Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on 26 November 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Solar Panel Installation & Product Questions

How and where should the panels be positioned?

For optimum electricity production, solar PV panels should be mounted on a sloping roof facing north under direct sunlight.

They should not be placed in shaded areas as this will result in less power and less savings. The optimal operating temperature for solar panels is 25°C.

Solar PV panels will still provide excellent performance if mounted facing anywhere from east, through north to west.

A minimum tilt of 10° is recommended to ensure self cleaning by rainfall. If your roof’s slope is not ideal, your accredited designer can create an appropriate mounting frame to correct the orientation and elevation of your panel.

Can I increase the size of my system in the future?

Yes. You can add more panels but only up to the capacity of your inverter. So, make sure you install an appropriate inverter now or you will have to purchase an additional inverter when you increase your system.

How big is an inverter and where will it be installed?

The average size of an inverter is around 50cm (height) x 30cm (width) x 20cm (depth) and is normally installed in your garage.

Do I need to be home for the installation?

No. However, it is preferable as the installers may need access to the man-hole.

Solar STC, Tarrif & Rebate Questions

What are STCs?

Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) are an electronic form of currency created by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. When you install a system, you may claim a set number of STCs. This number is based on the amount of electricity in megawatt hour (MWh) generated by your system, where one STC is equivalent to one MWh of electricity generated by your solar PV system.

The number of certificates you can claim may vary depending on the location and size of your installed solar PV system, and/or the price of STCs at the time the system was installed. The price of STCs changes according to market conditions.

As an owner of a solar PV system, you can register, sell, trade or surrender STCs for systems up to 100kW. There are two ways you can be paid for your STCs:

1. Assign your STCs when you purchase your solar PV system to a registered agent, e.g. your solar installer, in exchange for a discount on the system. This is the most common option. Or

2. Create the STCs yourself by finding a buyer and then selling and transferring them in the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) Registry. This will significantly increase your upfront payment.

What is a Solar Credit Multiplier?

Solar Credits is a mechanism which multiplies by two the number of STCs able to be created for your solar PV system. These extra credits only apply to the first 1.5kW of system capacity. If your system is larger than 1.5kW, you will receive Solar Credits plus an additional STC for every one MWh of electricity able to be generated by your solar PV system.

What are feed-in tariffs?

Feed-in tariffs are set and administered by your state government. A feed-in tariff pays you for electricity generated and fed into the main grid by your solar PV system.

It does not apply to off-grid systems. If you have surplus energy generated by your solar panels, you get paid for it and if you use all of the energy you generate it will be offset against your normal electricity bill.

To receive the feed-tariff, you need to apply to your electricity retailer. This application is normally completed by your solar provider.

I would like to add panels to my existing solar system. How will this affect the Feed in Tariff I receive?

Solar Power Direct recommends that you contact SA Power Networks to understand how your Feed in Tariff could be affected. For more information click here.

General Electricity Questions

Can I monitor my solar PV system online?

Yes – You can purchase a special program called Solar Log. Please contact our office for more information.

What are kW and kWh?

kW stands for kilowatt, which is a measure of power. Your solar PV system is rated according to the number of watts it can produce in full sun. kWh stands for kilowatt hour, which is a measure of energy per hour. If you ran a 1 kW electric heater for one hour, it would use 1 kWh of energy. Electricity companies bill you a certain amount per kWh you use. A typical Australian home uses approximately 14 kWh per day.

Do I need a new electricity meter?

Yes – You will need a new import-export meter to take advantage of the feed-in tariffs. The application for a new meter is normally completed by your solar provider.

What happens if there is a power cut?

Your grid-connected solar power system must shut down within a fraction of a second of the grid losing power.

This allows repairs to be made safely to the grid. Your system will automatically reconnect when power is restored back to the grid.

Who will be my energy provider?

Your energy provider will not change. Your energy retailer will continue to send you your quarterly electricity bills.

Your solar provider is only the supplier and installer of your quality solar PV system

Do you provide battery storage?

Yes – For all enquiries regarding battery storage, please contact our office for more information.

Can I move my solar PV system to a new location?

Yes – However, you would no longer be eligible for the state government feed-in tariff. Your solar provider will need to arrange for a new SEG approval in relation to the new connection point.

Under section 36AE (6) of the Electricity Act 1996, it states:

If a Generator is, on or after October 1, 2011:

(a) Altered in a manner that increases the capacity of the generator to generate electricity; or

(b) Disconnected and moved to another site

A credit under this section will not be payable from the date of the alteration or disconnection.

Solar Power Direct is a proud member of the Smart Energy Council, working towards a safe climate and a strong renewable economy.