A 2024 Guide to Hybrid Solar Systems

A hybrid solar system can operate both on and off-grid solar systems. Under normal circumstances, a solar photovoltaic (PV) system is linked to your utility grid, allowing you to use both power sources simultaneously.

However, a hybrid solar panel system can also function independently, providing power during blackouts. For more information, here is a guide to hybrid solar systems for 2024.

More people seek ways to become more self-sufficient and promote a more environmentally friendly planet, and solar energy sources have emerged as a top solution.

Hybrid solar systems are a fantastic innovation that allows homeowners to harness free energy generated by the sun and use it to supplement their home’s electricity needs throughout the year.

What is A Hybrid Solar System?

A hybrid solar system connects to both the electricity grid and a battery for solar storage. Like regular home solar setups, solar panels on your roof or the ground turn sunlight into electricity that runs your home. Any extra energy goes into the grid or a battery pack for later.

When you’re connected to the grid, you rely only on traditional solar power systems. Solar panels alone can’t always give a steady power supply for home appliances.

For instance, if a cloud covers the sun or during nighttime when there’s no sunlight, the power generation drops. At these times, you depend on grid energy to fill in the gaps.

Hybrid solar systems have a battery system that provides energy even when your panels are not connected to the grid. If your solar panels produce less electricity because of clouds, a charged solar battery can keep a steady voltage and power output.

This means hybrid PV systems can work with the local electricity grid but don’t need it all the time.

How Does a Hybrid Solar System Work?

Here are the components of a hybrid solar system:

Solar Batteries: A solar battery (usually lead acid or lithium-ion) stores extra energy for later use.

Charge controller: This device protects batteries from getting too much charge, which can make them wear out faster.

Hybrid inverter: This inverter turns the solar cells’ direct current into alternating current. It also controls the power from the panels and battery and connects with the grid.

Metering/monitoring system: Hybrid solar systems have a system that tracks how much energy is made and used. It checks efficiency and helps manage energy.

Solar panels: Each panel has lots of solar cells that capture sunlight and make electricity.

Switchboard: These send electricity to your appliances.

Hybrid systems blend grid-connected and off-grid features. They keep power going by switching between solar, battery, and grid electricity when needed.

So, you’ll have electricity even during grid problems or cloudy days. They also reduce reliance on the grid, letting you use stored power during expensive peak times or emergencies.

Normally, regular solar systems require the grid to work. Solar panels alone can’t always give a steady power supply for home things like appliances.

For example, if a cloud covers the sun, the power from the panels drops. At night, with no sun, there’s no power. At these times, you rely on energy from the grid.

Hybrid solar systems use batteries to give power even when the panels aren’t linked to the grid.

If it’s cloudy and the panels produce less electricity, a charged solar battery can keep a steady power supply. This means hybrid systems can use the grid but don’t need it all the time.

The panels gather sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Since most home devices use alternating current (AC), a solar inverter changes the DC to AC electricity. The AC electricity then goes to the switchboard, which decides how to use it.

The switchboard sends electricity to your appliances, stores it in solar batteries, or sends it back to the grid to earn money.

How Much Do Hybrid Solar Systems Cost?

The average cost of a hybrid solar system ranges from $15,000 to $35,000. However, the actual cost can vary based on factors like your chosen installer, equipment, number of solar batteries, and location.

Typically, solar panel systems without battery storage are priced between $15,000 and $20,000. Adding a battery can increase the total cost by around $10,000 or more.

For instance, the Tesla Powerwall costs $11,500 including installation. With one battery, the total system cost might range from $26,500 to $31,500.

If you have higher energy needs, you might require multiple batteries, which would further increase the cost.

You can reduce the cost of your solar system by taking advantage of incentives such as the federal solar tax credit and state rebates.

Advantages of Hybrid Solar Systems

A hybrid solar system offers flexibility by combining features of grid-tied and off-grid systems in one setup.

Here are some benefits:

Increased Savings on Electricity Bills:

  • With standalone solar panels, you can only use generated electricity during the day unless you have a battery or rely on the grid. A hybrid solar system can provide electricity 24/7, covering your energy needs day and night. The solar array can be sized to meet your daytime usage and generate extra energy stored in a battery for later use.
  • Many states offer net metering programs where you can send excess power to the grid for credits. A hybrid system saves the full value of each unit of electricity, unlike standard solar systems that may get partial credit.

Backup Power During Outages:

  • A hybrid solar system with energy storage can supply backup power during blackouts, unlike grid-tied systems that can’t stabilize voltage without the grid.
  • Even in areas with rare outages, a hybrid system provides energy independence. For instance, if you have high electricity prices during peak hours (time-of-use tariff), you can rely on your system instead of the grid during those times.

Qualify for More Financial Incentives:

  • Traditional solar panel systems qualify for solar incentives, but hybrid systems also benefit from energy storage incentives.
  • Installing a hybrid solar system makes you eligible for a higher federal solar tax credit, covering 30% of solar and battery costs against your federal taxes.
  • In places with less favorable net metering policies, like Victoria and NSW, where grid-tied solar credits are reduced, a hybrid system can save more by storing energy for later use instead of exporting it to the grid.

Hybrid Systems vs. Grid-Tied Systems vs. Off-Grid Systems

Homeowners have three main choices when it comes to solar power systems:

Grid-Tied Solar System:

Grid-tied systems use a solar inverter that links directly to the utility grid. Any extra energy produced by the solar panels goes back to the grid. If your goal is mainly to reduce energy costs, this is the most affordable option.

Off-Grid Solar System:

Off-grid systems are completely self-sufficient. They store extra solar energy in batteries for later use when there isn’t enough sunlight. These systems are necessary in remote areas but are more expensive than grid-tied or hybrid systems.

Hybrid systems are very popular because they offer a good balance between on-grid and off-grid setups.

Traditional on-grid solar systems use solar energy to power your home, but they don’t store energy in batteries. This means you still rely on the main electricity grid when there’s no sunlight, like at night or on cloudy days.

Off-grid systems are more expensive and require large battery storage to run your home independently of the grid 24/7.

A hybrid energy system is a middle ground that combines both. It includes battery storage to save solar energy for times when solar power isn’t available. What’s great is that a hybrid system remains connected to the public grid.

This means you can use grid electricity when your battery is low or when there’s no solar power, like at night.

What Makes Hybrid Solar Panels Different?

The way hybrid solar panels and off-grid solar systems work is quite similar. Both use “Photovoltaic cells” to turn sunlight into DC power. This power can be stored in batteries or converted to AC power by a solar inverter.

When you have surplus electricity from your hybrid solar panels, you have two choices: store it for later or send it back to the grid.

Hybrid solar panels and off-grid systems have different advantages. The decision between them depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Hybrid Solar Panels:

Hybrid solar panels offer the benefit of being connected to the electrical grid. This means that when your solar panels can’t produce enough power, like on cloudy days or when there’s high energy demand, you can still use the grid for electricity. This gives you flexibility and ensures a steady power supply. If your hybrid system produces extra energy, you can send it back to the grid and potentially get credits or payment for it.

Off-Grid System:

On the other hand, an off-grid system provides complete energy independence by relying solely on solar power. This eliminates the risk of changing utility costs and gives you resilience during power outages.

Off-grid solar systems are environmentally friendly and can reduce your carbon footprint since they use only renewable energy. However, it’s important to know that off-grid systems aren’t always reliable.

During long periods with little sunlight or when your system needs maintenance, there’s no backup power source available for your off-grid solar system.

Are Hybrid Solar Panels Reliable?

A hybrid PV system allows you to use less grid electricity while maintaining access to the grid station. High-efficiency panels will increase your energy production. The ability of hybrid solar panels to provide a continuous supply of electricity during inclement weather or power outages is what distinguishes them.

Hybrid solar power systems also allow you to sell excess energy to grid companies in exchange for bill credits, potentially lowering your electricity bill. If you want to go completely off-grid, you cannot sell any excess electricity to utility companies.

Overall, hybrid solar panel systems are more stable and reliable than off-grid solar arrays.

The decision to purchase a hybrid solar system is based on a variety of factors. These factors include the local grid’s reliability, the availability of sunlight in your area, your energy consumption habits, and your desire for energy independence.

Assessing your household energy requirements and consulting with solar energy professionals can help you choose the best option for your needs.

Our Solar Experts are here to Help!

How To Get Equitable Access To Solar Energy In Australia

Solar energy can help people spend less on living expenses, but not everyone can use it because they need more governmental and financial support. It will provide equitable access to all Australians.

So, how do we get equitable access to solar energy in Australia? We’ll find out today!

As the cost of living goes up, many families in Australia are using solar panels on their roofs to save money on electricity. A recent survey found that around 29% of Australians either have or are considering getting solar panels for their homes.

However, this survey also found that one of every five Australians can only afford to keep their homes warm and cool enough.

Some can’t install solar panels or better insulation because they can’t pay for it upfront or live in places they don’t own and can’t make those changes.

Many people who earn less than A$50,000 a year struggle financially, and younger adults between 18 and 34 don’t plan to get energy-saving improvements because they can’t afford them.

Renewable energy isn’t just crucial for saving money on electricity—it also helps fight climate change and supports sustainable living. However, not everyone in Australia has the same access to solar power.

And to explore this more, let’s first understand equity and solar equity.

What is Equity?

Equity means fairness or justice. In financial terms, it refers to the value of something you own after subtracting any debts you owe on it.

For example, if you own a house worth $200,000 but still owe $150,000 on your mortgage, your equity in the house is $50,000 ($200,000-$150,000).

Equity can also mean fairness in how resources or opportunities are distributed among people.

For instance, having equity in society means everyone has a fair chance to succeed regardless of their background or circumstances. This could involve providing extra support to those who need it to level the playing field.

In summary, equity can mean the value of ownership in financial terms or fairness and justice in how resources and opportunities are shared among people.

Solar Equity

Solar equity refers to ensuring fair access to solar energy resources and benefits for everyone, especially those facing barriers to using solar power.

This means ensuring that people from all backgrounds and income levels can benefit from solar energy technologies, such as solar panels, in their homes.

Solar equity is significant because solar power can help save money on electricity bills and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, which is good for the environment.

However, not everyone can afford or access solar energy, so solar equity ensures everyone has a fair chance to benefit from this renewable energy source.

This could involve policies and programs to help lower-income households, renters, or communities of color access and benefit from solar energy technologies.

What does Equity in Solar Uptake Look Like?

It’s essential to understand the difference between equality and equity. Equality means giving every household the same resources or opportunities. For example, every household would get the same subsidy to install solar panels.

Equity is about fairness. It recognizes that not all households start from the same place and that some may need extra help to balance things out.

In the context of solar energy, equity would mean that every Australian can benefit from solar power. Any subsidies or support would be adjusted based on individual needs.

What Policies Can Improve Solar Equity?

Policies that could make rooftop solar more fair include:

  • Direct money is given to help low-income families who can’t usually afford solar power.
  • Offering different financial benefits like solar rebates.
  • Setting up community solar programs where households can share the benefits.

Some programs help low-income homeowners install solar panels. For example, New South Wales has a program called “Solar for Low-Income Households.”

People who qualify can get a free 3-kilowatt solar system by giving up the Low-Income Household Rebate for ten years. South Australia also had a program called “Switch for Solar,” but applications ended in August 2022.

However, to use these programs, Australians first need to own a home, which can be challenging.

Also, focusing only on income can be a problem. Giving subsidies only to low-income families might leave out families with low savings who earn more money than the income limit.

The Australian government has promised new ways to implement fairer policies. Their Powering Australia Plan set aside $102.2 million for community solar banks, projects owned by the community that help those who can’t access solar power right now.

Families can rent or buy a spot in these solar banks instead of putting panels on their roofs. However, for these projects to work, they need to be easy to use and affordable for everyone.

We need more information to make better policies for fair energy. This could include a new survey about household energy, more research to understand fairness better, and collaboration between researchers and policymakers to test new ideas.

You can get back some of the money you spend on setting up and maintaining your rooftop solar and battery system in two ways. T

he first way is through government rebates, which can help with the initial cost of buying and installing your system, depending on where you live and what programs are available. Once your system is installed, the second way is to sell some of the electricity you produce back into the power grid, called a feed-in tariff.

Giving Equitable Access to Solar Energy in Australia for All

Government Rebates

Federal and state government rebates for rooftop solar and battery storage can significantly lower the cost of buying and installing a solar system.

We have compiled a list of the primary schemes operating in Australia, but more rebates might be available to you. You can look for federal and state government rebates on the Federal Government’s energy rebates webpage.

When you get a solar or battery storage system quote, the retailer usually includes any rebate amount you are eligible for.

National

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) provides a financial boost for individuals and businesses installing small-scale renewable energy systems, such as rooftop solar.

This is done through small-scale technology certificates (STCs), given upfront based on a system’s expected power generation (depending on installation date and location) until the scheme ends in 2030.

The value of STCs changes with market conditions. The total subsidy you receive depends on factors such as the size and location of the solar system and the STC price when the system was installed.

More detailed information about STCs is in our Guide to Installing Solar for Households and from the Clean Energy Regulator.

The Federal Government also manages the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and supports large-scale renewable energy projects like power stations.

Solar Schemes in Different Territory

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The ACT Government subsidizes 5000 battery storage systems for ACT homes and businesses.

South Australia

The South Australian Government offers a subsidy for battery storage costs and low-interest finance.

Victoria

The Victorian Government has subsidized solar and battery storage installation since July 1, 2019.

Feed-in Tariffs

A feed-in tariff is the rate you are paid for any electricity your rooftop solar system sends back into the grid.

Feed-in tariffs are mainly available for residential solar systems and might not apply to commercial customers. However, most commercial customers can negotiate a rate with their electricity provider.

Most feed-in tariffs today are ‘net’ feed-in tariffs. This means the electricity your solar panels produce is used in your home first, and you get paid for any extra electricity exported to the grid.

Feed-in tariffs vary by state and retailer. Some states have a government-set minimum rate, while others require you to negotiate with your electricity provider.

There is no government-set minimum payment for retailers in New South Wales or southeast Queensland. It’s a good idea to shop around and find out which electricity providers offer the best rates for solar customers.

Solar Financing

Different financial support is also available to give everyone equitable access to solar in Australia.

●Solar Leasing/Renting

Solar leasing means the leasing company owns the system until the full payment is made over the lease term. It cannot be easily transferred to another property during the leasing period. 

●Green Loans

Green loans are personal loans provided by financial institutions that prioritize environmental and community support. They offer low interest rates and are ideal for financing solar panels, energy-saving windows, and air conditioning.

●Personal Loans

A finance company can help people who cannot borrow more on their home mortgage or prefer a higher interest rate incentive to pay off the loan faster. Even with higher interest rates, a personal loan may be less expensive. 

●Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

PPAs enable solar customers to install a solar panel system without incurring upfront costs by paying the solar company for the generated electricity. 

Our Solar Experts are here to Help!

Solar Energy And Its Impact On Society

Solar energy is sunlight that we gather using different methods. It’s talked about a lot in renewable energy because it’s a strong and limitless power source from the sun.

This makes it a great way to get electricity. It is good for the environment and also saves money.

This article discusses solar energy and its effects on society.

Due to higher demand, solar technology has improved significantly in the last ten years. Now, it’s an effective way to obtain clean energy for homes, businesses, and industries. In the future, we’ll all benefit from solar power somehow.

Solar Energy: An Overview

As concerns about climate change increase due to too much carbon emissions, countries are exploring cleaner energy options to replace fossil fuels.

Among these clean energy choices, solar energy has historically been expensive, but costs are dropping. Considering the advantages and disadvantages, along with expected price decreases, the future of solar energy appears promising.

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is the power we get from the sun. It’s crucial for life on Earth and can be used by humans to make electricity. Solar energy is created through nuclear fusion that happens inside the sun.

This fusion occurs when hydrogen atoms’ protons crash together in the sun’s core, creating helium. This process, known as a PP (proton-proton) chain reaction, releases much energy. The sun combines around 620 million metric tons of hydrogen every second.

This makes the sun act like a nuclear reactor, sending out tiny packets of energy called photons. These photons travel 150 million kilometers to Earth’s surface in just over eight minutes.

Harnessing Solar Energy

Different technologies can capture solar energy and turn it into electrical power for homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and anywhere else we need electricity. Solar technologies include photovoltaic cells and panels, concentrated solar energy, and solar architecture.

They can use either active solar energy (using mechanical or electrical devices to convert solar energy into heat or electricity) or passive solar energy (using the local climate to heat or cool structures).

How do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels have cells that capture sunlight. When sunlight hits these cells, electrons in the atoms move around. Each cell contains a semiconductor (often silicon) that absorbs sunlight and releases electrons.

An electric field then guides these electrons into an electric current. The current flows in one direction, and metal contacts on the top and bottom of each cell direct this current to where we require electricity.

Solar panels comprise many solar cells, and when they are wired together, they form a solar array. This current can be used for small things like solar-powered calculators or significant things like power stations. The more panels you have, the more energy you can produce.

How Solar Energy Will Change the Future?

Solar power has the potential to change our future by providing much of the electricity we require without using fossil fuels. Even though solar tech is still developing, it’s becoming more affordable, and more people are seeing its benefits.

Because of concerns about global warming, solar energy is a big deal worldwide. Many scientists think that by 2030, solar will be the top source of renewable energy globally.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) is an Australian Government scheme that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector and increase renewable electricity generation.

The RET targets delivering an extra 33,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity from renewable sources every year from 2020 to 2030.

We’re seeing more electric vehicles that use solar power for electricity instead of fuel, which can help reduce noise pollution. Solar energy can also help protect aquatic life by replacing hydroelectricity turbines.

Solar energy will play a significant role in the future of electricity in Australia and worldwide. It will power homes, businesses, manufacturing, streetlights, and more.

Solar Energy And Its Impact On Society

Solar technology captures sunlight and turns it into power and electricity for homes, buildings, and cities. This helps make the most of Earth’s resources and saves energy. Using solar energy in the United States brings many social benefits.

Creating Jobs

Building and running solar energy facilities often creates many jobs. Workers are needed to plan, develop, build, manage, and operate these projects. Using solar energy to generate electricity can create new jobs and help lower unemployment in the areas where these facilities are located.

Economic Impact

Solar energy can boost the economy in different ways. More jobs mean more people earning money to spend, which helps the national economy. Also, using solar power is cheaper than burning fossil fuels for electricity. So, if homes or businesses use solar power, they can save a lot on electricity bills over time. This extra money can then be spent in the economy, benefiting families and businesses.

Health

Using solar panels to generate energy produces less air pollution than burning fossil fuels, making solar energy much cleaner. Cities or areas that use solar power for buildings will have cleaner air, which can improve the health of people living and working there. Burning fossil fuels also contributes to global warming, but solar panels don’t release harmful pollutants that damage the atmosphere or worsen global warming. Switching to solar energy can help reduce the effects of global warming, like rising sea levels and stronger storms.

Solar Energy Reduces Pollution.

Unlike other energy sources, solar power plants do not pollute air, water, or greenhouse gases. Solar energy systems can indirectly benefit the community and the environment by replacing non-renewable energy sources that harm the environment. Conventional sources like natural gas, oil, and coal involve mining and burning fossil fuels. Solar panels generate electricity without burning fossil fuels, which reduces air pollution.

Conservation of Resources

Traditional energy sources involve mining and burning fossil fuels, but solar panels use sunlight, which is unlimited. Installing solar panels dramatically reduces air pollution compared to coal and nuclear power plants that require large amounts of water for cooling and pose risks to local water bodies.

Reduce the Strain on Non-renewable Fuels

The world’s population continues to grow, but natural resources are limited and can run out over time. Adopting solar power reduces dependence on non-renewable resources.

The sun provides abundant energy—173,000 terawatts per second—making it a sustainable alternative to costly and finite fossil fuels.

Prevents Environmental Damage from Mining

Mining for fossil fuels harms the environment, causing soil pollution and disrupting habitats. Solar energy eliminates the need for deep mining, reducing environmental devastation and risks to miners’ health.

Reduces Dependency on Nuclear Fuel

Nuclear power plants produce no greenhouse gases but pose environmental risks due to radioactive waste. Solar panels offer a cleaner alternative, reducing the need for costly waste treatment and promoting a healthier society.

Energy Independence

Relying on other countries for energy can be costly due to import duties. Using renewable energy like solar reduces a nation’s dependence on foreign sources. Solar panels are durable and can withstand natural disasters, enhancing energy security and independence.

Socio-Economic Impacts of Solar Energy

High Return on Investment

Solar panels may need an initial investment, but they quickly save money. By using solar energy, people can lower their monthly utility bills and avoid relying solely on traditional electricity sources like lighting and cooking. This saves money compared to expensive utility connections.

Energy Security

Using solar power means you’re not solely dependent on your city’s power grid, which can sometimes be unreliable or insufficient. Solar panels, along with battery storage, can provide energy even during power outages, ensuring a steady source of electricity.

Regional Development

Solar energy can be used in areas with limited access to electricity, promoting development projects like schools and clinics. This improves living standards and welfare in remote regions without a utility grid.

Lower Energy Costs

Solar energy can provide cheaper and more reliable power than other energy sources, especially in developing or under-developed countries. This affordability allows communities to create and improve their living conditions.

Empowerment of the Masses

As solar energy becomes more affordable, communities can become self-sufficient and reduce reliance on traditional energy providers. This shift empowers communities and reduces economic inequality by giving them more control over energy production and distribution.

Our Solar Experts are here to Help!

How to Understand Solar Systems On grid Off grid & Hybrid

Solar systems can be divided into three types: on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid. On-grid systems connect to the utility grid and work like regular power sources.

Off-grid systems operate independently of the grid, providing power independently. Hybrid systems combine elements of both on-grid and off-grid systems.

Today, we will understand solar, on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid systems.

Solar panel systems use solar panels to capture sunlight. These panels contain special cells that turn sunlight into electricity. The electricity produced is initially in direct current (DC). An inverter converts this into the alternating current (AC) used in homes.

The AC electricity powers your home’s appliances and devices. If your solar panels make more electricity than you use, the extra can go back into the grid or be stored for later.

Some systems can be connected to the grid; you might get credits for any extra electricity you produce. Monitoring tools can help you see how much electricity your system makes and how much you use. Regular maintenance keeps everything running smoothly.

Main Components of Solar Energy Systems

All solar energy systems work the same way. First, solar panels turn sunlight into electricity using the photovoltaic (PV) effect.

This electricity is in the form of direct current (DC). It can be stored in a battery or changed into alternating current (AC) by solar inverters, which homes use to power appliances.

Depending on the system, extra solar power can return to the grid for credits or be stored in batteries.

Solar Panels

Modern solar panels, also called solar modules, use many silicon-based PV cells to make DC electricity from sunlight.

These cells are connected inside the panel and to other panels with cables. It’s sunlight, not heat, that creates electricity in solar cells.

How much energy is made depends on how the panels are set up, their efficiency, and whether they’re shaded or dirty. There are many solar panel brands, so it’s good to know how to pick the best ones.

Solar Inverters

Solar panels make DC electricity, which needs to be converted to AC electricity for homes and businesses.

That’s what solar inverters do. In ‘string’ inverters, panels are connected in a series, and the DC power goes to the inverter, which converts it to AC power.

In microinverter systems, each panel has a micro-inverter that converts DC to AC on the roof and sends the power to the electrical system.

Solar Batteries

A solar battery is used for storing solar energy. There are two main types: lead-acid (AGM & Gel) and lithium-ion.

Most systems today use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can be shaped and sized differently. Lithium-ion batteries can give back about 90% of their power daily, while lead-acid batteries only do 30% to 40% to make them last longer.

Off-grid systems need unique inverters and bigger batteries, while hybrid systems use smaller batteries for shorter storage times.

Electricity Switchboard

In a regular grid-tie solar system, AC electricity from the solar inverter goes to the switchboard to power the home’s circuits and devices.

This is called net metering, where extra power can go back to the grid through an energy meter or be stored in a battery if it’s a hybrid system. Some places use ‘gross metering’ where all solar power goes to the grid.

Hybrid systems can send extra electricity back and store some in a battery. Some hybrid inverters can be connected to a backup switchboard, so essential things can stay powered without grid electricity.

Three Primary Types of Solar Power Systems

  • On-grid system: also known as a grid-tie or grid-feed solar system
  • Off-grid system: also known as a stand-alone power system (SAPS)
  • Hybrid system: grid-connected solar system with battery storage

On-Grid System

Homes and businesses commonly use on-grid or grid-connected solar systems. These systems use solar or microinverters and connect to the public electricity grid.

The solar power generated is usually used to power your home or business. Any extra solar energy you produce is sent back to the electricity grid, and you may receive payment through a feed-in tariff (FiT) or credits.

Unlike hybrid or battery systems, on-grid solar systems cannot operate during a blackout for safety reasons. Blackouts often happen when the electricity grid is damaged.

If solar inverters continue to feed electricity into a damaged grid, it could endanger repair workers.

However, most hybrid solar systems with battery storage can automatically disconnect from the grid (islanding) and still provide some power during a blackout.

Batteries can be added to on-grid systems later if needed. The Tesla Powerwall 2 is a popular AC battery system that can be added to almost any existing solar system.

After electricity reaches the switchboard, excess solar energy goes through the meter, which calculates how much power you export or import.

Net Metering systems vary by location. For example, in Australia, meters are usually used to measure only exported electricity. In some states, meters measure all solar electricity produced before reaching the switchboard.

Different metering systems exist in the US, depending on the state. In California, a new Net Billing Tariff (NBT) measures net exported solar energy, crediting consumers for exported electricity.

Other consumers, such as your neighbors, use electricity sent to the grid from your solar system. When your solar system isn’t generating enough power (like at night), or you need more electricity than your system produces, you start using power from the grid.

Off-Grid Systems

An off-grid system operates independently without being connected to the electricity grid, requiring batteries to store power. These systems must be well-designed to produce sufficient energy throughout the year, especially in winter with less sunlight.

Off-grid solar systems are more expensive than on-grid systems because of the high cost of batteries and inverters.

They are typically used in remote areas far from the grid, but as battery costs decrease, there is a growing market for off-grid solar systems, even in cities and towns.

AC-coupled off-grid solar systems use a solar inverter and multi-mode battery inverter. There are different types of off-grid systems, including AC-coupled and DC-coupled systems.

In DC-coupled systems, a solar charge controller manages battery charging, and DC power is converted to AC using an off-grid inverter for home appliances.

In an off-grid system, there is no public electricity grid. Appliances use Solar power directly, storing extra energy in a battery bank.

When the battery is complete, the system reduces solar power usage. Appliances run on battery power at night or when the solar system isn’t generating power.

When batteries are low, or the weather is cloudy for several days, a backup power source like a generator is needed. The generator size should be sufficient to power the house and charge the batteries simultaneously.

Hybrid Solar Systems

A hybrid system combines solar panels with solar battery storage. These systems are available in various types and configurations and benefit from the decreasing cost of batteries.

They allow homes already connected to the electricity grid to use battery storage. This means storing solar energy generated during the day and using it at night. When the stored energy runs out, the grid is a backup, giving consumers flexibility.

Hybrid systems often charge batteries using cheaper off-peak electricity, typically from midnight to 6 am.

In a hybrid system:

  • Home appliances use solar power. Extra power goes to the battery bank.
  • Once the battery bank is complete, it stops receiving solar power. Excess solar energy is exported to the grid.
  • Battery energy can be used during peak evening hours when electricity costs are high.

Depending on the setup and utility rules, excess solar power can be exported to the grid when batteries are fully charged. Appliances draw power from the grid when solar energy and battery power are unavailable.

Choosing the Right Solar System for You

Typically, a basic grid-tied system is the most cost-effective choice. Due to their lower initial cost and straightforward design, these systems offer a good return on investment.

However, a hybrid system might be more suitable in certain situations, especially if you experience frequent power outages. A solar panel system with battery storage could be ideal if you prioritize energy independence and maximize renewable energy use.

Off-grid systems are generally less practical for regular homeowners but can be perfect for remote locations or mountain cabins.

The best way to determine the ideal solar system for your needs is to contact local solar companies. They will have the expertise to recommend the right system for your area and help you make the most of your solar panels.

Moving Forward with Solar Emporium

Solar Emporium has a proven track record of quick, smooth, and dependable installations. We offer complete solutions for both residential and commercial energy needs.

Our approach includes smart combinations of solar kits featuring carefully designed and pre-engineered components, which streamline the installation process and provide a strategic advantage.

Our solar kits include high-efficiency solar panels that deliver several benefits, such as increased solar energy yield and a 25-year linear guarantee. Our inverters are top-grade and ensure efficient energy conversion in various systems.

Get a free solar quote today to learn more about Solar Emporium and our products!

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Solar Energy and Residential Building Integration

Building your dream home or renovating your current one takes much time and effort. We understand how overwhelming it can be! There are many things to consider: builders, design, contractors, interiors, landscaping, and more.

It’s easy to overlook important considerations like solar energy and residential building Integration. Planning for an energy-efficient home from the start can benefit your site design and energy efficiency rating.

You can include many styles and features in your home’s design to improve its energy performance ratings. Installing a home solar energy system can also add a star to your rating.

Building a new home or renovating can make your home more sustainable. Including a solar panel system in the initial design, with input from your architect, builder, and qualified Clean Energy Council solar installer and retailer, can help avoid common installation issues later.

Effective Ways of Solar Energy and Residential Building Integration

Site Audit

Before you install a solar panel system, it’s essential to check the site and building conditions that will affect how well the system works and whether it’s possible to install it there.

It means looking at the roof’s direction, how steep it is, and whether anything, like trees, will block the sun. You also need to see if the roof or other places where the panels will go can handle the weight of the solar panels.

You should also consider how much electricity the building needs, when it needs it most, and how sunny your area is.

It’s also important to know the rules and support available for solar power systems in your area.

A thorough site assessment can determine the best location, size, and setup for your building’s solar power system.

System Components for Integration

A solar power system consists of different parts that combine to turn sunlight into electricity, which can be used in a building or sent to the grid.

This includes solar panels that use sunlight to make direct current (DC) electricity and inverters that change this DC electricity into alternating (AC) electricity that buildings can use.

The solar panels are securely mounted on the roof or other surfaces using mounting systems. Other components like wiring, fuses, switches, and meters connect and protect the system. The quality of these parts affects how well the system works and how long it lasts.

Before installing solar panels, it’s a good idea to check if adding a heat-reflective coating to the roof can improve the system’s efficiency.

This coating can reduce the heat coming into the building, lowering the need for air conditioning, and can also help seal any leaks in older roofs. Cooler roofs can make solar panels work better and extend the roof’s life.

If you’re getting a solar project through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), ensure you have the rights to Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Without these, you can use solar energy, but you can’t officially claim it to be renewable or environmentally friendly.

System Design

Creating a solar panel system that works well for a building and its owner involves careful planning and choosing the right components.

When designing a system, you need to consider the type you want (like one that’s connected to the grid, completely independent, or a mix of both), its size based on the amount of electricity the building uses, and your space and budget.

The system’s layout is also essential. To maximize efficiency, you want to position the solar panels to get the most sunlight and avoid shading. The system must also fit in with the building’s structure and electrical setup and look good.

A good design will ensure the system works well, isn’t too expensive, and fits in with the building’s appearance.

System Installation

Installing a solar panel system involves putting together and connecting the system parts at the building site.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions and local rules is essential to ensure the system is safe and works well. The installation should be done by professionals who know what they’re doing.

When installing solar panels on a roof, remember that the roof is more than just a place for the panels. It’s a vital part of the building’s structure. You need to check if the roof is strong enough and will last as long as the solar panels.

It avoids removing and reinstalling panels later if the roof needs repairs. The installation process should be careful to protect the roof and keep it waterproof. After installation, regular checks help find and fix any problems quickly.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions and local rules to ensure a suitable installation. Choose an experienced contractor with a good reputation, and consider their skills, how they work with rules, the quality of materials they use, the cost, and the support they offer.

System Operation

Operating a solar panel system means monitoring how well it’s working and ensuring it’s running smoothly.

This involves using meters to measure how much electricity is being made and used, a monitoring system to check how the system is performing, and having a maintenance plan to clean and fix any issues.

The main goal of system operation is to ensure that the system works efficiently, reliably, and long-term.

Monitoring the system is essential to track its performance and condition. Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) tools can be beneficial here. They don’t just show real-time data but can also predict issues and find issues automatically.

For example, AI can analyze data from the past and present to spot patterns or problems that need attention. It can even use data from weather forecasts and sunlight maps to tweak how the system works and get more energy from the sun.

Roof Design and Condition

The shape and position of your property can affect how well solar systems work. For instance, the direction your home faces impacts where solar panels can be installed and their effectiveness.

Shade is a big issue for solar panels. If trees or nearby buildings cast shadows on them, the panels won’t produce as much energy.

The roof design is essential for ensuring your home’s energy efficiency. Solar panels should face north for maximum sunlight. East—or west-facing panels can still work well but may need to be more efficient.

When installing solar panels, it’s crucial to consider the lifespan of your roof. You want to avoid adding panels that need to be moved when the roof needs replacing soon. Before installing solar, planning for the roof’s long-term maintenance is smart.

Different types of roofs have different costs and lifespans. Some materials, like TPO or EPDM rubber, have longer lifespans and can save energy. It is essential to choose solar options that work well with these roofs without damaging them.

Consider placing antennas and satellite dishes on the southern roof when building a new home. Try to keep obstructions like skylights away from where solar panels will go to avoid shading them and affecting their performance.

Structural Capacity

When considering a building’s structural capacity, it’s essential to consider its original purpose and current use. This impacts how much weight the roof can support, especially with HVAC units or future additions.

Adding solar panels to a building means engineers must determine the roof’s weight capacity and design a solar panel system within these limits. They’ll consider whether the roof can support a system mounted on racks or if a lighter system, like ballasted panels, is needed.

Electrical Integration

Integrating a new solar system with an existing electrical setup is another significant consideration. Buildings often have unique electrical systems tailored to their needs.

This affects how solar energy can be connected and used. The existing system may limit the amount of solar power that can be integrated.

To handle these challenges, it’s best to work with experienced engineers who understand the building’s needs and the best practices for solar integration. Finding the right solution can significantly reduce electricity costs and even increase the property’s value in the long run.

Pre-Wiring

Pre-wiring your home for a solar installation during construction is highly recommended. It involves running conduits and cables through your walls before they are finished with drywall, keeping the appearance of your home neat.

Even if you’re not ready to install solar yet, having this pre-wiring done can save time and money when you decide to add solar later.

Aesthetics

The appearance of your solar system is essential, especially for residential homes. Consider using an Ultra-Black system with all-black components for a sleek, modern look.

Discuss with your solar installer how to minimize visible components like conduit and use attractive mounting options to enhance the overall appearance of your solar system. 

Other Factors to Consider While Solar Energy and Residential Building Integration

When building a new home, you can decide where to place essential components like inverters. Typically, inverters are placed near the switchboard, and installing them inside your garage is best. If you consider adding solar batteries later, ensure the space can accommodate them.

There are strict rules about where switchboards can be installed, so talk to your electrician about these regulations.

Let your energy retailer know that you need a solar-ready meter installed. This way, you won’t have to pay extra for a meter upgrade later. Make sure your electrician notes this requirement when communicating with the electricity distributor.

To monitor your solar panel system using a Wi-Fi connection, ensure your home’s modem is close enough to the inverter. If it’s far away, consider installing a Wi-Fi extender or getting a CAT5 data cable to avoid connection issues like signal dropouts or frequent password resets.

Contact Solar Emporium for any solar solutions!

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What Is The Best Angle And Orientation For Residential Solar Panels

If you’re planning to put solar panels on your house in Australia, you might be thinking about which way they should face to get the most sunlight.

Our solar expert can give you the best advice for your situation. But there’s a general rule that usually works well. So what is the best angle and orientation for residential solar panels?

Setting your panels at this angle means they’re close to or match the latitude of your home. Doing this helps your panels soak up more sunlight more often, which means they can produce more electricity.

Australia has lots of rooftop solar panel systems, more than 2.3 million of them! Almost 20,000 new ones are added every month. Using sunlight to make power is smart and good for the Earth.

To make sure these solar panels work their best, it’s important to know where to put them. Today, we’ll talk about the best spot, direction, and way to place your solar panels to get the most out of them. It’s key to get the most power possible from your solar panels.

Best Orientation for Solar Panels in Australia

Solar energy is when we use the sun’s power to make electricity. Solar panel orientation means which way your solar panels face. It’s critical because it decides how much sunlight your panels can grab and turn into electricity.

In Australia, it’s usually best to have your solar panels facing north. North-facing panels in the Southern Hemisphere, like in Australia, get the most direct sunlight during the day. This helps them make the most solar energy.

When your panels face north, they catch sunlight from the part of the world where the sun is highest in the sky.

By pointing your solar panels north, you can use the sun’s path to get the most solar energy possible. North-facing panels get sunlight from sunrise to sunset for most of the day.

But if your roof doesn’t have much space or gets shaded, you can still get some energy from panels facing east or west. East-facing panels get sunlight in the morning, and west-facing ones get it in the afternoon.

However, north-facing panels usually make more energy than east or west-facing ones. Having your solar panels face north helps them get the most sunlight all day, which means they make more energy.

Also, tilting the panels at the right angle is important too. Ideally, the angle should match your location’s latitude to get the most sunlight over the year.

North-facing panels tilted at 30 degrees make the most solar energy all year round. This setup is especially good for people with a fixed feed-in tariff because it saves them the most money.

Best Angle for Residential Solar Panels

In Australia, it’s often best to have your solar panels facing true north and tilt them at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees. This is because we’re in the southern part of the world, and the sun moves northward.

Setting your panels in this way means they’re almost the same angle as the latitude of your home. This helps your panels get more sunlight more frequently, which means they can make more power.

So, by pointing your solar panels towards true north and tilting them at the right angle, you can make sure they get lots of sunlight, which makes them produce more electricity.

When we say the best orientation for solar panels is true north and at a 30-45 degree angle, it’s because of how the sun moves across the sky in the Southern Hemisphere.

In Australia, the sun appears to move from east to west during the day, but its path is angled towards the north.

So, by facing your solar panels towards true north, you’re directly aligning them with the sun’s path, allowing them to capture sunlight for most of the day.

The reason for tilting the panels at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees is to match the angle of the sun’s rays during different seasons.

In the summer, the sun is higher in the sky, so tilting the panels closer to 30 degrees allows them to capture more sunlight.

In the winter, when the sun is lower, tilting them closer to 45 degrees helps maximize exposure to sunlight.

By matching the angle of your solar panels with the angle of the sun’s rays throughout the year, you ensure they receive optimal sunlight exposure, leading to increased power generation.

So, the combination of facing true north and tilting the panels at the right angle allows your solar panels to capture more sunlight more often, ultimately resulting in greater electricity production and more savings on your energy bills.

Why is the Orientation and Angle Important for Solar Panels?

Where you put your solar panels matters because they need sunlight to work well. To make sure your solar panels work their best, you have to think carefully about where and how you put them.

The angle you choose affects how much energy your solar panels can make from sunlight and how much money you can save on your energy bills.

But sometimes, things like trees or how strong your roof is can make it hard to put your solar panels in the best spot.

We want our solar panels to catch sunlight when it’s strongest, which is usually around midday.

If you lived in the Northern Hemisphere, it would be the opposite, and you’d want your solar panels facing south to get the most sunlight each day.

Since the sun moves across the sky during the day, panels that are perpendicular (straight up and down) will always have an advantage in catching sunlight.

So, the best place for your solar panels depends on your situation. Solar Emporium’s solar experts can help you figure out the best setup for your needs and how much energy you use.

If you’re thinking about getting solar panels for your roof, it’s a good idea to check out reviews of different solar panel installers to find the ones that are trusted by other people.

Best Angle and Orientation for Best Output

How much energy you lose depends on how the panels are facing. If your roof is tilted around 10° to 15° from the ideal angle, you might only lose 1% to 1.5% of the most energy you could get.

For example, in Melbourne, if your roof is facing north and tilted at 23°, you’d get about 98.5% of the best possible energy. If it’s tilted at 28°, you’d get around 99%.

The Clean Energy Council has shared data showing how much energy you lose from different angles in different cities.

But if your roof is flat, you lose more energy. In Melbourne, if your roof is perfectly flat, your panels would only make 86% of the energy they could at the best angle. In this case, it doesn’t matter which way your roof faces, since it’s flat.

It’s different in a city like Brisbane, where the best angle is different because it’s further north. In Brisbane, a flat roof would make about 90% of the best energy.

As you go further north in Australia, flat roofs aren’t as much of a problem because the best angle for the sun is lower. The table below shows how much energy flat roofs make compared to the best angle for different cities in Australia.

What Does this Mean for Existing Solar Systems?

If you got your solar panels early and have a fixed feed-in tariff, having them facing north at a 30-degree angle is great for saving money.

Changing the direction of your current solar panels is possible, but it can be expensive. Usually, it’s better to buy more panels or a battery instead.

You don’t have to keep your panels in one direction all the time. You can get a device called a tracker that moves the panels like a sunflower so they always face the sun.

This can make your panels produce 45% more energy. But trackers cost a lot of money, need special engineering, and have to be approved by the Clean Energy Council. For most homes, trackers aren’t worth it.

A cheaper way to get more energy might be to buy extra panels and point them in different directions.

If your panels are pointing in different directions, each group must be connected to its own special thing in the inverter called a Maximum PowerPoint Tracker (MPPT). Otherwise, your solar system won’t work well.

Another option is to use micro-inverters, but they’re more expensive than regular ones. If you already have a solar system and want to make sure it’s working right, active monitoring is the best way to check if everything’s okay.

Find the Right Solar Package for You With Solar Emporium

There are different solar packages to choose from based on what you require, where you live, and how much you can spend.

Our solar packages include quality solar panels along with batteries and inverters. They store extra solar energy so you can use it even when the sun isn’t shining.

Now, there are many ways to pay for solar panel installation. You can pay over time, which can make it more manageable.

Making sure your solar panel system works its best is important. It’s all about getting the most out of your solar panels.

The best setup for your solar system depends on how you use electricity and how much your panels can produce.

A trusted solar expert like Solar Emporium can design a solar system that’s just right for your home. We will figure out the best direction and angle for your solar panels based on where you live and how much electricity you use.

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Residential Solar Financing In Australia 2024 Update

Installing solar panels in your residence has many advantages. It works like an investment, making your home worth more. Also, it helps lower your monthly energy bill by quite a bit.

But the problem is buying solar panels at first can cost a lot of money. That’s where solar finance comes in.

With residential solar financing in Australia, you can get help paying for solar panels. Last year, we had a similar blog, 5 ways to finance your solar panels in Australia. You’ll get an update for 2024 in this one. 

You can get a loan or sign a lease to pay for them gradually over time instead of all at once. This way, you don’t have to pay all the money upfront for solar panels.

But remember, getting a solar loan for solar panels is not the same as getting regular loans. If you finance your solar panels well, you can save more money in the long run than you spent to get them.

Solar panel financing means using loans or leases to buy solar panels and paying for them bit by bit over time. It’s a way to get solar panels immediately without spending much money.

Let’s find out your options!

Green loans

Green loans are like buying eco-friendly solar panels, solar batteries, and hot water systems. Some banks and other places offer them.

Usually, green loans have lower interest rates and fewer extra charges than regular loans, but you need to read the details carefully.

Getting a green loan is often considered a good choice if you can’t simultaneously pay for these eco-friendly products.

However, there’s a catch. Green loans frequently have strict rules about who can get them. Some banks will only give loans for certain approved eco-friendly products, and they might only say yes if you have a good credit history.

Pros:

  • Low interest rates
  • You get to own the eco-friendly stuff and start saving money
  • Some loans let you pay back over a long time and don’t charge certain fees

Cons:

  • Only a few places offer these loans
  • You need a good credit score to qualify

Interest-free Solar Loans

Interest-free solar loans are loans that don’t charge any extra money on top of what you borrow.

Some solar companies offer these loans. You can get solar panels without paying anything upfront or additional charges on repayments.

People with bad credit might find it easier to get these loans than other types. If you can’t get a low-cost green or personal loan because of bad credit, an interest-free loan might be your only choice.

Pros:

  • No extra charges
  • You get to own the solar panels and start saving money on electricity
  • Helps people with poor credit access solar energy

Cons:

  • Interest-free loans can cost more in the long run
  • You might have to pay higher monthly payments because the loan terms are usually shorter

An interest-free solar loan is a good option if you can afford the higher monthly payments.

Personal loans

Personal loans are a good choice if you want to pay for solar panels safely and simply. You might find a personal loan with a fair interest rate.

Some lenders might even give you a better deal if they know you’re using the loan for solar panels.

If you’re optimistic, the higher interest rate might motivate you to repay the loan faster, saving you more money than if you got a green loan.

Getting approved for a personal loan is usually easier than a green loan.

Personal loans give you the money upfront to negotiate a better price when buying solar panels. For some green loans, you must choose the solar system before getting the loan.

Pros:

  • Flexible: Personal loans can be used for things other than just solar panels.
  • Paying it off might be cheaper than a green loan.
  • Helps you negotiate a better deal when buying solar panels.

Cons:

  • Usually, the interest rate is higher than a green loan.
  • Finding an excellent personal loan can take a lot of work.
  • You need to have a decent credit score to get one.

People with decent credit scores who are good at finding good loan deals. It’s also suitable for those who want to negotiate a lower price with solar suppliers by paying upfront.

Add Solar With Mortgage

Adding solar panels to your mortgage means borrowing more money against your house to pay for them.

Currently, mortgage rates are low, so using this opportunity to finance your solar panels is a good idea.

However, keep in mind that mortgages take a long time to pay off, and adding more debt to it could mean you end up paying a lot more for the solar panels over the life of the mortgage.

This way of paying for solar panels is risky, so you should only do it if you understand your finances well or have gotten advice from a financial expert.

Pros:

  • Very low-interest rates
  • You own the solar panels and can start saving on electricity
  • Consolidates your debt

Cons:

  • If you take a long time to pay off the mortgage, you might pay more for the solar panels in the long run.
  • Mortgage interest rates are usually slightly better than green loan rates.

Homeowners who are good with managing their money and are disciplined about paying off their mortgage as quickly as possible.

Solar leasing

Solar leasing, also known as ‘rent-to-own solar’, is when you agree to install a solar panel system without paying anything upfront. Instead, you make fixed monthly payments to cover the cost.

The big difference between leasing and taking a loan is that you only own the solar panels once fully paid. If you move house, you might need to pay the remaining balance to take the solar panels because they can’t be easily removed.

Solar leasing is often advertised as having lower monthly payments than the savings you’d get from using solar energy.

It sounds good, but you should be careful about the interest rate. Solar leases sometimes have high-interest rates, which could cost you more in the long run.

Pros:

  • You don’t have to pay anything upfront.
  • Monthly payments are usually low.
  • Since you don’t own the solar panels, you’re typically not responsible for fixing them if they break.
  • You start saving money on electricity right away.

Cons:

  • You only own the solar panels once you’ve paid for them.
  • If you move house, you might have to pay off the remaining balance on the solar panels.
  • The interest rates on solar leases are often higher than those on solar loans.
  • You might save less money overall.

It’s best for big businesses or places with a lot of space where the savings from using solar energy will be more than the extra costs from the interest over the life of the solar panels.

Solar Power Purchase Arrangements (PPA)

Solar Power Purchase Arrangements, or solar PPAs, work like this: a company installs solar panels on your roof for free.

But here’s the catch: they still own the panels. In return for letting them use your roof, you agree to buy the solar power those panels produce at a cheaper rate than what you’d pay for electricity from the regular grid.

For example, they might charge you 18 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while the regular electricity price could be 28 cents per kWh.

Solar PPAs seemed exciting initially, but some problems have arisen since then. The main issue is that they only work well if you can use or store all the panels’ solar power.

If you can use it later, it goes into the grid, and you might get less money for it than you paid. For instance, if you paid 18 cents per kWh for solar power but only got 10 cents back from the grid, you’re losing 8 cents per kWh.

Pros:

  • You don’t have to pay anything upfront.
  • You don’t have to make regular payments like with a loan.
  • The company takes care of maintaining the panels.
  • You might start saving money right away.

Cons:

  • You only get some benefits of solar power.
  • You don’t own the solar panels.

It’s best for big businesses or places with lots of space where the savings from using solar energy will be more than the extra costs of not owning the panels.

So What’s the Best Option To Finance Solar?

It depends on your situation, and it’s your choice to determine what works best for you. A personal loan is a good option but look into a low-interest green loan.

If your credit score isn’t good, taking a risky finance deal for solar panels might not be worth it.

Contact Solar Emporium to purchase solar panels and cut your upfront costs. Get a free solar quote today!

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A Sustainable Solution Guide To Proper Solar Panel Recycling

The world is trying to use more kinds of energy that don’t run out and don’t harm the environment. That’s why solar power, which comes from the sun, is getting more popular in Australia.

A number of homes and businesses are using solar panels to get electricity from sunlight. But what do we do with these panels when they’re old and don’t work anymore?

Solar panel recycling is essential for saving energy in Australia. It’s not just about reducing waste but also about using the valuable stuff from old solar panels in a good way.

Can we recycle solar panels in Australia? This article will talk about why recycling solar panels is good in Australia and give you some advice on how to take part in this eco-friendly effort.

Solar Panels End-of-Life Systems

Australia is working hard to make solar energy as it is the leading renewable energy source across the country. So, the government encourages people and businesses to use solar power.

But what do we do with old solar panels when they stop working? Like everything else, solar panels don’t last forever. It is a problem Australia is dealing with right now. What should we do with these old solar panels?

Throwing away solar waste in landfills is against the law in Australia. It’s because solar panels might have harmful stuff like lead and cadmium that can harm nature.

That’s why it’s crucial to dispose of them properly when they stop working. Recycling solar panels is the best way to do this. It means the valuable parts get reused.

Sometimes, we can also find new ways to use old solar panels. For example, we can take materials from an old panel and use them to make a new one. It helps reduce waste and makes something useful from something old.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Usually, solar panels keep working for about 25 to 30 years. But, after around 25 years, they might not work as well as before. So, what happens to solar panels after 25 years?

Solar inverters, on the other hand, typically work for about 10 to 12 years. Sometimes, you might need to get rid of them earlier than expected.

For instance, there are new offers and programs in Australia to encourage people to use solar energy. This makes many homes and businesses want to get new solar panel systems.

Can We Recycle Solar Panels?

Is it possible to recycle solar panels in Australia? Yes, we can recycle solar panels. Actually, most solar panels are made of materials that can be recycled.

These materials include metals like aluminum, copper, and steel, as well as glass, plastic, and silicon. We can use these materials to make new things and decrease the need for new materials.

But, not all solar panels can be recycled. For example, thin-film solar cells usually can’t be recycled because they’re made of different materials that can’t be separated.

Also, some solar panels have harmful stuff like lead and cadmium, so they require careful handling and proper disposal.

Understanding the Solar Panel Recycling Process

In Australia, when solar panels are no longer working, they can be recycled. Recycling solar panels is quite simple. First, it’s crucial to check if the solar panel has any dangerous materials in it.

If it does, you need to get in touch with a professional company that deals with disposing of electronic waste. However, in Victoria, this is not allowed. Many states in Australia need to encourage electronic waste disposal.

After that, you should contact a company that specializes in recycling solar panels. They’ll come and collect the solar panel and take it apart.

Then, they’ll separate the materials and recycle them. Some companies might even pay you for the recycled materials. Some of these companies also know how to make new solar panels from recycled stuff.

But, only some solar panel recycling companies are the same. It’s essential to research the company you choose to ensure they handle things safely and responsibly.

Some well-known solar panel recycling companies in Australia are PV Industries, Reclaim PV, CMA Ecocycle, SolaCycle, and Ecoactiv.

Here’s how it works:

Collection: First, the old solar panels are collected from different places like homes, businesses, or recycling centers.

Transportation: Then, these panels are taken to special recycling facilities where they’ll be processed.

Sorting: At the recycling facility, the panels are sorted out. They separate the different parts like glass, metal, and silicon.

Shredding: Next, the panels are shredded into small pieces using machines. This makes it easier to handle them in the recycling process.

Separation: After shredding, they use techniques to separate the different materials. They split the glass, metal, and silicon so they can be reused.

Recovery: Finally, the separated materials are sent to other industries where they can be used to make new products. For example, the silicon can be used in new solar panels.

What Parts of Solar Panels Can We Recycle?

There are a few companies in Australia that recycle solar panels. But these companies can only recycle about 17% of a panel’s weight.

The parts that get recycled the most in Australia are the aluminum frame and the plastic junction box from the solar panels.

Sadly, around 83% of the materials in solar panels can’t be recycled in Australia. Most of the panel is made of glass, which could be recycled for different things, but we can’t recycle it in Australia right now. Also, the polymer back sheeting can’t be recycled here.

Other things in the solar panel system, like inverters and batteries, can be recycled in Australia. You can take the inverters to drop-off spots for electronic waste in Victoria. From there, they go to a place that takes apart electronic waste to recycle helpful stuff from them.

Benefits of Solar Panel Recycling in Australia

Using advanced methods to recycle solar panels has many benefits for both the environment and the economy. Let’s see why:

Saving Resources:

Recycling solar panels helps get necessary materials like silicon, aluminum, and aluminum back. That means we don’t have to dig up as much from the Earth, which helps protect natural resources and reduces the harm caused by mining.

Using Less Energy:

Recycling solar panels uses much less energy compared to making new ones from scratch. Research shows that recycling silicon-based solar panels can save up to 95% of energy compared to making new ones.

Making Solar Panels More Sustainably:

Using recycled materials to make new solar panels means we need fewer raw materials. It helps cut down on the carbon emissions linked to making traditional panels.

Solar Panel Recycling as Sustainable Solutions:

Recycling solar panels creates new job opportunities and supports a system where resources are used again and again. For example, for every 1,000 metric tons of panels recycled, around 25-30 new jobs can be created.

Reducing Environmental Risks:

By properly disposing of and recycling solar panels, we can lower the chances of harming the environment and follow rules set by governments. Governments and organizations worldwide are making stricter rules for solar panel makers and users to manage waste sustainably.

Technological Advancement:

As the solar energy industry grows, we need better ways to recycle solar panels, too. Companies can improve by using better sorting techniques, taking apart panels efficiently, and using advanced recycling methods.

Looking at industry predictions, the global market for recycling solar panels could reach $327 million by 2025, with a steady growth rate. However, by 2050, the waste from old solar panels could reach as high as 78 million metric tons.

Research and Development on Solar Panel Recycling in Australia

A group from the University of New South Wales has come up with a way to recycle important stuff from solar panels using a method called electrostatic separation.

They say their study proves that it’s possible to recycle 1,000 tons or 50,000 panels each year with a small factory without spending too much money.

Because solar panel technology is getting better fast, more panels are being replaced even before they stop working altogether.

It’s cheaper to get rid of the old panels and put in new, more effective ones, but this puts a lot of pressure on the environment.

Although the Australian team’s work looks promising, it will take until the end of this decade before they can use their method on a big scale. Then, they could recycle 1,000 tons or 50,000 panels every year.

The researchers say the value is in showing that it’s possible in terms of technology, money, and the environment. Their method involves collecting solar panels, taking off their aluminum frame, breaking down the cells, and using electrostatic separation.

Important stuff like silver and copper in the panels have both positive and negative parts. With electrostatic separation, these parts are separated, making it easier to recycle them. Only 2 to 3 percent of the original weight is left after this process.

Their method doesn’t use any chemicals or create pollution. It only makes dust when the panels are crushed, but they have ways to collect the dust.

Contact Solar Emporium for all your solar needs. And get a free solar quote today!

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What Is The Future Of Solar Batteries In Australia

As more and more people worldwide switch to using clean energy, solar energy is becoming essential.

But with solar energy, we also need good ways to store the energy from the sun. It is crucial for solar power usage, even when the sun isn’t shining.

Businesses, big companies and homeowners want to be more eco-friendly. And Australians have already learned that solar batteries are the way to go. So, what is the future of solar batteries in Australia?

Improvements in storing solar energy are enabling a cleaner, more reliable, and substantial energy future.

Why We Need to Store Solar Energy

Solar energy comes and goes depending on the sunlight and weather. To make sure we have electricity all the time, we need to store the energy effectively.

That’s where energy storage solutions like solar batteries come in. They help ensure a steady power supply even when the sun isn’t shining bright.

As more places use solar energy, like homes and big industries, having efficient ways to store this energy becomes essential.

Different types of storage, like batteries and thermal storage, help keep extra energy so we can use it when there’s not much sunlight.

Solar Battery Cost

Australia gets a lot of sunlight, and many people use solar power. More and more, Aussies are getting into the solar trend because electricity bills are going up.

To take charge of their bills, homeowners are getting solar technology. And now we can also use solar batteries. These batteries store extra electricity that solar panels make during the day.

A recent survey says that in 2022 the market for these solar batteries in Australia will grow by 55%!

A few things resulted in this:

       Electricity prices got high in Australia.

       The government encourages people to use solar power by giving them benefits.

       The technology for these batteries is getting better, so they cost less.

Because many people want these batteries, there are more choices now. You can pick one that fits your needs and how much money you have.

 

As mentioned, solar batteries have decreased significantly in the past few years, making them more affordable for people who own homes. Let’s look at the two main expenses that come with solar batteries:

Upfront Costs

You must pay an upfront cost when you buy a solar battery system. This cost depends on the brand, size, and other details.

In Australia, people usually pay about $8,000 to $16,000 upfront for a home battery system that can hold 13 kWh of energy.

Ongoing Costs

There are also ongoing costs for using a solar panel system. These include the energy lost when the battery charges and discharges.

The money you might spend on maintaining the battery, like checking or replacing it, is also included here.

Here are 5 best solar batteries in Australia to help you choose the right one.

Advancements in Solar Battery Solutions

Battery storage technology has been a key player in finding ways to store solar energy. In 2023, we’re seeing big improvements in battery technology, making them store more energy, last longer, and work better.

Even though lithium-ion batteries are still the most popular, other types, flow batteries, are also becoming more popular.

Flow batteries can be adjusted to store different amounts of energy. Smart control systems and clever battery management algorithms are improving, making solar and storage systems more dependable and cost-effective.

Solar battery manufacturers are constantly working on new materials and designs to improve how efficiently energy is stored and how long batteries last.

As these technological advancements become more common, the cost of making solar batteries will decrease.

Increased Production

As more people and countries want solar batteries, manufacturers can make them in larger quantities. This means they can make each battery for less money. This trend is already happening as more companies join the market and make more batteries.

Competition in the Market

Because more and more people are interested in solar batteries, many companies are joining the industry. This creates tough competition. To stay ahead, manufacturers and suppliers should offer cheaper solutions.

Government Rebates and Incentives

In many places, governments encourage the use of renewable energy by giving financial rewards or benefits. These policies can bring down the initial costs of getting solar batteries.

Research in Energy Storage

Researchers in Australia and worldwide are actively studying how to store energy better. Their discoveries could lead to significant improvements that make solar batteries more affordable.

Consumer Interest

As more Australians realise the advantages of solar batteries, more people will want them. When demand goes up, it pushes companies to be more creative, compete more, and lower their prices to meet what the market wants.

Most experts agree that prices will keep decreasing in the next few years, making solar batteries more affordable to Australians.

If you’re considering getting solar batteries, staying updated on what’s happening in the market, government benefits and new technologies is a good idea.

New Technologies in Solar Battery Development

Integrated Machine Learning and AI

One of the rising technologies in the solar storage system is machine learning and artificial intelligence integration. These innovations can enhance solar batteries’ efficiency by optimising, controlling, and predicting their performance.

Machine learning algorithms can analyse energy consumption and production patterns, enabling smart decision-making for efficient energy storage and usage.

Additionally, AI-driven systems can adapt to varying environmental conditions and user behaviours, maximising solar batteries’ overall performance and lifespan.

This connection between machine learning, artificial intelligence, and solar battery technology holds great promise for creating more adaptive, efficient, and sustainable energy storage solutions in the rapidly evolving renewable energy landscape.

Solar Thermal Energy Storage

Solar thermal energy storage offers a different method for long-term energy storage than batteries, primarily used for short-term storage.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems utilise mirrors to concentrate sunlight, creating heat that can be stored as thermal energy in substances like molten salts.

This stored thermal energy allows power generation even after sunset, prolonging the utilisation of solar energy beyond daylight hours.

Ongoing developments in CSP technology and thermal storage materials enhance the potential of this approach, making it a promising solution for large-scale solar power plants and grid stability.

Hybrid Storage Systems

The industry is experiencing a rise in hybrid storage systems as it seeks the most effective energy storage solutions.

These systems blend the advantages of battery and solar thermal energy storage, balancing short-term responsiveness and long-term energy retention.

By integrating diverse storage technologies, hybrid systems can handle energy supply and demand changes, contributing to grid stability and optimising renewable energy sources.

Off-Grid Systems

Off-grid solar systems are changing how we use solar energy and making it more affordable. These systems let homes make electricity without relying on the regular power grid.

They have solar panels, batteries, and inverters that work together to generate and store energy. This independence from the grid makes it cost-effective.

The extra energy gets stored in batteries for later use, especially when electricity from the grid is expensive.

Even though setting up off-grid systems might need more money upfront cost, in the long run, they save you money.

As more people use these systems, the cost of solar batteries will likely decrease, making them more accessible for everyone in Australia.

The future looks bright for affordable solar energy, with improvements expected to make it even better for homes and businesses.

In this period of energy transformation, our primary goal is to make energy solutions bigger and more affordable.

The combined work of the solar industry, policymakers, and technology creators plays a crucial role in reducing costs and speeding up the use of energy storage worldwide.

The future of storing solar energy depends on our shared dedication to creating a greener and more sustainable world.

Ultimately, solar power will guide us toward cleaner air, less carbon emissions, and better energy resilience.

Are You Looking for the Best Solar Products with Installations?

If you’re considering getting solar energy, there’s no better time than now. To join the eco-friendly movement and cut down on your power expenses, Solar Emporium has everything you need for solar solutions.

We provide top-notch solar systems tailored to your specific requirements, such as solar panels, solar inverters, solar batteries, and even skylights.

We’re here to assist you if you want to reduce your energy costs. Contact Solar Emporium today! And get support to transition to solar power.

Our Solar Experts are here to Help!

Countdown Begins: NSW EV Rebate To Phase Out In 2024

Electric vehicles (EVs) are quickly becoming essential to sustainable transportation worldwide. Australian government and communities are also working toward reducing carbon emissions by adopting many electric vehicle rebates nationwide.

One significant one till now is when New South Wales (NSW) took the initiative to align with this global movement. The government has recently taken practical actions to speed up the adoption of EVs.

But the NSW EV rebate to phase out in 2024, so the countdown begins.

The “Supercharge the Shift” program, led by the NSW government, aims to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles.

This initiative lays out a range of strategies and incentives to enhance the accessibility of EVs for NSW residents.

In 2021, the New South Wales Government unveiled a $260 million initiative to grow the state’s adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). The funding is directed towards implementing a fresh NSW EV Strategy.

It is primarily emphasising enhancing critical infrastructure, notably fast charging stations. The strategy will target regions in NSW and individuals living in flat complexes or without access to home charging facilities.

Additionally, the plan will assist drivers in their transition to EVs through educational and awareness campaigns. Electric vehicles are considered a pivotal component in reaching the net-zero target.

NSW EV Strategy

Improving infrastructure: The NSW Government will allocate funds to install fast charging stations. They will expand kerbside charging facilities near residential flat buildings. Lastly, their strategy is to enhance grid capacity to accommodate electric vehicles.

Assisting motorists in the transition: The NSW Government will implement awareness programs to help drivers understand the advantages of electric vehicles and transition processes.

Additionally, the government will explore additional forms of support, such as financial and tax incentives.

Collaborating with industry partners: The NSW Government will collaborate with industry stakeholders to develop the NSW EV Strategy and promote the adoption of electric vehicles within the state.

This collaborative effort includes working alongside car manufacturers, charging station operators, and other businesses operating in the electric vehicle sector.

Phasing Out NSW EV Rebate

The electric vehicle (EV) rebate in New South Wales (NSW) will expire on January 1, 2024.

However, people who have already paid for the car and waiting for the delivery will be unaffected by this date.

As of the end of August 2023, fewer than 9,000 of the original 25,000 EV rebates have been claimed. Those who bought an EV before this date will still be eligible for a rebate, even if their vehicle needs delivery.

Rather than fulfilling the $75 million EV rebate commitment, a new funding allocation of $263 million will support a revised NSW EV Strategy.

It is aligned with the state’s aim to achieve a 50 per cent share of recent electric car sales by 2030 as part of its Net Zero emissions goals.

The updated strategy will encompass the expanded deployment of fast chargers along crucial travel routes, increased curbside street chargers near flat complexes, and enhancements to grid capacity to accommodate EV fleets.

New co-funding initiatives will concentrate on infrastructure development for individuals residing in regional areas and those with limited access to home charging options, such as renters and flat residents.

In addition to the newly allocated $263 million in funding, an additional $149 million has been earmarked for co-funding the establishment of ultra-fast EV charging stations.

The state government is also contributing $10 million to co-fund approximately 500 kerbside charging points in metropolitan NSW areas where residents lack off-street parking access.

An additional $10 million will be co-funded for electrical infrastructure upgrades in around 100 medium and large flat buildings to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles.

Furthermore, the NSW Government is investing $105 million to assist private individuals and local council fleets in acquiring EVs. Simultaneously, the government is committed to electrifying its passenger vehicle fleet.

In addition to the mentioned alterations in the state’s EV policy, the government has reaffirmed that a Road User Charge will come into effect on July 1, 2027, or potentially earlier if battery EVs constitute 30% of new light vehicle registrations.

What is the NSW EV Rebate Cap

The New South Wales (NSW) Electric Vehicle (EV) rebate program had a cap on the maximum rebate amount an individual or business could receive. The cap limited the total financial incentive provided for eligible electric vehicle purchases.

However, the specific cap amount may have varied from year to year or based on the vehicle’s purchase price, and it might have been subject to change as the program evolved.

NSW EV Road user charge

The NSW Government has confirmed introducing a Road User Charge for all zero and low-emissions vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, starting July 1, 2027.

This Road User Charge will ensure that all road users contribute to the expenses of maintaining the road network. The revenue generated from this charge will be directed towards investments in road infrastructure, public transportation, and other essential projects.

Eligibility and Application Criteria

The NSW Government is offering rebates of $3,000 for the first 25,000 new battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with a dutiable value below $68,750.

To qualify for the rebate, you must register an eligible vehicle from September 1, 2021, and detailed guidelines, eligibility criteria, and application processes can be found in the Electric Vehicle Rebate Guidelines.

Eligibility Criteria

NSW residents who purchase a new battery electric vehicle (BEV) or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) for personal use in NSW are eligible for the rebate.

Businesses or organisations with at least ten registered vehicles in NSW can receive the rebate on a new BEV or FCEV for business usage. At least two rebates are available for eligible businesses.

The rebate is available for new BEVs and FCEVs with a dutiable value of less than $68,750.

Leasing agreements do not qualify for the rebate. The rebate applies to new cars in various categories, including passenger vehicles, sports utility vehicles, and light trucks/commercial vehicles.

Application process

The rebate application process began on November 1, 2021, and applicants must provide certain documents and information. It includes driving licences, registration certificates, and proof of purchase.

Revenue NSW reviews applications and transfers the rebate funds to the applicant’s bank account. The total number of rebates available is 25,000, and updates on the number of rebates claimed are published online and updated quarterly.

Separate applications are required for the rebate and stamp duty refund, although both can be submitted through a single online portal. This information is subject to change, so referring to the most recent government sources for the latest updates is advisable.

Australia’s Net-zero Emissions Targets by 2050

The Australian Government is formulating a plan to achieve Net Zero emissions by the year 2050, in line with the objectives laid out in our 2022 Annual Climate Statement to Parliament.

As part of our strategy to reach Net Zero, developments of Net Zero plan for 2050 and emission reduction targets for 2035. These efforts will lay the groundwork for transitioning to a Net Zero economy, consistent with our international and domestic obligations.

In the 2022 Annual Climate Statement, the government committed to outline a comprehensive plan for achieving Net Zero by 2050.

As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, Australia must update its Nationally Determined Contribution every five years.

The Net Zero plan will position Australia to leverage the advantages of the global shift towards Net Zero. It will offer stability through enduring policies and encourage low-emission and renewable technologies investments.

Development of the Plan and 2035 Emissions Reduction Target

The plan formulation will be transparent, inclusive, and coordinated.

Sectoral Plans:

The Australian Government will devise six sectoral decarbonisation plans, which collectively encompass all significant sectors of the economy. These plans address:

  • Electricity and energy
  • Industry
  • Resources
  • The built environment
  • Agriculture and land
  • Transport

Emissions from the waste sector will be integrated into the industry plan, and a focus on the circular economy will be a cross-cutting theme across all industries.

Development of Sectoral Plans

Formulating sectoral plans will involve engagement with the community, industries, experts, and unions. Collaboration with all levels of government will contribute to the ambition of the projects while ensuring their feasibility and acceptance by the community.

The creation of sectoral plans aligns with recommendations from the CCA, which will also be invited to develop sector-specific decarbonisation pathways to inform these plans.

Solar Emporium’s Support To Net-zero Journey

Solar Emporium has been an industry leader to support Australia’s net-zero journey. And we want to continue our success in helping our customers get all the renewable energy support. Check out our solar packages and EV chargers to start your net-zero journey.

Don’t forget to get a free solar quote today!

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