WHY SHOULD I BUY SOLAR?

What are the financial benefits of solar energy?

When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future. How much you can save depends on the electricity rates and feed-in-tariff in your area, but going solar is a smart investment regardless of where you live.

How does solar impact my property values?

Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than financing your solar system. In most instances, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation.

What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?

Solar power, like other renewable energy resources, has many environmental and health benefits. Going solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems.

Avoid future electricity rate increases

With solar, when your electricity retailer increases its rates, it means more savings for you as your Solar generation is offsetting what you would have had to pay your electricity provider. The cost of energy has risen significantly over the past 1o years with another substantial price hike implemented July 2017.  Solar makes sense more then ever before.

Are you paying for your neighbors solar system?

Do you know that when a solar system is installed it creates renewable energy credits.  Energy retailers have to buy these credit to offset their black energy. They pass this cost on to you in your electricity bill. The government does not pay, you do! Without solar you are paying for everyone else who has solar all ready.

WHAT ARE MY SOLAR FINANCING OPTIONS?

What are my solar financing options?

There are three solar financing options: you can purchase your system in cash, take out a solar loan to buy your system, usually a lease or chattel mortgage or personal loan, or sign a solar power purchase agreement (PPA). We can help you assess the costs and savings of each solar financing option; its calculations are based on your roof plus real quote data for your area.  Most financing options are no deposit financing and the savings in some cases are cash flow positive with the system being paid off in 5-7 years, leaving the remainder of the systems life (25+ years) to pay an exceptional return.

What solar energy rebates and incentives are available?

2 main Incentives; Federal Solar Incentives & State Incentives

Federal Solar Incentives

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) is the main driver of rebates at the Federal level, these take the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This rebate for solar installations and is available anywhere in Australia. RECs come in 2 forms: Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) for renewable energy generators up to 100 kilowatts (kW), and Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) for systems whose capacity is greater than 100kW.

In simple terms, when you install a solar system it creates renewable energy credits.  Energy retailers have to buy these credits to offset their black energy. The energy retailers then pass this cost on to everyone in their electricity bill. The myth that the government funds this scheme is incorrect, they simply administer the scheme.

Every year the number of STC’s that can be created upfront known as the deeming period of 15 years reduces by 1/15 each year until the Scheme ends in 2030. (2016 was the commencement of the deeming period reducing each year.  2017 equation is now 14 years, 2018 is 13 years and so on).   What that means is every year you wait to get solar the incentive you will receive to offset the purchase of Solar system reduces.  Based on an STC price of $37, a 5kw system (Zone 3) in 2017 produced just under a $3500 Solar Incentive.

Another factor to consider is the price of the certificates which depends on the current solar demand.  Too much demand and the prices fall.  Since the scheme commenced the price of STC’s has ranged from $40 to $16.  The STC price currently offers an opportunity to benefit well from the Solar incentive as the price has recovered well from its previous lows.  The incentive is given at the point of sale by your solar installer in return for you assigning the rights to the certificates.  Your solar installer will aggregate all the certificates from many installations and in most cases will sell them to energy retailers taking the hassle out of it for the purchaser.

State Incentives

In addition to RECs, most states also offer support for solar and other renewables via Feed-in Tariff schemes. Under these schemes system owners are paid for each unit of power that they export to the electricity grid. Eligibility for Solar Feed-in Tariffs depends firstly, on whether a state or regional scheme is in place, but other factors include date of system installation and system size.

Most states either currently have or previously had a Solar Feed-in Tariff in place.

Can I afford to go solar?

If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. $0-deposit solar financing options are available, including both solar loans and solar leases, make it easy for homeowners with good credit to start saving on their electricity bills by going solar. We can help you compare costs and savings for multiple financing options.

Should I buy outright or finance solar system?

The decision to buy outright or to finance your solar system depends on your reasons for going solar. If you are interested in maximizing the financial returns of your solar system, buying the system outright is probably a better decision for you if you have cash sitting in the bank as the return will be greater to you then the bank will ever pay. However, if you do not have any spare savings then financing is also a great way to benefit from solar today as the savings will help you pay off the solar system typically within 5-7 years and in some cases it can be cash flow positive from day one.

How do I choose the best solar loan?

Many different institutions offer solar loans, including local and national banks, specialty financing companies, manufacturers, and credit unions. To choose the best solar loan for you, compare options from a few different financing providers. We can assist you with financing options from 5 – 7 year terms at very competitive rates and easy loan approval processes.

TOP QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR SOLAR INSTALLER

What size system should I install?

This depends on several factors including:

  • Your budget
  • How many panels you can fit on your roof – The smallest system most company’s will install is a 1.5kW 8 panel system. Panels measure on average 1.7m x 0.9m give or take.
  • How many people occupy the house – Generally, the more people in the house, the bigger the system you’ll require and the higher financial return on that system.
  • If you own the property – If you rent the property, it’s probably not worth installing a system unless you plan on staying there for longer than 5 years or you have a generous landlord.
  • How long you intend to occupy the property – Systems generally take at least 4-6 years to pay themselves.

How long will it take to pay off my system?

This depends on:

  1. The size of system you install
  2. The direction the panels face
  3. The percentage of that production that you’ll use yourself and the percentage you’ll export to the grid
  4. The Feed-in Tariff in your state
  5. The amount you initially paid for the system.

We will supply you not only a comprehensive turn-key quote, we will give you a detailed report which goes through these numbers with you and we will explain how the calculations work and also provide the raw data to back up the calculations.

Can you show me what affect the system will have on my bill?

As per the previous question, this depends on many factors.  We give you a detailed estimate outlining all the assumptions made and based on this we can estimate the effect the proposed Solar system will have on your electricity bill.

Is shading going to affect my production? If so, by how much?

Shading outside of the hours of 8am and 4pm won’t be a problem. Shading on one small area of the system does dis-proportionally affect production so we will consider positioning on the roof as the first step.  It is worth considering pruning trees prior to installation if there is some shading on the roof during the day. If you think the trees will need pruning periodically, factor this expense in to your calculations.

Is roof pitch an issue?

A 25degree pitch is optimal and you’ll lose 1% production with every 5 degree deviation. This means that the difference between a flat roof and the average roof is 5% production. Generally not worth the extra cost of installing tilt frames.  Our detailed proposal will give you these options.

Can you produce a roof plan to show me where my panels will be placed?

This is essential as you’ll be looking at the system for many years to come.  You definitely want it laid out in a way that looks good. We will make sure we discuss this with you in detail prior to installation and we will agree on the location as part of the agreement.  We will then ensure the installer on the day has that same plan and adheres to it.  We have seen plenty of times in the market, a plan will be done but an installer will install wherever they like.  We will not tolerate this and will ensure the aesthetics of your roof are maintained as agreed.

What direction will the panels face and what affect will this have on production?

North gets the most sun during the day. However, due to the changes in Feed in Tariffs in most states which mean that you’re better off using the power generated yourself, installing on east or west roofs could mean that you use your own power from your system when you’re home in the morning and afternoon. This will be considered in the design and explained to you prior to making any commitments.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS

What brand of panels and inverter will I receive? Can you point me to 3rd party reviews or tests of them?

Try the Whirlpool forum – for honest conversation from people who know what they’re talking about and who are more than happy to offer advice. Make sure that you receive documentation outlining what panels and inverter you’ll receive.  We pride ourselves on selecting the right supply partners that meet our criteria which is, financial backing, quality controls in place, must be a Tier 1 supplier, have an office in Australia and a track record of quality and performance.  See our ‘Preferred Supplier’ list;  PREFERRED SUPPLIERS

Where are the components made?

About 80% of panels and 50% of inverters are made in Asia, the rest generally in Europe. Country of origin isn’t a problem in itself. Who services the warranties if a panel or inverter fails is more important. Make sure you ask the installer this question.

Do the panel and inverter manufacturers have an office in Australia?

This is important, if the installation company isn’t around in 10 years, you don’t want to be having to call the manufacturer in China or Europe, you can realistically kiss your warranty good bye.   Our parent company was established in 2010,  so we plan on being around for a long time, that said we have selected all our suppliers because they have a presence in Australia and locally support warranties.  We have also chosen our supplier based on their financial backing and health.

Does the inverter have communication software?

Communication software which links wirelessly to your computer allows you to keep an eye on production and spot any problems quickly and easily. All our systems include access to monitoring as part of the Solar system turn key solution.

Do the panels have a negative or positive power tolerance?

A 5% positive power tolerance means that a 100W panel will produce between 100W and 105W. A 5%+/- power tolerance means that the panel will produce between 95W and 105W. Better quality panels have a positive power tolerance. No solar cell manufacturer can produce cells to the exact specification so therefore, the higher quality manufacturers will pay more for the cells with positive tolerance while the rest with +/- will go to lower quality manufacturers.  We have chosen our suppliers because they take power tolerance seriously and only use high quality cells.