What does PV mean?
PV is a short term for Photovoltaic. This is a breakthrough technology where solar cells convert sunlight into electricity.
Is there different types of solar panels in use today?
Yes, The two main types of solar panels you will find on the market today are monocrystalline and polycrystalline.
The most efficient of the two is monocrystalline. Monocrystalline panels have slightly higher module efficiencies and requires less space. Black Diamond Solar can provide both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels depending on the conditions of install and customers preference.
What is a Monocrystalline panel and how can I tell the difference?
Mono crystalline (monocrystalline c-Si)
A single crystal or monocrystalline solid is a material in which the crystal lattice of the entire sample is continuous and unbroken to the edges of the sample, with no grain boundaries. The absence of the defects associated with grain boundaries can give monocrystals unique properties, particularly mechanical, optical and electrical.
Monocrystalline panels are proven technology that has been in use for over 50 years. They have the highest efficiency of up to 12% – 19.5% (the record stands at 25% efficiency in laboratory conditions). This means less panels can be used to attain an output goal.
What is a Polycrystalline panel and how can I tell the difference?
Poly crystalline (polycrystalline c-Si)
Polycrystalline materials are solids that are composed of many crystallites of varying size and orientation. The variation in direction can be random. Fibre texture is an example of the latter.
Almost all common metals, and many ceramics are polycrystalline. This technology is comparable to the mono crystalline variety, but for the structure of the materials at a molecular level. This makes the efficiency slightly lower.
What is an inverter?
An inverter is the piece of equipment which converts the DC power produced from the solar panels into the AC electricity needed to supply power for standard appliances in your home. Effectively the inverter is the brain of your solar system and is one of the most important parts of you PV system.
Is it still worth going solar if my roof has shading?
PV panels should ideally be in full sun from at least 9am to 3pm.
Solar panels will produce less power when they are shaded and should ideally be situated where there will never be any shadows on them. There may be situations where this cannot be avoided, and the effects of partial shading should be considered. A shadow falling on a small part of a panel can have a surprisingly large effect on output. Not only will the cells that are shaded be producing less power, but as the cells within a panel are normally all wired in series, the shaded cells affect the current flow of the whole panel. If the affected panel is wired in series (in a string) with other panels, then the output of all those panels will be affected by the partial shading of one panel. Mounting solar panels away from trees or man-made obstacles like chimneys or taller buildings is recommended but in situations where this is unavoidable then an AC micro inverter solar system should be installed.
What is an AC or Micro inverter Solar System?
A Micro inverter system is a small inverter mounted behind each panel which converts the DC output of a solar panel to AC power at the module level. A Micro Inverter solar system is most commonly used in instances where a fair amount of shading will affect the solar panels installed. A micro inverter system has a single tracker in each inverter so if one panel is effected by shading the rest of the panels will still be fully operational and output won’t be reduced by the shaded panel. Some other benefits of a micro inverter system are:
Extra electricity yield
Real-time individual panel monitoring:
What affects the energy output of my solar system?
Some factors that may affect the output of your solar system are:
- Orientation of the solar panels
- Efficiency of the Inverter
- Efficiency of the modules
- The season and weather, time of day
- Temperature of the panels
- Shading, dirt or dust
- Your geographical location (refer to the CEC table refer: How much power does solar panels generate?)
It is important to understand that a system doesn’t perform at the same output all the time.
Is there still Government rebates or Schemes available to reduce the cost of going solar?
Absolutely, two different types of financial assistance are still offered for solar PV systems inAustralia. They are Small-scale Technology Certificates also known as STCs and Feed-in tariffs.
Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs)
Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) are an electronic form of currency created by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (also known as the RET scheme). One STC is equivalent to one megawatt hour of electricity generated by your solar PV power system. The price of STCs changes according to market conditions. As an owner of a solar PV power system, you can register, sell, trade or surrender STCs for systems up to 100kW.
There are two ways you can be paid for your STCs. The most common option is to Assign your STCs to a registered agent when you purchase your solar PV system in exchange for an upfront discount on your solar PV system. Another option is to create the STCs yourself by finding a buyer and then selling and transferring them in the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) Registry.
More information is
available in the RET process for Owners of Small Generation Units (SGUs) guide published by
the Clean Energy Regulator click here.
How much are STCs worth and what will the Point of sale discount be?
STC’s are a tradable commodity similar to a share the price of STC’s can fluctuate depending on supply and demand.
Each system size will vary between state to state in regards to the actual amount of stcs a system may generate which will directly affect its official POS discount. Australia is divided up into various zones based on how much renewable energy can be generated by a solar panel in a given area. So the same sized system installed in Melbourne or Hobart (Zone 4) receives fewer STCs than those installed in Sydney (Zone 3) or Darwin (Zone 2) because Melbourne and Hobart have less sunshine so less solar energy is produced. The table below shows the level of financial support available from STCs on solar PV systems in the major capital cities of Australia.
What is a Feed-in tariff and how do I get it?
A Feed-in tariff is a premium paid for any solar energy that goes back into the electricity grid from your house. So if you have surplus energy generated by your solar panels, you get paid for it; and if you use all of the energy you generate it will be offset against your normal electricity bill.
Black Diamond Solar will apply to your electricity retailer for you to receive the feed-in tariff once an order has been made. When signing an agreement with your electricity retailer, you need to be informed. In particular, you should check with your electricity retailer about any tariff changes that will occur as a result of installing solar and carefully weigh up the advantages and disadvantages before making a decision. This should be considered before you install tariff changes.
Important questions to ask about your feed-in tariff agreement include:
- What price will they pay you for your electricity (in cents per kWh)?
- What is the cost of the electricity you purchase from them (in cents per kWh)?
- Will you lose your lower off-peak rates by moving onto a higher Time of Use (TOU) tariff?
- What will be the form of payment for electricity you produce? It is likely you will receive the feed-in tariffs you earn by default as a credit on your electricity bill rather than cash.
- What will be the form of payment for surplus electricity you produce? Will it be cash, cheque or EFT on request?
For more information on feed-in tariffs contact your relevant state government department.
How do STC’s reduce the cost of a system?
Trading STCs can be a quite tricky and confusing task and that’s where BD Solar comes in. We save you from all the hassle and stress and we buy your STCs from you and give you a point of sales discount at your time of purchase for them. We handle all the painful paperwork so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the many years of trouble free electricity from the sun. Depending on the current market trading price of an STC will depend on your final dollar value discount.
What does the design and specification of my Solar PV System involve?
In order to receive STCs on a solar system the designer and installer of your system must be accredited by the Clean Energy Council. All of Black Diamond Solars installation and design team member is extremely qualified solar specialists with full CEC accreditations and that’s how we assure that you are getting the best installation each and every time. See what some of our customers have to say.
How much energy will a Solar PV System generate?
It all depends on the actual size of the PV system. The average system we find customer opt for is a 5kw system although we have had some residential customers install systems of up to 10 kilowatts on a regular basis. The table below shows the average daily production of some common grid-connected systems throughout Australia.
|Average Daily Production|
|City||1 kW system||1.5 kW system||2.0 kW system||3.0 kW system||4.0 kW system|
|Adelaide||4.2 kWh||6.3 kWh||8.4 kWh||12.6 kWh||16.8 kWh|
|Alice Springs||5.0 kWh||7.5 kWh||10.0 kWh||15.0 kWh||20.0 kWh|
|Brisbane||4.2 kWh||6.3 kWh||8.4 kWh||12.6 kWh||16.8 kWh|
|Cairns||4.2 kWh||6.3 kWh||8.4 kWh||12.6 kWh||16.8 kWh|
|Canberra||4.3 kWh||6.45 kWh||8.6 kWh||12.9 kWh||17.2 kWh|
|Darwin||4.4 kWh||6.6 kWh||8.8 kWh||13.2 kWh||17.6 kWh|
|Hobart||3.5 kWh||5.25 kWh||7.0 kWh||10.5 kWh||14.0 kWh|
|Melbourne||3.6 kWh||5.4 kWh||7.2 kWh||10.8 kWh||14.4 kWh|
|Perth||4.4 kWh||6.6 kWh||8.8 kWh||13.2 kWh||17.6 kWh|
|Sydney||3.9 kWh||5.85 kWh||7.8 kWh||11.7 kWh||15.6 kWh|
Data Source: PV-GC spreadsheet based on the CEC GC Design Guidelines The rated output is that achieved in perfect laboratory conditions. The CEC design summary software takes these deratings into account when predicting average for any given system.
Can hail damage my panels?
All Black Diamond Solars’ panels are tested to withstand hail. A hail test is conducted on all solar panels we supply. The industry standard test procedure is a 25 mm diameter ice ball at 23 m/s (82km/h), directed at 11 impact locations with our panels being put to test even greater than this. For more information regarding the strict testing of our panels we use please call 1800 BD SOLAR and a representative will gladly assist you.
How long until my system will be installed?
Black Diamond Solar endeavours to have all systems installed within 14 days of the customers network providing complete approval to install. Once all relevant grid connections and meter alterations have been complete your system will be able to be switched on and operational. Black Diamond Solar is happy to complete all relevant application to your electricity retailer and network provider but please note that a meter change is inevitably between you and your energy provider and there may be a fee charged by your energy provider or retailer for any alterations or work completed to your electricity meter and Black Diamond Solar does not include this in any of our sale prices. The exact charge will vary from state to state and an exact charge can be received by calling your local electricity distributor. This process can also be lengthy with some energy providers taking up to 8 weeks to authorise a PV system installation.
How long does a Black Diamond Solar System take to install?
A typically standard install will take between ½ to 1 day, depending on your system size, location, safety factors and weather conditions. On the day of install the customer need to be home so all relevant paperwork can be signed and so our installers can provide you with basic training of how to read and operate your solar system.
My system has been installed. What do I need to do now?
Once your installation has been completed Black Diamond Solar will send you a completely customized solar system owner’s manual tailor made for your system. Once you have received your manual it is highly recommended that you read your manual so that you can familiarize yourself with your solar system. It also contains a service and maintenance procedures as a solar PV system is like a car in the sense that it will need periodic servicing from time to time in order to assure you continue to receive trouble free electricity from the sun.
Black Diamond Solar can assist you with a solar service at any time by calling 1800 BD SOLAR.
What happens if the grid power goes out?
The system will automatically shut down. This is a safety procedure of your solar system and it should restart once grid voltage has been restored. If your system does not switch on when the power is restored, please contact us on 1800 237 652.
Why is my inverter showing a fault light/reading?
This is your inverters inbuilt safety mechanism it is designed to shut down your inverter under irregular conditions such as voltage spikes from the grid. Normally your inverter will automatically reset itself but if the issue persist a quick read through your Black Diamond Solar owners manual and following the shutdown and start up procedures may rectify the issue. If you are still encountering a fault issue then please call 1800 237 652 and ask to speak with one of our qualified solar technicians.
What Warranties and Guarantees come with a BD Solar System?
Black Diamond Solar panels come with performance guarantees of up to 30 years with a parts and defect warranty of up to 12years. Our inverter warranties range from 5 – 10 years with the option to purchase extended warranties of up to 20 years available. You also have the added security of all our products being sourced locally from Australian distributors with warehouses based in all states as well as all manufacturers we stock have local Australian representation and offices.
A Black Diamond Solar team member can best help you with any additional questions regarding our solar panel or inverter warranties. Simply call 1800 BD SOLAR.
“We found Black Diamond Solar the best company to go with when looking to have solar panels put on our home. We were given 5 different options to go with and chose the system to suit our needs. The price was fantastic and Christian the owner communicated with us throughout the signup and installation of our system. His employees are very professional and thorough. We highly recommend Black Diamond Solar as everyones choice for the best service, quality, expertise and price.”Teresa F.