EnviroGroup Solar System FAQs
When embarking on the search for a solar system, there are many considerations that will come to mind. We’ve put together this Solar System FAQ to help with your search and provide answers to common questions and concerns.
Solar power: an introduction
How does solar energy work?
Electrical energy is generated from sunlight falling onto rooftop solar panels and is passed through an inverter that will match the voltage to your home and the local grid. The energy is then consumed in the house by any appliances that are operating at the time, with any excess solar power sent to the grid. If the solar generation does not meet all the needs of the home, the deficit of electricity is simply purchased from the electricity grid as normal.
Solar panels are made of many silicon photovoltaic cells – which are the building blocks of solar energy production.
What should I consider when buying a solar system?
There are a number of considerations to take into account when buying a solar system including:
- Total energy usage
- Time of use
- Orientation of home
- Appliances you use
- System and installation warranties available
- Manufacturer of components
- Solar installer’s reputation
- Availability of rebates available
With solar systems, you get what you pay for. Some solar system providers and retailers may offer you a cheap system but be mindful that a cheap deal doesn’t necessarily mean it will last for the long term. Remember, solar systems are a long term investment and the savings you make will increase as time goes on.
How do I store solar energy instead of exporting it?
To store the solar energy that you generate from your solar system, you can invest in a solar battery storage unit. There are many benefits for storage solar energy to energy efficiency and if chosen correctly, your savings.
Without a solar battery storage unit, all the electricity you are using at night time is imported from the grid (which you are paying for). With a solar battery, any of the excess energy that your solar system produces during the day that you do not use at the time will be stored in a battery unit instead of being exported to the grid.
Will solar power help me save money?
Short answer is yes but it all depends on just how much energy you consume, as this will affect how much you save. At the end of the day, you have control of your ROI (return on investment). The more solar power you use during the day, the greater the returns, reducing your overall reliance on the energy grid and fossil fuels.
For example, once you have a solar system installed on your home and you tend to do your washing at night time, you will be importing energy from the grid.
By making lifestyle choices and doing your washing during the day, you will be using the electricity generated by your solar power, meaning less need to import energy from the grid and in turn save money. Every household is different but one thing is for certain, you will save on your energy bills!
If I am on a budget, can I still get a solar system?
EnviroGroup understands that everyone has a budget. If your budget is restricted and you’re thinking about getting a solar system, the prospect of spending such a lump sum can seem daunting.
The good news is there are different products to cater for different budgets without forgoing quality. To find a system suited to your needs, our sustainability experts will work around your budget to find something that’s right for you. There are also a number of rebates and incentives available to help you – more on that below.
How much does it cost to install a solar system?
There are a range of different costs for systems based on predominantly three things – your system needs, quality and budget.
When searching for your ideal solar system you need to understand that there is a difference between a budget system and a cheap option. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
As a rule of thumb, the out-of-pocket costs range from around $2000 for a small, basic system right up to $30,000 for a premium system. Generally, our customers spend between $6000 – $15,000 for a premium system. Keep in mind, you will also be able to make use of state rebates and different financing options for your solar system purchase.
How long does it take to install a solar system?
For a standard residential home installing solar, it generally takes about one day. However, it may take a bit longer if your home includes any of the following:
- Steep roof pitch
- Double storey
- Roof access issues
- Unforeseeable changes on the day of install, usually due to household structure
- Asbestos identified by installer
Weather can also affect the completion of the install. When working at heights and with electrical equipment, it is unsafe to install during the rain or extremely hot conditions.
What sort of roof can solar be installed on?
Solar can be installed on most roofs, normally tin, tile or kliplock. Some materials like slate can be problematic and asbestos is basically a no-go zone. There is a rare occasion where a roof may be made of a new or alternative material other than those mentioned. It is important that EnviroGroup is informed prior to installation to best understand the roof and the design of the solar system. EnviroGroup works with architects and engineers in understanding the best possibilities of installing solar on new roof materials.
What if I live in a heritage overlay, do I need extra approvals to install my solar system?
Yes, if you live in a home in Victoria with a heritage overlay, you must apply for a planning permit prior to installing solar panels on your roof. This process can be done through your local council and usually takes around 10 business days. Our sustainability experts are experienced with this process and will gladly help you through the process.
What if I have asbestos in my home?
If you are aware that there is asbestos in your home, please make sure you inform the EnviroGroup team as we will need to take special precautions when installing your solar system. Some of these precautions may involve an asbestos inspector assessing where the material is contaminated, and also removing all or parts of the asbestos to create a safe work area.
If you are unaware if there is asbestos in your home and on the day of install, your installer identifies potential contamination, then work in that area will stop until a qualified asbestos inspector has tested the area and organised for its removal.
I am building a new home, what should I consider if I want to install solar power?
Building a new home is an exciting but long process. When you are adding systems to your lifestyle that lower your carbon footprint or increase your savings on your energy bill, it’s a good idea to consider solar for your new home. Technologies for energy efficiency are ever advancing and EnviroGroup works in consultation with builders, engineers, architects and industry experts to provide the best solar system for your home.
If you are thinking about installing a solar system in your new home, you should turn your mind to the following:
- Panel location
- Pitch and orientation
- Inverter location
- Pre-wiring your home for solar
EnviroGroup can help you work out roughly your ROI depending on your current energy consumption, taking into consideration any changes to your lifestyle or appliances in the home.
Can I put panels on my shed?
Possibly. Your shed has to have a good solid structure like a hardwood frame or C-channel steel. It also needs to have power to it in the form of a sub-mains. You can tell if a shed has a sub-mains to it by looking for a small distribution board mounted inside. This is a little box with switches and circuit breakers. If not, it may be difficult for us to undertake the installation. Our consultants will be able to accurately assess all this for you when they visit your house.
Should I get a technical inspection before I install solar?
A technical inspection is not always needed before installing your solar system. However, to avoid issues on the day of installation and added costs to your systems installation, we advise opting for a technical inspection prior to your install. The technical inspection most commonly involves:
- Identifying the level of safety measures that must be implemented for installers to safely access and install the solar system.
- Identifying any access issues to the residential property and roof.
- Inspecting the switchboard and assessing if there is a need for an upgrade prior to installation.
- Assessing the roof condition for installers and solar system designers.
- Finding the best location for the inverter to best protect the product.
- Clearly defining cable routes for the solar system.
- Identifying if there is asbestos at the property.
Rebates and incentives
Are there rebates available for solar panels or solar battery storage?
Generally, yes. Various governments, whether State or Federal and sometimes local, run incentive programs using rebates depending on their policy plans. To see the latest, visit our Rebates page for more information.
There has also been an increase in government financing schemes such as Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUA) which allow customers to pay back council or the state for the cost of their solar system, with low or no interest. Again, this is a wonderful incentive furthering the possibilities for people considering buying a solar system.
Get in touch with one of our experts to see what rebate schemes that you are eligible for!
What is a feed in-tariff?
Feed-in tariffs are a policy incentive designed to encourage people and energy retailers to invest in renewable energy technologies like solar power.
It is most easily understood as receiving credits on your energy bill or payment proportional to the amount of solar power you generate in your home/business that feeds into the energy grid. This occurs when you have a solar system generating power. If there is any excess power generated (unused within the home), it will be exported back into the supply. When doing so, your home’s meter will measure the amount of export, which will then be converted to savings on your electricity bill.
What warranties does EnviroGroup offer?
EnviroGroup has been in operation since 2004, longer than many solar retailers in the market. EnviroGroup has a 10 year warranty on the installation of the system. For the products and components stocked by EnviroGroup, the warranties range from 5 – 25 years.
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We are happy to help with any questions you might have regarding a solar system installation. For a no obligation quote, fill out the form below and a helpful team member will be in touch.