Frequently Asked Questions SOLAR ENERGY:

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1 Frequently Asked Questions SOLAR ENERGY: Why should I have Solar Power? There are lots of reasons that make installing Solar Power Generation worthwhile: Environmental Green advantages Zero carbon emissions Totally Renewable energy Reduces fuel-for-power-generation usage Improve your property value Add value to your home by making your home cheaper to run at the same time as saving on-going costs for yourself. The Cost makes sense When you have calculated how much power you use, how much your system produces (in kilowatt/hours) multiplied by power company rates in your area you will see that it won t take many years to recover the cost - even when not accounting for the inevitable future power cost increases. Pay only for power that you use over and above what your Solar Power System generates. Set a good example to Family, Friends, Neighbours, Community Show the world that you care about the environment by using this excellent technology. Offset some of the power that has been produced by others using carbon-emitting fuels, like coal, diesel or gas. Power Technology Solar System generated power is one of the cleanest ways to produce power. It uses no fuel, only sunlight and it produces no emissions. Solar panels are the main component of the system cost. They have a 25-year performance guarantee and need very little maintenance. Power Technology - Frequently Asked Questions Solar Page 1 of 5

2 Some solar systems have been working well for over 40 years and still are today. Our mounting systems are made with marine grade anodised aluminium (the same as the solar panel frames) and use galvanically isolated stainless steel fastenings. The inverter has an expected design life of around 10 ~ 15 years, depending on the housing (protection) and environmental effects. How does it work? Your Solar Power system panels are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, very high winds and storm conditions. These panels use the sun s radiation to provide clean DC power. This feeds an Inverter which manages the power and converts it into AC power just like the grid, (and charges your Batteries, if they are installed). Batteries may be used for Back-up when the utility is not available, or if Off-Grid to provide power during times of low/no sunshine. Sometimes a back-up Generator may be recommended your installer will discuss these options with you. Your Solar Power System is connected to your new or existing building power system - You generally don t need to make any change to your wiring or distribution board. What is the cost for a solar power system in a normal home? Prices for solar power have dropped considerably over recent years, as the cost of manufacturing the components that make up the system, especially the PV Panels, have reduced. When pricing a solar PV system to suit your requirements, it is essential to know your average monthly or annual power costs or the units used (kwh) as there can be large variance when it comes to energy usage and efficiency in the average home. Your installer will help you to get the current price of a system tailored to suit you. How do I make sure that I choose the right solar power system that suits my needs? There are a number of things you need to think about when you are deciding what type and size of solar system you will need. You should base your solar power system purchase on these key points your installer will help you with this: - How much available roof space do you have for your for solar panels? - How much do you want to spend, your budget? - How much electricity do you consume (kwh) per year? or - How much is your annual electricity cost and how much would you like to offset. - Do you need to have power available even when the utility power is out? From this we can determine what size and type of power system you will need. What are the Warranties? Solar Panels 5 year manufacturers warranty and 25 year rated output warranty. (The solar panels will still be producing 80% of their original output after 25 years). Inverters 5 year parts and labour warranty. This may be up to 8 Years your installer will advise you on this. Are Local Body Consents or Permits required? Every Local Body has their own requirements. Some councils do and many councils don t need a permit - some may need you to apply for an exemption and some don t need anything your installer will advise you on this. Is a site visit required? We can design a system that best suits your home by using Google Earth to view your roof or from your roof plan. This will give you a good idea of how your solar PV system will be installed and the potential power generation of your system. We may need a site visit to confirm the layout can go Power Technology - Frequently Asked Questions Solar Page 2 of 5

3 ahead as designed, and that there aren t any significant shading or other local environment issues to provide for. What maintenance is required? Our PV roof systems are designed to last longer than 25 years, with an annual clean of the panels using hot soapy water, and roof-flushing under the panels to help preserve your roof. There is an air gap under the panels to provide a cooling airflow and space to enable this flushing. Our solar electricity systems contain no pumps, no externally exposed moving parts and are designed specifically for harsh environments. Where are the solar panels and inverters manufactured? We only use the best quality components from New Zealand, Australia, USA, China and Europe. Our Inverters meet AS/NZS 5033 Standards and our PV Panels meet IEC Our Mounting systems are Superior Grade Anodised Aluminium with galvanically isolated Stainless Steel fastenings. Can I sell my surplus power - are there Feed In Tariffs (FIT s) - Who provides them? Many electricity retailers buy back excess electricity generated from your solar power system at different rates. There is currently no governing policy in NZ regulating the 'buy back' of electricity from small private generators - each electricity retailer sets their own buy back policy. It s best to use your own solar power before exporting any to the grid. When you do, Meridian and Contact energy offer the best buy back rates at present but you need to check because these rates are subject to change. Supplier System kw Power Rebate Meridian Contact Up to 10kW Up to 10kW More than 10kW 25c for the first 5kWh exported per day thereafter, 10c / kwh per day + GST c / kwh, + GST 7.0c / kwh, + GST Trust Power Up to 10kW 7.0c / kwh, + GST Genesis - 4 7c / kwh (North Island Only) Mercury Energy - 3.5c / kwh (Auckland only) Can I stay with my current electricity retailer? Yes - most energy companies offer metering and billing that suit grid connected solar systems. Meridian Energy and Contact Energy currently offer the highest rates for exporting solar power back to the grid but we suggest that you check with your current supplier. Can I go completely off the grid? Yes, we have designed and installed many Off Grid systems around New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. As these systems are very site specific to your needs, we ask that you talk to your installer or contact us to discuss and design a suitable solution. Grid connected or Grid-tied means that the utility acts like a battery. Wherever possible and financially viable, we recommend connecting to the grid. Power Technology - Frequently Asked Questions Solar Page 3 of 5

4 Will the roof orientation and pitch affect my system s performance? Yes, the orientation and pitch or slope of your roof does matter. The optimal orientation is facing true north. The optimal roof pitch is approximately 30 (or your area s latitude your smart phone may give you this). In most cases a roof angle between 20 and 45 is satisfactory to install onto. Otherwise, we provide roof-mount array mounting systems for flat or low pitch roofs. Can I still use all of my electric appliances? Yes. With grid tied solar power you are still connected to the grid, so there is power available whenever the utility is operating normally. Will I still have power if there is a power outage? Normally no - to comply with the New Zealand Electrical Code (NZ 5033), the system must automatically disconnect itself from the grid when the grid fails. This is done in order to protect workers from electrocution when working on power lines. A Hybrid system can provide Battery Backup if needed when the utility power is out. This can be designed to meet your needs specifically. Can I insure my system? Usually, yes - they can be insured within your home and contents insurance. We recommend that you talk to your insurance company to confirm this. Is the weight on my roof an issue? The systems mountings are designed to properly spread the light load of your panels over your roof. A 250W panel weighs about 19kg, which is spread over a large footprint so there is no point loading issues. Can you install these systems on any type of roof? Usually yes - we can install on all standard roof types. Our systems are designed to be mounted to most roofing structures including Copper, Colour-steel, Zincalume (or similar), composite, slate, Butynol (or similar) and clay/concrete tiles. Your roof type will dictate the type of mounting we will use for the installation of your system and may affect the price of your system. Can solar panels resist salt spray, strong winds or hail? We design our systems specifically for New Zealand s environment, and have taken particular care to make a system that is up to our tough conditions. The system is designed for use in locations where high ambient temperatures, salty atmosphere or spray, cyclone, flooding risk and other harsh environmental matters in New Zealand and throughout the Pacific Island Nations. Is the system quick and easy to install? Systems of 5kW or smaller can generally be completed in one or two days. For larger systems up to 10kW, allow up to four days (depending on the site). How can I see the electricity my system is producing? The KACO inverter requires an Ethernet connection to the inverter location in order to view performance data on your PC. The Enasolar inverter has WiFi built into it so that you can access system-monitoring displays on your PC through your web browser. You need to have a home wireless network for this to function properly. The Selectronic SP Pro, for off-grid installations has its own software that can be easily loaded onto your computer. Power Technology - Frequently Asked Questions Solar Page 4 of 5

5 Can I upgrade my system in the future? Generally, its advantageous for you to have a system designed for you to meet your needs now, and in the future. Yes you can sometimes upgrade later but it depends on your system size. Generally, smaller Inverters are not as flexible in accommodating larger Solar arrays the Inverter size is your main consideration for future-proofing. Your installer will help you with this. What are Mono and Poly Solar Panels Nearly 90% of the world s photovoltaics today are based on some variation of silicon. Monocrystalline: These cells are used on panels where a smaller size is required they use single crystal silicon wafers. They have the highest efficiency rates as they are made from the highest grade of silicon. Polycrystalline: This is the most popular technology all over the world. Poly or Multi crystalline cell are used when cost may be a factor. They are cheaper to produce but still have excellent efficiency rates. Thin Film: These solar cells are produced with one or several thin layers of photovoltaic material onto a substrate. The production is simple and their homogenous appearance makes them visually more appealing. Although they require more space, high temperatures and shading have less impact on their performance. What is Grid-Tied and Off-Grid Grid-connected or Grid-tied just means that you are connected to the public power system the power brought to you by all the various power retailers. Your new Solar Power Generation System may be Grid-tied or Off-grid, or not connected to any public (or other private) utility power system. For some good energy saving tips Glenorchy New Zealand Laurence Belcher Paradise Tours Power Technology - Frequently Asked Questions Solar Page 5 of 5

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