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How does Solar Power work?

To put it simply, once installed and everything is finalized a solar system will work like this:

  1. Solar Panel Arrays on your roof collect the suns energy and send it to an inverter

  2. The inverter will change this energy into a usable household form

  3. From the inverter, the power can branch and go in two directions depending on your usage

First, if power is required, (e.g. if your TV is on, or the washing machine is running) then solar power will be drawn into your home and used. The second direction is for excess power not used, instead of entering your home, it will travel out to the electricity grid and earn you money.

How do I get solar in my home?

It's quite simple from your side as we will take care of as much of the process as possible. The first step is to speak with us, to work out what the best solution for you.

After that we will fill out some paper work and organise a day for our professional accredited electricians to come and install the system at your premise. Once installed you will be generating free solar power!

Next, we will finalise the paperwork on our end and send it off to the power company. The power company will come and update your power meter. Once your meter has been installed you will start earning money for any excess power returned to the electricity grid from your solar system.

What happens at night?

PV systems require sunlight to function, once the sun drops past a certain point your PV system will shut down and go to sleep. After this, your consumed electricity will come from the electricity grid instead. At a certain point in the morning, when enough sunlight starts to hit your solar array, the system will once again wake up and provide power.

A second option is to include in your solar system a battery storage that uses a chemical process to store electrical energy, which can then be used at a later time. 

How does solar battery work?

Battery storage uses a chemical process to store electrical energy, which can then be used at a later time. For example, a solar-powered torch stores electrochemical energy during the daylight hours that can be used to provide light at night.

Large batteries or multiple batteries joined together in battery banks can store the energy produced by solar panels. The household can then use that stored energy at a later time, or sell it back to the electrical grid. For home owners, there are three main benefits of storing energy:

  • maximise energy savings (by being able to store the solar energy and thus use it more effectively)

  • offset consumer feed-in tariffs (by being able to avoid using the grid at peak times when electricity is more expensive)

  • provide continuity of supply (if the site has unreliable grid supply).

What if it is cloudy?

Your PV system will still produce power, however the efficiency will be greatly reduced. Keep in mind, the solar energy produced has to reach a certain level before your inverter will wake up and function.

What about shade?

Shade will effect the output generated, so we take careful consideration in the design of your system and placement of the solar panels to maximize your system performance

During a black out, will my solar panels provide me with electricity?

No, a Grid Connect PV inverter will only operate when the electricity grid is operating. This is a safety feature to protect anyone who might be working on the black-out affected electricity grid. Once the grid comes back online, so will your PV system. 

Does my roof need to face north?

North facing is our preferred aspect, however east and west facing roofs also perform very well with only minimal production loss.

A north facing array will produce most of its power through the middle of the day, while an east or west facing array will produce more solar production at either the beginning or end of the day; which is when you will generally use more power.

There is a misconception that south facing arrays are VERY bad in Australia and should never be used, this is not true; A south facing array will not produce as much as a North, East or West facing array however it is a perfectly viable option. According to the Clean Energy Council of Australia, a directly south facing array on a 20 degree inclination (Australian homes are generally around 22.5) will perform at roughly 78% of it's maximum.

Is mains electricity still required?

Yes, as it will supply you with power during periods when solar energy production is not available (e.g. night time, cloudy weather) or when you are exceeding the available solar energy produced.

Who installs your product?

Our installers are fully licensed electricians with Clean Energy Council solar accreditation and with years of experience. You can be confident with us your system will be professionally installed using the highest quality components and industry standards.

Does my inverter have to go next to my power meter?

No, the inverter should be placed somewhere easily accessible in case of emergency and it should also be placed in a cool location out of direct sunlight, out of dusty / dirty areas and somewhere with sufficient ventilation.

Are permits required for solar systems?

Approval is required from your electricity utility provider (Energex, Ergon, etc.) prior to installation. Coastwide Solar will obtain this on your behalf. A permit may be required if your property is identified as being in a heritage area. Your local council should be able to assist with this.

Can I upgrade in the future?

Yes, upgrades are possible. Additional solar panels can be added as long as there is enough room to extend an existing array or to add an additional array. You may also need to upgrade your inverter to support the increased power generation. Another factor when upgrading is the size of the current PV system, as there are some restrictions on the maximum output.

What is the performance guarantee?

Over its life time, solar panels will lose some performance; the performance guarantee states the maximum deviation from the minimum rated output at certain ages of the panel. Check with the manufacturer for specific details; however on average it works out to be less than 1% per year, with greater than 80% performance remaining in the 25th year.

How long do solar systems last?

Solar systems are designed to last a long time. Good panels will typically last for 30+ years, undamaged panels will not typically fail, but rather their power output will slowly diminish over time until they need replacing. Inverters are a little more complicated and ultimately their longevity will depend on factors such as their location (how dirty, how much sunlight and heat in that location). Most offer warranties of 5 to 10 years with an expected performance life of 15+ years.

Are my solar panels hail resistant?

Yes, quality solar panels are made using tempered glass designed to with stand hail up to 28mm in diameter, which is traveling at up to 86 km/h.

Are my panels covered by insurance?

Once fitted to your roof Solar panels should instantly be covered by your home insurance policy, however this is something we recommend confirming with your insurance company.

What sort of maintenance is required?

  • Cleaning: Rain is generally enough to keep the solar panels clean; however if there has been very little or no rain, or the area has high air contamination then every so often a quick clean may be required to keep the system at peak performance.

  • Monitoring: Regularly checking yield results on the inverter is advised to detect any possible performance issues. If in doubt a quick phone call to one of our staff members can quickly confirm if performance figures are within normal range.

What is your warranty policy?

  • Solar Panels: 25 years, manufacturer's performance warranty. 10 years, manufacturer's product warranty.

  • Inverters: 5-10 years, manufacturer's warranty.

  • Mounting Warranty: 10 years, manufacturer's product warranty.

  • Installation: 10 years, installer's warranty.

What does module (solar panel) efficiency mean?

The module efficiency rating indicates how effective the solar module is at producing electricity from a square meter of solar energy. A typical 250w solar panel has an efficiency rating of around 15.3% where a 235w solar panel of the same dimensions would have an efficiency rating of around 14.1%

What does Tier 1 mean?

A 3rd party company called Pike's Research (who are not affiliated with the solar industry), have come up with a 3 Tier ranking system for solar panels. The idea behind the ranking system is to help consumers make informed decisions that will give them piece of mind for their investment.

At the most basic level, Tier 1 means a manufacturer supplies quality products and has the intention of staying around for the long-term. This is important because, after all, what good is a 25 year warranty if the company won't be around to support it?

For these reasons, CoastWide Solar only sells genuine Tier 1 solar panels!

What is the difference between Solar Hot Water and Solar Power?

Solar Hot Water does not produce any electricity. Water is sent to your roof where it is heated directly by the sun and then stored in your hot water storage tank.

Solar Power is sunlight that is transformed into electricity by solar panels on your roof, which can then be used to power your appliances in your home.

What are rebates?

The Australian Government is currently offering a healthy Rebate off the cost of new Solar Systems in the form of 'small-scale technology certificates' (STC's). CoastWide Solar can process and claim the certificates on your behalf, not only will this save you the hassle, but it will reduce the upfront cost as we will deduct the STC value from the invoice amount; the amount saved will depend on the size of the system purchased. Please call us so we can give you an idea of the current savings you would make.

What are tariffs?

Home Solar Systems are Grid Connected. This means any surplus power your system generates will feed back to the electricity grid. Under the QLD Solar Bonus Scheme you will currently receive a feed-in tariff of 8c per kWh for the surplus solar power which feeds back to the grid. Your electricity retailer may also offer up to an additional 10c per kWH.

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