How to buy the best solar panels for your home, and what you need to know before you install.
Solar panels are progressively being installed by homeowners who are worried about rising electricity costs, and who want a system that cuts not only their bills but also produces greener energy.
What size solar panel system do I need for my home?
To size your solar panel system for your home, you need to figure out how much electricity you use and when you are using it.
As a general guide, a normal home uses 20Kw of energy a day. a 5Kw solar system would meet most of the daytime power needs of a general home.
How many solar panels do I need for my home?
- The output of your entire solar system matter more than the size or number of panels.
- The higher each panel’s nominal power rating (and actual power output), the fewer you will need or (the more power you will generate).
- If your home has plenty of roof space, you may find it economical to purchase cheaper panels with less efficiency and use more of them.
For example: You could use four 250W Jinko panels, taking up 6.5m² of roof space, to make a total of 1000W array. But four 350W Q.MAXX panels would take up the same overall area and form a larger array of 1400W (although the Q.MAXX will cost you more).
How much do solar panels cost?
Solar panels price ranges vary, these are the current ranges for good quality system in Perth:
- 3Kw $3,500-$5,000
- 5Kw $4,500-$8,000
- 6.6Kw $5,000-$9,000
- 10Kw $8,000-$12,000
These prices includes rebates and incentives. Expect to pay the higher end of the range if you’re looking to purchase top-quality components or if your home has unusual installation requirements.
How much money will I save using solar power system?
It can take anywhere between two and seven years to pay off your solar system, after that is when you can start counting your savings.
Payback times in Perth usually range from three to four years.
Incentives for Solar
There are two main incentives that can help you make money off your solar PV system: feed-in tariffs (FiTS) and small-scale technology certificates (STCs). Read more here.
Do I need a solar storage battery for my home?
Home storage batteries allow you to store the electricity generated by your solar panels to use at night or on a cloudy day.
You may want to consider a battery storage system; the Tesla Powerwall 2 is the best-known solar batter. However, there are a number of different brands in the market.
Buying guide checklist for solar panels
- Assess the amount of energy you currently use and the system capacity you need and can afford.
- Check what way your roof faces. Only panels facing north will produce their full capacity.
- Ensure nothing is shading your roof such as, powerlines, trees or other structures.
- Understand what local council approval is required.
- Try to estimate your solar systems payback time.
- The solar inverter (which converts DC power from the panels into AC power for your home) is a key part of the system. View our range of inverters here.
- If you are considering a battery, view our range here.
- Ensure your installers are CEC accredited.
- Make sure your solar panels meet the required standards.
- Check your solar panels product and performance warranties.
Installation, standards and warranties
If you want to be eligible for STCs (small-scale technology certificates, your system must be installed by a CEC-accredited installer. The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is Australia’s peak body representing the clean energy sector.
Look for a CEC-accredited company:
- that the company is a signatory of the CEC’s code of conduct
- has been in business for a while
- has an established track record within the industry
- relevant experience in the industry
- a great reputation, and
- specialist expertise
What direction should my solar panels face?
Solar panels installers work best when they are facing north, pointing directly at the sun, at an optimal angle and not blocked by any shading, trees or other objects.
Does my solar panel system meet standards?
You should always ensure that any PV system you consider purchasing meet Australian and international standards. To be eligible for STCs, your solar panels must be certified – ask your installer to provide proof of this information.
Will my solar panels be covered with warranty?
There are two warranties provided for solar panels: one for performance and another for the product.
The performance warranty is a guarantee that as long as the panel is undamaged and functioning, it will produce at least 80% of its claimed power rating still after 25 years. The warranty usually also promises that the panel will degrade in an orderly, linear fashion. That it will only lose a small predictable amount of power each year.
This is the warranty for the panels; it’s the usual type of warranty that offers repair or replacement of there are any manufacturing faults. Most product warranties for solar panels are for 10 years; some manufactures offer, 12, 15 or even up to 25 years of product warranty.
How do solar panels work?
- Some materials can be made to produce electricity when light falls on them; this is called the photovoltaic effect. Solar panels use this to convert energy from sunlight into direct current (DC) electrical energy.
- An inverter unit then changes this into alternating current (AC) for your home’s electrical circuits.
- Any excess energy can be fed back to the electricity grid or to your own battery storage system.
What are solar panels made of?
Most solar cells are made of silicon. Solar panels, also called modules, are each made of several solar cells, connected together and sandwiched between protective glass and a backing plate. The whole panel is usually surrounded with an aluminium frame. A typical installation includes several panels connected together in an array.
Types of solar panels
Almost all solar panels used in home solar systems are mono- or multi-crystalline. While there are technical differences between these types, don’t put too much thought into this; it’s much more important for you to consider other aspects including, price, warranties and rated power output.
How to buy the best solar panels for your home
We understand that not all products suit everyone’s property or budget. At Westsun Solar we have a dedicated team to help you design and choose the right system for your home. We are not a high pressure sales company and want the best for our customers, guiding you every step of the way on how to buy the best solar panels for your home.