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Written byShaun McGowan
In the sections below, we’ll cover:
In each of the main sections in this guide, you’ll also find breakout guides that cover each topic in greater detail. Now, let’s get started with solar!
Solar is power generated using the energy from the sun. Solar energy is renewable and sustainable, which means it will never run out and is entirely clean.
Solar electricity is generated by installing a solar energy system in a home, which consists of panels to generate energy and an inverter to distribute it in the home.
Advanced solar energy systems may also incorporate solar batteries for storage, or energy monitoring systems to maximise energy production and savings.
A solar system consists of:
Solar energy prioritises solar energy, and if there is any additional energy required then that can seamlessly continue to be drawn from the grid.
Excess energy you don’t use is then sold back to the grid for use elsewhere on the network, or stored if the installation includes a solar battery.
Have a look almost anywhere on the internet, and you'll find people singing the praises of solar energy. Below are just a few reasons that could help you make the move to solar today.
A solar energy system can generally be constructed of five components:
|Core Components||Optional Components|
The core components are essentially the framework of every solar power system; solar panels to absorb energy, the mounting to secure the panels, and an inverter to use your generated energy.
Solar panels are large collections of solar cells that are placed on a roof or other outside surface to absorb the energy produced by the sun.
In Australia, solar panels are available in 60-66-cell residential panels and larger, 72-cell commercial panels. In most cases, you can install either type on the roof of your home.
There are some simple pros and cons to either:
The second main component of a home solar power system installation is the inverter:
Avoid installing your inverter in direct sunlight as this is one of the fastest ways to destroy this essential component. Instead, choose to install it inside or under a custom sun cover.
A solar battery stores excess solar energy to use at times when your panels cannot generate electricity (i.e. night).
Solar batteries can also allow you to access Virtual Power Plant (VPP) schemes to receive discounts or benefits on solar installation for agreeing to produce energy.
A solar battery can be either connected to the solar inverter (DC) or to the switchboard (AC).
Some batteries (like the Tesla Powerwall) have an internal inverter that converts the AC power back to DC to store it.
Solar panel mounting is what connects your panels to your roof and ensures your installation stands the test of time.
While there are a variety of panel mounts to choose from, the differences are mostly cosmetic unless you venture into the extreme ends of premium pricing.
Speak to the professional installing your solar energy system about the panel mounting used to secure the solar panels on your home.
If you’re looking at getting solar in your home to save money, presumably by reducing your electricity bill and redirecting energy to the grid to earn from feed-in tariffs, you’ll want to look at a consumption monitor.
Solar energy systems already allow you to see how much energy you generate, but often don’t allow you to see how much of that energy you use, or at what times.
A consumption monitor provides a far greater overview of your solar energy system, which will allow you to use and sell your solar energy with far greater efficiency than without one.
Your solar energy system should be installed by a qualified professional for so many obvious reasons, but finding a great solar pro can be difficult.
Here are some tips:
There are three core elements to a complete residential solar energy system:
You can learn more about each of these components in the guides to help you decide on what type of solar setup is most suitable for your home.
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Shaun is the founder of Money.com.au and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.