Solar energy is the most abundant energy source on the planet. And unlike most other types of energy available, there’s literally no way we can put a drain on the source.
But there are other reasons to love and use solar energy. According to Australia’s Clean Energy Council, in 2018, solar energy systems produced 19.6% of Australia’s clean energy generation. It produced 4.2% of the entire country’s total electricity.
While there are many benefits to solar panels, like everything else, there is a downside. Solar companies have things they don’t want you to know because it may affect your decision to invest in solar energy.
To help you make the most informed decision before you have a solar power system installed, keep reading. We’re sharing with you everything you need to know.
Before you find out what solar companies aren’t telling you, let’s go over what they will share with you. Here are a few things a solar company spokesperson may share with you when you’re thinking of buying solar panels:
You’ll enjoy lots of savings. Solar energy is free to produce as soon as your system is operational.
Your system also delivers savings to your electricity bill annually. You’re even entitled to solar incentives when you buy a solar system.
The long-term savings can be substantial. You could save tens of thousands of dollars. That’s partly because by buying solar panels, you’re insuring yourself against the risk of rising electricity prices.
For most people, the payback period takes about 10 years. And for most people, installing a solar power system on your roof helps increase the value of your home.
Should I install solar panels? There are some compelling reasons why it’s a great idea to invest in buying solar panels for your home.
Here is some solar power stuff you need to know about.
Some energy trends come and go, but solar energy isn’t one of them. There is solar energy available all over Australia. And the demand is rising.
Thanks to new industrial solar farms approved by both the New South Wales and Queensland governments in 2017, a solar boom is on its way.
In fact, in January 2018, it was the biggest January on record for rooftop installations. And Australia has enough roof space available to meet the entire continent’s electricity demand just by using solar power.
How do solar panels work? While they need the sun to work, solar panels do not need direct sunlight to generate electricity.
Instead, solar panels rely on the daylight, meaning that if it’s cloudy, foggy or rainy, solar panels can still function. Even clouds won’t stop the ultraviolet rays from working.
Even areas such as Germany or Tasmania, where there is less sunlight than in Cairns or Darwin, plenty of solar energy can be produced.
43% of Australians have moved to a new home in the last five years. If you move before the term of your solar leasing arrangement expires, you may be stuck with the cost of the leasing.
However, if you own your own solar panels, there’s no lease to worry about. And green homes are becoming increasingly popular with homebuyers.
Many utility companies get their electricity from coal-fired power plants. It was expected that global emissions would rise by 2.7% in 2018 to set a new high record of 37.1 billion tonnes.
And Australia and the rest of Oceania are a big part of the problem. In fact, Australia had an increase in emissions annually between 2014 and 2018.
Just by switching to solar in our homes, it’s possible to dramatically reduce our individual carbon footprint.
Being part of a POA or Property Owners Association is often great. There are common rules to live by and homeowners share common costs such as landscaping.
There are no solar access laws that override POA contracts that state solar PV systems on properties are prohibited. However, if you live in Western Australia, there are options to help you fight for your right to solar energy.
When you purchase a computer, it’s fairly common knowledge that within five or so years, you’ll need to upgrade to a new one. That’s because technology often renders your old computer obsolete.
Often, your old laptop cannot communicate or work properly with the latest technology. Some people fear this may also be true for solar panels. Thankfully, it’s not.
While the solar industry is expanding rapidly with new improvements, the industry is also focusing on making it more available to the average home-owning consumer.
What this means is that if you notice eight years from now that your neighbour has installed clear panels, it won’t matter. You’ve been creating your own clean energy for the last five years and you can continue to do so through the lifespan of your system.
Whether you choose backyard solar panels or you install them on your roof, there are some things most solar companies aren’t willing to share with you. However, not being fully aware can make for some unpleasant surprises.
Rather than being kept in the dark, we feel it’s a smarter idea to share all the information with you. That way, you know exactly what to expect and will be far happier with your experience.
Like all types of technology, maintaining your solar panels is important to ensure you get the most energy production. Those who live in wetter climates may find their solar panels stay cleaner because the rain washes away dirt, leaves, and debris.
However, those living in drier climates may find their solar panels require more maintenance because of fewer rainy days. Either way, you’ll need to hire a professional for the following reasons:
Solar panels are sensitive and while you will receive your own set of cleaning and maintenance instructions it’s best to leave the cleaning and maintenance to professionals. A professional will also be able to spot potential or existing problems with your equipment.
The Australian government offers certain subsidies and rebates for those who invest in solar energy. But they don’t always last forever.
Make sure you understand exactly which rebates and subsidies you’re entitled to before you make an investment. There may be a subsidy for a small business you’re not entitled to.
Keep in mind that there are also rebates available for community buildings, making it easier for you and your neighbours to invest in solar energy together.
Always read the fine print of any solar power stuff before you make any investment. Most warranties last between 20 and 25 years.
However, that warranty is no good if the solar manufacturer you chose is no longer in business. Do your homework to find a manufacturer who already has a solid reputation.
They’re more likely to still be in business 15 to 20 years down the line.
While there’s a lot to love about solar, most homeowners do it for financial and environmental reasons. However, not everyone has high electricity costs.
If you live in an area where the cost of electricity is low, you may not enjoy the same savings an area with high electricity costs would.
Look at your current energy costs and usage before you make any major decisions. You can also lower your energy costs such as using drapes in the summer to keep the hot sun out.
While it’s true that solar saves energy, is good for the environment, and doesn’t produce CO2 during production, it’s not 100% clean energy, either.
The manufacturing process uses toxic materials and hazardous products. Also, the transportation and installation of solar energy systems have also been linked with the emission of greenhouse gases.
Should I install solar panels? You may not be able to.
There are a few things you should consider before you make the investment.
Yes, you can invest in backyard solar panels. You may also be able to place them on your shed if you have one.
Otherwise, if your roof or backyard is shaded throughout most of the year, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to justify the costs or enjoy the savings of solar panels.
Homeowners also need to make sure their roof is structurally sound before installing any panels. Any upcoming renovations should be taken care of before installation.
The same is true if you rent or live in a multi-unit building that you don’t own. However, you may be able to look into shared or community solar, in those situations.
That way, you all share the installation costs and you also share in receiving credits on your electricity bills.
Your first step should be to get an energy audit. You’ll learn exactly how and when you’re using energy.
You’ll also find out where any leaks are and how you can fix and upgrade your home to make it as energy-efficient as possible. Even if you do invest in solar panels, an energy audit is a good idea.
There are two solar technologies most people choose from. Photovoltaic solar energy uses arrays of cells which turns sunlight into electricity.
Thermal solar energy uses sunlight to either heat water or air for use inside. For homes where energy for heating is the primary cost, a solar thermal investment makes the most economic sense as it should break even sooner.
However, solar thermal isn’t used as often in homes, making it more difficult to locate a qualified installer.
You have the option to lease or buy your solar panels. Buying your own system will incur more upfront costs but you’ll also enjoy a bigger payoff in the future.
Buying your own solar panels means you’re adding value to your home. Leasing will not add any value at all and there may be issues if you want to sell your home in the middle of a lease.
Leasing allows you to access cheaper electricity with little or no money down. However, there are limitations such as having no say if the utility company chooses not to continue doing business with you once your lease expires.
No matter where you live you’ll have to connect with a utility. Find out if you have to pay them a free.
Ask the utility company how long it will take them to hook up your solar panel system to the grid. And once they’ve connected you, find out how long it will take for you to be credited for any electricity you generate.
Before you sign any contract, look to see that it correctly spells out all the details. That should include details about financing, ownership, and even performance expectations.
Many systems include web-enabled devices. These devices let you check to see if anyone else is collecting data on your home energy production and usage.
If in doubt, ask a lawyer to go through the contract with you before you sign.
There will always be things they don’t want you to know. But we’re different.
We’re invested in Australia’s future and we want to be transparent. If you have questions about solar power stuff, we’re happy to answer them for you.
All you need to do is reach out. Click here to contact us.