At Platinum, we’re all about helping Australians switch to solar, the easiest way possible

SOLAR SYSTEMS

What is solar power?

Solar power is energy that’s generated from the sun. This energy is captured using a variety of ever-improving methods and then turned into usable energy. This electricity can be used in your home, workplace or anywhere else where power is needed. Solar power can also be used to create solar fuels such as hydrogen.

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels are made up of lots of small units that are linked together. These units are called photovoltaic cells. Each cell is made up of many layers that are sandwiched between two slices of semiconducting material (usually silicon). When photons from sunlight strike the silicon cell, electrons are released. This generates a flow of electricity.

How does solar power work?

Solar power works by converting light from the sun into electricity. Sun shines on a solar panel and the panel converts the solar energy into a DC current. This current flows to an inverter which converts the DC to an AC for use with electrical appliances. With this in mind, solar panels work best in direct sunlight.

How many solar panels do I need?

To determine how many solar panels you need, start by checking your most recent power bills. See how much power you use each day and estimate how much you use during daylight hours. A typical home uses 16-20kWh per day. Also think about whether or not you want to store solar energy with a battery for use at night.

How do I know what size solar system I need?

It depends on how much electricity you use, when you mostly use it, where in Australia you live and how much you’re willing to invest. The best way to make sure you get the right system is to have an expert calculate it for you. Just contact us and we’ll organise a free tailored consultation at your premises to work out your individual needs.

How much does a solar system generally cost?

A fully installed solar system in Australia (including the STC discount) will currently cost somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000 for a 3kW system, between $5,000 and $9,000 for a 5kW system and between $12,000 and $16,000 for a 10kW system.

Obviously, no two homes have the same energy requirements, so for a completely free and tailored consultation on a solar system (and batteries), speak to us.

How much do solar panels cost in Australia?

Solar panels can be expensive, but the money you save on electricity bills will pay for the system in 3-7 years. You’ll continue to save money after the payback period too. Electricity prices in Australia are increasing every year, but with advancing technology, solar panels are getting more and more cost-effective.

Are solar panels worth it? (how will it take to pay it off)

At today’s standard energy rates, Australian households can expect to save at least $20,000 on their energy bills over the life of their solar panels. Solar panels also provide many benefits for the environment by reducing air pollution, using less water and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Financial and environmental gains make solar panels worth it.

What is my solar system likely to produce on average?

It will depend on where you live in Australia, with cooler climates such as Hobart producing an average of 3.5 kWh per day per kW installed and warmer climates such as Alice Springs producing roughly 5.0 kWh per day per kW installed.

Where are the majority of solar panels made?

Most are manufactured in China, but this is not an indication of poor quality, as there are some excellent brands of Chinese-made solar panels. Those not made in China generally come from places such as Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and some are even made here in Australia.

We only use the highest quality hardware in all our installations. that complies with strict certifications and comes from leading brands such as LG Electronics, Sunpower, REC, Fronius, SMA and SolarEdge. Speak to us today for a free consultation on what the best solution is for you and your budget.

Will solar panels stand up to hail?

Good quality panels made from tempered glass usually will, but even the best panels won’t resist unusually large hail, so it’s best to inform your home insurer when you purchase solar and have it covered under your policy.

Will my solar panels still work when it’s overcast?

Yes, but they will only produce somewhere between 10% and 40% of their rated capacity. However, individual overcast days aren’t important, providing you get enough sunlight over the course of a year to justify switching to solar.

Can I claim the rebate if I add another solar system?

Yes. Solar upgrades are also eligible for the government rebate.

What are the standard warranties for solar panels?

The industry standard for solar panel performance warranties in Australia is 25 years. This guarantees that a solar panel will only degrade in performance by a small percentage every year.

More importantly, a solar panel’s product warranty is a manufacturer’s warranty covering any defective materials or workmanship and in Australia this is usually for a period of between 10 and 12 years. High quality brands, such as LG, offer 25 year comprehensive- parts, labour, transport product and performance warranties.

What is a Tier 1 solar panel?

A tier 1 manufacturer simply means they make high volumes of panels, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a good quality company that manufactures good quality products. It’s vital to look for high quality panels with comprehensive warranties from long term, financially stable companies available to support you long-term if things go wrong with your system.

Is Tier 1 better than Tier 2 or Tier 3?

Not necessarily. Because the rating includes criteria such as manufacturing and deployment scale, only large manufacturers will score well enough to be rated Tier 1, while small makers may produce equally good panels, but only in small quantities. Choosing Tier 1 panels simply ensures you are buying a popular brand with good quality control, after sales support and warranties.

How long do solar panels normally last?

The average life expectancy of good quality solar panels is around 20 to 25 years and can last longer if well made and maintained. However budget style solar panels have a life span of only 10 to 12 years. This is why Platinum Solar only provides high quality solar panels.

How to clean solar panels?

Solar panels are generally self cleaning but in dry areas or where panel tilt is minimal, dust, bird droppings and other substances can build up. Solar panels can be cleaned using a good quality soft brush and a squeegee. For safety, solar panels should be cleaned from the ground.

Should I buy a used solar system?

Not a good idea for the following reasons:

  • You won’t get the government STC rebate, which is now almost enough to pay for new solar panels.
  • You don’t know what sort of condition it’s in and it may be damaged.
  • A used system doesn’t come with a warranty.
  • Unless it’s relatively new, it probably won’t meet current Australian standards, so it will be illegal to install.
  • If it’s an old or uncommon type, you may have trouble finding anyone who can install it.

How many panels in a 5kw solar system?

A 5kW solar power system will generate approximately 20kWh per day. This should easily offset a typical Australian home’s electricity usage. To make up a 5kW solar system, you will need 20 solar panels (assuming you use 250W panels). Each panel will be approximately 1.6m by 1m, requiring at least 32m2 of roof space.

BATTERIES & STORAGE

If I decide to add batteries to my solar system, do I need to change my existing inverter?

No. An installer can add a battery that’s AC-coupled to your solar system and has a separate inverter, allowing you to retain your existing inverter.

What type of inverter should I buy if I want to add batteries later on?

It doesn’t matter because, as explained above, you can add a battery without having to change your inverter.

What does a ‘cycle’ mean in relation to lithium-ion or similar batteries?

In general terms, a battery can be said to have completed a cycle when it is fully discharged. In the case of lithium-ion batteries, a cycle can be a number of small discharges adding up to one full discharge, as these batteries do not experience any additional deterioration from small amounts of power being used throughout the day.

Is it possible to add batteries to a micro inverter-based solar system?

Yes, by using a technique known as ‘AC coupling’ where an installer wires them directly into the 240V AC in the switchboard using an AC battery inverter.

What qualifications do you need to design and install a battery storage system?

You must have either grid-connect installation accreditation with battery endorsement or grid-connect installation accreditation along with stand-alone installation accreditation. Platinum Solar is accredited to all government and industry standards.

What size solar panel to charge 100ah battery?

A 100Ah battery can deliver 5 amps over a 20 hour period. Given that there are 24 hours in a day, a 100Ah battery can effectively run a load of around 1.5A continuously throughout the day/night running at no loss. To effectively charge a 100Ah battery you’ll need a 120 watt panel.

How long to charge 12v battery with a solar panel?

A 12V battery needs at least 13.6 volts to charge, therefore a solar panel needs to output at least 13.6 volts. This typically takes 5-8 hours to charge on a full sunlight day. To get the most effective charging by a solar panel, maximise the amount of current by keeping the panel pointed directly at the sun.

How long will a solar battery last?

Solar battery units last anywhere between 5 and 15 years. Factors that affect solar battery life include: solar battery type, usage and temperature. Proper maintenance will also play a role in the life of your solar battery. Most lead-acid batteries will come with a minimum five year warranty while lithium-ion batteries can be covered for 10 years or more.

GENERAL

I am thinking about solar but wonder if it’s too late. Is it still worth it to get a solar system?

Yes. The good old days of big returns from feed-in tariffs might be gone, but solar can still dramatically reduce your energy bills. The federal government’s rebate scheme (STC) won’t be phased out for a long time and that means you can still get a big discount on the upfront cost too.

Take a look at some information about government rebates here and if you still have questions, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

I consume most of my electricity when I get home at night - should I get solar?

Definitely. When feed-in tariffs were at their lowest, having solar when you weren’t home during the day probably wasn’t a great investment. But, with energy prices now on the rise and healthier feed-in tariffs being paid, it’s becoming a worthwhile proposition once again. Add a battery system to store energy generated in the daytime for nighttime use and maximise your return from your solar system.

What does kWh mean and what's the difference between that and a kW?

Let’s break it down. k is for kilo (i.e. 1000), W is for Watt (a measure of power) and h is for hour (a measure of time).

Therefore kW stands for kilowatt (1000 Watts) and kWh means kilowatt-hour (a measure of energy rather than power).

As an example, If your solar panels produce 1 kW of power for 60 minutes, they have produced 1 kWh of energy.

ENERGY

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy brings down energy costs and delivers on the promise of a cleaner energy future. Renewable energy comes from natural resources or processes that are constantly replenished and is increasingly displacing “dirty” fossil fuels in the power sector. Renewable energy harnesses nature’s power to produce electricity for heating, transportation, lighting and more.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is clean, green electricity that is derived from sunlight. New solutions for creating solar energy are being created all the time, but there are two main ways solar energy is created:

  • Solar photovoltaic
  • Solar thermal

 

The solar panels on roofs are photovoltaic and work by taking the rays from the sun, transmitting it to an inverter, and then supplying your home with power in a similar way traditional wires do.

Is solar energy renewable?

Solar energy is a renewable source of energy that is sustainable and inexhaustible – unlike fossil fuels which are finite. Solar energy is also a non-polluting source of energy.

Solar energy is a growing segment of the power generation industry and plays an important role in the future of energy production. Producing power with solar panels has two big advantages over fossil fuels: it’s both renewable and cost-effective.

How does solar energy work?

Solar energy works by capturing the sun’s light energy and turning it into electricity that can power your home or business. The sun is a natural nuclear reactor and it releases tiny packets of energy called photons. Every hour, enough photons impact our planet to generate enough solar energy to theoretically satisfy global energy needs for an entire year!

Peace of mind you're choosing a reputable company

Lifetime warranty
on installations

Only premium
brands used

Trustworthy

Our Platinum Electricians who will install and service your solar system are multi award winners. We’ve had strong steady business growth since 2001 and we’re passionate about giving you amazing service. You can trust that we’re a reputable company that will not ‘oversell’ you but give you the expert advice you need.

About Platinum

Our local teams are Australia wide

We partner with Platinum Electricians, as part of the Platinum group of companies, to install and service your solar and battery systems. Our electricians have you covered Australia wide.

When you choose to use Platinum Solar, you are also helping others in need. A percentage of all profits go to Platinum Foundation.

Platinum Foundation is the philanthropic side of Platinum. We believe in being generous and helping others in need. And that is WHY we are in business.

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