From the category archives:

Installation advice

Is home solar battery storage worth it in 2017? (August update)

August 7, 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. This article was originally published in February 2017. It was last updated on 7 August 2017 to […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – August 2017

August 3, 2017
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Average residential solar system prices have risen slightly following two consecutive months at their lowest levels since Solar Choice began keeping track in August 2012. This month’s higher average price – $1.55 per watt, as opposed to $1.45/W last month- is undoubtedly due at least in part to the recent drop in STC values and […]

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Interested in batteries? NSW Government’s Home Solar Battery Guide is a must-read – no matter which state you live in

July 27, 2017
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Earlier this year the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment commissioned Total Environment Centre, Alternative Technology Association and Zumio to produce a guidebook for state residents interested in battery storage for their home. The end product – the NSW Home Solar Battery Guide – was released earlier this month and is an essential […]

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How home heating affects your solar PV setup

July 26, 2017
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The relationship between home heating and solar PV is significantly different to that between home cooling and solar PV. There are two key differences: Time of day: we need heating the most when the sun goes down. This is the opposite to cooling, which we need most when the sun is out. Time of year: […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for July 2017

July 24, 2017
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Average commercial solar system prices remain mostly unchanged at about $1.19 per watt ($1.19/W) between June and July 2017. 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 or additional costs, such as ground-mounting, […]

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STC prices are falling: What you need to know

July 20, 2017
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‘The federal solar rebate is falling!’ is a cry that Solar Choice has been hearing pretty loudly from our customers, website visitors and installers in and outside our network for the past few days. From a customer’s perspective, what do you need to know about what’s happening with this government solar incentive? Understanding the federal STC […]

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Australia’s 5B launches ground-breaking ‘solar farm in a box’

July 20, 2017
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Sydney-based 5B has launched a pre-fabricated, easily deployed solution for solar farm construction that looks set to revolutionise medium to large-scale solar in Australia (and possibly the world). The company’s rather bold tagline for the MaverickⒸ units is ‘solar re-invented’. On Wednesday 19 July, 5B held a demonstration of the MaverickⒸ’s easy deployment outside Customs […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – July 2017

July 12, 2017
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Average residential solar system prices for July remain mostly unchanged since June’s big shakeup, hovering at $1.34/W. 5kW solar systems continue to offer the best value for money, and Perth is still the city with the lowest average prices. Average solar PV system prices for July 2017 Prices in the table below include both the up-front […]

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

June 27, 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 solar energy that they send 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, since we […]

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Electricity prices to increase in NSW, SA and QLD: Why and what can you do about it?

June 22, 2017
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As you’re likely to have read, there are significant electricity price rises coming into effect from 1 July if you live in New South Wales, Queensland or South Australia. Driven by a doubling of wholesale electricity prices, retailers are being forced to increase their prices to cover their costs of buying electricity in the wholesale electricity […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for June 2017

June 21, 2017
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Average pricing for commercial-scale solar systems has dropped to $1.19 per watt ($1.19/W) from $1.23/W following some shakeups in the Solar Choice installer network (see notes in our Residential Solar PV Price Index for this month). Average 10kW system prices sit at $1.27/W, 30kW system prices at $1.19/W, 50kW system prices at $1.20/W and 100kW solar […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – June 2017

June 21, 2017
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This month saw one of the sharpest drops to average system prices since Solar Choice first began keeping track in August 2012. Between May and June, the average system price dropped 23c from $1.57 per watt ($1.57/W) to $1.34/W. This sudden decrease stands in sharp contrast to the very gradual changes that we’ve seen over […]

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Integrating solar with storage for a stable energy ecosystem

June 8, 2017
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To successfully incorporate solar PV, storage and other innovative technologies into Australia’s energy grids without sacrificing grid stability, a holistic, whole-of-network approach is required, says Mark Paterson, General Manager of Horizon Power’s Consumer Energy division. According to Mr Paterson, Horizon Power’s large, sparsely populated regional WA networks are ‘almost a microcosm of the larger electricity […]

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

June 5, 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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3kW solar PV systems: Pricing, output, and returns

June 5, 2017
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How much does a 3kW solar system cost in Australia, and how much energy can you expect it to produce? This article takes a look a these questions, as well as returns and payback periods for 3kW solar systems. (This article was originally published in 2012 – we’ve recently updated it to reflect how circumstances […]

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Add more solar panels or get batteries? A customer case study

June 1, 2017
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Being a nation-wide advice & comparison service for rooftop solar, Solar Choice regularly receives enquiries from customers from people all over the country. We recently received a call from a NSW-based customer approaching retirement; her query was about whether it would make more sense for her to install a 3kWh battery bank for around $5,000, or […]

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Peer-to-peer trading with solar & batteries: What to look for

May 31, 2017
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‘Peer-to-peer energy trading’ is a buzzword that is thrown around quite a bit in Australia as the number of solar & battery storage systems grows. What is peer-to-peer energy trading and how can it benefit you? We caught up with Localvolts founder Jitendra Tomar to gain a fuller understanding of the concept – and to […]

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Tips for maximising your solar savings

May 30, 2017
Solar and coins

When you go solar, you’ll need to adjust the way you use your appliances to ensure you make the most of the energy coming from your solar panels. Here are a few simple things you can do to reduce maximise your solar energy usage – and your energy bill savings. Make sure you understand your bill […]

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Retrofitting battery storage to an existing solar PV system: What to consider

May 29, 2017
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Lots of Australian homes are expected to install battery storage in the coming years. Many of these homes will install brand new solar-plus-storage systems, but quite a few will be retrofitting batteries onto a pre-existing system. What do you need to keep in mind for a battery storage system retrofit? Considerations for retrofitting energy storage […]

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What is a “Tier 1” solar panel? Tier 2 or 3?

May 24, 2017
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When purchasing a solar system, the quality of the components to be used is frequently a key consideration. However, differentiating one brand from another may not be so simple, especially in the case of solar panels, of which there are hundreds of brands on the Australian market. The terms ‘Tier 1’, ‘Tier 2’, and ‘Tier […]

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Could distributed battery systems ‘blackstart’ the grid?

May 17, 2017
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Solar Choice recently received a comment from a visitor to our site asking about whether distributed battery storage systems – using Reposit Power‘s battery management technology – could be used to restart the grid in the event of a blackout. We reached out to Reposit for a response, and they came back to us with […]

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

May 16, 2017
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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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3kW vs 5kW solar system: Which is a better investment?

May 15, 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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How home cooling affects your solar PV setup

May 11, 2017
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Home cooling and solar PV are inextricably linked in two ways: Time of day: our need for cooling is strongest when temperatures peak during the daytime – the time when solar electricity production is also at its strongest. Time of year: summer is the time of year when our solar panels produce the most electricity. […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – May 2017

May 11, 2017
Solar Choice logo

Average solar system installation prices for May 2017 hover at the same level as April‘s – $1.57 per watt ($1.57/W). 5kW solar systems continue to offer the best value for money at an average of $1.25/W – or about $7,100 installed. Average solar PV system prices for May 2017 Prices in the table below include both the […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for May 2017

May 11, 2017
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Average commercial solar system prices remain unchanged for the second month in a row, coming in at $1.23/W, according to pricing from the Solar Choice commercial installer network database. Average 10kW system prices sit at $1.32/W, 30kW system prices at $1.21/W, 50kW system prices at $1.23/W and 100kW solar system prices at $1.15/W. Commercial solar […]

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

May 8, 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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Solar panel tilt and orientation in Australia

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What angle and orientation are best for solar panels in Australia? Solar panels are installed differently based on their geographic locations throughout the world. The premise behind this is simple; the sun is in a different place in the sky, and solar panels should face it as squarely as is reasonably possible throughout the day. […]

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Solar Power in NSW: What are the benefits?

May 1, 2017
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Solar power is still a great investment in NSW even in the absence a feed-in tariff incentive in the state. The fact that solar PV system prices have been declining combined with the fact that retail electricity rates have risen significantly in recent years means that solar panels can now serve as a cost-effective, rooftop […]

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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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