From the category archives:

Useful solar tools and resources

Is home solar battery storage worth it? (Jan 2018 update)

January 18, 2018
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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 2018? We’ve crunched the number for all of Australia’s capital cities to find out. This article was originally published in February 2017. We then had an August 2017 update, followed by […]

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Kilowatts vs kilowatt-hours in solar power & battery storage: Power, energy or capacity?

January 15, 2018
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If you’re shopping around for solar panels or a battery storage for your home, you’re undoubtedly come across the terms ‘kilowatt’ (abbreviated as kW) and kilowatt-hour (kWh). These terms might be a bit confusing at first, so we’ve written this article to explain these terms and make them easy to understand. Power vs energy (vs capacity) When […]

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What’s the current levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for solar in Australia?

December 20, 2017
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Solar is affordable in Australia – possibly more affordable than anywhere else in the world. But as much as sunlight may seem like ‘free energy’, you actually pay for the ability to convert sunlight into usable electricity when you purchase a solar system. Aside from up-front price, one of the best ways to gauge affordability […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – December 2017

December 12, 2017
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The average price per watt ($/W) for primary offerings was $1.30 this month – down slightly from November and a new low since we began tracking prices in 2012. The average for a premium system was $1.54/W, while the average for a microinverter system was $1.86/W. December marks the second month using our new Solar […]

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Reduce vs. produce: When to invest in solar and when to invest in energy efficiency projects

December 7, 2017
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If you’re interested in saving money on your electric bill, there are two popular ways to do it. One way is to invest in a solar energy system. The other way is to reduce your energy consumption by making upgrades. Comparing solar vs. energy efficiency at a high level Investing in solar energy tends to […]

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

November 28, 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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Sizing residential solar & battery systems: A quick guide

November 27, 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. [Note that this article was originally published in April 2017.] Solar system sizing […]

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GreenPower vs rooftop solar (vs both)

November 7, 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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Time of use vs flat rate electricity tariffs with solar & batteries

August 30, 2017
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If you’re connected to the grid and own your home, you pay for electricity. In most places, in Australia, there are basically two types of tariffs: Flat rate tariffs (aka ‘peak only’ tariffs), where you pay a fixed amount for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy that your home draws from the grid, or Time of use […]

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The ‘energy awareness factor’ and how it helps households save money

August 17, 2017
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For most of us, for most of our lives, electricity bills and our consumption have both been something of a black box. We know that we get a bill every 1-3 months and get charged for the electricity that we use, but we don’t generally have access to data that would provide us with the […]

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Introducing our new Home Solar & Battery Storage Systems Guide

July 19, 2017
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Over the years Solar Choice has published thousands of articles on the topic of solar power and (more recently) battery storage. Much of this knowledge is spread across various parts of our website (mainly our blog), so we’re recently taken some time to consolidate all the most relevant materials in one place. The result is […]

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Big improvements to our Solar & Battery Sizing & Payback Estimator tool

July 13, 2017
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It’s been well over a year since we first released our Solar & Battery Sizing & Payback Estimator tool in February 2016. Through its life so far, this handy tool has been visited by over 50,000 people trying to determine whether solar battery storage is worth the the money. As a first effort, this tool was […]

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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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Beam Energy introduces a free ‘smart meter’ for solar & battery system size optimisation

May 26, 2017
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When buying solar or batteries, most people would like to have an idea about how much money they would save with different capacity sizes before they go through with the purchase. Beam Energy has come out with a free, easy-to-install ‘smart meter’ and mobile app that promises just that. Installing solar or batteries is never a […]

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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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Levelised cost of storage: A better way to compare battery value

May 23, 2017
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When it comes to choosing batteries for home or commercial battery storage, it can be difficult to sift through the multitude of options to find the IDEAL battery for your application. The options range from different operating voltages, amp-hour (Ah) storage capacities, sizes, weights, brands and – to make things even more complicated – different […]

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How does maximum power point tracking (MPPT) work?

March 27, 2017
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Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is a technology approach used in solar PV inverters to optimise power output in less-than-ideal sunlight conditions. Most modern inverters are equipped with at least one MPPT input. The below article – which originally appeared as a response by Bradley Detjen to a question on Quora.com – explains MPPT using the most […]

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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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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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Solar panel cleaning: Why, how & how often? (Q&A with Lime Solar Cleaning)

November 24, 2016
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Should you clean your solar panels? If the answer is ‘yes’, then how often should you clean your solar panels – and what’s the best way to clean them? These are questions that many solar system owners have asked themselves. Solar Choice recently had the opportunity to catch up with Leanne Masters of Lime Solar Cleaning […]

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Solar Choice’s Solar Calculator Resource Library

October 4, 2016
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Over the years, Solar Choice has developed a range of interactive solar and battery storage-related calculator tools. This resource library acts as a homepage for these calculators, to make it easier to identify and access the calculator that best suits your needs. Please keep in mind that all calculator outputs are indicative only. Recommend on […]

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Finally, a win-win solar solution for renters & landlords from Aussie startup Matter

September 15, 2016
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Aussie technology company Matter has developed a platform to make it possible for renters and landlords alike to benefit from rooftop solar. They’ve done this by removing one of the biggest hurdles that has made solar inaccessible to renters – the fact that their landlords have virtually no incentive to install a system on a […]

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ResiLinked: A free online platform to track solar system maintenance, safety and more

August 18, 2016
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ResiLinked is a free online platform for home owners and managers to keep track of maintenance and connect with service providers. ResiLinked is particularly useful for homes with (or looking for) rooftop solar PV systems, allowing them to instantly check their system’s safety status (a ‘Solar Safety Registry’) and to be automatically notified when the […]

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Which retailer is offering the best electricity plan for solar customers in Sydney (July 2016)

July 18, 2016

Getting a higher feed-in tariff from your electricity retailer looks great on paper, but it does not necessarily mean that you will save more money on your electricity bills. We’ve taken a look at a spread of retail electricity plans for solar customers in the Sydney area in order to determine who is actually offering the […]

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Are you voting for solar this election? Check the Solar Scorecard

June 8, 2016
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Solar advocacy group Solar Citizens have launched their Solar Scorecard tool for the 2016 election. The Solar Scorecard allows anyone to find out how the candidates in their local electorate stand on solar simply by entering their post code. It also give users insight into how much solar is installed around them – and how […]

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Seven habits of smart solar shoppers

May 19, 2016
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Going solar is still a no-nonsense investment options for homes across Australia, with payback periods as short as 2-3 years in the right circumstances. This is due in great part to the fact that Australia is home to some of the lowest residential solar system installation prices in the world – making solar panels relatively low-risk […]

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Introducing a (free) tool that allows solar homes to meaningfully compare retail electricity plans

May 12, 2016
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Solar PV system owners – generally speaking – do not like their electricity retailers. Maybe it’s just the sense of independence they get from generating a portion of their own electricity, but it also has to do with the feeling that they are not treated fairly – especially when it comes to the low, voluntary […]

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What is the annual cost of running your air conditioner? Oil heater? SESM can give you a good idea

April 5, 2016
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Have you ever thought about how much energy your AC unit or oil heater will use over the course of a year – or how much this energy will cost you? While sticker prices are the first (and sometimes only) thing that shoppers look at, the savvy electricity user will think about long-term savings in the form of […]

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Solar Support Plus – Taking PV system warranties to the next level

March 23, 2016

Solar panels have a standard expected lifespan of 25 years and inverters should last 5-10 years; both products have product warranties whose durations reflect this. In the unfortunate event that a solar system owner needs to file a warranty claim for a faulty panel or inverter, however, the system may produce less or no energy […]

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Solar power and single-phase vs 3-phase power connections

February 18, 2016
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Depending on where you live, your home may be fed by single-phase or 3-phase electrical connection. What relevance does this have for your solar PV installation?  3-phase and single-phase power Both single-phase and 3-phase electricity are used to transmit and distribute electricity. Depending on where you live and how much electricity you consume, your home will […]

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Monitoring Aussie solar output with updated APVI PV map

April 23, 2015
APVI Map

The contribution of Australia’s 1.3 million rooftop solar systems can now be monitored in real time, with the launch of an updated solar mapping service by the Australian PV Institute. The newly enhanced version of APVI’s Live Solar PV Map – a tool originally developed in the lead-up to the Queensland election to track the […]

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