Homeowners that invest in solar technology reap significant financial and environmental rewards from reducing their energy bills and carbon footprint to boosting the capital value of their home and increased independence from energy suppliers. EnviroGroup’s long-standing relationships with some of the world’s largest solar technology companies ensure that the systems we install meet industry standards as well as our customers’ expectations.
EnviroGroup provided the ultimate solar system package for us and now we have unlimited clean, green energy.
We received extraordinary good service and everything was explained clearly to us.
The turnaround time was very fast for us and the installation was all done very smoothly. We were highly impressed with the installers and would definitely recommend EnviroShop to others
Excellent, honest and personal service all round. The installers were neat, thorough and professional. I was most impressed by the honesty and care shown by the EnviroGroup team.
We were very happy with the whole process – people came when they said they would and were very friendly and helpful. Glad we went with EnviroGroup and [we] love our solar system. Thanks.
Thanks EnviroGroup. From start to finish [it] was [a] superb job. Your tradesmen, sales, inspector and the follow-up from the office blew me away – you can use my installation for advertising anytime. Have seen many friends and hopefully they go solar with you too. Absolutely brilliant.
The team was very supportive, only a phone call away. All work was done to my satisfaction.
I found the service very good. [I was] really happy that the installers cleaned up afterwards.
Very happy. Terrific service all round. I particularly appreciate not being pressured into a sale.
We appreciated the service provided by EnviroShop, their honesty and the ease of installation.
Prompt, confident and sympathetic service, from initial contact, to installation and afterwards.
Everyone involved was particularly pleasant to do business with.
Everyone at EnviroGroup definitely took pride in their work including the various installers. They looked after everything for us and we always felt like a valued customer.
Absolutely! A number of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), formerly known as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are awarded as an effective ‘incentive’ aka ‘Government rebate’. The larger the system the more STCs are awarded. For typical solar system sizes of 3 kW to 5 kW you can expect to be awarded approximately $2,000 to $3,000. EnviroGroup usually claim the STC’s on the customer’s behalf once installed but apply the value of the rebate as a deduction on the quotation, as a point of sale discount.
Yes, but relatively slowly! Over the next 15 years (ending 2030), the number of STC’s (Government rebates) that are awarded for solar power installations is reducing by a factor of 1/15 at the end of each year. This may equate to only $100-$200 per year in lost certificates.
All electricity retailers will pay you for your exported power, but usually in the order of 5 – 10 cents for unit of energy (kWh) for installations after 2011. Be sure to check with your current energy retailer and shop around for a better deal if you are not happy as some offers from electricity retailers are better than others in terms of the ‘peak’ electricity rate, supply charges and also the feed-in tariff rate.
Most 2 kW to 5 kW systems are normally installed within one or two days. Some larger systems can take a few days, however installation on houses with a tin roof normally involve faster installation than houses with a tile roof. After installation, your energy retailer may take some weeks to reconfigure / install your bi-directional smart meter and providing grid connection approval. Grid connection is done entirely by the energy retailer and can take up to 8 weeks.
In the case of solar power, the number of panels you choose depends on:
On average throughout the year, a 3 kW solar power system will produce approximately 10.8 kWh of electricity per day. If you wish to be carbon neutral or completely independent of the grid by also installing a battery, you simply need to divide your daily usage (on your bill in kWh) by 3.6 to work out the kilowatt size of your system.
This provides high returns if the home owner is more likely to use energy in the afternoon (e.g. heating/cooling, cooking, lights, kids coming home from school etc.) which is often the case for our customers.
The optimum tilt angle of the solar panels in Victoria is around 25-35 degrees which makes standard roof pitches ideal, but if you have a low angle or flat roof we can use adjustable tilt frames to bring the panels up to the ideal angle.
The solar modules used are relatively compact. A standard panel is around 1 m * 1.6 m and has an output of 250 W for industry standard panels up to around to 360 W for the most efficient brands. So for example a 3 kW system involves 9 – 12 panels and an area of approximately 9 – 12 m wide and 1.6 m high for a standard, single row, portrait layout.
No. The panels are specifically designed and certified to withstand impacts harsh weather such as hailstones. The aluminium frames are anodized for extra durability and long life. A direct lightning strike is about the only weather likely to create significant damage to a solar power system.
Yes! Recent property sales have proven that a solar system loses very little value over its life. It may be possible to remove the system and reinstall it on another house, however this is a costly and difficult procedure and it is not recommended. A solar power system is a very wise financial and capital investment, especially given the rising price of electricity and the growing demand for energy efficient homes. You could ask yourself: “Would I pay a bit more for a home with low running costs?”
All hardware is installed with virtually no alterations to your house. For tin roofs the frames are mounted directly to the roof and for tile roofs, a few tiles are removed, the frame is mounted into the rafters and then the tiles are replaced. The cables are normally installed inside the roof, walls, or underfloor, sometimes inside of conduit depending on the system type, and only as a last resort on an external wall. We strive to ensure minimal aesthetic impact to your home.
Solar panels obviously require sunlight to produce electricity, but minor or light dappled shading won’t dramatically reduce your system’s performance. We always design our systems to avoid shading throughout the day and can recommend products that are far better at dealing with any shade impact, (such as our microinverters). This is one reason why we prefer to conduct a free assessment at your home before we provide a quotation. Ask us if you are concerned about shading.
Most solar panels are ‘self-cleaning’ meaning that natural rain is enough to keep them clean. If your panels are soiled simply spraying them with water should be sufficient. But if your panels are heavily soiled or your system is over 3 years old – we offer a service inspection program where a technician will inspect the system to make sure it’s running as it should. We also offer a panel cleaning service.
If you live in the suburbs or city, it may be best to install a moderate to larger solar power system and install a ‘grid-interactive’ battery system. It means that you still have the grid in the background to help you in case of periods of higher demand, but you could be entirely independent of the grid for the rest of the year. Installing a grid-connect system also means you can ‘export’ your excess solar electricity.
Most of the newer battery systems are designed to be installed connected to the grid, not in a ‘stand-alone’ context. If you live in a remote area, you can install a stand-alone Solar Power system as we have done for many dozens of customers including large families.
If required, we can design a small backup system, incorporating a solar panel, battery and inverter, that can provide you with backup power in emergency situations. Please note however that these systems come at a higher cost than the solar power system.
The standard warranties in the solar industry, on the other hand, are only 10 panel product warranty / 25 year panel performance warranty, 5 year inverter warranty, and 5 year workmanship warranty.
How Solar Power Works
Grid Connect Solar Power
If you are not home during the day, or not using all of the power from your solar panels, the excess power you make feeds into the electricity grid, registering as “exported” energy on your meter.
If you require more power during the day than your solar panels can supply, your system will automatically supplement your electricity requirements by buying power from the grid as per usual.
Grid Connect Solar Power – Main Components
2. Grid Interactive Inverter
An inverter is the heart of a solar power system. It takes the DC – Direct Current – electricity (produced by the solar panels), and converts it to AC – Alternating Current, 240 Volts – form which the appliances in your home need to run.
Ideally solar power works best when positioned on a roof area facing a northerly direction, or a flat roof where we can tilt the panels up to face north. But we can also install your system on a east or west facing roof if that is all you have available, with a small amount of energy loss.
How much energy will I produce?
In Melbourne and much of southern Australia, for example, a Solar Power system will produce approximately 3.6 kWh of energy, per kW of Solar Panels installed. These figures are averaged across the year, as you will of course produce more energy in summer, and less in winter. This means if you install: 10 x 300 W Solar panels = 3000 W of installed Solar Panels (3 kW). So you will produce: 3 x 3.6 = 10.8 kWh per day.
Most houses in Victoria already have a ‘bi-directional’ smart meter installed at the property which is required for a solar power system installation. In other states the situation may be different and EnviroGroup can process the paperwork on your behalf to get this installed if required.
Do I really want to go ‘Off-Grid’? Stand-Alone vs Grid Interactive Solar Battery Systems
A stand-alone solar power system is generally not ‘viable’ from a financial point of view if you are already located in a suburban grid-connected area because the cost for batteries and other components for a stand-alone system is significantly more expensive than a grid-connect system.
Solution: Grid Interactive Solar Battery Systems (aka Hybrid Solar Battery Systems)
If you live in the suburbs or city, it may be more suitable to install a moderate to larger solar power system and install a ‘grid-interactive’ battery system. It means that you still have the grid in the background to help you in case of periods of high demand, but you could be entirely independent of the grid for the rest of the year. Installing a grid-connect system also means you can ‘export’ your excess solar electricity.
For more information please see our section on ‘hybrid battery systems’ (LINK). Note that most of the newer battery systems are designed to be installed connected to the grid, not in a ‘stand-alone’ context.