For solar panels | Marshall Solar and Energy Tasmania

FAQs

Buy solar panels, batteries & inverters online - Tassie Solar Shop

To help you gain a better understanding of solar panels and battery systems, we’ve compiled a group of our frequently asked questions. Don’t see the answer to your question?  Please feel free to visit one of our stores in Hobart or Launceston, or contact us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Buying solar panels can be a major decision and it can be overwhelming to know where to start because of all the information available to us.

The benefits of purchasing a solar panel system are undeniable.  Not only will you save money on your power bills, and in most cases, pay back the cost of your system with the savings, but you’ll also be doing your part to help the fight against climate change.

General questions about solar panels

The cost of a solar panel system can vary depending on a few factors like the amount of energy you’d like to produce and the number of solar panels you can fit on your roof.  By looking at your property and your recent power bills, our experts will help you determine the ideal system for your place.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how affordable a new solar panel system is for your home or business.

By installing solar panels at your place, you’ll immediately start generating your own electricity which you can use as it’s produced.  However, if you’re not using any electricity, your solar energy will be sold back into the local grid and you’ll receive credits against your power bill.  So over the course of each billing period, you’ll start to save quite a bit of money overall.

Having your own battery storage will also allow you to store solar energy so that you can use it at night time and when the sun isn’t shining. This means that you can reduce your reliance on the power grid and further reduce your energy costs. And as your battery fills up during peak solar production, you’ll also continue to sell power back into the grid.

Solar panels are not designed to provide power during a blackout for both technical and safety reasons.  However, adding a battery to your solar panel system will allow you to draw down stored energy in the event of a blackout.

The benefits of solar panels

The potential savings generated from a solar project depends on several factors, including the monthly amount you spend on energy, the amount of solar that can be installed at your business or Home, the production potential of the system, the utility your facility is in, and the incentives you take advantage of.
With enough space for solar, a business can offset all their electric bills.

The savings generated from your solar panel system will depend on several factors, including the amount you energy you use from day to day and the number of solar panels that can be installed at your place.

We must also take into account the general fluctuations in solar energy produced during each day, which can change during sunny and cloudy periods, and when the days become shorter in winter.

In most cases, a solar panel system can completely offset your power bills and pay back the initial cost of the system. During the measure and quoting process, our team will help you understand the potential payback period using our cost-saving modelling.

You’ll be quite surprised to know that your solar panel system will pay for itself several times throughout the warranty period of the solar panels.

This means that within a few years after installation, the savings you make on your power bills will actually pay off the system and you’ll start getting a return on your investment.  As a part of our initial consultation and quote, our experts will produce a model that demonstrates the approximate payback period for your system.

Installing solar panels is one of the best ways an individual person can help the fight against climate change. This is because it reduces your reliance on the power grid and energy produced by large power stations.

Although there is a large shift toward green energy in Australia, a large amount of our power production still comes from fossil fuels – which release massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Solar panels also help us reduce our reliance upon water to produce energy, which can be the case for both large power stations and hydroelectricity.

How do solar panels work

Energy created by the heat and light of the sun is called solar energy. Solar power is produced when energy from the sun is converted into electricity or used to heat air, water or other substances.

You can learn from the Australian Government’s offical website – arena.gov.au/renewable-energy/solar/

If you put a silicon cell in the sunbeam’s path, the cell catches the energetic photons and turns them into a flow of electrons, or an electric current. These electrons can be forced to flow around an electric circuit and which produces the electricity you use in your home or business.

The good news is that solar panels work in cloudy weather. However, they do not generate as much electricity as they do during a sunny day.

There are many areas that receive frequent rainy or cloudy weather where solar production can still be great. Every year, as the efficiency of new solar panels continues to increase with improvements in technology, the overall production of panels will go up and help further offset a decrease in production during cloudy periods

A solar system built with high quality materials and proper construction techniques, that also receives proper maintenance, can last for 25 years or more. Some of our products are now starting to come with a 30+ year warranty.

During this time, there will also be some planned maintenance to replace some of the component that have equipment with shorter life cycles, such as the inverters (which tende to have a 10 year product warranty).

Maintaining your solar panels

Once you have your solar panels installed it can operate effectively with only the requirement to wash the solar panel once or twice per year and with some periodical system checks. Throughout the life of the system (which can exceed 25 or 30+ years subject to the warranty period of your equipment), there may also be planned replacements and upgrades for some pieces of equipment that have shorter life cycles, for example the inverters (which typically have a 10 year warranty period).

Your solar panel system will send data to a monitoring device that we track on your behalf and that you can track through your mobile phone. The latest system tracking helps us detect any changes in system production and status that might indicate a problem. This helps us quickly diagnose the issue and if we need to contact you to schedule a service call.

Monitoring the output and the overall performance of your solar panel is the best form of maintenance you can perform at home.  It is also wise to clean the solar panels so that they are free of dust and dirt built-up, once or twice per year. You can learn more here – cleaning you solar panels.

Whilst you’re cleaning your panels, you can also perform some general system checks, for example: 

  • Checking the mountings of the frames and solar panels
  • Checking the rooftop isolator for any loose connections or water ingress
  • Checking the rooftop isolator operation
  • Checking for loose connections between the solar panels
  • Checking the inverter mountings
  • Checking A/C and D/C isolators for water ingress and loose connections
  • Complete an anti-islanding test
  • Measure and record output at inverter of strings
  • Check and record inverter performance history
  • Checking operation of the shutdown procedure

However, if you spot performance issues or physical issues that you think might be unusual, please contact us so that we can make a time for our technicians to inspect your solar panel system and determine if there is a problem.

Technical questions

An AC-coupled storage system is connected to your switchboard.

The main advantage of AC-coupled battery storage is that it is the easiest and generally more cost-effective way to retrofit batteries onto a pre-existing solar PV system.

Examples of AC-coupled solutions include the Varta Pulse 6, Sonnen & of course Tesla Powerwall 2.

A DC-connected energy storage system connects to the grid mains at the same place as the solar panels; this usually means that they share a ‘Hybrid Inverter’. You can think of this as a ‘one box’ solution, because there is only one inverter instead of two.

Because they contain fewer components (which usually translates into lower costs), we generally recommend DC-coupled systems for homes considering a brand new solar & storage system (as opposed to a retrofit).

Got a specific question for us?

If you didn’t find the information you were looking for or if you need some help maintaining your solar panels, please feel free to visit one of our stores in Hobart or Launceston, or contact us today.

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