Generating energy from solar is a good investment for many reasons
A Smart Solar Power system reduces your environmental footprint, saves you money and can increase your property value. A well designed solar power system on average has a payback in Sydney of 3 to 5 years. A quality smart solar power system will last decades, so getting a return of 20% on your initial investment is possible. This makes solar energy one of the best financial investment choices on the market. A typical solar system comprises two main parts, the panels, and the inverter. Solarpro typically installs top quality, high energy efficient panels like REC and SolarEdge. The panels you choose are usually combined with a SolarEdge optimised inverter to deliver award winning performance. While solar panels are important and very visible, the heart and brains of solar systems is the inverter. It converts the direct current the solar panels produce into a usable alternating current that the appliances in your home or business use. There are three different inverter technologies available, string, micro and optimised.
A smart solar power system has a centralised inverter controlling it. The inverter has a small computer in it that allows you to do all kinds of amazing things with the free energy you generate.
Optimisers are used to enable each panel to operate individually unlike a string system. Because panels sometimes face different directions and some get a little shade from surrounding vegetation, having each panel operate separately can improve solar power system output significantly.
Did you know with a string design, where let’s say 10 panels are all connected in a string, if even 1 panel is shaded all panels in that string will lose significant output. On the Northern side of Sydney, with our leafy outlooks, getting a roof that never has any shade, from antennas, gables, satellite dishes or trees is very difficult. That’s why string inverter solutions are often not suitable for a solar system that requires a high electricity output. In these instances, optimised technology is the right solution. Off the shelf, it will generate more power than other inverters purely due to the architecture of the system, which could be reason enough for installing the system. Or, you may be the type of person who wants to take full control of your home’s energy and integrate some energy control devices into your solar system. We have the technology to give you these options.
Solarpro will design a smart solar power system that not only generates renewable energy, but also can create integration with other energy consuming devices in your home.
Turning your house into a Smart Home. The inbuilt computer enables you to take control of your home’s energy down to each switched appliance. You can programme appliances like the air conditioner or a pool heat pump not to come on until there is enough excess solar energy being produced. You may like to have your underfloor heating or heated towel rails on a solar-powered timer so they are warm and ready when you want them.
Electric hot water tanks are popular in a smart energy solution, because we can direct the excess solar electricity directly into your tank. A very cost-effective way to power a solar hot water system. Solar-powered EV chargers can also be integrated into this solution to ensure you can use the sun’s energy to drive your EV, rather than the grid if you choose. The ultimate goal is to use as much as possible of your excess generated solar power, instead of selling it back to the retailer for a few cents, keep it in your property and offset your other electricity needs. The result will be that you import as little as possible from the grid and stay “off the grid” longer than ever. Combine all this technology with a home solar battery and now the grid is only there to back you up. Your solar system is now the main supplier of the energy for your home. You will also be able to monitor how much energy your home uses or exports to the grid at a glance. Energy control in the palm of your hand.
A correctly designed solar power system will generate excess energy, often between 11am and 3pm. Designed to automatically use the PV system’s excess power to increase solar energy usage, smart energy products help the homeowner achieve lower electricity bills, increased energy independence, and greater convenience. The smart energy suite combines solar power production, solar storage management, and home automation, all under the control of a single inverter. These smart energy products feature wireless communication with the inverter and are ideally suited for a variety of home automation applications. The system lets you decide what is done with that energy from heating hot water to powering domestic appliances or a pool pump. This will lower your electricity bills and you can manage it all on the run from your phone or just set it and forget it.
The grey area on the bell graph below is electricity you would pay for because the sun isn’t shining, e.g., running your clothes dryer. With the appliance control devices you are moving that grey costly area into the brown area of free solar power simply by choosing to run some of your appliances during the day.
Solarpro’s solar and hot water solutions will reduce your energy running costs. We cater to different needs and budgets using a combination of solar power and battery storage, hot water systems and solar pool heating (if required) to bring your energy bills as near to zero as possible.
Our innovative solutions have developed over the years, and as a result we have been recognised by many important renewable industry organisations and leading brands, who have appointed us as their representative or given us special awards.
Our excellent service and outstanding install results, as part of these special partnerships allows us to purchase quality components at favourable prices. They also reflect our solar industry connections, qualifications and relationships.
Our ebook will explain how to take control of your energy production & consumption. Learn how to target and reduce your energy use throughout your home. Download our essential eBook to learn how. Then follow this with the download form.
What is the difference between basic solar and smart solar?
In 2009, SolarEdge optimised systems entered the Australian market with improvements over basic string systems that enabled up to 25% more power generation. By 2016 SolarEdge had introduced appliance control devices which enable the maximum amount of power to be used in the home as possible. This created the ‘Smart’ Solar Home concept which has become increasingly important as self-consumption rather than export to the electricity grid is now the best way to save money with solar.
Basic solar is when an installer puts a solar panel array on your roof connected to a standard string inverter and you then try to use as much of the solar electricity as possible during the day.
While this type of renewable energy is able to create a saving for you and allow you to achieve a lower bill, it puts all responsibility to achieve the best financial outcome on to your daily behaviour.
The issue is that the electricity generation of a system in the morning hours is usually only 20 or 30% of what the system can generate in the middle of the day. So the generation is following a curve and peaks in the middle of the day, which means that your consumption, which isn’t always in the middle of the day, doesn’t necessarily match the generation of electricity from your solar system.
To understand the difference between this solar application and smart solar is very useful. Solarpro has been finessing solar systems to make them ‘smart’ for many years and is generally considered an expert. An area of focus on ‘smart’ solar now, is finding other ways to utilize the solar energy peak which is generated from 11am to roughly 3pm in Sydney.
There is usually some excess electricity when the system generation peaks. The way to be clever with this excess solar power is in finding ways it can be stored for later use with or without a solar storage battery. This includes diversion into a hot water tank where it is stored as thermal energy and used to heat your water. Solarpro has a variety of smart energy storage options that enable heat to be used later in the day to warm the air in your home or for underfloor heating or if you have a pool to run a pool heat pump.
So ‘smart’ solar is basically utilising the excess solar capacity that has been generated during peak production periods. It puts your solar power to work and avoids sending it back into the grid for a low feed in tariff value.
Of course, the well known way to store solar power for use whenever you require it is in a solar storage battery. However, batteries can be expensive and Solarpro has developed alternatives to achieve a similar outcome, for a lower outlay. Call us, so we can develop a customised smart solar proposal for you.
What are the key advantages of smart solar systems?
For example, you would be able to use the excess renewable energy to divert it into a hot water tank, which would mean that you wouldn’t have to pay the grid electricity price per kWh to heat your water. Therefore, overall, you would have a better financial result.
Can I have a 0 dollar electricity bill with a smart solar system?
You will always have to pay for the electricity that you’re getting from the grid in the evening and at night, as well as for the energy retailer charge that is called the supply charge. With ‘smart’ solar, Solarpro can set your system up so you can be clever by minimising the times you have to buy from the grid at a peak rate. The supply charge is the money one pays for the right to be connected to the grid and this charge, which in Sydney is around $100 for a three month period is supposed to go towards grid maintenance.
So in order to get a $0 bill, you would have to export enough solar at 6 to 10cents per kWh to offset all your night’s use as well as the supply charge, which is very rare.
On the other hand, if you have a smart solar system and you have for example a battery, this would mean not many kWh of electricity would come from the grid at night, as you would utilise your battery power first.
So, the only cost you have to offset for your solar system is the supply charge of about $100 per quarter. This means that if you export a hundred dollars’ worth of electricity in the quarter via the feed in tariff, you could have close to a $0 bill.
What has changed regarding smart solar over the past few years?
The problem with gas is, we’re stuck with a company that’s going to dictate how much you’re paying for your energy. With the sun, that energy is yours. And once you put those solar panels on, it’s costing you nothing. So as time moves on, we’re now recommending to people to keep away from gas. We’re putting electric appliances in like electric hot water; we’re heating swimming pools with electric heat pumps. We’re now driving cars that use electricity. So, you want to be setting your home up correctly now, to have as little running costs as possible, so the future is Smart Solar.
What is a feed-in-tariff?
FITs’ primary objective is to motivate the use of renewable power. FiTs end up making the installation of renewable energy systems more reasonably priced for the system’s holder. They accomplish this by lowering repayment times through energy fee savings. Using a FiT to stimulate demand, governments not only financially assist early adopters, but also start driving the industry to make new and efficient systems.
FITs also motivate energy consumers to use less energy. Some users directly benefit by being credited for electricity generated in excess of their own needs. Others become much more aware of their energy consumption as a result of installing their own electricity system, and this may lead to a change in behaviour to reduce their energy consumption. Individual users can save money on their electricity bills thanks to these two factors.
Following installation, the user can apply for a FiT with the relevant state authority and/or electricity distributor. They can enter into a contract to receive the FiT for the electricity they export to the grid if their system meets certain criteria.
How do I maximise my solar savings?
Solar panels only generate electricity during the day, therefore, if you want to maximise your energy usage, you should try to use as much free electricity as possible while the sun is shining. While the amount of energy required varies from household to household, there are some simple ways to ensure you are getting the most out of your solar investment
Also, the number of appliances you can use during the day is defined by the type of solar system you have or the amount of power your household requires. However, as a general rule of thumb, using one appliance at a time can save you a significant amount of electricity. This can be intimidating for those who aren’t used to limiting their appliance usage. However, by following simple suggestions, the practise can be made extremely simple such as only turn on lights in the rooms you are using.
Secondly, in most cases, you will not need to climb on your roof on a routine basis to wash your solar panels. However, it is a good practice that you clean them every few years. The number of times they will need cleaning is determined by a variety of factors, including where you live. Dirt, mould, sea salt, and animal droppings all reduce the amount of sunlight that your solar panels can absorb. This can have some impact on the output as it can reduce your panel’s ability to absorb light.
Nevertheless, we are talking in the vicinity of 5 to 8% loss on some panels that have not been washed for some years, not 30 or 40%, so if you do not clean the panels and have a sufficiently large capacity system, you will generate a lot of solar anyway.
Thirdly, monitoring your solar system and your home’s energy demand will assist you in keeping your solar experience as rewarding as possible. Apps that track your energy consumption can be linked to your solar inverter and panels, in the case of SolarEdge and they can show your daily household electricity consumption and system generation.
Finally, remember it is the inverter that is the brains of the system not the solar panels. A SolarEdge optimised inverter is Solarpro’s recommendation. It costs more than a basic string inverter but is better value for money as it can generate up to 25% more power. It also opens up options to use device control technology on your appliances and for us to look at ‘smart’ solar storage options for you other than solar batteries.