ABOUT INSTALLING SOLAR

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1 everything you need to know ABOUT INSTALLING SOLAR THE SUN How much sun do you get on your roof each day? At the risk of stating the obvious, solar panels are only really effective when bathed in good light and actual sunshine. You would be amazed at how many disreputable companies will sell solar systems to people with shady rooves, producing little or no power. Your system designer must take shading into consideration when planning your system, so it is good to know how much daily sunshine your roof is exposed to. What aspect is your roof (circle appropriate): North? East? West? What time does the sun hit your roof in the morning? What time does it leave in the afternoon? Is there any shading during the day - ie from large trees, adjoining or adjacent buildings etc? How many hours of uninterrupted sun do you receive on your roof on an average day? (Don't worry, a good installer can calculate the exact sun hours, allowing for winter and summer sun etc - this is just a starting point for you to be aware of all the considerations!) If your roof is shaded, do you have a remote building (garage, shed or similar) which would better suit a solar array? Do you have sufficient land for a ground mounted array? THE POWER

2 THE POWER How much power do you currently use? Designing the perfect system for you and your family or business is not just about your budget. By analysing your current power usage it is possible to see where you can reduce power costs and usage (you may not need solar!) If you look at the last year's power bills, you will get an average daily power usage from the graphs on your power bill (approximately 18.5 kilowatt hours per day for a 4 person NSW household). How much is your average daily power usage? How much of this power do you want to generate yourself? (circle appropriate): All of it? Some of it? Most of it? Timing is everything Under the current solar schemes, the solar power you generate is used in your home or business FIRST and then any excess power is exported to the external grid. Some retailers are offering 5 cents per kilowatt hour for exported electricity. Therefore buying a bigger system than you actually need for your own usage is counter-productive as the return on power exported is so small. When do you use power? (circle appropriate): During the day? At night? Both? EFFICIENCY

3 EFFICIENCY How efficient is your home? Are there ways you can increase your energy efficiency to bring down your power bills without, or before, installing solar? Do you have low energy lights? Compact fluoro lamps, LED s? Do you leave TV, washing machine, microwave, computer, oven etc on standby? (10-15% of the average bill is from appliances like these left in standby mode!) Do you use electricity to cook with? Do you use electric heaters? Is your hot water heated by electricity? Did you know that every time an element is heated (for instance in a kettle, hairdryer stove etc, it creates a huge draw on the power system in order to heat the element? How old is your fridge or freezer? yrs Older fridges/freezers are extremely energy inefficient. Did you know that power consumption for refrigeration is relative to ambient temperature? It pays to position the fridge or freezer in the coolest possible location. YOUR SOLAR

4 YOUR SOLAR What size solar system do you want, or can you afford? Basically, you get what you pay for! Cheap is not good when it comes to panels and inverters. They fail fast and often! Good solar panels have an output warranty of 25 years and most good inverters will come with a 10 year warranty. Panel & Inverter Quality Who carries the warranty on the inverters and panels you are investigating? Are they a reputable Australian company? How long have they been in the solar industry? All sorts of large and supposedly reputable companies like Solar Shop, Solar & Bamboo Direct and Carbon Management Solutions have gone into liquidation after selling thousands of solar systems with warranties that can now never be honoured. Caveat Emptor! Buyer Beware! Inverters we work with and recommend are as follows: SMA Sunny Boy/Sunny Island Fronius Kaco Selectronic (SP Pro) Power Router Solar River Power One / Aurora Any other brand is not worth considering - they will cost more in the long run & plenty in heartache! Design & Install of your solar system Who will design your solar system? Are they CEC accredited? Have they visited your home or business to ensure they have accurate information to complete your quotation? An accurate price cannot be provided without a site visit. Have they completed voltage rise calculations for the system sizes you are considering (in other words, your incoming main from the street to the meter box has to be capable of carrying the extra power produced by your solar system) Who will be completing the installation? System installers must be accredited with the Clean Energy Council. Are they directly employed by the company or a sub-contractor (a subbie is not liable for warranty or maintenance on any system not supplied by him or her) YOUR QUOTE

5 YOUR QUOTE What should be included in your solar quote? If this all seems way too hard, we can come out and assess all this for you! But we want you to embark upon some of the rigorous thought processes you will need to make sure that a solar shark doesn't snap you up and spit you out! Your Solar System Size of system, using which brand of panels and inverter, and statement of how much power it will generate Supply Authority metering upgrade Supply Authority metering has to be upgraded and should either be included in your price or itemised separately so you know exactly how much money you are up for Meter Box upgrades A lot of old meter boxes require upgrading for a solar instal. Your solar installation company will be able to advise you if this is required at your premises when they conduct their site visit. If an upgrade is required the price should be included in your quote or itemised in a separate quotation Incoming Mains Are your incoming mains of sufficient size to serve your proposed solar system. Voltage Rise calculations must be completed for all systems to ensure your mains can handle the extra power your solar system produces. We're happy to help you through this maze and find a system and installer you'll be happy with. Just give us a call on or

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