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Frequently Asked Questions

SAVINGS

Not necessarily. The price of solar panels, inverters and installations has dropped significantly in the past 5 years whilst the cost of electricity has almost doubles.

Western Australia has some of the highest electricity prices in the world and one of the best solar production climates in the world.

Save Energy sell systems at competitive prices and have relationships that can help you finance the purchase.

A correct sized solar system can pay for itself in under 5 years.  Often our financed solar systems result in combined savings from day 1!

Click here for an obligation free quote and comprehensive financial and system performance analysis for your solar system

Today, many Save Energy customers pay up to 20% less than their current utility rate**.

Three factors affect whether you will save with Save Energy Solar System:

1) How many panels your home will qualify for

2) How much electricity your household uses

3) Your current utility rates

4) The orientation, roof pitch and shading

When you purchase a system of your own, other factors affect your potential savings. We can help you evaluate those factors after we conduct a site survey at your home.

 

*$0 due upon contract signing, for qualified customers subject to service availability.
**Savings on the total electricity costs is not guaranteed.

Many Save Energy customers save up to 20%** on a yearly basis with a solar installation. Monthly savings will fluctuate due to weather, length of month, and the amount of energy used in your home. Results vary for between customers.

Save Energy provide a comprehensive system output simulation and porential savings for your unique situation.

Click here for an obligation free quote and comprehensive financial and system performance analysis for your solar system:

When choosing a solar system, you should consider:

  • Current energy Consumption
  • Future energy consumption e.g. will your household size increases or will you add a energy hungry appliance like a pool?
  • Will you consider installing batteries?
  • Is your property shaded?
  • Government incentives available now that may expire in the future

During a Save Energy consultation, we analyses your bills and profile your how you use energy throughout the day to determine the best solution for your circumstances.  We then provide a performance and return on investment report to assist in making your decision.

Estimated savings for your system can be found here.

Your Solar System will continue to provide energy to the property whilst your on holiday.  If you generate more than you use your system will export energy and potentially be eligible for a Renewable Energy Buyback rate.  If so, the export energy will contribute to paying off the energy purchased from the grid for the billing cycle.

Depending on the net metering laws and utility provider in your state, excess energy generated may roll over as a credit toward the next month’s bill (credited on an annual basis), or paid to customers as a refund.

In Western Australia, Synergy A1 tarrif customers are eligible for a Renewable Energy Buyback rate of 7.2 cents per unit (kWh) of electricity.

Some business customers are eligible for a buyback rate. Please contact Save Energy for more information or a competitive energy supply rate for your business.

Yes! in most towns Solar power installations is still allowed.  However, a soalr smoothing system consisting of battereis and inverters may be required for interconnection to the network.

Save Energy are regional specialists in solar and have vast esxperinece installing residential and some of the largest installations on the Horizon Power network.  We can offer honest advice for the best possible solution for your situation.

Horizon Power Solar customers are eligible for different buyback rates based on the town of residence.  Save Energy can provide detailed Solar Energy buyback rates and connection information for Horizon Power Solar customers.

HOW SOLAR WORKS

While the technology behind solar energy may seem complex, when broken down, how solar power works is easy to understand – particularly in a grid connect scenario as it only requires a few components installed in your home or business. Discover below how solar power works.

  • The sun shines on the solar panels generating DC electricity
  • The DC electricity is fed into a solar inverter that converts it to 240V 50Hz AC electricity.
  • The 240V AC electricity is used to power appliances in your home.
  • Surplus electricity is fed back into the main grid.

Whenever the sun shines (and even in overcast weather), the solar cells generate electricity. The grid connect inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into 240V AC electricity, which can then be used by the property/household.

If a grid connect system is producing more power than is being consumed, the surplus is fed into the mains power grid. Some electricity companies will meter the electricity fed into the grid by your system and provide a credit on your bill. How much you are paid is determined by the feed-in tariff.

When the solar cells are not producing power, for example at night, your power is supplied by the mains power grid as usual. The energy retailer charges the usual rate for the power used.

As all of the components in a grid connect system have no moving parts, you can expect a long and hassle free life from your solar power system! Generous government  solar rebates and incentives mean you can also save thousands on a grid connect system for a limited time!

Yes. Save Energy uses “on-grid” systems, meaning that they are still connected to the electrical grid. On-grid solar energy systems are necessary to transfer excess power into the grid, which can result in a credit to customers in some states. On-grid systems also keep you connected to the grid for additional power from the utility e.g. night time.

We conduct an on-site survey to determine if your home is compatible for solar. Here are some examples of what we evaluate to make sure that solar is a good fit:

  • Roof size, pitch and direction
  • Shading of the roof caused by tree branches, other homes, etc.
  • Roof obstructions such as chimneys, pipes, etc.
  • Roof stability and strength
  • Electrical wiring

Yes, but performance may be affected. Solar panels produce more energy when the sun is shining.

Getting permission to operate a system and start generating energy largely depends on your local city and utility company.  Generally, on the Western Power network the system can be commissioned nad turned on on the day of the installation.

For larger solar installations and/or Horizon Power connections, commissioning reports may need to be sent to the network operator for approval before the system can be turned on.

Save Energy have the experience with both Western Power and Horizon Power operators to ensure a smooth installation process.

Solar power is energy that comes from the sun, while many other forms of energy come from fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and natural gas). Both can be used to power your home, but they are generated differently. Energy from fossil fuels goes through multiple steps before reaching your home, including step-up transformers, transmission substations, and distribution substations. Solar power is collected by panels on your roof, then immediately converted into usable energy.

Excess energy generated from your solar system may either be exported to the grid (in real time) or alternatively stored in solar batteries for use at a later date.

PRODUCT

In a power outage, most grid connect systems automatically shut off for the safety of the workers that repair the power lines.

Save Energy can design a backup battery storage system to ensure essential loads are supplied with power in the event of a grid outage.  Essential loads may include lights, refrigeration, security system and water supply.

We use both. Depending on the site characteristics Save Energy will offer the most cost effective long-term solution for your property.

The average panel used in a Save Energy Solar installation weighs 17kG and approximately 1.7m x 1m in size.

Yes, slightly. Due to sun exposure, weather and other environmental factors, there’s a potential degradation rate of up to 5% the first year the panels are on your roof, and 0.7% per year during the rest of the 20 year term. Most of our panels degrade at a rate lower than this, but we guarantee that they won’t degrade more than the above amount.

No. Our solar panels are not attached directly to your roof, but rather to a racking system that has been wind, water, and fire tested to ensure no leaks or damage will occur. Additionally, shingles on your roof will often last longer under installed panels because they are less exposed to UV light.

There are many factors that affect the production of a solar panel (location, orientation, tilt, weather, season, shade, etc.). Solar panels produce varying amounts of energy through the day. In the mornings and evenings, when the sun is low in the sky, solar panels will generate less power than in the afternoon when they are receiving direct sun exposure.

During a Save Energy Solar consultation we provide a detailed system performance based on your roof characteristics.  The analysis provides projected monthly output per day for your system.

Below illustrates average daily production for certain system sizes:

Since 2016 solar storage batteries have reduced steadily in cost to the point that pay back is coming down from more than 10 years towards 7 years and less. In future years most residential solar systems will include a battery as part of the solar system package.

Save Energy will discuss if batteries are feasible in your circumstances.

Our warranty guarantees our work will be free from installation defects for 24 months, the system’s solar panels carry a 25-year linear performance warranty, and inverters carry minimum 10-year manufacturers’ warranties.

Yes.  Save Energy have a number of finance options for our clients.  Please contact us for a formal quote.

If you are a Solar Finance customer, you will enjoy the full benefits of the solar system for years after the loan has been paid out.

INCENTIVES AND REBATES

Rebates maybe available for your solar system. Over the years these rebates have changed and may continue to change in the future.

Save Energy will give you updated information about the latest rebate applicable to you.

There is currently one key rebate offered for solar PV systems in Australia called Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs). As per January 2018, this rebate offered around $3000-$3300 towards a 5kW system, but the rebate amounts can change from time to time.

The savings of CO2 emissions via solar electricity generation is rewarded through tradeable certificates for small scale solar systems called Small Scale Technology certificates or STCs.

When your solar system is installed you can complete a calculation to confirm how many STCs will be created over the life of your system. This is effectively a measure of the renewable energy generation from your system.

Save Energy typically offer an up-front discount equal to the value we receive when selling your STCs through our brokers. What this means, is that the STCs for your system are handed over by you in lieu of a discount for your quoted system. Save Energy then trades the certificates and receives a cash return.

Most customers treat their STCs like a rebate with their value deducted from the sale price of their solar system. It is important to understand several key aspects of these STCs:

  • The Government does not pay you for certificates, nor does it set the price;
  • As of January 2018 a 5kW solar system attracts a rebate ranging from $3000to $3500, but as a tradeable certificate, STC value can and does vary over time and is not fixed;
  • The quantity of STCs you may receive for a system varies depending on your location and when you create them;
  • Save Energy are accredited CEC installers and comply with certain rules and conditions set out by the Clean Energy Regulator. Only only approved companies may register and trade STC’s

Feed-in tariffs (FIT) are a defined payment for the electricity you generate from your solar system that is sent back to the grid. Currently energy retailers in most States pay relatively low FIT ranging from 5-12 cents. These FIT rates are based on state guidelines and vary between electricity retailers.

Some Energy Retailers sell solar systems and will tempt you with a high FIT. Please check that the overall electricity charges in such contracts are not higher than normal kW/h charges, as your higher FIT income may be more than offset in higher electricity fees and charges.

Previously, Australian solar system owners have benefited from a range of generous “premium” FIT schemes. Unfortunately, these offers are no longer available with new solar installations.

The value of a FIT is an important aspect to consider as it can influence the economic outcome of owning a solar system and what the ideal size of a system should be in your individual case.

As part of a Save Energy solar consultation, a site visit offers a detailed analysis of what to expect your self-consumption to export ratio to be, and what economic outcome you will be able to achieve.

Naturally if you install batteries with your solar system the FIT is less relevant.

What is the current solar buy-back rate?

Arguably, the quality of your solar panels as well as the inverter are the most crucial factor in selecting a solar system. Over their 25 year expected lifespan solar panels will be subjected to more than 100,000 hours of relentless sunshine, extremes of heat and cold, wind, rain, hail and more.

It is an extraordinarily harsh climate for an electrical device. You have to be sure that the panel you buy will be able to deliver that performance during its lifetime.

A good quality panel differs from a cheaper one in the sealing materials used such as backing sheets, the soldering and the efficiency of the solar cells. For example, whilst Save Energy supplied panels will cost slightly more they are designed to deliver year after year performance.

In Australia solar systems with inferior product are now failing after only relative short periods on the roof. Unfortunately in some cases the installation companies have closed shop and the consumer is left sorting the issues.

Adelaide Now newspaper article

SA Government Media Release

We recommend to buy only from reputable manufactures such as REC Solar, Solarworld, LG Solar and Sunpower and preferably high quality branded components.

Solar panels generate high volatage DC electricity and therefore have to be installed as per precise Australian Standards to ensure a safe system.

Here are some samples of lower quality solar panels failing in the Australian sun.

Cell damage due to hot spot

Cell damage due to hot spot


Hot spots destroy the panel

Hot spots destroy the panel


PV Yellowing

PV Yellowing


Yellow and Corroding Solar Panel

Yellow and Corroding Solar Panel

APPLICATION PROCESS AND FEES WHEN CONNECTING TO THE GRID

To confirm your solar order all we required is the signed contract and acceptance along with the deposit amount and a copy of a recent Synergy Bill.

We will then comlete the Synergy and Western Power application paperwork for assessment.  Approval can take up to 4 weeks in regional area’s.

Once approved we endever to install the system within 2-3 weeks.

Investing in a new solar PV system for your home will require you to purchase or update to a bi-directional meter.

This will monitor and report both the incoming and outgoing electricity, and your electricity bills will then take into account the lower amounts of electricity you’ll need to buy from the grid, plus credits for the electricity generated by your solar power system that you don’t use.

Old spinning disc meter

If you have an old spinning disc meter, you will require a new bi-directional meter, which Western Power will install once requested by your electricity retailer.

Digital meter

If you already have a digital meter, it will more than likely only require a reprogram in order to measure bi-directional power flow.

All meter upgrades and reprogramming are completed by Western Power as instructed by Synergy. All associated costs are charged by Synergy and will appear on your next Synergy bill.

As of July 1 2017, Synergy has increased their meter charges to the following:

Existing Homes

Meter Cost (Inc. GST)
SmartPower™ Single Phase 240V Meter $138.24
SmartPower™ Three Phase 415V Meter $235.04
Reprogram Fee (existing meter is compatible)* $74.00

Synergy’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme administration fee of $26.40 is a one off payment to set up your account for the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme.  The current buy-back rate of 7.1350 cents/kWh for residential customers has remained the same.