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Can we install solar for individual flat in apartment?

With over 2.3 million solar rooftop installations, most Australians enjoy the benefits of solar energy. Certainly, technological advancements and innovations have helped the best solar companies in Perth to make solar power accessible even for apartments.

One-third of Australians live in rental properties or apartments. Earlier a significant portion of Australians were out of reach of solar power just because they don’t own a roof. But, now the situation has changed.

The number of people living in apartments are increasing year by year. This is likely to take a huge leap in the future.  Unlike before, solar power systems can now be installed in apartments. Therefore, energy generation is possible even for the individual units of an apartment.

Procedure for Installing Solar in individual flats

Installing PV panels on apartments has become a recent trend. Going solar in apartments is more challenging than independent buildings, even though both work in the same way.

For panel installation at individual flats of an apartment, need permission from two parties. firstly from the owner, secondly from other residents. By generating electricity of their own, the owners or tenants can enjoy the benefits of clean energy and save hugely on electricity bills.

For energy generation in apartments, the decision-making and approval process is a bit slow as it needs 75% votes of the property owners. In some states, it is 50%.

By generating electricity, a solar power system can potentially supply all the power needs of residents in buildings with five stories or below. Australia’s apartments are relatively low rise. Therefore ample roof space available for installing individual solar power systems. Certainly, the Taller the apartment, the lesser will be the area for panel installation. It is ideal if the building is less than three stories.

Major Problem in Installing Individual Solar in apartment

The first step is to contact the best solar company in Perth with experience in installing PV panels in apartments. Above all, roof allocation is the major problem that comes to one’s mind when individual owners insist on installing solar panels for their unit in an apartment.

It needs approval from the owner’s corporation regarding the fair allocation of roof space. On the other hand, doesn’t require any approvals from energy regulators. Depending on the availability of roof space, separate solar power systems can be installed for each unit of an apartment.

Those roofs which have full and equal access to solar power are easy to divide. The division becomes complicated if the terrace is multi-faceted and has shaded areas in more than one place.

Based on available roof space and the number of flats in the apartment, solar-friendly areas of the roof are equally allocated for individual flats. As a result, space is retained for future use. Even for those who are not installing PV panels now.

System Same as Independent Home Solar

Once the best solar company Perth is done with installing solar, electricity generation works just like a solar system on an independent house. There is no need for additional metering or monitoring equipment. There is no interaction between one’s solar system and their neighbours’ system.

Individual flat owners with a solar system can enjoy all the benefits just as how a residential solar owner does. They benefit from the feed-in tariff for the surplus solar power they feedback to the grid.

The best way for renters to go solar in their apartments is community solar. They don’t even need the consent of the landlord. Smart dividers deliver power to individual apartments. Solar power will be divided amongst those members who are participating. Robust monitoring software monitors the usage of each apartment.

The new approach of shared solar systems is very effective. With this roofless solar, even renters can enjoy financial payoffs and emission reductions. Microinverters are of great use for this option. In their 86-unit residential complex Perth-based developers Psaros equipped their 180 kW of solar that with Enphase microinverter technology. It wires the system in such a way that each unit effectively has its own 2 kW solar array.

win-win situation for the tenant and landlord.

Switching to solar is a win-win situation for the tenant and landlord. Most importantly, tenants can save money on electricity bills. Meanwhile, the property value increases for the landlord. There are community energy groups that provide interest-free loans to facilitate landlords to install solar on their rental properties.

While installing PV panels in individual flats of an apartment, the owner can procure the amount he spent for installation back from the tenant, either as an increase in rent or as a payment per kilowatt-hour for the solar power they use, along with the feed-in tariff earned by them.

Experienced solar installers can provide professional advice on the best possible option of energy generation in individual flats of an apartment. They will find out how much each section of roof area will translate into in terms of solar panel capacity.

Solar systems installed for individual flats in the apartment are usually small. It is usually 1.5 kW-2kW. Compared to an independent house, individual systems generating electricity in apartments are more expensive on a watt per basis.

If other owners of the apartment are also interested in going solar, it is better to get all the installation done by the best solar company Perth. Bulk buying would definitely bring down the cost of installing PV panels.

For energy generation at individual flats in an apartment, an individual solar system has to be connected to the electricity meter of individual units. Since there is no sharing involved, they can be the boss of their own solar power system. They can plan and use energy in an effective way that they can save a lot on their electricity bill and earn a good feed-in tariff.

dditional costs for Solar Installation in individual flats.

Compared to independent houses, there are additional costs for apartments. Independent advisory services like Yarra Energy Foundation can help in finding these extra costs. The most common additional costs for individual flats in an apartment are:

The cost of installing PV panels on flat, concrete or tall roofs of an apartment will be high as it might need extra work. It needs long cable runs and tilt frames.Additional installation costs for tall buildings as the installers need to hire specialised equipment like cranes to transport solar panels.Permitting and labour costs will incur if public property is affected.Additional costs in the planning and approvals stage.An additional cost for independent advice, feasibility study, legal advice, or regulatory fee.

The best solar company Perth has advanced technology to provide a completely customized energy-saving solution for apartments. The highlight of installing solar panels in apartments is that the transmission and distribution losses due to loads and power generation are incredibly low.

The post Can we install solar for individual flat in apartment? appeared first on Regen Power.

Why Solar Panels for boats are getting popular?

Solar energy is a perfect choice for powering a boat as sunlight is omnipresent. Being renewable energy, it is always readily available. Though not as popular as the residential solar system, marine solar panels are gaining popularity these days.

Boats need a lot of energy for maintaining autopilot, keeping navigation lights on, and powering radio systems. It cannot depend on electricity grid for power.

It relies on battery for electricity. It would be ideal if solar panels could provide the energy and maintain the boats battery.

Solar panel can ensure that the boat’s battery always has power. It helps the boat to be self-sustainable.

Boats can run all the appliances on battery. It helps to save money as they are not depending on gas powered generators.  Solar energy can power small sail boats to larger boats.

Sun being a source of renewable energy, marine solar panels fulfil the boat’s electrical usage and keep the battery durable and reliable. For larger boats, it reduces the need to use the engine to provide excess power.

Big solar panels, portable solar panels and even high energy thin-film panels are available for marine boats.  Based on the availability of space, it can be placed on shade tops or even on the exterior parts of boat.

Two main types of marine solar panels are adjustable and standard panels.

As the name suggests, adjustable marine solar panels are adjustable. It is light and without a metal backing. It can be bent and used for installing on different surfaces of the boat, where installing big solar panels would be impossible.

Standard marine solar panels are the standard panels that hold aluminium support. It can withstand harsh weather conditions as they are stronger than the flexible marine solar panels. It is very heavy because of its aluminium backing.

A standard marine solar panel is stronger. It has a long life like a residential solar system. It lasts around 20 years. Adjustable marine panels have a much smaller lifespan of nearly five years.

Advantages of powering a boat with solar panels

Marine solar panels help to reduce the cost of maintaining and running a boat. It helps to save money spent on fuel. It makes electricity more affordable than the ones produced by generator.There will be significant noise reduction. It cuts down sound pollution and aid the quiet life of sea. Generator emits sound while marine solar panels produce electricity without any sound pollution.It acts as a source of backup power by charging the boat’s battery even when no one is on board the boat.Just as a solar system makes one independent of the electricity grid, marine solar panel makes a boat independent of fuel powered generator.It doesn’t produce excess heat like a gas generator. This makes the boat trip pleasant even on hot days.

How do marine solar panels work?

Solar energy systems on boats work similarly to other portable, off-grid systems. When solar energy hits the marine solar panels, it activates the electrons. It starts producing DC charges. This produced energy is saved in batteries.

This current can be used to support the boat’s electricity needs. If the appliances of boat run on AC electricity, an inverter would be needed to convert the produced DC to AC.

While installing solar panels, the first step of the process would be an energy assessment of the boat. The energy needs can be calculated by checking the labels on the appliances of the boat for the typical amp hours and volts used.

A battery monitor can also help in measuring the amount of energy the appliances on boat consume while in use. An average 30-foot boat would require about 300-350 watts of power.

Depending on energy consumption and boat size, the wattage required by solar panels can be determined. The size of the panels is dependent on it.

A charge controller acts as a regulator for the amount of energy that is transferred from your solar panel into your boat’s battery. It helps to manage the energy load that the battery receives.

It prolongs the life of battery by ensuring that the boat uses the exact amount of energy it needs. It makes sure that the battery is not overloaded and overcharged, which can ruin the battery over time.

Based on the requirement, type of panel is chosen. Three main types of marine solar panels are:

Glass fronted panels- They are the most popular type used for boats. It offers the most power at a lower cost. It can be either polycrystalline and monocrystalline.

Polycrystalline is cheaper, larger, have lower energy conversion efficiency and don’t work so well in very hot weather. Monocrystalline is more expensive, smaller, very efficient and more effective in hot weather and even on cloudy days.

Polycarbonate panels- It use polycrystalline technology. They are the most expensive. It is more preferred for yachts as it is slightly flexible and can be fixed with a silicone adhesive and walked on.Fully flexible solar panels- They are the same as is used in a calculator. Its use is restricted to ‘amorphous’ solar technology.

Any of these types of panels can be used on a boat. Marine solar panels are to be bought from the companies that do not exclude salt water and marine environments from their warranties.

Since boats have space limitation for panel installation unlike rooftop solar system, ensure that the panels are placed in such a way that they capture sun throughout the day. Panels should be tilted and properly oriented for this.

It is ideal to find a place which is free of shade. It is always better to go for high efficiency solar PVs so that lesser number of panels are required to produce the needed energy.

Before there was only a limited use of solar panels on boats. With technological advancements solar panels have become efficient enough to withstand the environmental adversities on seas.

Being splashed with sea water and total immersion when waves wash over the boat’s deck, were once a major concern for solar panels.

Solar panel’s electronics and installation has become resistant to corrosion and short circuit.

Surface area was another constraint which stood in the way of using marine solar PVs. With the invention of solar panels that are durable enough to be walked on, surface area is no more a constraint.

Fall in the cost of solar PVs and its increased efficiency and durability is likely to increase the popularity of solar power solutions for boats.

The post Why Solar Panels for boats are getting popular? appeared first on Regen Power.

Solar Power for Strata Buildings: Everything you need to know (almost)

Strata buidings are one of the final frontiers for rooftop solar, a ripe opportunity just waiting for the right solution. Solar Choice specialises in assessing the potential options for solar power on strata buildings and helpings committee members get a compelling proposal approved at their committee.


Solar for strata is tricky: Here’s why

If you’re looking into solar for a strata building, it’s important that you understand the challenges that you’re up against – and the experiences that a lot of solar companies have in implementing solar for strata properties.

Where the roof area to be used is common property (most cases) then a special resolution is required to pass a new by-law. This requires a 75% vote, or in NSW the state government has just reduced this to 50%. As this needs to be done at a EGM, the decision-making and approval process is usually quite slow for these projectsThere are usually additional costs to install solar on strata building:>Flat and concrete roofs will mean additional equipment is required to ballast and tilt the solar panelsTall buildings might require crane hire and traffic control from local councilIf there isn’t space in existing electrical risers (cable conduit that travels vertically up a building) then there could be an extra long cable run or some costs to drill a core hole through the floorsIf you want to tackle the electricity bill from your individual unit you will need to equitably divide the roofspace or install a system that shares power between the units that want to participateThere is often a mix of renters and owner-occupiers in a strata complex. The incentives for getting solar differ depending on which you happen to be. If a landlord with renters wish to invest in solar then they may need to reach an agreement with tennants to increase rent payments before participating

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50%CommercialIs MobileBusiness NameDo you know what size system you would like to install?Under 30kw30 to 100kW100 to 1MWOver 1MWNot sureWhat 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.Full AddressAddress Line 1CityNSWVICACTNTQLDSATASWAStatePostcodeContact NameEmail AddressPhone NumberUpload a recent power bill (optional)Drop files here or Accepted file types: pdf.Affiliate CodeStatsNameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.jQuery(document).ready(function($){gformInitSpinner( 34, ‘https://www.solarchoice.net.au/wp-content/themes/solarchoice/img/btn-ajax-loader.gif’ );jQuery(‘#gform_ajax_frame_34’).on(‘load’,function(){var contents = jQuery(this).contents().find(‘*’).html();var is_postback = contents.indexOf(‘GF_AJAX_POSTBACK’) >= 0;if(!is_postback){return;}var form_content = jQuery(this).contents().find(‘#gform_wrapper_34’);var is_confirmation = jQuery(this).contents().find(‘#gform_confirmation_wrapper_34’).length > 0;var is_redirect = contents.indexOf(‘gformRedirect(){‘) >= 0;var is_form = form_content.length > 0 && ! is_redirect && ! is_confirmation;var mt = parseInt(jQuery(‘html’).css(‘margin-top’), 10) + parseInt(jQuery(‘body’).css(‘margin-top’), 10) + 100;if(is_form){jQuery(‘#gform_wrapper_34’).html(form_content.html());if(form_content.hasClass(‘gform_validation_error’)){jQuery(‘#gform_wrapper_34’).addClass(‘gform_validation_error’);} else {jQuery(‘#gform_wrapper_34’).removeClass(‘gform_validation_error’);}setTimeout( function() { /* delay the scroll by 50 milliseconds to fix a bug in chrome */ }, 50 );if(window[‘gformInitDatepicker’]) {gformInitDatepicker();}if(window[‘gformInitPriceFields’]) {gformInitPriceFields();}var current_page = jQuery(‘#gform_source_page_number_34’).val();gformInitSpinner( 34, ‘https://www.solarchoice.net.au/wp-content/themes/solarchoice/img/btn-ajax-loader.gif’ );jQuery(document).trigger(‘gform_page_loaded’, [34, current_page]);window[‘gf_submitting_34’] = false;}else if(!is_redirect){var confirmation_content = jQuery(this).contents().find(‘.GF_AJAX_POSTBACK’).html();if(!confirmation_content){confirmation_content = contents;}setTimeout(function(){jQuery(‘#gform_wrapper_34’).replaceWith(confirmation_content);jQuery(document).trigger(‘gform_confirmation_loaded’, [34]);window[‘gf_submitting_34’] = false;}, 50);}else{jQuery(‘#gform_34’).append(contents);if(window[‘gformRedirect’]) {gformRedirect();}}jQuery(document).trigger(‘gform_post_render’, [34, current_page]);} );} ); jQuery(document).bind(‘gform_post_render’, function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 34) {} } );jQuery(document).bind(‘gform_post_conditional_logic’, function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} ); jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger(‘gform_post_render’, [34, 1]) } );


There are 4 options to install solar power on strata buildings

With these complications in mind, here are four potential solutions to the ‘solar on strata buildings’ problem – from most straightforward & simple to most technologically sophisticated & complex.


Strata building common area

Option 1: Solar for the common areas

Each strata building has a dedicated meter for the common areas, where lights, lifts and other communal equipment run; the electricity bill associated with this meter is paid for out of strata levies. For very tall apartment blocks with limited roofspace this is usually the best option available as it is a communal cost and everyone will (or should) benefit equally from it in the form of reduced strata bills. Furthermore, the capital expenditure required to purchase such a system can be relatively small, especially if the strata building does not have any communal lifts, air conditioning, pools or other devices which use a large amount of electricity.

Main advantages:

Relative simplicity, with one solar PV system behind just the common area meterAll owners benefit equally through reduced common costs (usually covered by strata levies)

Main disadvantage:

No savings on electricity bills for individual occupants
Solar power installed on strata building in Manly, NSW
Solar PV array installed on Manly National Building (NSW) with aide of Solar Choice

When getting quotes for your strata committee it is really important to find installers with experience installer on high-rises and concrete roof-spaces. Solar Choice has a network of installers and we can help you find the local options with the right experience.


Options 2: Each unit gets a separately-metered solar system

If the common area bills are already quite small, or if the unit owners are more interested in solar to benefit themselves or their tenants directly, then it may make sense to have a solar system installed for each unit. At this point, however, there is the question of roof allocation. This is a consideration that doesn’t come to mind for most people when they purchase a unit, but one which is sure to arise if one individual owner asks to install a solar system for their unit (unless the units are townhouses).

Image of modern strata building

In this case, in the name of ‘fair share’, it makes sense for the solar-friendly (i.e. unshaded and north/west/east-facing) sections of roof to be pre-emptively divided up between all the owners. This could turn out to be complicated, especially if the roof is multi-faceted and has shading issues in more than one place. Assuming that the strata building has a section of roof with full and equal solar access, this challenge should be relatively clear-cut and easy to solve.

If your strata committee gets to this point, you’ll then need to work out how much each section of roof area will translate into in terms of solar panel capacity. In the end, each system may be quite small (1.5kW–2kW), especially if the building is more than 2-3 stories tall and there’s significantly more floor area than there is roof area. In either case, the most financially sensible approach may be to have all of the solar systems installed at the same time and by the same company, as smaller systems tend to be more expensive per watt of capacity than larger ones, and the way to bring down the overall cost would probably be a bulk buy.

Main advantages:

Provided there is ample viable roof space to go around, each unit has their own solar system, wired up to their own individual meter. This means that there’s no question of whether the benefits of the solar are being shared around in an equitable way, as actual savings will come down to how individuals use energy throughout the day.Each unit may have the option to own their solar PV system separately

Main disadvantages:

Question of how to fairly allocate available roof area between unitsAs the individual systems will be small and wired up individually, they may be expensive on a per watt basis compared to solar for stand-alone home, affecting their financial attractivenessMix of renters and owner-occupiers could mean that it’s harder to get sign-off from body corporate; this is especially important in light of the fact that solar is likely to be less expensive for each individual if a greater number of units go ahead

Option 3: A single solar system shared to individual apartments

This is a relatively new approach, and currently there is only one company (that we are aware of) in Australia with the technology to deliver it. Allume Energy with their SolShare solution have solved a number of the issues outlined at the top of this article.

The SolShare solution is essentially a smart diverter that enables solar energy from a single rooftop solar system to be shared between multiple apartments within the same building. To make the system as efficient as possible but also fair, the SolShare delivers the same amount of solar energy to each apartment over the course of a month, but supplies it when it’s needed by each unit.

In addition, the technology incorporates energy monitoring software, so that you know how much electricity you’re using throughout the day and when solar energy’s available.
Diagram of Allume solshare product on a strata building

How the Allume Energy SolShare program works. (Image via Allume Energy.)

Main advantages:

Any metered unit can be connected, including common light and power.Units can opt-out if they don’t want to be connected.The system is bought by the owners corporation, removing complications around individual roof space ownership.No changes to existing metering infrastructure is required – everyone retains their right to choose their electricity retailer.Participation is not mandatory; meaning only a 50% vote is required (75% in some states)

Main disadvantages:

The Allume solution comes at an additional upfront cost to a traditional solar system, so typically it is better if there are 5 or more owners participatingThis is a new model that has only been deployed in a relatively small number of situations, with Allume Energy being the only company supplying this type of solution in Australia

Find out whether your apartment building is suitable for Allume’s solution

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Option 4: Single system with embedded network

If your building is not set up on an embedded network already, then this approach is the most complex, difficult and potentially costly of all the options listed here. An embedded network is basically a private ‘microgrid‘ inside within a strata building. Every unit is metered separately behind a ‘master’ meter that connects the building to the grid. Individual units in an embedded network are generally promised cheaper rates for their electricity, regardless of whether there is solar or not.

In instances where solar is installed on an embedded network, the energy produced can theoretically be ‘split up’ equitably among units and supplied at an even lower rate than under a PPA (or possibly at no cost). Even feed-in credits could be split up among different units. Legally, residents of individual units would still have their choice of electricity retailer (if they live somewhere with a competitive market).

While the embedded network solution is the most ‘thorough’ of those listed here, it is also the most fraught with complications and the most difficult to implement – especially for existing buildings where an embedded network would need to be retrofitted. The first hurdle is getting agreement would be the strata committee, where a unanimous vote would be required in order to take any action. Given the potentially large costs and broad variety of approaches, there’s a considerable chance that the project would never get past initial committee discussions without some serious dedication on the part of its members.

Another important challenge that  is the requirement to get approval from the Embedded Network Manager (ENM). In the National Electricity Market (NEM), every embedded network needs to have a registered manager, due to Power of Choice regulations. The ENM is not incentivised to allow the Body Corporate to install solar as it means they are drawing less power through their gate meter and selling less power to the residents. Solar would also mean a change in the ENM’s billing system which would be difficult to negotiate.

Embedded network for an aparment building with solar power installation

Diagram of an embedded network. (Image via MyComm Energy.)

Main advantages:

Potentially the most equitable way to supply solar energy to units in a strata building that also helps to deliver the full potential value of solar energy (i.e. ‘free’ solar energy to be consumed during the day, plus solar feed-in credits)Depending on the arrangement, a single electricity bill for each unit with appropriate charges & credits

Main disadvantages:

Could be prohibitively costly to implement – especially if applied as a retrofit solution instead of as part of a brand new developmentA wide range of suppliers and specific approaches could make it difficult or time-consuming for strata committees to decide on the one that best suits their situation and needs, or to get unanimous agreement about the best approach among committee membersAdditional red tape associated with Power of Choice regulations governing the establishment of embedded networksPossibly a number of questions to ask and answer about exactly how solar energy will be divvied up among residents

Investigating solar for your strata building: Next steps

Now that you know your options, there is the question of which one is most appropriate for your situation. Solar Choice manages tenders for a wide range of solar projects – including apartment buildings – and are happy to have a no-obligation chat. Get in touch today to learn more about receiving a Business Case Analysis & indicative Quote Comparison of leading solar installation companies in your area.

Get expert advice on the solar options for your strata building

Give us a ring on the number below to discuss your project with our team:

Tap to call: 0410 124 850

Or request a Business Case Analysis & indicative Quote Comparison:

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The post Solar Power for Strata Buildings: Everything you need to know (almost) appeared first on Solar Choice.

Best QLD Solar Feed-In Tariffs

solar home queensland

Queensland, otherwise known as the Sunshine state has a perfect environment for solar panel installations. With 300 days of sunshine per year and an average of 8-9 hours of sun per day, it’s no wonder that there’s a demand for solar panel systems on residential homes

We’ll go through what you need to know about how to assess what provider provides the best solar feed in tariff-in Queensland.

To look for the best solar feed-in tariff rates in QLD, view the table below which gets updated every two weeks. We recommend you read the other considerations we mention in this article so you can come out with a more informed decision that goes beyond a financial one only.


Does Queensland have a minimum solar feed-in tariff?

There currently isn’t a mandatory minimum feed-in tariff that electricity retailers have to abide by in South East Queensland (Energex network).  Instead it’s been left to each retailer to assign their own respective rates for exported solar power they buy from a solar system owner.

We recommend in this case that you shop around for a plan that provides a high FiT, as electricity retailers will try their best to earn your hard earned dollars by offering a competitive FiT. 

For residents of regional Queensland (Ergon network), there is a mandatory minimum you’ll receive for your solar power exports. Check the QCA’s website for the current rates.


Find the best Solar Electricity Plan in your area now


What retailer has the best solar feed-in tariff in QLD?

At the time of writing (June 2021), Mojo power currently has the highest solar feed-in tariff offer in QLD, whereby the maximum a customer can get is 18 cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh). ReAmped Energy comes in second at 17 c/kWh with Discovery Energy at 16 c/kWh.

Each of those plans is subject to eligibility criteria and specific terms and conditions which you can read on their websites.


Best Solar Feed-In Rates in Queensland

solar feed in tariff queensland

The below table shows a minimum and maximum solar feed-in tariff that each provider gives. Please note that this information changes on a regular basis and this table is updated to reflect this.


The below tables are powered by Wattever

RetailerState / TerritoryMin Solar FITMax Solar FITMojo PowerQLD.5.5c18.0cReAmped EnergyQLD.0.0c17.0cAGLQLD.6.0c15.0cDiscover EnergyQLD.6.0c13.0cGEE EnergyQLD.0.0c13.0cOrigin EnergyQLD.5.0c13.0cRed EnergyQLD.5.0c11.5cAlinta EnergyQLD.0.0c11.0c1st EnergyQLD.6.0c11.0cCovaUQLD.0.0c11.0cDiamond EnergyQLD.0.0c10.2cMomentum EnergyQLD.0.0c10.0cEnova EnergyQLD.0.0c10.0cDodoQLD.8.5c8.5cEnergy AustraliaQLD.8.5c8.5cPeople EnergyQLD.8.0c8.0cOVO EnergyQLD.0.0c8.0cQEnergyQLD.0.0c8.0cElysian EnergyQLD.0.0c7.9cLocality Planning EnergyQLD.0.0c7.9cGloBird EnergyQLD.3.0c7.2cGlow PowerQLD.7.0c7.0cBright Spark PowerQLD.6.0c7.0cErgon EnergyQLD.6.6c6.6cEnergy LocalsQLD.6.0c6.0cRadian EnergyQLD.6.0c6.0cNectrQLD.0.0c6.0cSumoQLD.6.0c6.0cPowerdirectQLD.6.0c6.0cSimply EnergyQLD.4.5c4.5cFuture X PowerQLD.4.0c4.0cElectricity in a BoxQLD.4.0c4.0cPowershopQLD.0.0c3.5cKogan EnergyQLD.2.9c2.9cPowerclubQLD.0.0c2.1cAmber ElectricQLD.0.0c0.0cOn by EnergyAustraliaQLD.0.0c0.0cTango EnergyQLD.0.0c0.0c


Should I only consider solar feed-in tariffs when choosing an electricity provider?

decision making about solar

Although choosing an energy provider solely on having the highest solar feed-in tariff sounds like a tempting path to go down, be careful of putting your blinkers on and ignoring other important factors. 

We recommend that you also consider other factors namely usage rates and daily supply charges.  You may find in your assessment that a company may offer a high feed-in tariff but their usage rates as measured as cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh) is relatively higher then another competitor that gives you a lower tariff amount.

You may also be in a situation where you’ve got a small solar system that doesn’t produce much excess electricity to export back to the grid. In that case, you may want to consider going with a provider that has lower usage and daily supply charges because your capacity to make money from exports is limited by your solar system design. 

If however, your solar system has the ability to export a lot of excess clean electricity, then it may make sense to go for the higher solar FiT which would help with minimising your regular electricity bills payback calculations.

You can enter you bill details into Solar Choice’s electricity plan comparison tool to find a good solar electricity plan and switch online:


Find the best Solar Electricity Plan in your area now


How do I find out what my Solar Feed in Tariff is?

You can find your current solar feed-in tariff by locating it on page 2 of your energy bill – look for a ‘c/kWh’ rate. If you can’t find it, another good place to look is at the bottom of the retailer’s homepage.  

It’s also legislated that all retailers provide their customers with a fact sheet document that shows clearly important information for each plan including rates, charges and fees etc. Check your emails for something from your electricity retailer.


What are the solar system network limits in Queensland?

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


The Distributed Network Service Providers (DNSPs) own the electrical infrastructure in Queensland. Based on protecting the network from issues like voltage rises that occur when solar is installed they apply certain limits on what solar systems can be installed. This can also include a limit on how much power can be exported back to the grid from a solar system.

The grid was originally designed to only work unidirectionally, with electricity only going from the large coal power stations to the end-consumer. Now we are looking at multi-directional energy distribution with over 2 million home rooftop solar systems.

Hopefully in the future the grid will get smarter and the infrastructure and supporting tools will allow for better bidirectional electricity back and forth – meaning less limits for home solar systems.


NetworkDescriptionReferencesEnergexSingle-phase: up to 5kVA inverter capacity.

3-phase: up to 15kVA inverter capacitySolar systems up to 30kVAErgonSingle-phase: Up to 10kVA inverter capacity, but only 5kVA allowed for export

3-phase: Up to 30kVA inverter capacity, but only 15kVA allowed for exportMicro energy generation units


History of feed-in tariffs in QLD

solar feed in tariff queensland

For the early adopters who got solar over 10 years ago, there was a generous premium given in Queensland for the solar feed-in tariff at 44c/kWh. Then from 10 July 2012, it was announced by the state government it was to be drastically reduced to 8c/kWh.

There were a range of reactions to this big change. The solar panel industry was embraced for a sudden rush of customers wanting to submit their application before the deadline.

This change, driven by Queensland premier Campbell Newman, who under the Liberal government implemented a different direction from the previous Labour government’s clean energy policies.

The cut was much bigger than that taken by other states. Whilst other states like Victoria and South Australia adopted a gradual reduction (who’s solar feed-in tariff was reduced to 25c/kWh and 23c/kWh respectively), Queensland’s cut represented reduction of over 75% overnight.

Following the reduction in feed in tariffs, the contentious issue of undervalued solar power was discussed. The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) stated in response that utilities should pay the same rate for solar that customers pay for grid electricity.

The Clean Energy Council had also warned that up to 4500 solar jobs could be shed over a period of a year in the fallout of the reduction.

It’s important to note that the context of this drop was centered around the misconception that solar schemes were a main driver for the rising price of electricity. It was clearly pointed out by RenewEconomy in an article that green schemes reduce the demand for electricity from the grid. It was argued that wholesale electricity prices had been pushed down to around half of what they were within a five year period.

Despite the change in feed in tariffs, the economics behind installing solar on your home still made sense. The main motivation which for some homeowners had focused on exporting solar at a premium price shifted to a focus on self-consuming the solar power that was generated. However, the soaring costs of retail electricity in Queensland as well as the affordability of solar with a reasonable payback period (now around 3-5 years) is now the main motivation for going solar along with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2014 the solar feed-in tariffs in regional Queensland were reduced to between 6.3c/kWh and 9.7c/kWh for exporting energy back to the grid.  This was initiated by the Queensland Competition Authority who had decided to set a minimum feed-in tariff for regional Queensland because of a lack of competition amongst retail electricity providers.



Getting the most out of your investment in solar will come down to choosing an electricity retailer that provides a solar feed-in tariff that suits you. It’s important to choose a balance between choosing a retailer that provides a high enough tariff, along with reasonable usage rates and supply charges. Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll come away with making a more informed decision.


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How hot is Perth, WA?

Western Australia is one of the largest states of Australia. It is almost the size of Western Europe. WA covers one third of the Australian continent. Perth is the capital city of Western Australia.

Perth was named by Captain James Stirling in 1829 after Perth, Scotland. It is a pretty, small sun kissed city. It is hugged by the Swan River and the Indian Ocean. One can watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean in Perth.

Climate of Perth makes it special. It enjoys more hours of sunshine than any other capital city in Australia. It has one of the most enviable outdoor lifestyles in the world.

Australia is a large continent, most of it is barren land without much vegetation. Perth has clear skies. The Sun tends to heat the Australian land.

Though Perth is a warm place, it is not as hot as Middle Eastern countries and some of the African countries.

Perth has an average of 8.8 hours of sunshine per day. It is equivalent to around 3,200 hours of annual sunshine, and 138.7 clear days annually.  That makes Perth the sunniest capital city in Australia.

Making use of the abundant solar energy that is available, many people have gone for solar system installation to power their houses.

Being a renewable energy, solar energy is very reliable. It is a green power alternative that allows one to make use of solar energy and be independent of the utility grid.

Perth has a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot, warm and dry. Winters are mild, cool and wet in Perth.  Rain is unusual in summer and usual in winter.

February is the hottest month of the year, with an average high of 31.6 °C. July is the coldest month of the year, with an average high of 19.5 °C.

As Perth is in the Southern Hemisphere, it has reversed seasons in comparison to Europe or North America. It has a total of 131 perfect blue-sky days every year.

During summer, maximum temperature varies between 25 °C and 36 °C, and minimum temperatures usually range between 14 °C and 22 °C.

The amount of sunshine in Perth is very good in spring and summer, from October to March. Perth has colder summer nights than Sydney, Brisbane, and Darwin.

The average ultraviolet index of Perth during summer is 12, which is extreme. Sun protection has to be used while engaging in summertime activity in Perth.

Perth summers can be very hot with temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s C.  Heatwaves of 4–8 days over 35 degrees are the worst.

When one goes for a stroll, they need to carry a sunscreen, hat, appropriate footwear, water in the radiator, water bottle. If not prepared, it can have serious aftermath.

Because of its hot, dry and sometimes windy summer conditions minor bushfires are also common in Perth. Sometimes it can cause major issues affecting the life and property of people.

An average temperature over a year usually varies from 48°F to 86°F. It never goes below 40°F or above 97°F.

In Perth, length of the day varies over course of the year. December experiences the longest hours of daylight and June has the least hours of daylight. There is an average difference of almost 2 hours in daylight hours.

In 2021, the shortest day is June 21 and the longest day is December 21. Both have a difference of 4 hours 12 minutes.

November 4 to February 17is the hot season in Perth. Average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 7.6 kWh.

February is generally the hottest month. It has an average maximum summer temperature is 29°C.

May 2 to August 21 is the winter season in Perth. During this season temperatures hover around 12°C. Average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 3.9 kWh. The darkest day of the year is June 23, with an average of 2.6 kWh.

Summer in Perth is hot and dry with very little rainfall. Average temperatures range from 17.5 – 30°C (63.5 – 86°F). 77% of rain in Perth falls between May and September

Summer mornings are beautiful in Perth. Humidity is lesser in summer. It makes one feel less unpleasant than a lower temperature with high humidity.

Temperature is maximum in early afternoon. The sea breeze called Fremantle Doctor lowers the temperature. It is very hot on those days when these sea breeze doesn’t happen

A major portion of Western Australia is desert. That accounts for the relentless sunshine in Perth. Deserts can be very hot. This heat can cause heatwaves when it moves over to populated coastal areas.

In summer few parts of Perth are at a danger of drought too. Dams and domestic rainwater tanks are almost empty as there is a lack of rain.

With global warming and climate phenomena like El Nino Perth is getting warmer and is having extremely hot summers.

Being in the Southern Hemisphere temperatures are extreme in Perth. It is because summer season and closeness to Sun occurs together in Perth. Winter is mild as Perth is surrounded by water.

Perth receives strong solar insolation of high intensity as it is close to the equator. It is at the latitude where high pressure areas predominate. It often has clear skies.

There is little cloud to block the sun’s radiation. This accounts for warmer days. Nothing blocks outgoing radiation too, so the nights can be colder.

Because of the earth’s atmospheric pressure and rotation, the earth’s moisture and winds move away from 30° to the equator. This makes the region in 30° more drier and desert like.

The lack of clouds and moisture make the temperature more extreme. This is a phenomenon is called Hadley cell.

It is applicable to Australia as it lies in the 30° latitude. Saudi Arabia, Gobi Desert, Sahara Desert and other major deserts of the world are also found on this latitude.

With the drop in solar prices, the number of solar system installation in Perth is hiking tremendously. One can go through solar panels Perth reviews and go for the best solar panel Perth.

The best solar companies Perth can help one to power their house. One has to choose a reliable and quality solar system installation company from the umpteen solar companies of Perth.

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Sun Cable: World’s biggest solar and battery project is about to get a lot bigger

The world’s biggest solar and battery storage project, planned for Australia’s Northern Territory and backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest, is about to get bigger.

The Sun Cable project, which started out as a 10GW solar project in 2019, has expanded to plans to install 14GW of solar PV, 20-30 gigawatt-hours of battery storage and a 5,000km transmission system linking Darwin and Singapore.

But the company behind the project, also called Sun Cable, has been crunching the numbers on scale and technology costs and is expected to announce the details of a further expansion later this month, and possibly reveal some new customers.

“The project is getting bigger,” Sun Cable CEO David Griffin told RenewEconomy. “With the passage of time we have been able to undertake a lot more research into the nature of the… solar resource and the technology roadmap for photovoltaics and storage, and the load profile of our prospective customers.

“When you put all that together, that demonstrates we can achieve a significantly larger installed capacity at that site and, to some degree, it would be optimal to do that to better serve the loads we are seeing.”

Griffin would not say by how much the 14GW capacity of the solar component would increase, but said that the battery storage component – previously estimated at between 20 and 30GWh – would increase accordingly.

The fact that Sun Cable is looking to deliver up to 800MW to the Darwin grid by 2026 is significant because it points to a major new customer for renewable energy as the local grid currently has average demand of just 150MW.


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How reliable are solar panels?

The growing environmental concerns about climate change, sustainability, gas prices and pollution has led many individuals and governments to pursue alternative power sources instead of fossil fuelsSolar power has been at the forefront of the push.

The wide-spread adoption of solar panels itself is a proof that it is a reliable energy source over fossil fuelsSolar power systems offer consistent energy production.

It is very reliable as its components require less maintenance and are backed by substantial warranties.

Solar panels play an important role in a solar power system. Solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells. When solar energy hits the panels, it activates the electrons. It starts producing DC charges.

An inverter converts the produced DC electricity to AC electricity so that it can be used at homes or offices. Solar energy is a stable investment that can save on electricity bills by generating free electricity.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) monitored 54,500 solar panels from 2000 to 2015. Their conclusion was that only 5 panels out of 10,000 failed each year.

It shows that only 1 in every 2,000 solar panels or only .05% of PV modules experienced failure per year during their lifetime.

Reliability of solar panels depend upon the location of installation. In hot and humid areas there are higher failure rates of solar PVs.

In temperate and dry areas and other cooler areas of the country, failure rate could be much lesser.

Quality of solar panels are an important matter of concern. High quality solar panels from trusted producers tend to stay longer.

Solar panels are so reliable that its manufacturers offer power output warranties of either 25 years or 30 years. This gives an assurance that the chances of solar system experiencing failures are very less.

Solar panels usually come with a product warranty and a performance warranty. It is a good idea to partner with a solar installer who offers additional warranties.

The product warranty will cover any defects in the material or workmanship of the panel. The performance warranty ensures that the performance of the panel will be above a specified degradation rate.

Sometimes solar panels do not produce the desired amount of power. It has nothing to do with the reliability of solar panels. Only a professional and optimal installation can help solar panels to reach its full potential.

One can maximise the output of solar panels by using high efficiency solar panels, installing them south faced and mounting them on the ground. It will produce up to 30% more energy.

Besides solar panels there are other parts like inverters, racking, the distribution panel, and the electric meter that play an important role in converting solar energy into electricity.

An inverter converts the DC electricity from the panels to usable AC electricity. Normally it has a warranty 10 to 25 years.  As inverters are more prone to have issues, it would be ideal to select a quality model from a trusted brand.

Battery system is used as a part of solar installation to store the produced solar power. Compared to other components of a solar system, it has a much shorter life span.

Battery systems usually come with a warranty of 5 to 10 yearsThe life of battery is determined by the frequency with which it is charged and discharged.

The racking mounts solar panels to the roof or to any other location of installation. It normally comes with a 10 to 20-year warranty on workmanship and material defects.

Solar energy is preferred by many as it is one of the safest means to power a house. It is highly reliable as it has a good return on investment.

The price of electricity and weather condition are two factors that has a direct impact on the return of investment by solar system.

On cloudy and snowy periods, the solar system produces less electricity and this may lead to a more extended payback period.

During the bright and sunny periods, solar system produces immense power, thereby making an above-average payback.

The same applies to the price of electricity. As the price of electricity hikes, solar power system helps to make a significant savings on energy costs.

To get proper pay backs the solar panels have to be installed with a proper orientation. It will help to bring the best out of the solar system. The marginal cost of generating solar energy is zero.

Solar panels are reliable as it produces energy from the sun. Since solar energy is a renewable source of energy, a solar system can produce energy as long as the sun shines. It is a very reliable source of power.

One can never deplete solar energy. Earth receives a solar radiation of 120,000 terawatts which is capable of powering the whole world.

Geographical flexibility makes solar panels very reliable. One can access solar energy from any part of the world.

Solar panels are reliable as they do not degrade the environment like fossil fuels. It is very environment friendly.  A solar system would be an added advantage to the environment.

Areas near to equator have an added advantage when it comes to solar energySolar PVs are a viable option even in areas that do not receive much sunlight.

Solar panels are reliable as they have little to no maintenance. As they do not have any moving parts, maintenance is much lesser.

If at all there is any maintenance it will be covered by the huge warranties of the system. The solar panel manufacturers will replace the solar panels with new ones.

With the advancement of technology, solar panels are getting better and better. There is a constant improvement in the design, efficiency and manufacture of solar panels.

Average efficiency of solar panels is 15-18%.  The new high efficiency solar panels require less space to produce a specific amount of solar power.

One of the major setbacks of solar panels is that it does not produce energy during night and that energy production will be lesser depending on the season.

These obstacles can easily be overcome either by adding a battery storage system or through net metering.

A battery storage system stores the excess energy produced by the panels during daytime and use it later when the panel production is nil or relatively lesser due to weather conditions.

Net metering is an agreement between the consumer and utility company. It allows the solar PV system owner to sell excess solar energy to them and to buy deficit energy from the utility company.

A meter is used to track this energy exchange. Its main advantage is that the surplus energy earns revenue while the shortage of energy is covered by the grid.

Solar panels are very robust, reliable and long lasting. They are powerful enough to handle branches of trees or hail storms falling on it.

There are no hassles once they are installed.  Presently, solar PV systems are mostly used for the energy needs of residential and commercial buildings.

Solar panels fall in line with the global shift to curb the climate changes. Many consider this as a first step towards the conservation of the environment.

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How to produce free electricity?

Free electricity can be produced by utilising the abundant natural resources around us. Choosing a residential green energy system can help in making  long- term savings and protecting the environment too.

Free renewable energysources are all around us. Some of them are the sun that shines, wind that blows and rivers that flow. Geysers that erupt, tide that goes in and out and radioactive materials that decay are all free renewable energy sources.

We can generate our own energy by converting these basic forms of energy into a form that is useful to us. It would require equipment or infrastructure like solar panels, wind turbine, dam, nuclear power plant etc.

It would be ideal to consult the municipalities or councils before going for a renewable energy system. Each state varies in the way they regulate renewable energy systems.

To make renewable energy installation easier, the government offers many incentives and tax credits for individuals. It applies to systems like solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps and solar water heaters.

An appropriate usage of natural resources, help us produce free electricity in the following ways.

Residential solar panels

A solar power system captures every ray of sunshine that touches the roof and convert it to electricity.  Government subsidies, tax credits and incentives help many to go for solar panel installation.

Most of the solar companies offer a no-obligation assessment to determine the best installation sites. Solar panel installation is very important because the efficiency of solar panels depends on how well it captures maximum sunlight.

Energy generated by solar panels can be used right away. This would either eliminate or reduce electricity bills.

The excess energy produced by panels can be exported to the grid. The feed in tariff provided by government is another way of savings made by the solar power system.

A battery storage system enables one to store excess energy. It can be used when there is power outage It can also be used when the system has less or no production due to weather condition

Wind turbine

To provide free electricity for home, there is no need of huge wind turbines. Even a small propeller installed in a windy area can work wonders with electricity bills.

Professional advice has to be sought before installation. They can assure about the safety of turbines. Propelling the turbine blade requires ample wind. Professionals can help in locating such best places.

The electricity generated by the turbines can be used as such or stored in a battery for later use. It can even be exported to the grid.

3. Solar and Wind Hybrid Systems

A Solar and Wind Hybrid Systems is perfect for electricity generation in a place where there are sunny days and windy nights. It compensates the drawbacks of solar power system and wind power system.

It would capture the solar energy during daytime and convert it into electricity. At night when there is no sunshine, it would capture wind energy and convert it into electricity.

The excess produced can be stored in a battery. One can easily disconnect from the grid provided they have a Solar and Wind Hybrid Systems with battery storage system. It will meet all the energy needs of a house.

Micro hydropower Systems

Micro hydropower Systems divert the flow of water through a small turbine. The current generates free electricity 24 hours a day.

The flow of water is more continuous and reliable than wind and sun. That makes a micro hydropower system better than a hybrid system.

This system can be used to power an isolated home or a small community. It is essential to have a running stream on the property.

In areas where water flow is maximum and solar energy is minimum in winter, it would be better to use a micro hydropower system along with a PV system.

Solar Water Heaters

Installation of a residential solar power system is expensive. Solar water heaters are an affordable way of capturing natural sunlight to heat water.

This system works on the thermosiphon principle. Solar water heater is designed to provide hot water without consuming expensive electricity. It would make a huge difference in electricity bills. It is environment friendly as well.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pump is a highly efficient renewable energy technology that is gaining wide acceptance for both residential and commercial buildings.

It is used for water heating, space heating and cooling. Instead of producing heat through the combustion of fossil fuels, geothermal heat pumps depend on naturally existing heat.

It uses the earth as a heat source. It uses the heat below the earth’s crust to heat homes and offices during winter.

These systems use a closed loop of pipes to pump fluid through an underground channel. It is pumped into the home and back to

underground again.

Inside the home, a heat exchanger uses warmth from the pipes to heat living spaces while using minimal energy.


Factories generate a lot of biomass waste and this can be used to generate electricity.  Biomass fuels include scrap lumber, forest debris, certain crops, manure, wood chips, timber offcuts, paper products, animal manure and sewage.

When biomass waste is heated, it produces steam and this steam is used to run turbines which produce electricity.

At home, we can burn dry biomass in a wood burner for heating. This heat can be used for water heating.


Biogas can be produced from raw materials like agricultural waste, manure, plant material, etc. It is useful for farmers who have to dispose of a lot of animal and plant waste.

Biogas is used as fuel for combustion engines. It converts it to mechanical energy which powers an electric generator to produce electricity.

This biogas can be used instead of natural gas for heating, cooling, cooking and producing electricity.

A biogas plant is suitable for larger farms only as it requires maintenance and operational attention.

Diesel generators

Diesel generators can be used for electricity generation in residential and commercial sectors. Being expensive not all can afford a diesel generator.

Ensure minimum electricity wastage with proper insulation, energy-efficient light bulbs, gas cooking, solar water heating etc.

Such a practise along with any type of home power generating equipment can lower electricity bill to a greater extent.

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Suntech to be exclusively sold through SF Suntech Australia

suntech solar farm

Suntech Australia have been supplying solar modules to the Australian market since 2007.

However, a decision has been made that Suntech modules can only be purchased through a single channel within Australia, and that is through SF Suntech Australia.

It’s important to note that Suntech solar modules purchased through any channel other than SF Suntech Australia will not be qualified for an STC claim. 


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Did you miss our previous article…

2020 Fire Protection install solar PV system

2020 Fire Protection solar pv system

Since commencing in 2010, 2020 Fire Protection have grown a team of passionate fire safety experts designed to help you and your building stay safe from fire. They are at the forefront of professionalising the industry through training and accreditation.

At the beginning of the year Director Rob Broadhead reached out to Solar Choice to assist in making a well-informed decision on a solar company, products used, length of warranties and prices.

Rob had previously investigated solar a few years previous and had some knowledge built-up surrounding the size he would prefer. Following an assessment of his power bills, we concurred and subsequently followed up with a personalised Tender Management Platform quickly displaying several of our recommended installers indicative breakdowns.

Rob selected a couple of options to visit the property and provide their assessment of the meter, switchboard and roof and gave chance for the installers to provide a final submission.

The winning bidder selected installed a 13.32kw system compromising of Trina panels and a Fronius inverter utilising tilt frames to ensure maximum efficiency from the system can be provided.

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