehensive calculators. Solar system sizing table (no batteries) If you’re considering solar panels for your […]

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Microinverters: Are they right for your solar system?

April 18, 2017
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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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Solar power in Sydney, NSW: Compare prices & installers

April 11, 2017
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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 5-point guide to everything you need to know if you’re considering solar power for your Sydney home – including how Solar Choice can help you compare quotes. 5 good reasons to go solar […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – April 2017

April 10, 2017
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Average residential solar system prices for April 2017 have crept to a fresh low of $1.57 per watt ($1.57/W) – slightly lower than March‘s average of $1.58/W but in keeping with the (very) gradual decline that we’ve been witnessing since the beginning of 2017. Average prices for 3kW, 4kW and 5kW solar systems also hit […]

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‘No more energy bills’ with solar? Buyer beware

April 3, 2017
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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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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for March 2017

March 31, 2017
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Average commercial solar system prices continue to decrease for the third month in a row, this month hitting a new all-time low of $1.21 per watt. 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 […]

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GreenPower vs rooftop solar (vs both)

March 28, 2017
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GreenPower is an attractive option for Australian households who want to support renewable energy production. Is opting for GreenPower a better idea than installing rooftop solar? In this article we take a look at how both options support renewables uptake, and examine the pros and cons of opting for one, the other – or both. […]

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East or west orientation for solar panels? What to do when north is not an option

March 27, 2017
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Determining the orientation and tilt angle of your solar power generation system is one of the most important considerations in designing your solar power system. As we have mentioned before, in the southern hemisphere, due north is usually the best orientation for panels. But not everyone has a perfectly oriented roof. When your two best options […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – March 2017

March 22, 2017
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Average residential solar PV system prices in Australia crept down to $1.58 per watt ($1.58/W) from $1.60 in February, according to data from Solar Choice’s installer network database. Although so slight as to be inconsequential, the drop represents a new low, with $1.59/W (in Sept 2016 and Dec 2015) being the next lowest since we […]

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Can you go solar with a south-facing roof in Australia?

March 21, 2017
South-facing roofs okay for solar?

Anyone who has looked into installing solar panels in Australia would have quickly learned that north is the best direction for solar panels. If north is not an option, northwest and northeast are generally the next best options, usually followed by due west and due east, depending on the circumstances. But what about south-facing roofs […]

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Can I add more panels to my existing solar system?

March 16, 2017
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Some of the most common questions we receive at Solar Choice are about adding solar panels to an existing solar PV system. This article takes a look at the situations in which you might want to add panels, and what you need to bear in mind before making a decision. Possible reasons for adding more panels […]

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How your hot water system affects your solar PV setup

March 15, 2017
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The hot water system you use in your home has a big impact on how you size your solar panels, and on how you position them on your rooftop. That’s because hot water systems come in gas, electric and solar forms. The system you’ve chosen will impact your demand for electricity, and if you’ve chosen […]

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Backup power with home solar battery storage: What are your options?

March 8, 2017
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Home battery storage is becoming increasingly popular in Australia, and one of the most in-demand features is backup power, which provides electricity to a home even when the grid is down. In this article we take a look at the main approaches to battery storage that you’ll come across as you shop around for a […]

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Electricity demand tariffs in Australia – How to handle them

March 3, 2017
Demand tariff charges

If you hear the words ‘Demand Tariffs’ and start scratching your head, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll examine what demand tariffs are and how to deal with them. Supply charges, usage charges and – now – demand charges? Normally, there are two components to an energy bill: fixed ‘supply’ charges (usually […]

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Is home solar battery storage worth it in 2017?

March 2, 2017
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Since 2015 Australians have been talking about home battery storage being on the cusp of financial viability. Are home batteries worth the investment in 2017? We’ve crunched the number for all of Australia’s capital cities to find out. Battery storage & payback periods in Australia Batteries are in high demand thanks to the promise of […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for February 2017

February 28, 2017
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The average price of commercial-scale solar system installations in Australia dropped to a new all-time low of $1.23 per watt ($/W), according to data from the Solar Choice installer network database. The previous low – which held stead for about 3 months – was $1.25/W. All system sizes included in the index (10kW, 30kW, 50kW […]

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3kW vs 5kW solar system: Which is a better investment?

February 22, 2017
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One of the first decisions a household considering solar will need to make is the capacity (in kilowatts, kW) of the system to be installed. Two of the most popular residential solar PV system sizes in Australia are 3kW and 5kW. Which system size is the better investment – and why? You’ll save the most […]

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Solar Choice brokers 100kW solar system for Geelong High School

February 21, 2017
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Solar Choice has brokered the installation of a 100kW solar PV system for Geelong High School, a co-ed public secondary school in East Geelong, Victoria. The school opened in 1910, making it one of Victoria’s oldest state secondary schools. It moved to its current location (385 Ryrie Street, East Geelong) in 1915. Geelong High School originally approached […]

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Gross vs net solar electricity metering

February 21, 2017
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In the past there was an important distinction between net and gross metering for residential solar systems in Australia. These days, however, almost all new systems are installed with a net metering setup. What’s the difference between a gross meter and a net meter, and why does it matter? Gross vs net meters: A debate […]

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Is home solar power still worth it in Australia 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 2017

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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