From the category archives:

Installation advice

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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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for April 2017

April 11, 2017
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Average commercial solar system prices increased slightly between March and April, according to data from the Solar Choice installer network. The rise – up to $1.23/W from $1.21/W – follows several months of steady decreases. 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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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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Rooftop solar panels are a fantastic investment in Australia, but be realistic in your expectations “Eliminate your energy bills!” is a phrase – sometimes used in solar sales pitches – that Australian consumers should greet with a healthy degree of scepticism. If someone is making a promise that sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly […]

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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 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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