From the category archives:

Installation advice

Residential Solar PV Price Index – October 2017

October 17, 2017
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Average solar system prices hold stable for the third month in a row, with the average price per watt ($/W) for an residential solar system installation coming in at about $1.44/W. The most popular and best value solar system size is still 5kW, costing about $1.14/W or $5,700 for a fully installed system. (Due to […]

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

October 16, 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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What if you sent all of your solar into the grid? Is it worth it?

September 29, 2017
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If you’ve got solar, the way to maximise your electricity bill savings these days is to use your solar energy directly within your home (or business). From an investment point of view, the conventional wisdom is that the worst thing you could do with the solar energy that your roof produces is to send it […]

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4 interesting alternatives to the ‘Big 3’ electricity retailers

September 26, 2017
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If you want to reduce your electricity bills, the first place you should look is your choice of electricity retailer, which is the company that sells you electricity. Although some people are unaware of it, in most parts of Australia you’re not stuck with a monopolistic ‘utility’ – you can pick and choose from a […]

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Solar system size limits: How much does your local network allow?

September 20, 2017
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What’s the upper limit to the amount of solar panel capacity that you can put on your roof? This is actually a multi-layered question that involves your roof area, your energy saving goals and any applicable restrictions imposed by your local electricity network company. This article touches on all these factors, but focuses mainly on […]

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Can I add more panels to my existing solar system?

September 18, 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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Backup power with home solar battery storage: What are your options?

September 12, 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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Energy blindness: The anxiety of not knowing (Solartopia #3)

September 7, 2017
Electricity bill

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about the ‘Energy Awareness Factor‘ in household energy savings. This was prompted in part by having just moved into a house with solar panels, ducted AC, a dishwasher, time of use billing and hot water on a controlled load – things that will have a significant […]

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Solar panel reliability testing: More relevant than tier ranking for solar homes & businesses?

September 6, 2017
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Deciding whether you’re happy with a solar installers’ panel offering can be tricky business in a market flooded with different options (as is the case in Australia). Fortunately, DNV GL puts together an annual report based on physical stress testing of a wide range of popular panels brands & models that is probably a better […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – September 2017

September 5, 2017
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Average residential solar system prices are roughly on par with last month’s figures – about $1.43 per watt for a fully installed system. 5kW systems continue to offer the best value for money, at about $1.13/W, or about $5,600. Average solar PV system prices for September 2017 Prices in the table below include both the […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for September 2017

September 5, 2017
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Average commercial solar system prices continue to hover around $1.20 per watt for the month of September, following an STC-driven increase between July and August. 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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Retrofitting battery storage in Brisbane: Some example case studies

August 29, 2017
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We recently published an article containing a number of example case studies about retrofitting solar battery storage in Sydney. This time around we’ll be taking a look at the case for retrofitting batteries in sunny Brisbane. In addition to the fact that Brisbane gets more sun, the circumstances around retrofitting batteries in Brisbane – and […]

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How SunTenants bringing solar power to the roofless

August 29, 2017
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While nearly 1.7 million Australian home owners now enjoy the benefits of cheaper electricity from rooftop solar, an even greater number of households don’t have access to the market – largely, because they don’t have a roof. According to data from the recent national Census, in nine council areas in greater Sydney, more than half […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for August 2017

August 24, 2017

August saw a slight increase in average commercial solar system prices as compared to July, due to a combination of price modifications due to changes in the value of STCs as well as slight changes to the composition of our network of installers. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All prices in the tables below include […]

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Solar energy self-consumption explained

August 23, 2017
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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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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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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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