What Is the Best Battery for Off Grid Solar

What Is the Best Battery for Off Grid Solar

People often think the most important component of a solar system is the solar panel. Yes, you definitely need a top-notch quality solar panel; however, for a solar system that will complete your energy requirements, especially when you live off the grid, you will require a quality system that includes an impeccable battery storage unit.

Without a good battery living off the grid can become an extremely challenging task because your chances of being energy independent highly depends on how much disposable energy you have at any point in time. So, it’s clear as a day that you have to have an excellent battery to live off the grid.
So, what is the best battery for off grid solar? Before we answer that question, let’s quickly go through the different types of batteries for a better understanding.
solar panels

Different Types of Battery for Solar Energy Storage

Here are a few different types of batteries popularly used for solar battery storage-

Lithium-ion Battery

Li-ion batteries have a variety of benefits over the other premium rechargeable battery technologies (nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal hydride). The energy density of these batteries is among the greatest available (100-265 Wh/kg or 250-670 Wh/L). Additionally, compared to Ni-Cd or Ni-MH battery technology, Li-ion battery cells have a voltage output of up to 3.6 Volts. They can thus supply substantial current for high-power applications.
Li-ion batteries are also portable, and their high DOD (Depth of Discharge) allows you to draw out more energy without threatening the battery life. They require a small space to sit and provide you with a huge power load in comparison to other batteries.
It is also popularly used in many cases alongside solar energy storage because of its usefulness and reliability.
off grid solar

Lead Acid Battery

These batteries are tried and tested veterans of the category. The most popular battery type in solar systems is the lead acid battery. In contrast to other battery types, lead acid batteries have a longer lifespan at a reasonable cost. There are two types of lead acid batteries which are –
  • Flooded lead acid battery
  • Sealed lead acid battery
Of the two types, sealed batteries are used for the most part because the flooded ones require constant maintenance; even so, you risk leaking. With a low DOD and high maintenance, sealed batteries are more often chosen over flooded ones.

What to Look For - Best Off grid Solar Battery

In order to find the best battery for your off grid solar home, you will need to look for the following attributes in your battery of choice-

Depth of Discharge

DOD signifies a battery’s capacity or energy held in them. Manufacturers provide you with a number in the form of dod below which your battery level should not drop down if you want to elongate its lifetime. This is one of the most important attributes that you need to know about. Remember, the higher the DOD, the better the battery is, and it will serve you for a longer time.
Usually, li-ion batteries provide a higher DOD than the lead acid batteries, which usually do not go beyond 80%. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s advice in this case.

Capacity

It is usually advised to upsize your off grid solar system so that you can yield more energy and keep that at your disposal. Also, to future-proof the house, you are required to upsize your solar system. In this case, you will also have to consider the capacity of the battery. Your solar system’s electricity generation ability should be on par with the battery.
Review your previous bills and know how many kilowatt hours of energy did you need on average. This will give you an idea of what capacity battery you will require. My advice would be to leave a little wiggle room and estimate a bit higher than you need just to be on the safe side.

Warranty

As your typical solar system comes with almost 25 years of official warranty, the solar battery of your choice has to suffice for that. Typically, solar batteries come with 10 to 15 years of warranty, depending on some criteria. You have to be careful when you choose your battery for your off grid home and abide by the manufacturer’s advice for prolonged battery life.

Off grid Solar Battery Examples

Here are some brands that have proven to win a lot of customers’ hearts with their performance-
off grid solar battery

BYD Battery

BYD – which stands for Build Your Dreams, is a Chinese battery manufacturing company. They have been focusing on producing li-ion batteries. The BYD battery boxes are known for their impressive power output, which is about 12.8kW.
Check out their different ranges here.

Huawei LUNA2000

Huawei is a leading brand in the solar industry manufacturing solar panels and batteries. The LUNA model has a 5kWh to 15kWh capacity to offer. It’s a Lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery with claimed 100% DOD.
Check out Huawei LUNA2000 here.

Tesla Powerwall

Powerwall is such a battery that can store energy, detect outages, and take over as your home’s energy supply when the grid is down. It, as opposed to generators, keeps your lights on and your phones charged without maintenance, fuel, or noise. To keep your appliances operating for days, pair them with solar and use the sun’s energy to recharge.
Check the Tesla power wall here.

Redback Smart Hybrid

With 4.8kWh – 28.4 kWh battery storage capacity and a 10-year Australian-supported warranty, Redback is one of the spectacular choices available in the market. They also provide optional expansion cabinet, which is amazing for those who might need to do so in the future.
Check out Redback Smart Hybrid here.
That sums up the discussion about what is the best battery for off grid solar. If you want to discuss your options for going off the grid, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Learn more about Solar Emporium’s off grid solution here.

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How Do Solar Panels Help the Environment | 5 Solar Benefits

How do Solar Panels help the Environment
We have approximately 11 years to take drastic measures to mitigate the negative effects of climate change before the earth faces dreadful consequences of carbon emission (Source).
What can you do to help? Make sound and responsible choices, of course, one of which is choosing a renewable source of energy, e.g., solar panels, to power your house or office, in short, every premise you can. There are so many insignificant changes and minor compromises you can make around your life to help the earth heal; however, for now, I will explain how do solar panels help the environment as a renewable source of energy.

Solar Panel- A Carbon Free Path to Energy

It is such a source of energy that emits zero carbon-di-oxide while generating energy for your home. As mentioned before, solar panels are a renewable source of energy harnessing the power of the mighty sun. As long as this solar system exists, so will the sun as a massive energy powerhouse.
How solar panels work is that they are essentially plates of doped silicon that react when the sunlight hits the panel. Different angles and intensities of sunlight projection result in different levels of energy being produced, but the solar panels will generate energy as long as it gets sunlight, more or less. Then a solar inverter converts it into a usable form of energy, and you get to use it to power your home. This entire process happens without any greenhouse gas emissions; thus, your carbon footprint reduces.
Why is the greenhouse gas AKA co2 at a higher level deemed as dangerous? Because co2 absorbs and radiates heat. Don’t get the wrong idea; co2 is an essential gas for the earth because of its heat absorbing and radiating characteristics, which is what keeps us from freezing; however, the higher the amount of it, the higher the overall temperature rises of the earth thus we experience global warming.
The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Global Monitoring Lab found that in 2021, carbon dioxide accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total heating impact of all greenhouse gases created by humans. So, adopting to solar panels, a renewable source of energy, is one of the ways it helps the environment.
Solar panel a carbon free path to energy

Save Water by Choosing Solar

As one of the horrific effects of global warming soon, we will experience a shortage of fresh water supply. Not only do the non-renewable sources contribute to the issue by emitting GHG (Green House Gas) but also, in order to keep them up and running, it takes a huge amount of water to cool down the system down, transport fuel, and refine it. This is a high price to pay for power indeed.
However, by choosing solar panels, you can help save water. Running the panels won’t require any water at all. You might need to do a yearly cleansing for your panels to boost up the power production but to keep the system going, you don’t need a constant supply of fresh water.

Cut Back on Fossil Fuels

Naturally, if you choose to go solar, you will seldom need to rely on the grid. The electricity we use regularly comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal, and what happens when you do that? You guessed it! It emits co2, and an increased level of co2 undoubtedly heats up our planet resulting in global warming.
That is not the only problem we face when we burn these natural resources to generate electricity. Sun is the only star of our planet, and it’s not going anywhere for millions of years to come; that is why it’s a ‘renewable’ source; however, fossil fuel is not. We have only so much to go through. It is also a matter of concern that we will not have enough fossil fuel to run essential projects in the future.

Solar Panels are Recyclable

Almost 3 million homes in Australia decided to go solar but solar panels have a lifespan of 25 to a maximum of 30 years. Wondering how will they be deposed off? Well, solar panels are one hundred percent recyclable. In fact, we have a solar panel recycling plant in Australia which started its journey in 2021.
But as each panel is assembled meticulously with different parts and materials at the time of manufacturing and is made to last a long time, it also is a problem when it comes to disassembling it properly. The process of taking apart different parts for recycling is tough, which makes recycling the panels expensive.

Reduces Air Pollution Risk

Coal handling and burning are known risk factors for hazards such as inhalation of carbon monoxide and heavy metals in coal ash. Both forms of exposure put utility and power plant workers at risk of developing interminable lung disease. If our dependency on electricity lessens over non-renewables and shifts to solar panel power generation, we can significantly tone down air pollution.
Not only the workers, the general quality of air decreases for coal burning to generate electricity. Solar panels pave the way for you and me to enjoy the power of the sun without risking our environment, and that too for free!
So, how do solar panels help the environment, you ask? Solar panels are the most accessible form of widely used source of renewable energy that has the potential to revolutionize our power needs. You can also embark on this journey just by clicking the get help button down below.

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The Dos and Donts of Solar Panels | Solar Panel 101

Dos and donts of solar panel 101
As a homeowner, it’s simple to understand why you should opt for solar power, but to recognize what to look for in your very own solar system is a job that should be left to the professionals.
However, as a smart investor, you should familiarize yourself with the basics of owning a solar panel system along with the dos and don’ts of solar panel before you decide to go solar.
Let’s get to know the basics of owning a rooftop solar panel system for your home.

DO Know How Solar Panel System Works – The Basics

You don’t need to know all the nitty-gritty of solar panels; however, knowing the basics of how solar panels work will definingly help you navigate the process with more ease.
Solar panels are made with doped silicon, one of the most abundant materials on earth. Different types of solar panels are made with different alignments and types of silicon. The most popular and efficient type of solar panel is the monocrystalline one which is made with ingots of silicon rather than chunks put together in a panel like the polycrystalline ones.
The solar panels are then connected with a solar inverter which converts the generated form of DC (Direct Current) electricity by the panels to AC (Alternating Current), a usable form of energy for the household.
how solar works
This generated electricity is used in your day-to-day life, and the remaining surge of power goes back to the grid. You get power credits in exchange for your contribution in grid energy, and you can choose to use it at night. If you don’t have enough credits or generated electricity to power your home, a grid-tied system can always get electricity from the grid, just like how it always worked.
The difference is you pay way less for the borrowed energy from the grid instead of a massive electric bill like the old times.

DO Know About Solar Rebates by the Federal & State Government

We all know solar panels are a great investment towards going green while lowering down your electric bill significantly. They are also quite expensive. So, to help you transition to a greener energy alternative, the Australian government has taken many initiatives of direct solar rebate and interest-free loaning schemes.
There is an ongoing federal solar rebate program available now, known as STC (Small-scale Technology Certificate), which is a part of bigger project called RET (Renewable Energy Target). STCs can be generated against the amount of energy you will generate via renewable sources such as solar panels instead of using non-renewable sources, which is coal energy for the most part.
As the electricity that we use from the grid mostly comes from burning coal, the energy retailers are now subjected to pay for their contribution towards GHG (Green House Gas) emissions. In short, STCs are generated by the approved solar installers, and an amount is paid by the energy retailers against these certificates per financial quarter.
The money that comes from this exchange gets distributed between all the home solar owners or small business owners who have a solar panels system smaller than 100kW in the form of a discount at the time of purchase.
Also, there are state solar rebates provided by the NSW and VIC governments either in the form of straight-up cash, interest-free loan, or installation of a 3kW rooftop solar system for free. To know more about the rebates, click here.

DO Know the Basics of Operating Your System

After installation, there can be instances where you might need to power off and turn back on the system for maintenance, especially for a grid ties system. You will also need to know if your panels are operating at their maximum efficiency always. There might be a shading issue hindering your solar yield or any sudden change that requires your attention.
You will get all this information via your energy monitoring system; however, if you are a person who is not very tech-savvy, then I suggest you learn the basics of panel operation.
solar panel

DO Evaluate if You Need Solar Batteries

Right off the bat, solar panels are expensive, there is no argument. But there are instances where having solar batteries can save you more money in the long run. Let’s suppose if you live in a remote area where grid power is unreliable or worse, far away, then you must get a solar battery to get an uninterrupted supply of electricity throughout the day.
In some cases where the grid is quite out of reach, paying for a grid connection is a massive cost in comparison to having solar batteries.
Without even these reasons, solar batteries are something that can have your back even in the darkest of days. Are solar batteries for everyone? No! But if you find yourself in a situation needing one, then it’s an investment worth your cash.

DON’T Go for Installers Who are Not Approved by the CEC

For you to enjoy the wonderful government rebates, you need to appoint solar installers who are approved by the CEC (Clean Energy Council). Also, all the components used in your solar system have to be on the list of approved items by the CEC.

DON’T Have Unreasonable Expectations

Your solar panels will help you reduce your electric bill significantly; however, they will not become zero overnight. A typical household does not need over a 6.6kW system, which does help immensely, but to have zero electric bills, you either need a bigger system or be completely independent and go off the grid.
If you are a heavy user, living in an area with proper sun exposure, going off the grid can be an option for you. Or, if you see yourself needing more energy soon, upsize your system accordingly. But don’t expect that solar panels will take care of all your power needs from the get-go.

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What Types of Government Rebates are Available for Solar Panels in VIC & NSW

What Types of Government Rebates are Available for Solar Panels in VIC & NSW
There are many Australians sifting through options to go solar, but the cost of solar sometimes don’t tend to match their expectation. If you are one of the prospective solar homeowners, you can totally take advantage of the federal solar rebate and state solar rebate available all across the country.
To address the topic more specifically, I will only highlight what types of government rebates are available for solar panels in VIC & NSW.

Government Solar Rebate (Federal)

The Australian government has always been a prompt adaptor of greener alternatives and choices which are in favor of mother nature. As Australia receives almost 58 million petajoules of solar radiation per year (to put it into perspective, it is almost 10,000 times more than what we need in a year), it’s natural for us to deviate toward adopting solar energy, and the government introduced many funded schemes to help ease us into the process.
The federal solar rebate comes in the form of STCs (Small-scale Technology Certificate). Under the larger project of RET (Renewable Energy Target), the Australian government introduces two scales of rebates; one for residential solar and the other for commercial solar. The residential solar rebate schemes are available as STCs.
stc small scale technology certificate

So, what are STCs?

These are essentially energy certificates generated by authorized solar retailers. For each megawatt of energy saved by the solar, one STC is generated. These certificates serve as a financial inducement for home and small-business owners to adopt different energy-saving techniques, including solar water heaters and solar panel systems.
Is the homeowner responsible for generating these certificates? Do you get a cheque in the mail in exchange for them? No, that’s not how it works. The CEC (Clean Energy Council) approved solar retailer with whom you make the deal with is responsible for generating these certificates and handing them over to the energy retailers.
Why the energy retailers? Because they are responsible for a large amount of GHG (Green House Gas) being emitted into the atmosphere as they generate electricity by burning coal.
The Small-scale Technology Percentage (STP) determines how many STCs the energy provider must submit. And the price against each STC is determined by the demand and supply curve of the financial quarter.
What’s in it for you? Because solar retailers sell these certificates for financial gain and partake in setting the scheme of reducing carbon emission in motion, so you get to have some upfront discount from them as well. These certificates ultimately benefit the end user, such as yourself, to opt for renewable energy sources like rooftop solar by reducing the cost of solar by thousands of dollars.

STC FAQs For Beginners

  • Am I eligible?
If you are a small business of a household that has a capacity of a maximum of 100kW or less, then you are eligible.
  • Price of STC?
The price of STCs depends on the market demand and supply for the quarter. It can range anywhere from $0 to $40 at max.
  • How can I get it?
Reach out to a CEC-approved solar retailer and use CEC-approved products for the installation, and you will get it. Of course, there are other benchmarks to meet to give a definitive answer.
  • Will STC end soon?
Till the year 2030, all the solar retailers will generate certificates, but after that, this scheme will come to an end.

Solar Rebate Victoria (State)

On top of the federal rebate, Victorians get to enjoy a state rebate that will cut down the initial investment cost . Here are two different types of financial incentive schemes for the Victorians at the state level.

Solar Panel Rebate Up to $1400

For the Victorians who did not already have a rooftop solar system, this scheme was set in motion. If you meet all the criteria for availing of this rebate, you can enjoy up to $1400 off your solar panel system. This solar rebate is available for homeowners as well as rental properties.
To benefit from this offer, your chosen solar installers has to be on the list of authorized solar providers, and all the panels and the whole system has to be on the approved product list.
solar rebate

Interest-free Loan

In addition to the $1400 off of the system, Victorians get to enjoy an interest-free loaning option facilitated by the state government. An equal amount of loan will be provided to those who meet all the criteria determined by the state government. You get to have a four-year window at maximum to repay the loan to the government. You can opt for a one-time lump sum payment or choose to give it back in installments.

Eligibility Criteria for Victoria Government Solar Rebate

  • A combined household taxable income of less than $180,000
  • Owner or current occupier of the property of the installation
  • Property valuation of less than $3 million dollars
  • No existing solar PV system
  • Have not taken advantage of the solar homes program yet

Solar rebate NSW

The solar rebate program in New South Wales works a bit differently than it does in Victoria.
There is no actual incentive for those who are looking to just get the benefits of solar at a lower cost of installation and enjoy next to nothing electricity bills in the process.
The NSW government is providing solar rebate to those households who are already struggling to pay their electricity bill that directly comes from the energy retailer or supplier. They already have a program for the struggling household, which is called ‘Low Income Household Rebate’. This program helps them with their electricity bill via concession cards issued by the Commonwealth Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
solar panel rebate
However, the low income household now has the chance to enjoy the benefits of a solar panel system absolutely free of cost.
This rebate swap option is available only to those who are active partakers of the ‘Low Income Household Rebate’ program to begin with. The current benefactors of the scheme will be assessed in certain criteria and submit necessary documents to get a 3kW solar system installed in exchange for zero dollars.

Eligibility Criteria for NSW Government Solar Rebate

  • Already under the ‘Low Income Household Rebate’ program
  • hold a valid Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
  • Owner of the property
  • No existing solar
In conclusion, there are many available schemes in motion for you to become a proud solar owner . The Australian federal and state government’s combined and separate initiatives are encouraging to those looking forward to lowering their electricity bills while choosing to go green.
In case of any confusion regarding the solar rebates and schemes, reach out to us without any hesitation.

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Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning? Solar Cleaning 101

do solar panels need cleaning
There is supposed debate around the topic, “do solar panels need cleaning?” Some claim that rain is enough for the panels to remain spotless. Or, even if cleaned, it doesn’t make much of a difference in the efficiency rate. I’m here to tell you that, regardless of where you live, your solar panels do need cleaning. But what matters is how often you clean your solar panels; it will vary depending on where you live and the condition of the panels.
It is not personal speculation that solar panels require cleaning; rather, it’s backed by several studies and science that they indeed need to be cleaned.
solar panel cleaning

Why Solar Panels Need Cleaning

To answer this question, let’s first explore how solar panels work.
Your typical solar panel that is found in millions of homes worldwide is made from silicon, the seventh most abundant material in the world.. For its amazing semi-conductorial properties make it the prime material for manufacturing solar panels.
When exposed to the sunlight, the solar panels actively convert it into DC (Direct Current) electricity. The more exposure to light, the more electricity you get. As simple as that. The angle of the sunlight matters, but that is an issue for a deeper discussion on the topic. Let us skip that for now. Solar panels need direct sunlight to generate more energy, and what comes in the way of it? You guessed it! Dirt, grime, bird poop, and so many other things which indeed need to be cleaned for your solar panels to work at their maximum capacity.
how to clean solar panels

The Reason Behind Declined Efficiency Rate

Accumulation of dirt can result in your solar panels losing their efficiency pretty fast. Many reports suggest that you can lose about 25% of the expected energy; in worst cases, up to 30% of energy loss can occur if solar panels are not cleaned. (Source).
Losing 30% of expected efficiency is a huge loss. Your payback period can potentially be pushed back further away. It has been proven that cleaning the panels can jump back your conversion rate almost immediately.

How To Clean Solar Panels

You may second guess cleaning your solar panels because of the involved labour cost. But I am here to tell you that you can clean your solar panels on your own without even having to spend a single dollar. Here are the steps to clean your solar panel-

Spray Water

First and foremost, you have to water your solar panels. You need nothing but simple tap water for it. This way, all the dirt that could be stuck on the surface of the panels will soften. For example, bird feces or accumulated pollen are the ones that are most prone to getting stuck and drying on the surface.

Use Gentle Cleaning Agent

Now spray on or lay down some gentle cleaning agent like diluted dish soap or diluted vinegar onto the panels. You don’t need to use anything fancy or buy anything for this purpose only. Use what you have lying around the house. But refrain from using any harsh chemical or harsh cleaning detergent. That will leave behind permanent damage.

Scrub

With a soft bristle brush, gently scrub down the surface of the panels. A piece of microfiber cloth will get the work done as well. The key here is to use gentle strokes and use a soft vessel for scrubbing.

Rinse

Rinse down the panels after you are done scrubbing. Make sure there is no soap residue left on the surface; otherwise, it will leave behind the gunk and will attract more dirt.

Squeegee

Now that you are done cleaning squeegee down the panels to dry. Water spots are one of the primary reasons why your panels lose efficiency over time.
And that is it! That is how you clean solar panels
cleaning solar panels

Waterless Solar Panel Cleaning

It’s not a myth that cleaning solar panels requires quite a lot of water, and this number accumulates to 20 gallons of water for per megawatt-hour. Your typical rooftop solar will not require so much water, but with that, you get an idea of it. Initially, cleaning solar panels by yourself is the cheapest way to increase the efficiency rate; however, it would be even cheaper if you did not need to use water.
Dry brushing is one of the techniques used to clean the rooftop PV, but I will definitely not recommend this method. It can damage your panels if not done correctly, so unless you are confident about dry brushing, I suggest you not to take that route.
There is another technology that is on the verge of being perfected and commercialized for solar panel cleaning. A team of excellent researchers at MIT are now working on this new piece of tech, which allows the panels to be cleaned without using water or brushes. This new device employs electrostatic repulsion to induce dust particles to separate and almost leap off the panel’s surface.
Read more about the new tech – Here.
Cleaning your solar panels is the single most efficient and economical way to dramatically increase your efficiency rate overnight. Also, cleaning the panels cools down your system, which contributes to increased electricity generation. So, to answer the question, do solar panels need cleaning, I would say yes, they do.

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What are the Best Solar Panels in Victoria and New South Wales

The title of “Best solar panel” cannot be categorically given to one particular brand or kind of solar panel. In retrospect, there was a time when solar technology was not as prevalent as it is now in the 21st century. Previously, brands did have the upper hand, but now, there are so many brands and types of solar panels available in the market that no one brand has a chance to dominate.

It is not really the brand name but the technology and execution used in the solar panel manufacturing process that can offer you an amazing 25 years of solar. In different locations and scenarios, different types and brands of solar panels will perform the best. All you have to do is figure out which one is the best fit for your case. You can always ask for our experienced solar experts’ help if struggling.

If you are wondering what are the best solar panels in Victoria and New South Wales or what are the best solar panel in Australia please keep on reading.

Best Solar Panels in Victoria and NSW

There is no such thing as the best solar panel in the residential solar market. The most suitable solar panel is the one that is best suited to your current needs. Even so, there are some solar panels that check all the boxes that an ideal solar panel should have. Among all those, I have selected three solar panel brands for discussion. They are as follows –

Hyundai Solar Panels (UF Series)

Hyundai is a brand that is mostly known for its cars. But they do also manufacture solar panels, which have been claimed to be one of the best in the Australian solar market. Here are some facts about Hyundai solar panels.

Things I Like

  • The UF series offers solar shingled cells. With this type of solar panel, the inter-solar cell gaps are minimized; thus, more silicon cells can be adjusted onto the panel’s body. This can result in a higher yield of electricity.
  • Protecting the shingled cells, there is a layer of tempered glass. Tempered glass is way less prone to breaking, so you can be at ease with its safety. Also, the body is reinforced with a metal frame.
  • As Hyundai is a renowned global brand, you don’t have to worry about them going out of business for the foreseeable future. This should give you confidence in claiming your warranty of 25 years.
  • To ensure a greater actual yield over the course of the product’s lifespan, LID (light-induced degradation) and PID (potentially-induced degradation) are both completely excluded.
  • With different wattages offered for the UF series, you can enjoy the efficiency of 20.5% to 21.3%, which is easily one of the highest in the industry.

Areas to Improve

  • A higher upfront cost can be considered an area for Hyundai to improve. We all want good solar at an affordable price range. 
  • An extended warranty service.

SunPower (X Residential Series)

If you are going to solely focus on the efficiency rate of the solar panels, SunPower solar panels remain unmatched to this day. Their patented technology of the ‘Maxeon’ solar cell has brought revelation into the solar production arena.
Things I Like
  • With more than 21% efficiency in the X-series of residential solar panels, you can enjoy the freedom of solar at its best. Of course, not every house would be able to reap the same benefits; just like with any other panels, it depends on your positioning of the house and other factors as well.
  • For some homeowners, even if solar seems like a great idea, they tend to shy away from it because of the looks that it gives their home. This series of SunPower panels have some aesthetically pleasing all-black models which leave your home looking sleek.
  • SunPower solar panels are constructed with a copper frame, which virtually remains unharmed and is proven to be corrosion-free even if exposed to humidity or hail.
  • They offer 25 years of warranty for their panel.
  • All the solar cells are generation 3 Maxeon monocrystalline solar cells. This is their patented technology that boasts the highest efficiency rate in the industry.
Areas to Improve
  • If connection hampers with the inverter and it fails to do the DC to AC conversion, sometimes SunPower panels tend to overheat. This overheating can potentially reduce the conversion rate for the time being.

Ulica

For those who are looking for efficient solar packages on a budget, Ulica solar panel is an excellent option. They are a giant solar manufacturing company that has a capacity of 800 megawatts of production capacity.

Things I Like
  • Ulica solar panels are manufactured in China, and they are a Tier-1 company. Yes, being a Chinese solar company sometimes is not something that a skeptic would appreciate; however, being a tier 1 company, you can be very sure about Ulica as a company.
  • Ulica solar panels offer about a 21.9% efficiency rate which is up there in the big leagues.
  • Even in low light conditions in case of rain or hailstorm, Ulica solar panels perform amazingly. Not my words; it has been tested and proven.
  • They offer additional solar insurance on top of a 12-year product warranty. They also offer 25 years of linear power warranty.
  • In extreme heat, solar panels’ performance tends to deteriorate, but Ulica solar panels passed the anti-PID (potential induced degradation) test. This means they perform well even under extreme heat.
Areas to Improve
  • Most solar panel brands offer 25 years of product warranty, but Ulica offers only 12, which is an aspect they can certainly improve.

So, those are a few solar panels discussed above among the top ones currently available in the market. You may also look through our well-thought-out solar packages, which are pre-made bundles of an entire PV system for you to enjoy solar right from the get-go.

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Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

do solar panels work on cloudy days
Many homeowners find it confusing to make a decision about getting solar panels. Questions such as is it worth it, would it only be able to generate electricity at certain hours and shut off for the rest, what is the payback period, etc. All of the questions are well justified, and as you would be investing a good amount of cash for them, you should be well informed beforehand.
Are solar panels only capable of generating electricity when it’s a bright sunny day and non effective for the rest of the time? NOT AT ALL. In fact, solar panels continue to generate electricity even at night! But the amount of energy it produces varies from time to time.
Also, if you are wondering, do solar panels work on cloudy days? The plain and simple answer to that is yes. They do work. However, the topic needs substantial elaboration.
Before we get into the discussion, let us first understand how solar panels work.
do solar panels work on cloudy days

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels are made with semiconductors, typically silicon, rarely with other types of semiconductors such as perovskite, cadmium telluride (CdTe), etc. The semi-conductorial nature of these materials is what makes them photovoltaic, meaning is to be able to produce electric current at the junction of two substances (P-n junction AKA semiconductor) when exposed to light.
If you are interested in a more detailed discussion on how solar panels work- click here.
how do solar panels work
Simply put, if there is sunlight, solar panels are able to produce electricity. Now what you should really be asking here is how much electricity? Because that varies on how much sunlight they are exposed to, the angle of it, and if there are any obstacles on the way, etc.

Will My Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

Yes, solar panels would work on cloudy days. However, it would produce a little less electricity than it normally would on cloudy days. I have already discussed that the amount of sunlight exposure is directly proportionate to the generation of electricity. So, the sky being cloudy does come in the way of sunlight hitting the solar panels; thus, power production is hampered.
But that doesn’t imply the panels will remain useless at those hours. It will continue to produce electricity, but it will drop by 30% to 25% more than the regular days. Nevertheless, this percentage will also depend on other underlying factors.
If you have high-quality monocrystalline panels with several MPPTs (Maximum Power Point Tracker) working with the system, then your yield would be much higher even on cloudier days in comparison to a low-quality polycrystalline panel with no MPPTs. Also, the type of inverter you are using is a big factor contributing to fact how much electricity you can actually use. Understand this carefully; the amount of power you generate through the panels and the amount you actually end up using around the house is slightly different. Solar inverters have a 98% to 99.8% efficiency rate, meaning whatever amount of energy you produce, you are going to lose a little amount of that energy in the process of DC to Ac conversion.
The point of this discussion is that if you have a high-quality solar system altogether, the possibility of you generating a substantial amount of energy is high, even if the sky is cloudy.

What About Colder Weather?

As you already know that solar panels only function when there is sunshine, and since most of us inadvertently associate bright days with hotter temperatures, you might believe that solar panels perform best on hot summer days. The hotter, the better, right? WRONG!
A solar panel’s optimum working temperature is around 25 to 35 degrees Celsius. Your solar panels actually prefer a comparatively colder climate rather than scorching hot days when the sun does shine bright. So, you don’t have to worry on the colder days; your panels will be working just fine.
how effective solar panels are on cloudy day

If You are Still Skeptical, I Suggest Solar Batteries

If you are nervous about your solar panels not generating enough energy for the days when the weather is cold or cloudy summer, I suggest you go for solar batteries. However, it is not the best decision to go for solar batteries only to cater to the cloudy days, as batteries are expensive.
But if you are residing in an area where you experience frequent power outages, solar batteries are a good investment. Or, if you wish to become completely self-reliant and enjoy the power of the sun at its maximum strength, go for solar batteries. To know more about them, follow this link.
Solar panels are a wonderful investment that yields infinite benefits for more than 25 years. I urge you to look through your options before you make the decision to go for solar.
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us for more details and enjoy a free consultation session with one of our solar experts.

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How to Clean Solar Panels on A Roof-DIY Solar Panel Cleaning

how to clean solar panels on a roof
Did you know you could increase your solar panel’s efficiency without spending even a dollar? Researchers found that cleaning your solar panels could increase their efficiency by 15% to 20%! So, cleaning your rooftop PV will significantly boost your energy production and let you enjoy the power of the sun to the maximum of your panel’s abilities. The best part is you can do it by yourself!
How often should you clean your panels? The answer to this question depends on a lot of external factors. Such as where you are located, at which angle you have your solar panels mounted, the positioning of your house, how often does it rain in your area, etc.
If you take the route of getting your solar panels professionally cleaned, it will certainly spare you the time and effort of cleaning them by yourself. However, this job is significantly easier, so calling the professionals is not really necessary.
Personally, I recommend DIY solar panel cleaning. So, in this article, I am going to teach you how to clean solar panels on a roof.
solar panel cleaning how to

Checklist- Things You Need for Cleaning Solar Panels

I am sure you have all the items lying around the house, or you might not. So, here is a list of things you will need before you start the cleaning process.
  • Fresh water supply hose (not a pressure washer)
  • A clean, non-abrasive brush with a long pole
  • Squeegee with a long pole
  • Mild soap (or an Alternative to that)
That is, it! That’s all the things you will need to clean your solar panels on the rooftop.
Yes, there is a crucial yet obvious factor I have not mentioned yet. In order to clean the panels, you might need to get on the roof. In that case, I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you are safe. Please do not go up the roof without a safety harness and double-check that somebody is there to assist you in case of an emergency.
It is not obligatory, but there are a few swaps for the mentioned items you could make for an even more effective cleaning routine. For example, you could swap the regular fresh tap water with ‘de-ionized water.’ Since all of the pollutants and minerals are removed from the de-ionized water through numerous filters, utilizing it will scarcely leave any stains. But tap water works just fine.
You could choose a special glass cleaning product that is specifically made for PV cleaning. But you can also use mild dish soap diluted with water. Keep in mind that using strong chemicals or scratchy brushes might permanently damage and discolor your solar panels, decreasing their effectiveness and conversion rate in the process.

Step-by-step DIY Solar Panel Cleaning

Here are the steps to clean your rooftop solar panels. Follow them and enjoy the power of the sun!

Shut Down the Entire System

Some may argue that it is not necessary to shut off the system, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Technically speaking, solar panels cannot be turned off. If they are exposed to sunlight, they will convert it into energy.
However, the safest course of action is to shut down the entire system, which entails isolating the panels for the time being. This will prevent even the minute chances of short circuit, eventually setting the house on fire- or worse yourself.

Fasten Your Safety Harness

Please make sure you are safe when you go up the roof. It is a very important step in the process.

Choose a Cooler Day or Early Morning

As you might already know that solar panels have a layer of glass protecting them from dirt, grime, scratches, etc. A hot sunny day may make the glass layer very hot to the point that a splash of colder water could crack them. Also, a scorching hot day is not very ideal as you will be on the roof, closer to the sun.
how to clean solar panels

Start with Plain Water

Solar panels are typically found covered in dust, debris, bird feces, pollen, etc. With time they dry out on the surface and get stuck. So, spray a generous amount of water on the panels with the hose to soften the dirt. No pressure washer is required for this step; in fact, if used pressure, it can permanently damage the solar panels.

Use a Soft Bristle Brush

Gently scrub with a soft bristle brush to loosen up the dirt and spray it down with water. Do not use too much pressure while scrubbing; keep in mind that solar panels are sensitive. There are many types of brushes in the market dedicated to cleaning solar panels. Some have rotating heads with an integrated water supply channel, and some are plain brushes. You can choose any brush; just make sure they have soft bristles.

Use a Mild Cleaning Agent

Not always, the cleaning process will require a cleaning agent. Depending on how dirty your panels are, you can use them or skip entirely. In most cases, only the brush and water seem sufficient, but in some cases, a cleaning agent is required.
It is advised by professionals to use a very mild and diluted cleaning agent like dish soap diluted in water. But you can use special glass cleaners that are formulated to clean the solar panels.
You can also use white vinegar to clean the panels but water it down beforehand. With every 100ml of clean water, use no more than 5ml of vinegar. This natural substance contains acetic acid, which is powerful enough to dissolve tenacious muck without damaging your solar panels.
After you are done using the cleaning agent, thoroughly rinse it down with clean water once again.

Use a Squeegee

Lastly, you will need to get rid of the water on the surface of the panels. To do that, use a good quality squeegee. This step is important because if you let the water dry on the surface, there would be water marks all over the panel, eventually dragging down the efficiency of your solar array. Yes, watermarks can affect your panel’s efficiency rate.
squeaky clean solar panels
And that is how it is done!
Follow these simple steps for a clean and efficient solar array and enjoy your solar panels to their fullest. If you have frequent rain and less pollution in your area, your solar array might not get that dirty and hence require less cleaning. However, a comparatively drier area will have more dust. So, if you clean your panels in that case, you will reap a higher benefit for your investment which is your solar panels.
We have a qualified team of professionals to help aid any of your solar needs. Get in touch with us today to discuss any of your solar queries; we are more than happy to help you.
*Please note the content in this article is for your general information and use only. It is subjected to change without notice.

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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

how many solar panels do i need
Solar panels are a scientific marvel that allows us to cut down on our ever-increasing electricity bills while becoming self-sufficient in all of our energy needs. It also contributes to a reduction in fossil fuel consumption, which is notoriously known for contributing to GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions.
All that sounds amazing; now it’s time to make some decisions before getting solar panels for your rooftop. How many solar panels do I need, you might be wondering this right about now. Don’t worry I am here to help.
Please know that there is no one set number of solar panels that will suffice for every household. One might need more, and someone else might need only a few solar panels.
Also, the dimension of the panels isn’t exactly the determining factor of how much energy they will generate; rather, it’s the unit watt. Each panel is capable of generating a set watt of energy, and together, a whole solar system is able to generate energy in kilowatts. Your solar panel system will create between 3 and 5 kWh (kilowatt hour) of clean, renewable energy per day for each kilowatt.
solar panel

Solar Panel Size Determining Factors- How Many Panels Do I Need?

What size solar panel system you need will depend on the below factors –

Your Usual Energy Consumption

Suppose you are someone who has a lot of power-hungry appliances and uses them fairly regularly; it’s apparent that you will need a lot of electricity. Air conditioners, hot water systems, washing machines, and ovens to name a fewer considered power-hungry appliances.
The question is, how often and for how long do you use them? Also, different capacities and sizes of devices require more or less energy. A mini-fridge certainly won’t use as much electricity as a double-door one, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Now, rather than going into bits and pieces like calculating how much energy each thing in your house requires, I suggest you look at your electricity bill. If you look carefully, you will see there is a tab for ‘average daily energy use’ in your monthly bill where your consumption is stated in kilowatt hours (kWh). Note down this number and make a yearly average to know how many kWh of energy you consume to determine your solar system size.
The whole process is not as simple as it sounds; that’s why we suggest you seek help from a solar expert to figure out the exact numbers.
solar panel and battery package

Future Proofing – Should I Upsize my System?

If you have plans to expand your household, you must plan accordingly. Solar panels are such technology that lasts about 25 to 30 years. You have to look past your current situation and think about where you see yourself in 5 to 10 years from now. If there is a chance for you to extend your family, for sure your energy needs will increase too. So, future proofing is indeed necessary to be able to make the most out of your investment.
Does that mean there is no way to add more solar panels in the future if needed? That is certainly not the case; however, the newly added solar panels may come with a new set of issues that were not accounted for at the time of initial installation.
Allow me to elaborate.
When I say solar panels generate energy, I mean solar panels generate one form of energy that later needs to be converted into another for us to use it practically.
Solar panels generate DC (direct current) current, whereas our appliances run on AC (alternating current) current. This conversion is done by a solar inverter that has a capacity for conversion. A solar inverter can only convert a certain kW amount of energy beyond which you cannot get AC current no matter how large of a solar panel system you have. (More on the topic – Click here)
Of course, a larger solar PV system will require an inverter of equal power, but adding more solar panels, later on will mean you’ll need to get another inverter to cater to a smaller array of systems. Ultimately you lose money. So, that means if you see that you might be needing extra energy in the future, upsize your solar at the time of installation.
solar panel battery

Would You Need Solar Batteries?

An average Australian household consumes the most amount of energy in the early morning and at night. The irony is solar panels work at their maximum capacity between 12 to 3 pm, during which most people are not at home. But you will still manage by importing electricity from the grid at peak hours.

Depending on what is your expectation from your solar PV system, you’ll decide how many solar panels you would need on your rooftop. If you want to lower your electricity bill, not having a storage system isn’t a terrible choice (assuming you live in a place with fewer power outage issues and a grid nearby and your power needs are moderate).

However, if you want to be self-reliant at all times, a storage unit is the way to go. In that case, you would need to upsize your rooftop solar system so that you can store a substantial amount of energy to use at will.
Including these aspects, there are a lot more other things to figure out and factor in. Figuring all these out by yourself is a challenging task. If you have any further questions or need some help, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are CEC (Clean Energy Council) approved solar installers with more than 10 years of experience in the field. Get in touch with us today to take advantage of a FREE consultation session with one of our experienced solar experts.

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How Long do Solar Panels Last

How long do solar panels last
Solar panels are the ideal vessel for harnessing the power of our solar system’s solitary star, the sun. This ‘magical’ silicon plate catches the sunlight and turns it into usable energy, allowing us to light up our home and power all of our electric appliances.

 Just like a good investment, you receive a payback in the long run, and that is exactly the case with a good PV system.

In order to receive a strong ROI (Return on Investment), the solar panels have to last for a long period of time. If you are wondering how long solar panels last on average, the answer is about 25 to 30 years. Some last even longer!
how long do solar panels last in australia

Why Solar is Considered an 'Investment'

Let me give you an example that you may relate to without getting into too much detail. I’m going to compare your solar investments to the average savings bank account to give you a quick rundown on how excellent of an investment a solar PV system is.

A typical household solar panel system which is around 6.6kW would cost approximately $7000 to install, assuming government rebates are available at the time. Consider putting the same amount of money into a personal savings account.
According to mozo, a typical savings account will pay you a maximum rate of interest of roughly 1.60 percent per annum. At the same time, the solar system stated above would save you at least $1,000 per year on your energy bills. (This minimum estimation came from a previously commissioned project of solar emporium)
Let’s suppose your well-designed solar system has a lifespan of around 20 years. So, against your savings of $7000 at a 1.60% interest p.a rate, you get an annual return of $112, which accumulates to $9240 in 20 years. (Includes initial Investment without compounding).
In contrast, you get to save a whopping $1000 on energy bills per annum with solar that accumulates to $20,000 in 20 years. That’s a difference of $10,760!

With this extra amount of savings, think of things you could do. You can enjoy a nice family holiday or get that shed finally fixed or renovate your house and so much more! Regardless, it’s always a treat to have savings no matter what you choose to do with them. With solar power you will be generating guaranteed savings in the coming years, so indeed it is an investment.

how much do solar panels cost

Know This Before You Expect the Solar Panels to Last 25 Years

Not just any and every solar panel on the face of the earth would serve you for 25 years. There are some factors that you need to keep in mind before investing in solar. By sticking to these rules, you can ensure 25 years of service out of your rooftop solar. These are-

Make Sure You Choose a Good Brand

That is to say, prior to installation, research the brand of solar panels you intend to install on your rooftop. There are several alternatives available, each with equally tempting price points and packages. In the end, however, the quality of the panels and their efficiency are the most important factors. A good brand has obviously gained that reputation over the years by providing good service; that’s a rule of thumb.
Also, please make sure the PV panel itself is approved by the CEC (Clean Energy Council) because without CEC-approved products, you cannot claim any available government rebates.

Installation & Installers Matter

Not just the panels you install but also who installs them and how they’re mounted on your roof have a big effect on how long your PV system lasts. A good installation job will ensure that you get the desired return on investment.
Without a good installation job, your panels might not yield as much energy as they have the potential to. They may also sustain permanent damage, which will cost you money in the long term. For that reason, you should choose a CEC-approved, competent solar installer like yours truly.

Some Tips and Tricks to a Longer Lasting Solar life

It’s the small things in life that account for the biggest changes. For your PV panels to last a long time, you can follow these tips & tricks and yield the most out of them.

Keep Your Panels Clean

You don’t have to clean your solar panels on a regular basis, although it certainly helps. Make sure there isn’t a lot of dust or dirt on your panels because this might create shading issues. And it’s pretty easy for the panels to get dirty; however, it’s even easier to get them clean. You can do it yourself once every couple of months or call for expert help.
solar panel cleaning

Monitor and Maintain

Keep a close eye on your solar system. There are many applications and EMS (energy monitoring system) that keeps track of the whole ordeal. All you have to do is keep track of any sudden and unexpected changes so that you can respond promptly. Solar panels last longer when you remain alert and informed of their present situation.
Remember, we should make a concerted effort to transition to solar power in order to lessen our carbon footprint. At the end of the day, it’s all about survival, and these modest efforts are what will save us from almost certain self-destruction.
That brings us to the end of today’s discussion! Please feel free to reach out if you would like to book a free consultation session with one of our solar experts and discuss your options. All you have to do is just fill out the form below-

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