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Our research and experience consistently shows Jinko solar panels to be the best, most reliable and valuable panels available on the Australian solar market today. Their most popular product is their 370W 66 cell solar panel in their Cheetah series. Another great option is their N-Type 370W solar panel that comes with an impressive 20 year product warranty and 30 year performance warranty.
An excellent alternative to Jinko panels is EGing PV. While EGing doesn’t command the market share that Jinko does, they have been making a splash in the sector with the impressive power of their innovative technology. With great output, competitive prices and 15 year product warranties, EGing solar panels are among the best.
If you’re looking for the best premium solar panel, SolarEdge and Sunpower are two of the best options if affordability is not your first priority. In addition to excellent efficiency and power, SolarEdge premium solar panels also come with a valuable 15 year product warranty to safeguard your investment.
Polycrystalline (poly) solar panels have a lower efficiency rate than the other solar panel technologies. The upside of this is that they also have the lowest starting prices, making them the most affordable option of solar panel technology. Poly panels get their name from the multiple crystals of silicon used to form the wafers of the panels. While cost effective, this method also restricts the movement of electrons and thus the efficiency of the panels. You can recognise a poly panel by the blue hue of the panel.
Monocrystalline (mono) solar panels are a premium solar panel technology with higher efficiency rates than their poly panel alternatives. As a result, mono panels tend to have a higher starting price. Unlike the poly technology, mono panels use a single crystal of silicon that is cut into wafers. This gives the electrons more room to move and results in a more efficient solar panel. Mono panels have a more sleek design, more efficient solar generating capacity and therefore a higher price point. Mono panels can be identified by the black hue on the face of the panels.
Bi-facial solar panels produce power from both the front and back ‘faces’ of the solar panel. While both the poly and mono panel technologies are ‘monofacial’, bi-facial solar panels leave the rear of the panel exposed so that light can reach the solar cells from both directions. The result is a highly efficient solar panel that has increased durability due to the UV resistance on both sides of the panel. The technology used in bi-facial panels is generally monocrystalline, though there are some polycrystalline bi-facial solar panels on the market.
Half-cell solar panel technology has gained immense popularity over the last few years and is expected to eclipse full cell panels in market share in the near future. Traditional full cell solar panels are made with either 60 or 72 cells per panel. Half-cell panels, on the other hand, cut these cells in half and thus double the number to 120 or 144 cells per panel. Smaller cells provide less resistance and less mechanical stress on the panel.
By cutting traditional cells in half, half cell panels are more efficient, produce more power and reduce the chances of the panels cracking or experiencing mechanical issues. Half cell panels are also less susceptible to the effects of shade, making them a highly efficient and resilient solar panel technology.
Solar panels manufacturers are categorised into three tiers based on their reputation, quality and performance. Tier 1 solar panels are those which are produced by a Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer. This includes Jinko, Longi, JA Solar, Risen, Q-Cells, EGing, Seraphim and more.
It is important to research both the quality and the warranty of your solar panels before you make your investment. The best way to do this is to check out their in-depth review on our solar panel product review page. Pay particular attention to the length and type of warranty as well as the efficiency and output of the panels.
The warranty is one of the most important elements of your solar panels, as this is the part that will safeguard your investment in case something goes wrong. A performance warranty is a guarantee that your panels will continue to perform to a certain standard over the lifetime of the warranty. This is expressed in an expected loss of power output capacity (ie: 10-20% over the first 25 years). These warranties aren’t always as straightforward to redeem, but they provide a good indicator of the expected degradation of the panels.
The temperature coefficient measures the amount of power reduction per degree rise of temperature above 25 degrees that your panels experience. As your panels overheat, their efficiency and power output drops. The temp coefficient indicates how the panels will perform in hot conditions.
The cost of a solar panel system has dropped dramatically over the last decade. When combined with government rebates, the value of a panel investment has skyrocketed. The price will depend entirely on the brand and technology you choose. However, you can expect to pay approximately $1,500 per kilowatt (kW) before rebate for a Tier 1 panel. This works out to be about $1,200 after the rebate.
The current angle of your roof does not qualify or disqualify you of the ability to use solar panels, as they can be changed with tilt frames. If you have a flat roof, a tilt frame is highly recommended to optimise the light for your panels and to help rainwater wash off the modules.
The angle of your panels is important for maximising the amount of light it absorbs and thus the amount of energy it can generate. A good reference point is the latitude of your location. For example: if you lived in Canberra, which has a latitude of 35 degrees, then you would want your panels tilted to 35 degrees.
Both String inverters and Micro inverters convert Direct Current (DC) electricity into Alternating Current (AC) electricity that can be used to power your home and appliances. However, while a string inverter will carry out this conversion in a central location on the ground, micro inverters will do so on the back of each solar panel on the roof.
Rather than having a single inverter for a whole circuit (or ‘string’ – hence the name), micro inverters are individually attached to each panel. The advantage of this is that they can monitor per panel and if one inverter malfunctions it won’t affect the rest of your solar system as it would with a string inverter.
We’ve found that three of the best solar inverter brands when balanced on cost and performance in Australian conditions are SolarEdge, Goodwe and Sungrow. For more information on the solar inverters we have available and for detailed reviews of the products, check out our solar inverter reviews.
An MPPT Inverter is a Maximum Power Point Tracker inverter. MPPT technology is becoming standard in most new inverters. MPPT technology functions as a circuit which tracks the energy available from the solar array and adjusts its settings in order to maximise the efficiency of the system.
Most solar inverters will come with a standard manufacturer warranty of 5 years. There is often a chance to extend this, which we highly recommend as it can provide security for your investment. Manufacturer warranty generally covers any faults in the product that may arise as a result of faulty manufacturing. This warranty will generally cover the cost of shipping and replacing the product if its issue meets the terms of the warranty agreement.
AC solar panels are panels which have been filtered with a micro-inverter on the back. The advantages of this are numerous. Firstly, due to the per panel monitoring of the micro inverters, AC panels run at higher efficiency and avoid mismatched characteristics between panels. In addition, AC panels have less chance of potential electrical issues caused by too much DC voltage. Finally, AC panels with micro inverters are better for overcoming issues of shade as the whole system won’t be affected by the shade on some of the panels.
DC Optimisers serve the same purpose as a micro inverter though function in a slightly different way. Optimisers monitor the performance and currents of your solar array in order to overcome any mismatch between panels and enable the module to operate at its maximum efficiency. This allows for the maximum power production from your system. While micro-inverters convert the current from DC to AC individually on each panel, DC optimisers adjust the panels to maximise efficiency while still sending a DC current to a central inverter for conversion.
A Hybrid Inverter is capable of converting the DC electricity from your solar panels into AC electricity for your home, charging your solar battery and managing the power supply from the grid. This type of inverter is necessary for those wanting to add solar battery storage capacity to their solar system while still being able to manage power from the main grid when needed.
There is a range of backup capabilities depending on the brand and type of hybrid inverter that you choose. Some hybrid inverters can not provide battery backup in the case of a blackout, others can do so but with a delay and reduced power capabilities, while the best ones are able to seamlessly switch and function at full capacity. These premium options even allow you to charge your solar battery from your solar panels while the grid is down, essentially allowing you to live completely off grid and remain unaffected by grid issues or blackouts.
The “best” inverter will depend on your specific circumstances, solar system, needs and goals. However, the reputation and track record of solar inverter manufacturers is a strong indication of how that inverter will perform over its lifetime and how reliable their warranty claim process is likely to be. So while the following list should not be viewed as a definitive ranking of inverters, it should provide a good indication of some of the quality inverters available on the Australian market in the residential 3kW to 6kW range.
1. SolarEdge Inverter
SolarEdge SEG-SE5000H 5KW
2. SMA Inverter
SMA Sunny Boy for 3kW or 5kW
3. SunGrow Inverter
NEW SH5K-30 HYBRID SERIES
4. Growatt Inverter
TL-X (2500~6000) Series
5. FRONIUS Inverter
FRONIUS SYMO HYBRID
6. Goodwe Inverter
GOODWE DNS SERIES
7. SolaX Inverter
SOLAX X1 SMART
8. Huawei Inverter
9. Solis Inverter
10. DELTA Inverter
DELTA H5A-222 HOME SERIES
The simple answer to this is that the best solar inverter size to buy is the one that best suits you. This means that the inverter should match the energy consumption needs of your home. It should match the size and capacity of your solar system. It should be within your available budget while still being powerful enough to meet your energy saving goals.
To find out what the right size inverter is for you, get in touch with our friendly solar specialists today. You can reach them on 1300 076527 or by filling out the free online quote request form on our website.
When it comes to selecting the best performing solar battery storage brands on the market today, there’s no shortage of choice. While there are hundreds of solar battery manufacturers, and dozens of quality brands, there are a few that have risen to the top for their reliability, performance, innovation and design. As a long term investment, it’s wise to choose a solar battery brand that has a strong reputation in the industry, a product with great performance, a good track record of customer service and warranty claims.
A solar battery storage system requires three key components in order to function. The first is the solar array, which is the collection of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on your roof (or alternate location) that capture the energy from the sunlight and send the electrical pulses from that light to the rest of your system. The second key component of the system is the solar inverter. The inverter receives the electricity from your solar array in the form of direct current (DC) and converts it into an alternating current (AC) that is used to power your home or business.
The final essential component of the solar battery storage system is of course the solar battery itself. The solar battery stores the AC electricity created by your system for use at a later time. Depending on the brand and type of solar battery that you have, it may have an inverter in-built, or it may require an external one to function. Ensure that your inverter is compatible with a solar battery before making such an investment.
The kilowatt hours (kWh) is the amount of stored energy that your battery can hold and use. The total warranted kWh is the number of kWhs a battery can provide per day multiplied by the amount of days given in the warranty period. To determine the cost per warranted kWh, you take the total solar battery price and divide it by the warranted kWh.
The power of a solar battery storage unit is determined by how quickly it can be charged and discharged. A high powered battery may be able to disseminate all of its energy in under 40 minutes. This type of speed and power enables you to quickly access and use the energy that has been created by a solar PV system. A low powered battery on the other hand, may take as long as five hours to discharge the same amount of electricity. A high powered battery isn’t necessarily better, it’s simply a more efficient device for using the energy made by your solar system.
Unlike solar panel warranties, which will often split the warranty guarantees between the product warranty (covering issues in workmanship or materials) and the performance warranty (covering performance depreciation over time), solar battery storage warranties generally have just one warranty for both the product and performance. A 10 year warranty from the time of installation is standard for solar battery warranties, though some will specify a number of battery cycles, somewhere between 4,000 – 8,000 cycles is standard.
You can either buy a complete hybrid solar system, or add batteries to an existing solar PV system. While the complete hybrid system will generally cost you more, if you want to add batteries to an existing system you have to make sure they are compatible.
Residential battery storage systems work by adding an extra component to a regular home solar PV system. The battery storage component is added between the solar array and the solar inverter. The DC electricity is sent straight from the panels to your battery to be stored for use at a later time. The battery is charged with DC electricity, then sends the surplus current to an inverter to be converted into AC electricity before it is used and consumed by your home appliances.
Studies in Sydney have demonstrated the capacity for home solar battery storage systems to reduce energy dependence on the main grid by as much as 80%. While this doesn’t irradiate your energy requirements, it does reduce usage of grid electricity, which has a far greater carbon footprint and sources its energy from a variety of non-renewable resources. The amount of grid energy consumption that you can save with a home battery will depend on a number of factors, including your current consumption rate, type of solar system, budget and goals.
As to whether installing a home battery storage unit with your solar PV system will affect your ability to send electricity back to the grid in exchange for feed-in tariffs, the answer will depend on your location. There are different rules for feed-in tariffs from battery-stored electricity that vary from state to state within Australia. For many of the states, installing a solar battery will not affect your ability to receive feed-in tariffs. The notable exceptions to this are New South Wales, ACT and South Australia, where you cannot get feed-in tariff payments if you have solar battery storage capacity.
A solar battery added to your solar PV system provides many benefits. Some of the most popular are the reduced reliance on the grid, lower carbon footprint, reduced energy bills, greater energy independence and a far quieter alternative to a generator. A solar battery has many great advantages, but it may not be right for everyone. Get in touch with our friendly solar specialists today to find out with a solar battery storage option might be perfect for you.
Once you’ve made the decision to cut down your electricity costs and your carbon footprint for your hot water system, the next decision you’re going to have to make is whether you want Conventional Solar Hot Water or a heat pump. Undoubtedly, Conventional Hot Water is the more effective, efficient and practical choice. This option gives you a quieter, more reliable and more powerful source of hot water that will continue to provide value for 15 to 20 years.
A heat pump on the other hand is a less efficient, less powerful and less reliable means of heating your water. They require more space, they make more noise and they don’t last as long. While a heat pump will cost you less upfront, in the long run it provides less value for money due to its shorter lifespan, reduced efficiency and lower performance levels.
Answer: Conventional Solar Hot Water Systems are the most effective and efficient choice that provides the greatest value for money.
Not all conventional solar hot water systems are equal, in fact there are many options of customisation to ensure that the system is built to meet your needs. One of the principal choices is which type of solar hot water collector to get: flat plate or an evacuated tube. Our solar specialists could talk to you all day about the technical differences between these two systems, but there are just a few key points that you should keep in mind.
A flat plate is the cheaper and more common choice. This is because they are a simple design while still being highly durable and long lasting. The only downside is reduced efficiency in very cold conditions. However, they are easy to install with a ‘thermosiphon’ setup. This configuration places the water tank on the roof with the collector. It is generally considered to be optimal because it means you don’t have to expend power to pump the water onto your roof, it is quieter and more efficient.
An evacuated tube collector is the more costly and less durable option. In addition, they are much harder to configure with a thermosiphon setup. The key advantage of an evacuated tube is its performance in cold conditions.
Answer: A flat plate collector is the best choice unless you live in an extremely cold climate.
In terms of customising your solar hot water system, the final important step is to choose the type of booster for your system: electricity or gas. While gas is often seen as a cheap and efficient source of fuel, when you consider both the gas company service rates, plus the methane released during the production of gas, solar powered electricity comes out on top on both fronts.
If you have a Solar PV system, it’s a no-brainer. Even if you don’t, in the long run electric-boosted solar hot water systems are both more efficient in terms of cost, and less harmful in terms of the carbon footprint.
Answer: electric boosted hot water systems provide more value for money and are better for the environment in the long term.
Choosing to heat your water with solar thermal energy has many advantages, but the two big ones are economic and environmental. Compared to other systems, a conventional solar hot water system will pay for itself due to the reduction in your electricity bills. In addition, you can feel good knowing you are cutting down your home emissions and making the important sustainable choices for your home.
A solar hot water split system separates the collector from the water tank. The water in the collector gets heated by the sun, then is sent to the tank for storage and easy access for your home. At the same time, any cool water from the bottom of the storage tank gets sent back up to the collector for heating.
Ultimately the energy difference between the two systems is negligible, so the right choice will depend on your personal space available and aesthetic preferences. While the roof mounted tank uses less energy moving water from the roof to the ground, it has a greater loss of heat through its greater exposure to elements like wind. The roof mounted tank is quieter and some prefer to keep the tank out of sight by mounting it on the roof.
The flat plate has been the historically popular choice, though evacuated tube collectors are becoming more popular due to their high efficiency in tough conditions, especially the extreme cold. Ultimately the flat plate is ideal for anyone living in relatively consistent conditions, while those in highly variant climates might be better off with an evacuated tube collector.
A heat pump uses the hot air around it to heat the water while pumping out the cold air from the water inside. For this reason, much of the energy used comes from the air, while only a minority of the energy required uses electricity. The key downsides are the noise, durability, size and aesthetics of these systems.
The available government rebates for solar purchases are highly dependent on where and when you make your purchase. Many states allow hot water systems to be used in the Federal Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) scheme, though this is subject to a number of conditions. Reach out to our solar specialists today to find out what sort of savings might be applicable to you.
Similar to the solar rebates, tariff schemes are subject to change and highly dependent on where you live, what your usage patterns are and which utility service you use. Our team are always up to date on the latest information, so get in touch if you want to learn more about how tariffs might help you save on your solar hot water bills.