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20kW commercial solar power systems: Pricing, output, and returns

20kW solar power systems are becoming an increasingly worthwhile and attractive investment for small to medium businesses (or households with very large energy consumption) across Australia, with payback periods in the 3-5 year range in most parts of the country. This article provides an overview of the ranges of prices, energy yields (in kWh), and financial returns that a business may expect to see from a typical 20kW solar PV system.

How much does a 20kW solar system cost?

According to data from Solar Choice’s installer network database, a fully installed 20kW system will cost roughly $15,000 – $20,000 as of November 2021. These figures include the up-front ‘discount’/incentive available under the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target for systems under 100kW in output capacity, as well as GST.

With prices in this range, clean & affordable energy is well within the reach of SMEs facing increasing pressure from rising grid electricity prices.

Solar Choice has been keeping track of commercial solar system prices since May 2014 with our regular Commercial Solar PV Price Index updates. While we don’t specifically track 20kW systems, we do track 10kW & 30kW pricing – historic pricing trends for 30kW systems can be seen in the graphs below:

30kW Solar system price cost history graph

Average 30kW solar system prices between May 2014 and November 2021. (From Solar Choice’s Commercial PV Price Index.)

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How much energy will a 20kW solar system produce?

Depending on a number of factors, the actual power output of a 20kW solar power system will vary. These variables include:

Geographical location of the system and the expected daily and annual solar irradiation and cloud cover levels thereOrientation and tilt angle of the solar panel arrayWhether there is any shade cast on the panelsActual operating temperature of the panelsWhether solar panel array capacity is accurately matched to inverter capacityThe performance of the individual components – i.e. the panels and the inverter

The table below provides a rough indication of the amount of energy that a 20kW solar system will produce per day (averaged over the year) in Australia’s capital cities.

20kW Solar System Energy Output

Capital CityApprox average daily energy production*Adelaide72-82kWhBrisbane78-82kWhCanberra72-82kWhDarwin~88kWhHobart58-66kWhMelbourne62-72kWhPerth80-88kWhSydney68-76kWh*Assumes north-facing with no shading, 75% system efficiency. Information via PVWatts & Bureau of Meteorology

Keep in mind that the figures in this table are annual averages – daily output figures will generally be higher in the summer and lower in the winter due to the difference in the length of days. In the winter, a system may generate 20-40% less energy, while in the summer it may generate 20-40% more.

Is 20kW the right solar system size for your business?

Determining the right size solar system for your business essentially comes down to three factors:

Roof space available: A 20kW system will require at least roughly 100-136m2 of area, but possibly more depending on the wattage of the panels and whether the they require tilt frames.Your energy consumption habits: In many places in Australia, solar feed-in credits are not paid out for energy sent into the grid by solar systems over 10kW in capacity; this means that any solar energy that your system produces that you cannot use directly is of no financial benefit to you. It is therefore important to ensure that the system you ultimately select is sized to meet your business’ energy consumption levels and habits. Talk to an expert at Solar Choice to find the optimal system size for you energy consumption.Your budget: If you have enough roof space to install the maximum recommended solar system size, then it comes down to whether you have the budget to invest in a system.

What is the typical ROI and payback period for a 20kW solar system?

According to our own data (from nearly 300 business cases compiled in 2021), payback periods for appropriately sized commercial-scale solar systems in Australia are around 2 years on average after considering the goverment STC rebate and tax incentives that are available for solar projects

Each case will vary depending on the circumstances and that preferences of the business owner. Some of the major considerations that affect ROI are:

The system cost – both upfront and ongoing costsThe grid price for electricityHow the system is paid for – cash, finance, solar PPA etc.Whether a feed-in-tariff can be obtained to sell surplus power back to the grid

These are discussed below:

1) Total cost of the system

The 20kW solar system costs we have outlined above (around $15,000-$20,000 inc. GST in Sydney as at the end of 2021) is an estimate of the price for installs without significant extras for complications. Through our tender management service we have installers costs for required extras such as switchboard upgrades, crane hire, ground-mounted systems, tilt frames or micro-inverter systems. In order to get the best price and value for your system we would always recommend to source a number of quotes from qualified installers.

2) Electricity prices

If you just have one shop and you are buying electricity then you will have less buying power than a chain of stores who can procure a collective agreement. We several commercial electricity bills every day and the rates vary significantly depending on buying power, location and whether you have shopped around your rates recently. In general, if you are paying higher rates for grid electricity then the value of solar power will be greater. If you are on a very sharp rate then you might be looking at a slightly longer payback period to install solar.

3) System financing

Solar can be funded upfront with a payback period of 2-5 years, however many businesses have progressed on a cash flow positive basis under a financing agreement. That means that the repayments on the loan are less than the savings that the solar system delivers. The business case make a moderate saving through the life of the loan and have step decrease in operational costs are the end of a 5 – 10 year finance agreement. Rates for solar financing are often low between 4 – 6 % depending on project size and credit rating.

To read a balance review of the pros and cons of all the commercial solar financing options – see our full guide.

4) Solar feed-in tariffs

It is often possible to find a feed in tariff for a 20kW solar system. If the property is on 3-phase then usually there are not limitations to exporting power back to the grid which can occur with larger solar system sizes. What rates you can get are subject to negotiation with a retailer – you can see some of the published rates here. Solar feed in tariffs are a small part of the benefits of installing solar and we recommend to think of it as the icing on the cake. The business case should stack up based solely on reducing the amount of power you have to buy from the grid.

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Since 2008 Solar Choice has consulted with over 3,000 businesses around Australia and helped develop over 800MW solar commercial and solar farm projects.

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© 2019 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

The post 20kW commercial solar power systems: Pricing, output, and returns appeared first on Solar Choice.

Which electricity retailer offers the best solar feed-in tariff?

Feed-in tariffs in Australia: How they’ve changed

Solar feed-in tariffs are arrangements where a solar system owner is paid for the solar energy that they send into the grid. At one point in time, feed-in tariffs were mandatory in every state in Australia, and the rates they offered were quite generous.

Much has changed, however, since we first published this article in 2009. State-manded feed-in tariff incentives are no longer available to new solar customers in almost all of Australia’s states and territories. Instead, rates are largely voluntary for electricity retailers in most states; they usually fall in the range of 6-15¢/kWh – generally lower than price of retail electricity purchased from the grid. (Those who signed up for these before the deadlines for the various feed-in tariffs may continue to receive the set rates for the duration of the term of their incentives.)

Because feed-in tariffs are voluntary in many states, solar system owners must shop around to find a retailer that offers them a favourable rate.

Why feed-in tariffs aren’t the only factor you should consider

Everyone wants to get the greatest possible value out of their solar installation; feed-in tariff rates are only one piece of the puzzle.

Until a couple of years ago, feed-in tariff incentives were virtually the main determinant in the economic viability of going solar in Australia. Since then, however, solar PV system prices have fallen considerably, meaning that an investment in a solar PV system is still worthwhile, but how to best use a system has changed.

When feed-in tariffs were higher than the cost of grid electricity, it made sense for homes & businesses to try to export as much power as possible, as this would maximise savings.

The shift to solar self-consumption

These days, the opposite is true: in order to maximise investment in a solar system, the system’s owner would see the most benefit from endeavouring to consume as much of the electricity that they generate as possible (‘solar self-consumption‘). This is because direct consumption of any solar power generated means less electricity that needs to be purchased from the grid (at rates between 20-30¢/kWh, depending on the retailer and region), whereas exporting the power will earn system owners credits on their power bill to the tune of only 6-10¢/kWh.

What is clear is that the bias for ‘self-consumption’ virtually defines the business case for going solar in Australia today. The aim of this article is to help solar shoppers to keep themselves informed about what their excess solar power is worth, so that they can ensure that they are getting the most out of their system.

Beware of high solar feed-in tariff ‘bait’

A higher solar feed-in tariff rate from your electricity retailer does not necessarily mean a better overall deal – make sure that you consider each retail electricity plan as a whole. You can try our Solar-friendly Retail Plan Comparison Tool to get a more complete picture.

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Solar feed-in tariff rates by state (Select)

NSW – VIC – QLD – SA – WA – ACT – NT – TAS

New South Wales

At the moment, there is no mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate in NSW. Instead, individual electricity retailers assign a value to exported solar power as they see fit. Some retailers offer more than others, and some retailers offer nothing.

RetailerStateMin Solar FITMax Solar FITNotable ConditionsMojo PowerNSW7.5c22.0cCapped at first 5kWh per dayRed EnergyNSW6.0c18.0cCapped at first 5kWh per dayDiscover EnergyNSW6.0c16.0cCapped at 300kWh per quarterActewAGLNSW8.0c15.0cSystem size 10kW maxAGLNSW7.0c12.0cSystem size 10kW max1st EnergyNSW6.0c11.0cGEE EnergyNSW5.0c11.0cCapped at 10kWh per dayMomentum EnergyNSW0.0c10.0cSystem size 10kW maxSmart EnergyNSW7.0c10.0cOrigin EnergyNSW5.0c10.0cOnly if buy solar through OriginReAmped EnergyNSW0.0c9.0cSystem size 10kW maxElysian EnergyNSW0.0c9.0cSystem size 10kW maxCovaUNSW0.0c8.5cPeople EnergyNSW8.0c8.0cQEnergyNSW8.0c8.0cSumoNSW5.5c8.0cEnergy AustraliaNSW7.6c7.6cSystem size 10kW maxEnova EnergyNSW0.0c7.0cEnergy LocalsNSW7.0c7.0cDodoNSW7.0c7.0cBright Spark PowerNSW7.0c7.0cCircular EnergyNSW7.0c7.0cElectricity in a BoxNSW7.0c7.0cIndigo PowerNSW7.0c7.0cGlow PowerNSW7.0c7.0cDiamond EnergyNSW0.0c7.0cOVO EnergyNSW0.0c7.0cAlinta EnergyNSW6.7c6.7cInverter size 5kW maxRadian EnergyNSW6.0c6.0cPooled EnergyNSW4.5c6.0cSimply EnergyNSW5.5c5.5cTango EnergyNSW5.5c5.5cMust install through Tango and capped at 3.5kWh per dayNectrNSW5.5c5.5cPowerdirectNSW5.0c5.0cPowershopNSW0.0c5.0cSystem size 10kW maxKogan EnergyNSW4.4c4.4cFuture X PowerNSW4.0c4.0cGloBird EnergyNSW1.0c3.0cLocality Planning EnergyNSW0.0c8.5cOn by EnergyAustraliaNSW0.0c0.0cArc Energy GroupNSW0.0c0.0cAmber ElectricNSWMarket linked FIT (Variable)PowerclubNSWMarket linked FIT (Variable)Social EnergyNSWMust install solar and battery through Social EnergyRead more about feed-in tariffs in NSW

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The Victorian government introduced a new minimum feed-in tariff from 1 July 2017. The rate is subject to regular reviews and will fluctuate annually. The rates in the table below reflect the current feed-in tariffs on offer in the state.

N.b. The Victorian government has recently introduced a ‘time varying feed-in tariff‘ whose rates are not reflected below.)

RetailerStateMin Solar FITMax Solar FITNotable ConditionsDodoVIC12.0c12.0c1st EnergyVIC6.7c11.7cSumoVIC6.7c10.2cTango EnergyVIC6.7c10.1cMust install through Tango and capped at 3.5kWh per dayMomentum EnergyVIC6.7c10.0cSystem size 10kW maxOrigin EnergyVIC6.7c10.0cOnly if buy solar through Origin – 10kW maxElysian EnergyVIC0.0c10.0cSystem size 5kW maxReAmped EnergyVIC7.1c9.1cSystem size 10kW maxRed EnergyVIC6.7c8.0cLumo EnergyVIC6.7c8.0cOVO EnergyVIC6.7c8.0cEnergy AustraliaVIC7.1c7.1cEnergy LocalsVIC6.7c7.0cCircular EnergyVIC7.0c7.0cIndigo PowerVIC7.0c7.0cDiamond EnergyVIC0.0c7.0cPowerdirectVIC6.7c6.7cDiscover EnergyVIC6.7c6.7ccapped at 300kWh per quarterElectricity In A BoxVIC6.7c6.7cPowershopVIC6.7c6.7cGloBird EnergyVIC6.7c6.7cQEnergyVIC6.7c6.7cAGLVIC6.7c6.7cSystem size 10kW maxAlinta EnergyVIC6.7c6.7cSystem size 5kW maxPeople EnergyVIC6.7c6.7cSimply EnergyVIC6.7c6.7cKogan EnergyVIC6.7c6.7cCovaUVIC0.0c0.0cPowerclubVICAmber ElectricNSWMarket linked FIT (Variable)PowerclubNSWMarket linked FIT (Variable)Social EnergyNSWMust install solar and battery through Social EnergyRead more about feed-in tariffs in VIC

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At the moment, there is no mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate for southeastern Queensland (Energex network). Instead, individual electricity retailers assign a value to exported solar power as they see fit. Some retailers offer more than others, and some retailers offer nothing.

If you are a resident of regional Queensland (Ergon network), however, there is a mandatory minimum that you will receive for exported solar power (check the QCA’s website for current rates).

RetailerStateMin Solar FITMax Solar FITNotable ConditionsMojo PowerQLD5.5c18.0cCapped at 5kWh per dayDiscover EnergyQLD6.0c16.0cCapped at 300kWH per quarterAGLQLD5.0c12.0cSystem size 10kW maxRed EnergyQLD5.0c11.5cCapped at 5kWh per day1st EnergyQLD6.0c11.0cCovaUQLD0.0c11.0cGEE EnergyQLD5.0c11.0cCapped at 10kWh per dayMomentum EnergyQLD0.0c10.0cSystem size 10kW maxOrigin EnergyQLD3.0c10.0cOnly if buy solar through Origin – 10kW maxElysian EnergyQLD0.0c9.0cSystem size 5kW maxDodoQLD8.5c8.5cPeople EnergyQLD8.0c8.0cReAmped EnergyQLD0.0c8.0cSystem size 10kW maxQEnergyQLD0.0c8.0cAlinta EnergyQLD0.0c8.0cSystem size 5kW maxLocality Planning EnergyQLD0.0c7.9cGloBird EnergyQLD1.0c7.2cBright Spark PowerQLD7.0c7.0cGlow PowerQLD7.0c7.0cDiamond EnergyQLD0.0c7.0cSmart EnergyQLD5.0c7.0cErgon EnergyQLD6.6c6.6cEnergy AustraliaQLD6.6c6.6cSystem size 30kW maxEnergy LocalsQLD6.0c6.0cSumoQLD6.0c6.0cRadian EnergyQLD6.0c6.0cCircular EnergyQLD6.0c6.0cOVO EnergyQLD0.0c6.0cEnova EnergyQLD0.0c6.0cPowerdirectQLD5.0c5.0cTango EnergyQLD5.0c5.0cCapped at 3.5kWh per daySimply EnergyQLD4.5c4.5cFuture X PowerQLD4.0c4.0cElectricity in a BoxQLD4.0c4.0cNectrQLD0.0c4.0cPowershopQLD0.0c3.5cFeed-in tariff is only for systems up to 10kW in NSW QLD and SA.Kogan EnergyQLD2.9c2.9cOn by EnergyAustraliaQLD0.0c0.0cAmber ElectricNSWMarket linked FIT (Variable)PowerclubNSWMarket linked FIT (Variable)Social EnergyNSWMust install solar and battery through Social EnergyRead more about feed-in tariffs in QLD

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South Australia

At the moment there is no minimum solar feed-in rate in South Australia. Instead, electricity retailers set their own feed-in rates voluntarily – so solar homes need to shop around to find the best possible deal.

RetailerState / TerritoryMin Solar FITMax Solar FITReAmped EnergySA.0.0c19.0cAGLSA.8.0c16.0c1st EnergySA.8.0c13.0cDiscover EnergySA.6.0c13.0cOrigin EnergySA.6.0c13.0cCovaUSA.0.0c12.0cDodoSA.11.6c11.6cSocial EnergySA.10.8c10.8cEnergy AustraliaSA.10.5c10.5cDiamond EnergySA.0.0c10.2cMomentum EnergySA.0.0c10.0cElysian EnergySA.0.0c9.6cAlinta EnergySA.9.5c9.5cPowerdirectSA.8.0c8.0cOVO EnergySA.0.0c8.0cIO EnergySA.8.0c8.0cTango EnergySA.0.0c7.5cMojo PowerSA.6.8c6.8cPeople EnergySA.6.8c6.8cQEnergySA.6.8c6.8cEnergy LocalsSA.6.5c6.5cSimply EnergySA.4.5c4.5cFuture X PowerSA.4.0c4.0cGloBird EnergySA.3.0c3.0cPowershopSA.0.0c3.0cRed EnergySA.3.0c3.0cLumo EnergySA.3.0c3.0cKogan EnergySA.2.1c2.1cNectrSA.0.0c2.0cPowerclubSA.0.0c1.0cAmber ElectricSA.0.0c0.0cRead more about feed-in tariffs in SA

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Step 1 of 4

25%Is MobileAre you looking for residential or commercial solar solutions?ResidentialCommercialBusiness NameWhich quotes would you like to compare?Solar EnergySolar Energy and Battery StorageBattery Storage OnlyDo you know what size system you would like to install?1kW to 4kW5kW to 7kW8kW and AboveNot sureDo you know what size system you would like to install?Uncertain1-5kWh6-10kWh11-15kWh16-20kWhDo you know what size system you would like to install?Under 30kw30 to 100kW100 to 1MWOver 1MWNot sureWhen do you want to make a decision?Now1 – 3 MonthsWithin 12 MonthsWhat stage are you at with your investigations?Just getting startedAlready done some research into solarReceived Quotes AlreadyWhat is the address of the proposed installation?This information is used to identify your roof and the local pre-vetted installers to include in your online quote comparison.

Western Australia

At the moment, the mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate for the southwestern region of Western Australia is set by government-owned network company Synergy. The rates have been updated recently to reflect the growing penetration of solar into the grid. As of 1 November 2021 the solar feed in tariff in WA for Synergy customers is as follows:

Solar power exported into the grid between 3pm to 9pm earns 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh);Solar power exported into the grid between 9pm and 3pm earns 2.75 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)

This time of export stipulation would favour solar panels installed on the west-facing aspect of the roof to maximise evening solar power generation and battery storage which could be used to shift exports to later in the day.

If you are a resident of the regional Horizon Power network, the mandatory minimum that you will receive for exported solar power will depend on where you are. Horizon offers between 10¢/kWh and 50¢/kWh for exported solar power depending on the town and whether local solar capacity quotas have been reached already. A full list of the rates can be found here. Also note that in some areas export control devices may be required for solar system owners.


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At the moment, there is no mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate in the ACT. Instead, individual electricity retailers assign a value to exported solar power as they see fit.

RetailerStateMin Solar FITMax Solar FITDetailed ConditionsActewAGLACT7.2c12.0cSystem size 10kW maxReAmped EnergyACT0.0c9.0cSystem size 10kW maxElysian EnergyACT9.0c9.0cSystem size 5kW maxOrigin EnergyACT7.0c8.0cOnly if buy solar through Origin – 10kW maxEnergy AustraliaACT7.6c7.6cSystem size 10kW maxEnergy LocalsACT7.0c7.0cRed EnergyACT6.0c6.0cHigh FIT in NSW and Queensland is capped at 5kWh per dayRadian EnergyACT6.0c6.0cDiscover EnergyACT6.0c6.0cCapped at 300kWh per quarterCovaUACT0.0c5.5c

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Northern Territory

Feed-in tariff rates in the Northern Territory will depend on your electricity retailer, but are not clearly listed in a comparator site. A list of retailers operating in the region can be found here.

RetailerState / TerritoryMin Solar FITMax Solar FITRimfire EnergyNT.11.0c11.0cJacana EnergyNT.8.3c8.3c

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Tasmania is technically an open market for retail electricity, but there is little competition in the state so far. Current regulated rates can be found on the Tasmanian Energy Regulator’s website.

RetailerStateMin Solar FITMax Solar FITNotable Conditions1st EnergyTAS6.5c10.0cElysian EnergyTAS7.9c9.0cSystem size 5kW maxEnergy LocalsTAS6.6c7.0cGlow PowerTAS7.0c7.0cCovaUTAS7.0c7.0cAurora EnergyTAS6.5c6.5cFuture X PowerTAS0.0c0.0c

Read about solar feed-in tariffs in your state:

NSW – VIC – QLD – SA – WA – ACT – NT – TAS

Frequently asked questions about solar feed-in tariffs

Types of solar feed-in tariffs: Net and Gross ▼

As you may have heard there are two types of feed in tariffs: Net and Gross.

Net feed in tariff – A net feed-in tariff pays you only for the surplus energy that you feed back into the grid. This type of scheme operates virtually everywhere in Australia now. The power that is not exported to the grid is used by the home, thereby reducing the electricity of the home or business in question through avoided purchase of power from the grid in the first place.

Gross feed in tariff – A gross feed in tariff pays you for every kilowatt hour of electricity your solar cells produce, regardless of how much energy you consume. Generally speaking, gross feed-in tariffs are not offered through electricity retailers these days. These days, the vast majority of feed-in arrangements are net feed-in arrangements.

Form of payment for solar feed-in tariff revenues ▼

The feed in tariffs you earn are by default paid as a credit on your electricity bill, which is usually settled quarterly. So the energy you export to the grid works to decrease your electricity bill. In the case that you’ve exported so much energy that your account goes into surplus, most energy retailers allow you to claim the cash by cheque or EFT on request (check with yours to find out for sure).

Is Feed in Tariff income taxable? ▼

Generally speaking, income received to a household from a feed in tariff is not taxable as the system is installed for personal use and not for the sole intention of making a profit. If, however, you are installing the system on a commercial premises then the income from the feed in tariff may be assessed as being taxable. Please consult with a tax professional to confirm.

Will I need to pay GST on Feed in Tariff income? ▼

Households are not generally required to pay GST on their feed in tariff income. Businesses, however, will generally need to do so. Again – please consult with a tax professional to confirm.

Further reading of best solar feed-in tariff by state:

Best feed-in tariffs NSW

Best feed-in tariffs VIC

Best feed-in tariffs QLD

Best feed-in tariffs SA

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The post Which electricity retailer offers the best solar feed-in tariff? appeared first on Solar Choice.

Best SA Solar Feed-In Tariffs

Residents in South Australia have the highest electricity rates in Australia.  This explains why going solar is a big motivation for household owners there, with one in three having a solar panels system installed.

In this article, we’ll provide you with information on the best solar feed in tariff rates in SA. We’ll also give you what you need to know to make an educated decision in choosing an electricity retailer.

If you’re looking for the best solar feed-in tariff in SA , scroll below to view a table which displays this information on a regular basis. We also recommend you consider other information beyond just the amount you’ll receive from the tariff, so you’ll be able to make a more

Is there a minimum solar feed-in tariff in South Australia?

There is currently no minimum solar feed-in tariff rate in South Australia at the moment. It’s up to electricity retailers to voluntarily set their own rates, so consumers need to shop around for the best deal.

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Best Solar Feed-In Rates in South Australia

solar feed in tariff sa

The below table shows the lowest and highest FiT rates for each electricity retailer in South Australia.

RetailerStateMin Solar FITMax Solar FITDetailed ConditionsDiscover EnergySA6.0c16.0cCapped at 300kWh per Quarter1st EnergySA8.0c13.0cCovaUSA0.0c12.0cAGLSA5.0c12.0cSystem size 10kW maxDodoSA11.6c11.6cOrigin EnergySA6.0c10.0cOnly if buy solar through Origin – 10kW maxMomentum EnergySA0.0c10.0cSystem size 10kW maxReAmped EnergySA0.0c9.0cSystem size 10kW maxElysian EnergySA0.0c9.0cSystem size 5kW maxEnergy AustraliaSA8.5c8.5cSystem size 30kW maxAlinta EnergySA8.0c8.0cSystem size 5kW maxTango EnergySA0.0c7.5cGlow PowerSA7.0c7.0cCircular EnergySA7.0c7.0cDiamond EnergySA0.0c7.0cOVO EnergySA0.0c7.0cMojo PowerSA6.8c6.8cCapped at 5kWh per dayQEnergySA6.8c6.8cPeople EnergySA6.8c6.8cPowershopSA6.7c6.7cSystem size 10kW maxEnergy LocalsSA6.5c6.5cPowerdirectSA5.0c5.0cIO EnergySA3.0c5.0cPowershopSA0.0c5.0cSystem size 10kW maxSimply EnergySA4.5c4.5cFuture X PowerSA4.0c4.0cPowershopSA0.0c3.5cSystem size 10kW maxLumo EnergySA3.0c3.0cRed EnergySA3.0c3.0cGloBird EnergySA1.0c3.0cPowershopSA0.0c3.0cSystem size 10kW maxKogan EnergySA2.1c2.1cNectrSA0.0c2.0cAmber ElectricSAMarket linked FIT (Variable)PowerclubSAMarket linked FIT (Variable)Social EnergySAMust install solar and battery through Social Energy

*Please note that we periodically update these tables. Please email us at [email protected] if anything is out of date.

What retailer has the best solar feed-in tariff in South Australia?

At the time of writing (November 2021), Discover Energy has the best solar feed-in tariff in SA, whereby the maximum a customer can get is 16 cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh), although this is limited to a maximum of 300kWh per quarter. The next best solar feed in tariff is 1st Energy who offer 13c per kWh and we could not find any publicly stated limitations to the quantity of solar power.

Should I only think about solar feed-in tariffs when choosing a provider?

decision making solar feed in tariffs

It’s understandable that residential owners put a lot of weight in the provider who provides the highest solar feed-in tariff amount. However, we recommend that you adopt a holistic approach here.

There can be cases where the provider draws you in with a high FiT but you still end up with a higher spend as they couple it with higher electricity rates and daily supply charges. Which is why we recommend you consider other reasons beyond just the feed-in tariff when it comes to making a more informed, balanced decision.

This may include non-financial reasons such as going for a more ethical or environmentally friendly retailer. Or a provider that is committed to maintaining high customer service standards by keeping an Australian based staff, as opposed to outsourcing overseas which has become common.

Every household will have to weigh their respective factors on a case by case basis. For those that have large solar systems, they can export plenty of excess clean electricity back into the grid, so a high solar FiT may be an important factor. Conversely, for someone that has a small solar system, they may want to put more weighting towards lower rates or supply charges due to the fact they’ll receive less potential charges on their bill.

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History of feed-in tariffs in SA

solar feed in tariff diagram

There used to be a minimum guaranteed feed-in tariff at a generous 44c/kWh, which was in place up until 30 September 2011. This was at the time a big motivational driver for consumers to switch to solar.

Then in 2012, ESCOSA released a draft determination for a transitional solar feed-in tariff of 23c/kWh for SA residents who applied between 27 January 2012 and 30 June 2012.

Previous applications who were lucky enough to receive the premium feed-in tariff before 30 September 2011 were initially on 44c/kWh before this change was put into effect. Those lucky solar system owners had this premium rate locked in until 2028.

However, those who didn’t have access to SAs premium feed-in tariff rate would at least receive 6.8c/kWh which was mandated by ESCOSA. Solar Choice recommended that they shop around for the best rate, plan and retailer as now there was competition based incentives for doing so.

In actuality the transitional rate was rather complicated looking back at it. It was set at a significantly reduced rate of 16c/kWh plus an additional set contribution required from electricity retailers who accepted solar customers (i.e. approximately 16c/kWh government rebate plus 6-8c/kWh estimated electricity retailer contribution). This transitionary period was for those who signed up during the two years from 1 October, 2011.

Then towards the end of 2016, ESCOSA decided to eliminate the minimum feed-in tariff for SA.  SA effectively followed NSW and South-East Queenslands decision in removing minimum rates and hence left it up to market competition in determining what rates consumers would receive. The effect of this on consumers was now it was their responsibility to shop around and find the best rate, plan and company they preferred.

The implication of this change was deemed to be relatively small however.

Despite the low feed-in rate, households still continued to switch to solar in droves because of the fact that solar affordability has increased a lot over the last 10 years. Further compounding this is that grid electricity prices are high in South Australia (due to high cost of wholesale electricity)

What are the network limits in SA?

transmission of electricity on the grid
How electricity is transported. (Image via AEMO. Click to enlarge.)

In hindsight you could argue that the original architects of the current solar grid system weren’t forward thinking in terms of the ability of solar PV owners to be able to sell excess energy back into the grid.

Hence, the reason why there are network limits on the ability to feed electricity back into the grid as it was originally designed to be unidirectional in nature. Perhaps in the future with advances in grid technology, South Australians will be able to enjoy a higher upper limit on their ability to export back to retailers.

NetworkDescriptionReferencesSA Power NetworksSingle phase: Up to 5kW

3-phase: Up to 30kWEmbedded generation


Going solar is a great way to save money on your power bills. The payback period has decreased considerably in recent years to an average of 3 -5 years for most residential homeowners. In other words, going solar is still worth it.  We recommend you to consider your specific situation when choosing a retailer, so you can make a balanced decision.

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The post Best SA Solar Feed-In Tariffs appeared first on Solar Choice.

How to choose best solar inverter in Australia?

Choosing the right inverter technology for a system is one of the most critical decisions to make when going solar. Professional solar installers help one in choosing the right sized inverters for their solar system.

By checking out the Clean Energy Council’s approved products list one can make sure whether solar inverter complies with the relevant Australian Standard (AS4777).

A 5kW solar inverter costs start at $1,000 for budget, single-phase models like Sungrow and up to $2,000 for the premium single-phase models like Fronius or SMA.

Solar inverters are located near electricity meter and should always be located in the shade for best performance.

Budget Inverter Vs Premium Inverter

As solar inverters work hard all the day, they wear out easily and is most likely to fail in 10 to 15 years. The really cheap products have no chance of lasting 15 years plus in Australia.

Australia’s harsh weather conditions make it difficult and expensive to design and manufacture a good solar inverter.

The price difference between opting for a premium inverter such as Fronius or SMA versus a budget inverter like Sungrow is $700 to $1,000 per system.

Enphase is the most expensive of the lot as it needs one micro-inverter per panel.

If one is on a limited budget, they can go for a budget inverter over premium inverters. A budget solar inverter is about half the price of a premium one.

The premium inverter is less likely to fail in the first 15 years. Even if it fails, the support and replacement will be covered by the warranty.

Types of inverters

String Inverters

It is the most common type of inverter used for residential purposes.

A string inverter is connected with a string of solar panels.  Besides being robust they are durable and easy to maintain. It is a trusted technology and much cheaper compared to other inverters.

Its drawback is that as all the solar panels are connected, a shaded panel would affect the efficiency of the whole system. Once a string inverter of certain rating is installed, it cannot be altered. Hence expandability in future becomes an issue.

String inverters are ideal in areas where there is no shading issues around the year.

Central Inverters

They are inverters of higher power rating. It is used for large commercial installations or utility scale solar farms.

They look like big metal cabinets and can handle up to megawatts of capacity per enclosure. It centralizes the power produced by the plant.


Microinverters deliver more energy as they optimise each panel individually. They are tiny solar inverters which are shade tolerant and can be remote monitored.

The main disadvantage of a Micro Inverter is it’s higher initial cost and the higher cost of replacing.

It is very suitable for residential buildings where each panel can be differently oriented or have different shading pattern during the day.

It is useful when limited space for panels constrains array size

Optimised string inverters

Optimiser string inverters perform like microinverter but use slightly different technology. An optimiser system requires a string inverter, but you then attach optimisers on the back of the solar panels, optimising each panel output under a variety of conditions.

Hybrid Inverters

A hybrid inverter works as on-grid and off-grid solar inverter. They are multi-mode inverters.  It can work without a grid.

It can store electricity and provide power backup. Excess electricity can be exported to the grid.

It converts DC power from modules to usable AC power and then convert stored AC from the batteries to power loads when needed

Hybrid inverters are useful when there is no access to a reliable power grid.

Battery inverters

Though expensive, battery inverters are a good option when one wants to retrofit batteries to your solar power system, or keep your battery system separate from your solar panels This simply converts your battery power into 230V AC and feeds it into your switchboard instead of grid power where possible.

Top Solar Inverter Brands

Some of the high-end solar inverter brands in Australia are:

Fronius – Over the past 10 years, Fronius inverters have become the favourite of Australian solar market. Fronius inverters are efficient and reliable and forms an indispensable part of every solar system.SolarEdge – SolarEdge introduced the concept of string inverter matched with individual DC optimisers on each solar panel. SolarEdge also has some clever hybrid inverter designs. Their inverters speak of reliability and efficiencyEnphase – Enphase is the only microinverter manufacturer in Australia. Their systems have many advantages over string systems, such as safer voltages and fault tolerance. Flexibility and reliability are its forte.

Some of the best budget solar inverters in Australia are:

Sungrow – It has some great features such as integration with Solar Analytics. Sungrow inverters are mid-range solar inverter in terms of performance, price and warranty serving 99%+ efficiency.Goodwe- It is a budget inverter brand with a good reputation for reliability and features. This is definitely a good budget option for those who are looking for a quick payback period and a fast return on investment.Growatt – It is recognized as being the No.1 Chinese Residential PV inverter brand. Their price point and high performing technology has made them popular in Australia.

Warranty of solar inverters

An average standard warranty period of solar inverters in Australia is 10 years. Some companies offer the possibility to extend this period to up to 20 years.

Manufacturer’s warranty covers the cost of the materials required to get your inverter functioning.  They can even opt to replace the entire inverter.

Only a few manufacturer warranties (such as Fronius) cover the labour cost to effect a repair, travel charges for service calls outside immediate service and, the shipping and or customs/duties charges associated with getting the required materials shipped from international destinations

To claim a warranty, we need to contact service provider as a first step. If you have given them access to your monitoring system, they can determine the nature of the issue and begin the appropriate warranty claim on your behalf.

To conclude, solar inverters are an integral part of a solar installation. Professional installers will help one to choose a solar inverter that best suits their solar system.

The post How to choose best solar inverter in Australia? appeared first on Regen Power.

Are solar panels worth the investment?

Are solar panels worth the investment? This is an oft repeated question faced by solar power business of Western Australia. With the cry for energy independence, solar energy and battery storage systems are quickly becoming the norm.

 Irrespective of electricity consumption, solar panels are worth buying in every Australian state, solar panels Perth is no exception.  Going solar is quite beneficial if one has budget for a good quality solar system from reputable installers.

A good brand solar system has a life span of 25+ years and is expected to give savings for 25 years while generating clean energy for all those years. With proper sizing, one can get return of their investment in 4 to 6 years.

Solar panels Perth is a good investment. Most of them get paid back in 4 -6 years, though there are few where repayment period is as little as 4 years.  It all depends on the cost of solar panels Perth, government rebates and the savings it makes.

Electricity generation and pay back

Electricity generation and pay back are depends on variables like the location, roof orientation, tilt and electricity usage habits.

A 5kW solar system will generate around 20kWh a day and can save up to around $50,000 on the electricity bills over the entire life of the system. Battery storage enables households to run their home entirely off solar power.

In 2021, the most commonly installed solar panel Perth is a 6.6kW solar system.   A good 6.6kW solar system Perth would cost anywhere between $6,000 – $8,500.

Installation of an 8kW solar system with good quality panels will cost around $8000-$9000. It would generate an average of 30kWh per day.

 A 6.6kW solar system Perth can deliver around $1,200 – $2,000 savings per year whereas 8kW solar system would make a savings of over $3,000 every year on the electricity bills. That justifies the cost of solar panels Perth.

  The benefit of solar PV in NSW is that it reduces your power bill by around $400 per year per kW of solar energy, so by installing an 8kW solar system one can save up to around $3,400 a year, or $850 on quarterly electricity bill.

There are 2 main ways in which one can make savings by enjoying the benefits of home solar system:


Consuming the electricity generated by solar PV is the primary way in which one can tackle energy costs. Self- consumption reduces the amount one need to buy from their electricity retailer, thereby reducing the electricity bill.

One can save 30c per kWh when they use the solar energy that is directly generated from the panels.  Maintaining a high ‘solar self-consumption’ rate will help to optimise the return on investment.

2.Feed in tariff for excess energy  

 If the generated solar energy is fed back into the grid, one will receive a feed-in-tariff. It is the credit for excess power sent to the grid. It is usually around 10c per kWh, but can vary according to the state and the retailer.

 In WA and NT these rates are fixed, but in other states it is up to your energy retailer. In Victoria there is a mandatory minimum of 10.2c per kWh. The feed in tariff is usually low compared to how much you buy energy for.

Installing a good quality solar power system will increase the property value of and also increase the potential rental yield as new owners or tenants can benefit from the solar PV on the roof. When it comes to selling a house, the one with solar PV are more in demand.

Solar power business of Western Australia provides a great opportunity for a positive financial and environmental outcome by converting to 100% renewable energy sources by reducing each household’s carbon footprint.

Government Rebate

Australian government solar rebate is applicable to all solar systems installed with CEC approved panels.

Solar system installation in Victoria, are eligible for federal rebate as well as Victorian solar rebate which helps them save up to $1,850 off the cost of a 6.6kWsolar system. The Victorian rebate can significantly reduce the payback of a system.

To make lifetime solar savings, we need a good system that last for 25 years. Only good quality systems will last that long. Cheap solar systems will need replacement in a shorter time frame. Therefore, it is not worth the investment.

Even for a low energy user, solar panels are still worth it. It is always better to buy a larger solar system as the additional kWs will pay off much faster.

Though system installation doesn’t eliminate the electricity bill entirely, it will reduce the bill substantially.

With the soaring electricity bills and record low cost of solar panels Perth, people have realised that it is the perfect time to opt for solar system and have ushered in for solar installation to reduce their electricity bills

 This account for the tremendous increase in solar power business of Australia, in the recent years.

The federal solar rebate has come down 9% in 2021. With the federal solar rebate reducing every year, the clients will have to pay a little more for every year that they wait.

 Victorian rebate is also subject to change. It can be anything from a reduction in the amount to a change to the scheme. 

Solar panels are getting more efficient each year and, their cost is decreasing; though the curve is flattening.

 The earlier one goes for solar PV, the better it is as one can save money off their next electricity bill and contribute to the betterment of environment with the renewable energy

Solar Battery System

 Most of the solar installers are of the view that battery systems will not pay for themselves in 2021. Currently a Tesla Powerwall battery system costs around $14,000.

 With a life span of 10 years and payback period of 15 years one would hesitate investing in a battery system. Waiting for few more years for battery systems to become affordable means few more years of huge electricity bills.

Realising this, many are going for solar system installation now itself as is evident from the statistics of solar panels Perth companies.

From a financial perspective, solar system installation is a good choice. Solar PV can be a solid, long-term investment as it helps to save a lot of money in the long run. It will lower electricity bills, lower carbon footprints, and potentially higher home values.

The thriving solar power business of Western Australia highlights the sustainability awareness among the people about renewable energy as they are very prone about reducing carbon footprint.

The post Are solar panels worth the investment? appeared first on Regen Power.

Solar panels Newcastle, NSW: Compare prices & installers

Approximately 42MW of solar has been installed on rooftops in Newcastle, including 15.9% of the residential rooftops, according to data recorded by the Australia Photovoltaic Institute. This article examines the key considerations for those thinking about having a solar system installed in Newcastle, including energy production estimates, system prices and payback periods.

How much solar power can you generate in Newcastle?

Australia is not known as the sunburnt country without a reason – regardless of where you are on the continent, you probably receive enough sunshine on your roof to make solar panels worthwhile. Newcastle is no exception, receiving about 5.3 ‘peak sun hours’ per square meter per day (on average throughout the year), according to PVWatts. Think of those 5.3 hours of concentrated sunlight as the ‘fuel’ for your solar system – in an ideal world, 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar installed in Newcastle would produce 5.3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy.

But like any generator, a solar PV system is not 100% efficient – so some of the raw energy is lost in the conversion from light to electricity. Typically, a north-facing solar system tilted at latitude (~32 degrees for Newcastle) will have an efficiency loss of about 15% – for a total conversion efficiency of about 85%. The table below shows rough daily energy output figures for a range of popular solar system sizes if installed in the Newcastle region – assuming that they are 85% efficient.

Solar PV system output in Newcastle (Popular system sizes, at 85% efficiency)Solar system size (kilowatts)
Avg daily system output (kilowatt-hours)1.5kW6.7kWh2kW9kWh3kW13.5kWh4kW18kWh5kW22.5kWh10kW45kWh

Sounds good! But how does this solar energy save me money?

When you use electricity from the grid, your electricity retailer charges you per kilowatt-hour of energy – you should be able to see your historic usage on the back of your most recent bill. Your kWh consumption probably changes by the season, depending on the types of devices & appliances that you use (air conditioning, heating, dryers, etc). By figuring out your average usage, you’ll be in a better position to choose the best size system for your needs.

New South Wales no longer has a generous solar feed-in tariff for new solar installations, which means that you do not get financially rewarded for putting your solar energy into the grid (although some electricity retailers do offer a nominal buyback rate). In short, these days ‘self-consumption’ is the name of the game – you need to use as much of your solar energy as possible during the daylight hours in order to get the most out of your system.

There are two ways to maximise the proportion of solar energy that you consume:

Make sure your system is sized appropriately, andKnow your electricity consumption pattern and behave accordingly.We have developed a tool to help you select a solar PV system size based on the amount of energy that you consume and your consumption pattern:
Solar system sizing calculator Brisbane screenshot

Check out our Solar PV System Sizing Estimator Tool here. 


Compare quotes from up to 7 installers in Newcastle now.

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What rebates for solar power are available in Newcastle?

The federal government has a mechanism in place to reduce the cost of installing solar PV systems under 100kW in capacity. The actual value of the incentive depends on a number of factors such as location and system size, but usually works out to be about 30-40% of the total installation cost. This incentive has been pivotal in making Australia home to some of the lowest solar PV system prices in the world.

As an example, when this incentive is applied to a 5kW solar system in Newcastle, it results in a reduction of $2244 according to Greenbank as at November 2021.

Read more about incentives available for rooftop solar under the Renewable Energy Target


How much does solar cost in Newcastle?

Thanks in part to the federal Renewable Energy Target, Australia is home to some of the lowest PV system installation prices in the world. We’ve been keeping track of price trends in Australia’s capital cities since 2012 in our monthly Solar PV Price Index articles. While we don’t specifically publish prices for Newcastle, the are generally similar to those for Sydney.

Sydney Solar Price Index November 2021

Is battery storage an option for Newcastle homes?

One way to increase solar self-consumption is to have a battery storage system installed. Although batteries can still be quite pricey, they are quickly becoming more affordable. (Battery storage price comparisons are now available with all of Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparisons.)


What’s the return on investment for solar panels in Newcastle?

Payback times for solar PV systems in Newcastle can be short, with sizeable savings possible by installing a system. The table below provides an overview of the case for investing in systems of various sizes in the Newcastle area. The table below uses average system prices – keep in mind that lower system prices will deliver even more impressive returns.

Keep in mind, however, that while lower prices don’t always necessarily mean lower quality, they should be approached with a healthy degree of caution; a solar PV system should continue to produce power for up to 25 years (with inverter replacements every 7-10 years). Any system downtime (due to component failure, for example) will result in extended payback periods – not to mention the costs that may be incurred for repairs/replacements not covered under warranty.

Indicative returns for solar systems @ average Newcastle prices

5kW 10kW$4,230$8,340@ 50% self-consumption@ 70% self-consumption@ 30% self-consumption@ 50% self-consumption3 year payback2.4 year payback4.9 year payback4.1 year payback34% IRR42% IRR20% IRR24% IRR$1,406 annual savings$1,728 annual savings$1,688 annual savings$2,009 annual savings

Assumptions in table above:

85% system efficiency20kWh electricity consumption/dayretail electricity @ 29c/kWhsolar feed-in rate @ 10c/kWh

Not happy with our assumption? Click here to use our calculator to input your own parameters
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The post Solar panels Newcastle, NSW: Compare prices & installers appeared first on Solar Choice.

What can I power with a solar panel from my balcony?

Are Balcony Solar Panels are useful in appartments? Millions of renters and apartment owners are at a loss for not being able to take advantage of solar as they don’t have a roof to put their solar power system on.  A typical solar installation requires a big budget and a private roof. One can overcome these difficulties by installing solar panels on window sills and balconies.


Installing solar panels on the balcony can be done on one’s own. It doesn’t require any help from solar installers. The balcony should be south-facing if you are living in the northern hemisphere.

Another advantage of such an installation is that we can take the solar PV with us when we are moving out of that apartment.

This system is simple because it is not tied to the apartment’s behind-the-meter electrical grid. That means the system is clean and easy to install.

Things to consider

As a safety measure, it would be ideal to have a custom-made supporting structure in the balcony to securely lock the panels in place.

Size of the balcony determines the size and number of panels. Larger the panel, the lower the price per watt is.

Larger panels of 320 or 360W are available but they are rather bulky and heavy, 160 watts would be optimal. The size of such a panel is 150x70cm, and the weight is 12.5kg.

An inverter with 22–60V input voltage would be ideal to connect two panels in series. Micro inverter also can use instead of regular inverter.


The solar PV produce energy. There should be a means to store that energy as direct current. Inverter  converts DC to AC. A battery, which stores energy, should also be connected to the system. A solar panel charge controller is required for any solar panel array rated 12-Watts or higher.


With clouds, there will be a decrease of 20-30% in electricity production.

As the sun continuously moves across the sky, the optimal tilt angle will last not more than 1–2 hours per day. A real 100W output from a 100-watt panel is rarely produced.

How much one can power from a balcony depends on their location and the amount of sunlight their balcony gets.

A portable solar panel might recharge a smartphone after a day in the sun.

What can I power

A solar panel covering in the balcony is capable of powering an equipment of about 400 w for about 6–7 hours or powering a mid-size house with led bulbs.

Two 160Watt solar PVs placed in a balcony can provide 10–190 watts output depending on the weather and time of the day.

It can be used for the consumption of various home devices. If there is no current consumption, the surplus goes to the city power grid.

With solar panels and a battery in balcony, one can create a solar powered charging station for electronics items like laptops, phones, wireless earbuds, few 12V emergency light etc.

Financial payback period

The financial payback period for a balcony 360W system is 25 years.  An average system cost would be around $2000. The system would create an average of 543kWh energy per year.

If the panels were on rooftop, the entire calculation would have been different. Rooftop energy production is much above the ones in balcony. A system in balcony definitely has limitations of its own.

The financial payback of the system is pretty long, due to the relatively small solar panel system.  Considering the space constraints of a balcony, only that is feasible.


Batteries are expensive and a balcony solar system includes batteries as well. That too account for the long payback period.

Power generation from the panels in balcony will be limited as the number of panels are less and they have limited exposure to sun. There are certain tips for power production optimization.

Adjusting the tilt of solar panels according to seasons helps to generate more power. It is simple when it comes to adjusting the tilt of panels fixed in a balcony.

Small adjustments can be done every hour, day or month. Sometimes adapting the angle two or four times per year is the maximum one has to do.

As the solar panels are located very close, they can be cleaned regularly. Roof-mounted solar panels are not easily accessible for cleaning.

Dust and dirt on the panels cause a loss of 1% of generated energy. Without proper washing, the loss will be around 4-6% in dry, dusty and heavy traffic regions.

By opting for a low voltage DC system, one can save energy. Solar panels produces DC, inverter converts this DC to AC. It is again convert to DC for certain appliances that operate internally on DC.

Inverters are doing DC- AC – DC conversion and it results in significant energy loss.

By connecting the DC produced by solar panels either to DC equipment or to DC batteries for storage, can prevent further energy loss.

A DC system multiplies power production by 1.4 times. Less solar panels are needed and there is no need to buy a DC/AC inverter which can save money as well.

What types of Solar PVs used

Choosing efficient solar PVs for a balcony solar system will help in increasing the power production.

Panasonic HIT solar panels are one of the most innovative and efficient way of generating solar energy.

This silicon heterojunction solar cells are unique in structure, resulting in high efficiency. It requires less space compared to kWp.

It has a model for double sided panel which can use direct irradiation and diffused or reflected irradiation.

High efficiency as well as less space consumption make Panasonic HIT an ideal arrangement for balcony solar system.

A rooftop solar power system powers the whole house. We can’t expect a small balcony solar system to do the same. Certainly,  it can just help to meet some basic energy needs of a house.

The post What can I power with a solar panel from my balcony? appeared first on Regen Power.

How to choose best solar panels in Australia

Commercial and residential properties go solar for many reasons from environmental benefits to cost savings. Being a clean source of energy, installing solar systems is one of the best solutions to the global concern of carbon emission.

Around 10% of Australia’s electricity in 2020-2021 is produced by solar systems. More than 30% of Australian households have rooftop solar PVs.

Some of the factors that affect the choice of solar panels are location, weather, time, the orientation of azimuth, the orientation of tilt, shading, and pollution. Proper planning and smart design will help one get the most out of their PV system and improve the rate of return.

Budget solar panels Vs Premium solar panels

Advantages of premium panels over budget panels are:

Premium panels are made from superior quality materials.It degrades less than any other panels over time.Premium panels are highly advanced and backed by science and research.It is designed to perform better in extreme heat and lower light.Premium panels come with more comprehensive warranties.

It is ideal to buy the ones that best meet one’s needs. If you are planning to stay in a home for a decade or less, they can maximize the return on investment by choosing a solid budget solar system over a premium one.

If you wish to stay less than 10 years in that house, the minimum 12 years guarantee offered by good solar panels will cover the entire time of stay.

A premium panel with a 25year guarantee will do good to those who intend to stay in the same house for a longer time.

Nevertheless, the best solar panel is the one that fits neatly into one’s performance and warranty expectations, without breaking their budget.

Tier 1 Solar Panels in Australia 

Tier 1 solar panels are manufactured by companies with a stable financial background. They invest in research and develop new and emerging technologies.

Besides being a fully-automated production they have a high degree of vertical integration as well.

The quality control manufacturing process of Tier 1 solar panels makes them defect-free. It safeguards future technical issues or warranty claims.

These qualities make Tier 1 solar panels the most expensive option. They are 10-30% more expensive than Tier 2 and Tier 3 solar panels. They last longer and produce abundant solar power.

Some of Tier 1 solar panels 2021 include Canadian Solar, Hanwha Q Cells, SunPower, SolarWorld, Panasonic, LG, Trina, Jinko, and Risen Energy.

Solar Panel Warranty in Australia

In Australia, most solar panels come with a performance warranty of 25-years and a product warranty of 10 to 15 years from the manufacturer. Better quality solar panels come with a product warranty of up to 25 years.

The performance warranty gives protection against panels that degrades sooner. The product warranty provides protection against the system’s underperformance due to faulty modules.

A workmanship warranty provides homeowners with coverage against workmanship or installation errors. This type of warranty generally covers about one year following the completion of the work.

An extended solar warranty is a service contract that costs between $350 to $500 per term. The level of coverage is the same as that of the manufacturer’s warranty, but it extends coverage for another five to fifteen years.

To claim a warranty one should first contact their solar retailer in order to have the product replaced or repaired. If that doesn’t work, one needs to contact the manufacturer of the product.

If that too is unsuccessful, one has to lodge a complaint with the relevant Office of Fair Trading in their state or territory: They negotiate on your behalf and arrange mediation where necessary.

Solar panel specification

When it comes to efficiency, commercial solar panel (19.6%) is more efficient than residential solar panel (18.1%).

A residential solar panel system typically has 72 cells and is 65 inches by 39 inches; whereas, a commercial solar panel system typically has 96 cells and is 78 inches by 39 inches

Both residential and commercial solar panel systems are installed using a bolted racking system.  Being large, commercial systems can take up to a month to complete, while residential solar panels generally take one or two days to install.

Commercial solar panel systems tend to be white, residential systems are black or white.

The efficiency of solar panels

The main factors affecting the efficiency of solar panels are:

Sun Intensity – The efficiency of the solar panels increases when the temperature drops and decreases in high temperatures.Solar shading – total or partial shading by nearby trees or buildings can result in lower output and power losses.Cloud Covers – Cloudy atmosphere decreases the efficiency of solar panels by allowing less amount of sunlight to fall on solar panels.Soiling – Soiling of solar panels due to dust, ice, snow, debris, bird droppings can result in a significant decrease in its efficiency.The Orientation, Inclination, Latitude of the place, and Climatic conditions – These factors have to be considered while installing solar panels so as to get the full advantage of solar irradiation or else it affects the power output.

Maintenance of solar panels is very important for its efficient working. Making frequent physical inspections and a periodic light cleaning of the panels ensure that dirt, leaves, and other debris aren’t obstructing the sun’s rays from reaching the panels.

The performance of a clean solar module is at least 5% higher than that of a dust-accumulated module.

Professional solar installation

Professional solar installers handle everything to make sure the installation and connection is completed professionally and efficiently.

As a first step, the installers lodge an application to the power network notifying them about the installation of a PV grid connect system on your property.

Once the approval is received, the installers schedule a date for the installation. Professional solar installation is done by highly experienced and CEC Accredited installers and designers.

After installation, there will be a briefing on the metering process.  All the paperwork required to get the meter upgraded and the warranty package will be sent.

To conclude, solar panels are an integral part of any solar system. Professional solar installers help you to choose the best panels according to the requirement.  Professional installers are technically sound to install in the best possible way to get maximum output.

The post How to choose best solar panels in Australia appeared first on Regen Power.

Spanline Home Additions welcomes solar at Edgeworth showroom

Spanline Home Additions solar system

Operating in Newcastle and the Central Coast for over 30 years, Spanline Home Additions offers a wide range of patios, pergolas, carports & verandas to homes at affordable prices.

The franchise owner of Spanline in Newcastle reached out to Solar Choice initially to suss out our capabilities following some already extensive research into solar. 

Solar Choice were quickly able to demonstrate, through an independent analysis of power bills, what the environmental and financial savings potentials were at this particular site.

Following the presentation, and subsequent trust building weeks which followed, a recommended partner was selected to complete a detailed site survey and to provide a final submission.

The property now proudly houses 40 Jinko Cheetah panels coupled with an SMA inverter

The system is expected to produce around 14,000kwh’s of clean energy per year and is expected to offset 238 tonnes of CO2 emissions during it’s lifetime.


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Tesla Solar Roof: Everything you need to know

tesla solar roof home

In recent years, there’s been a lot of hype about Tesla’s Solar Roofs in Australia. If you’ve thought about installing this new piece of technology but aren’t sure if it’s worth your investment then you’ve come to the right place. We delve deeper into this topic and explain everything you need to know.


What are Tesla Solar Roof tiles?

Elon revealed the Tesla Solar Roof way back in 2016 on the Desperate Housewives show. At the time, they were still in their developmental phase and not yet available for the mass market.

One of their unique features, compared with conventional solar panels, is the fact that they replace your regular roof tiles (which are typically made of terracotta or concrete). This is a marked difference from your conventional solar panel system which is installed with solar panels laid on a metal racking system.

These regular looking roof shingles were initially available overseas in different styles. This was Tuscan glass, slate glass, textured glass and smooth glass. However when Tesla was taking pre-orders for the Tesla Solar Roof in the Australian market in 2016, they initially only offered textured glass and smooth glass shingles.


How do they work?

tesla solar roof tile breakdown

They work the same way that conventional solar panels work, by converting sunlight into electricity.

However, they’re structurally different to conventional solar panels. These roof shingles are composed of three separate layers.  The innermost layer is the high-efficiency solar cell. The middle layer is film that covers the cell and makes it invisible to people. The outermost layer is tempered glass.

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When are they available?

After years of delays since they were first announced in 2016, they’ll finally be available in July 2021.


How much do they cost?

tesla solar roof shingles

As you would expect from new technology, it’s not cheap and definitely something you would want to assess if it’s worth your investment for your particular needs.

It’s reported that at the end of March 2021, a quote for a 3,947 square foot roof with a 12.3kW Tesla Solar Roof had increased in price from between US circa $55,000 in mid 2020 to $80,000 to $100,000. That’s a 100% increase at the top end.

This huge increase has left some customers fuming. For example, one person who had signed a purchase agreement in March 2020 to reserve their order had received an updated agreement with a $20,000 price hike. This has led some to cancel their orders according to the Tesla Motors Club.

Just be aware that Tesla is well known for multiple price changes and delays on their products such as the Model 3 which recently announced a fourth price update. So don’t be surprised if Tesla roof tiles undergo similar updates.

The bright side of the delay is that customers can now enjoy the benefit of having higher efficiency phase 2 solar tiles.

The price increases also reflect Tesla’s increased awareness of the complexity of one’s Solar Roof which can dramatically increase the final cost with installation (and hence showing a more accurate price). On their US based website you can choose the complexity of your roof from simple, moderate or complex. The customer must be aware of factoring into account installation costs and difficulty, especially with a new technology that installers aren’t that well versed on.

Here’s a breakdown of the roof complexities which we recommend you take into consideration as they will have a noticeable impact on final costs:

Simple: Single-level roof, few obstructions and low pitch. Uncrowded mounting planes.Intermediate: Multi-level roof with higher pitch and more crowded mounting planeComplex: Multi-level roof with steep pitch and highly crowded mounting plane. Lots of obstacles.



Tile Warranty25 years*Power Warranty25 years*Weatherization Warranty25 years*Roof Pitch2:12 to 20:12Hail RatingANSI FM 4473 Class 3*Wind RatingASTM D3161 Class F*Fire RatingClass A (highest rating)*

*Warranty and ratings information apply to the United States only. As of writing there are no Australian specific details 

Use with the Tesla App

tesla app for solar roof

Just like the Tesla Powerwall, you can monitor your solar energy production with the Tesla app.

Note that it appears that the app is designed to be optimally used if you have both the Solar Roof and Powerwall installed in your home (although it’s not a strict prerequisite for both)

Charging: If you have both the Powerwall and Solar Roof, you’ll be able to see them charging in real time.Customise option: Includes a ‘self-powered’ mode which enables you to use stored solar to power your home after the sun goes down (if you also have the Powerwall). If you have solar installed, you have two options here – Balanced or Cost Saving. Select balanced to rely only on solar generated electricity when the sun is up. You can select Cost Saving to use stored low cost energy to power your home when electricity is expensive and maximise your savings. This is a good option if you get charged different electricity prices during the day. Depending what state you’re in, it’s best to check your electricity bill to confirm this.Power Flow: This shows the electricity generated from your solar system and how much of that is diverted between your Powerwall and home. Any excess electricity will be exported back to the grid in the form of a solar feed in-tariff.Energy Usage: This enables you to see a breakdown of your energy sources between solar, Powerwall and the grid. It’s a useful feature which enables you to look back and see how much of your electricity needs were relied upon by the grid, and hence make necessary adjustments.Backup History: Gives you historical data about the dates and length of any utility outages.


re they worth it?

Let’s compare the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof vs Jinko solar panels:

Please note that this is an apples-to-oranges comparison with regards to solar panels, as we’re not factoring into account the additional cost and installation of roofing required.

Here’s an estimate of the cost of Tesla Solar Roofs vs solar panels across different metrics.

Cost MetricTesla Solar Roof v3Jinko Solar panels (excluding roofing tile costs)Average cost per watt$8.66$1.00Average cost per square meter$1,024.17$125.00Average output per square meter177.39 Watts per m2271.79 Watts per m2

From a pure price and output comparison, it’s clear from this example that solar panels out beat the Tesla Solar Roof in both cost per watt and meterage, but also power output per square meter.  In other words, you get more bang for your buck with solar panels than Solar Roofs at this point in time.


Specification comparison

To give you a clear idea when it comes to shopping between models, let’s compare the Solar Roof with the Jinko Eagle solar panel as a rough comparison.


Tesla Solar Roof V3 vs Jinko Eagle 72HM G2 JKM4 10M-72HL-V

Tesla Solar Roof V3:

Watts58 watts per tileEfficiencyEstimated as between 14 – 18%*Warranty Period (tile, power, weatherisation)25 years**OutputNo information.

*Tesla hasn’t publicly released this information, but it’s based on the average for roof shingles.

The warranty appears to be USA specific. As of writing there’s no public Australian details about warranties


Jinko Eagle 72HM G2 JKM4 10M-72HL-V:

Watts410 wattsEfficiencyUp to 20.38% efficiencyWarranty Period (performance)25 years*Warranty (product)10 years*Output83.1% output

*Solar panel warranties typically come with a performance and product warranty


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Other considerations:

Competitors: Be aware that there are other solar tile competitors other than Tesla, so it’s best you do your due diligence and research their websites. These include:

GB Sol

infinity solar roof


Luma Solar

luma solar shingles


Bristle Roofing (Australian based company)

bristle roofing


Aesthetics: Tesla Solar Roofs are designed to be aesthetically pleasing compared with conventional solar panels due to the fact that they are essentially replacing the normal tiles you would have installed anyway. Add in the fact that they come in an array of colours and designs to suit your house make them more appealing to consumers that put a high weighting on design aesthetics.

Repairability: The Solar Roof tiles are also likely easier to repair because of the modular design of them. As each tile is tempered, they’re designed to shatter into small pieces. So, this makes them easy to replace and install with new tiles.

Durability: As stated on the Tesla website, their Solar Roofs are designed to be more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles. If you’ve got a new build, this would be an important consideration.


person breaking the solar tile with a hammer 















































Demonstration breaking the Solar Roof tile


It really depends on what your situation is. If you’re looking at a new build, then Tesla solar tiles may be the way to go as you’re essentially installing a solar panel and tile at the same time (as mentioned above, do your due diligence and seek accurate installer costs). 

If however, you’re installing solar on a pre-existing home, then currently going for a conventional solar panel system is the way to go both in terms of cost outlay and power output.


How do I buy them?

As of now, on the official Tesla website it doesn’t appear they’re taking orders at this moment but you can sign up for updates here.



At the moment, at this point in time  technological curve with solar tile technology being fairly new compared with conventional solar panels, the cost is highly prohibitive for most folks out there. Hopefully as the adoption rate increases, as for anything else, the cost of production will decrease and they’ll be more affordable for the general public.


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The post Tesla Solar Roof: Everything you need to know appeared first on Solar Choice.