Solar Power Brisbane – Welcome
The Solar Power Brisbane website has been established to offer independent information, news and reviews for the Brisbane and Queensland solar power market. We look at issues to think about if you are planning on installing solar power in Brisbane. You can easily access 3 Brisbane solar installation companies who will contact you to arrange solar installation quotation by completing the Brisbane solar quotes form below.
Brisbane Solar Power News Update 11 July 2012 – From 10 July 2012 the Qld feed in tariff rate dropped from 44 cents to 8 cents (per kwh) and will again be reviewed on 1 July 2014. This will impact most for larger solar systems installed where a lot of the solar power generated is ‘exported’ back onto the electricity grid. Smaller systems (1.5KW and 2KW for example) often export little solar electricity onto the grid as most of the power generated by the solar panels is consumed by the household.
1. Solar Power Brisbane: The Carbon Tax and State and Federal Government Solar Incentives
The Gillard Government’s legislation on the Carbon Tax has now passed through both houses of parliament and will take effect from July 1 2012. In the short term Queensland electricity prices have estimates of price rises in the 15 to 20 percent range. Long term it is not so clear, but the trend is definitely up as far as Brisbane and Queensland power prices go. The renewable energy sector and particularly solar power in Brisbane has been booming over the last 2-3 years. Given uncertainty with future electricity prices, many Brisbane home owners are looking to insulate themselves from power price rises by installing solar.
The Federal Government solar scheme still offers financial incentives that effectively subsidise the installation of the your Brisbane solar panels system. The subsidy decreases each year and will drop again from 1 July 2013.
2. Solar Power Brisbane – Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the more common questions about solar panels installation in Brisbane are listed below:
How much electricity will a 2kw solar system generate in Brisbane?
As a rule of thumb a solar power system in Brisbane will generate approximately 4 times is size (in kwh) of solar electricity per day, so a Brisbane 5kw solar panel system will produce around 20kwh per day , a 3kw solar power system in Brisbane will generate around 12kwh per day, a 1.5kw Brisbane solar system around 6kwh per day etc etc. The average Brisbane power usage is 18kwh per day (that was in 2011) , obviously some Brisbane homes use a lot more than that – its not uncommon for households with a growing family, with air conditioning, pool (pump and chlorinator), large hot water system , tv’s, dishwashers etc etc to use more than 40kwh per day!
Solar panel prices Brisbane – How Much Is A Solar Panels System in Brisbane?
The prices of Brisbane solar panels systems had plummeted in the last 2 years. This is due to fierce competition – many Brisbane solar installers face competition from interstate (particularly N.S.W.) solar power installation companies that have set up in Brisbane, following the demise of the N.S.W. feed in solar tariff. Also, the strong Aussie dollar has made the cost of solar panels and solar inverters cheaper. Solar companies in Brisbane will often have several solar panels ‘offers’ – in other words they can quote a low cost Chinese solar power package (Chinese made solar panels and Chinese made inverter) and / or a (say) premium German made system, which could well be double the price of its Chinese counterpart.
Some of the better Chinese brands of solar panels used in Brisbane include CEEG, Suntech and ET Solar which many claim to be on a par or close to German brands like Schott or Conergy. The same applies to inverters though if anything is going to go wrong with your Brisbane solar panels installation it is most probably going to be the inverter (the device that converts the solar electricity from your solar panels to A.C. electricity used in your home). We think a combination of a quality Chinese solar panel and a good German inverter (like SMA or the likes) may be a reasonable approach, in terms of getting quality at a fair price.
Ok, so given what we have said about the huge variation in quality of solar power systems in Brisbane you can understand why there will be huge price ranges for the same sized system. Examples June 2012:
5kw solar system Brisbane $7695 – $15995
3kw solar system Brisbane $4290 – $9400
2kw solar system Brisbane $2200 – $3800
1.5kw solar system Brisbane $1100 – $2200
Bottom line – get all solar quotes in writing, compare the solar panels, solar inverters, warranties (including installation), find out if there is a long standing reputable distributor for the panels and inverter (in case you need to call them in 3 or 5 years time!), does the solar quotation include the solar meter?
Solar Power Brisbane – No Obligation Solar Quotation:
After completing The Brisbane Solar Quotes Form below you will be contacted by 3 Solar Companies In Brisbane who can arrange a convenient time to discuss your Solar Power needs and arrange a no obligation quote:
What are the Different Types of Solar Panels Used in Brisbane?
The 2 most common solar panel ‘technologies’ used by Brisbane solar power installers are Monocrystalline solar panels and Polycrystalline solar panels:
Monocrystalline panels :
Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency (up to 19%)- efficiency is a measure of how much power is produced by the solar panel per square meter. The monocrystalline panels have been in use, globally, for over 25 years and is considered ‘tried and tested’ technology. They can suffer a fairly significant reduction in electricity output at higher temperatures, as much as 15% on very sunny days .
Polycrystalline solar panels:
Polycrystalline solar panels are the lowest cost and have efficiencies of around 12% . If you have a large roof area having lower efficiency solar panels may not be an issue – you simply need more area to produce the same amount of solar power as a more efficient solar panel.
Are There Ongoing Costs Once i Install Solar?
There should be minimal ongoing expense once your solar system has been installed. From time to time the solar panels may need cleaning, this could be relevant after extended dry periods for example when there has not been the rain to naturally clean the solar panels. We think investing in a high quality, reputable brand inverter is a good move – if anything is going to ‘fail’ its most likely the inverter – check what the warranty is and if it can be extended. Also check who is responsible for replacing it should it malfunction – is it the installation company of the distributor for the inverter and do they have local representation?
What About The Electricity Metering and Our Metre Box?
You will require new electrical metering once your solar system is installed. For some households a new electrical meter box will be required, particularly in some older homes. The new ‘solar’ meter provides a measurement of the amount of power that the solar system feeds back into the grid – for which you are credited. Ask, when getting solar quotes, what additional costs may be required if your meter box does need to be replaced and what the cost is for the new metering and if it is included in the solar quotation.
Are there Insurance Implications for Installing Solar ?
You would be well advised to contact your insurance company and advise them of your new solar installation and ensure it is included in your cover. Given you are outlaying anything from $1500 to $20,000+ for a system (depending on the size and quality of the system), it is important to ensure you have cover for this investment. Many people ask about the possibility of hail damaging their solar panels – most reputable solar panels specify in their data sheets the forces from hail that their panels are tested to and rated at. A reasonable specification to look for, in this regard is the equivalent force of 25mm diameter hail stones at 23m/s to 25m/s. The glass sheet used on solar panels is purposely designed to be hail resistant, however in exceptional circumstances hailstone damage is possible – again, a good reason to check for coverage of your solar power system with your insurance company.
Do the Solar Panels ‘Age’ ?
The vast majority of solar panel manufacturers ‘de-rate’ their electrical output of their panels over time. Typically this looks like: 95% output after 5years, 85% after 18 years and around 80% after 25 years. This can vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Developments in silicon wafer fabrication techniques means that the output of panels is increasing steadily and it could even make sense to actually replace the panels in 10 or 15 years if efficiencies are significantly greater than currently available!
Solar Power Brisbane – How a Solar Panels System Works :
You may find the video below interesting – it gives an insight into the intricacies of silicon wafer production. The silicon wafers become the solar ‘cells’ that are then mounted into the solar panel. Over the last 5 years silicon solar cell research and development has lead to huge increases in cell efficiency, meaning that the same sized solar panel can output 20 percent power than a few years ago. Estimates of solar panel efficiency approaching 30 percent within the next few years are probably quite realistic. The implication of this for people installing solar in Brisbane is that it is quite possible that a solar panel ‘upgrade’ market may well develop in the next five to ten years, meaning that the solar panels you may have installed in 2012 , probably have an efficiency i the 14 to 19 percent range. If efficiencies do increase as predicted over the next few years, it may make sense to actually replace you existing solar panels with panels that may be twice as efficient – ie: producing twice the electricity that current generation solar panels produce.
The video below was produced by Sunpower. Sunpower make some of the highest efficiency solar panels currently available and several Brisbane solar installers currently use them. They are certainly ‘premium’ product in terms of pricing, but the quality and reputation goes with that (note – we have no affiliation whatsoever with any brand). The following video (made for the U.S. market, but equally applicable to the Brisbane solar market) is worth a look. An interesting and pertinent point is made that as electricity prices rise,the financial return on your solar system increases. To illustrate this say you currently pay 23 cents per kilowatt hour for power from Energex or your electricity retailer. Putting aside the feed in tariff for one moment, if your solar system produces say 20kwh per day (roughly what a 5kw Brisbane solar system would produce per day) , then this ‘solar electricity’ is worth 20 x $0.23 = $4.60 per day or around $1700 per year. Now, it is easy to see that electricity prices can easily double in a few years meaning your solar systems produces twice the ‘value’ , $3400 in this example of solar electricity per year. So the ‘return’ on your initial outlay for you solar system has increased even more.
Update 16 September 2012 – Next Generation Solar Power Installation in Brisbane?
Solar installers in Brisbane predominantly use the tried and tested ‘discrete’ solar panel installation method – simply put, individual solar panels, typically ranging from 180watts to 250 watts, are mounted, side by side, onto aluminium frames that are attached to the existing homes roof. This has proven to be a fairly reliable method of installing solar power onto an existing home and a fairly inexpensive way of doing it. However there are many new and possibly ‘superior’ technologies and techniques available now and due for release that offer a more ‘integrated’ way of building the solar panels into the roof structure – obviously this is something that may be worth investigation for new homes under design or construction that are going to have solar panels / power installed. Companies like Sanyo, Sharp, Suntech and several other manufacturers of solar panels have released their own version of ‘ building integrated photovoltaic systems’. The following video demonstrates Sanyo’s HIT Power Roof system, which, they claim, can replace any traditional tiled or metallic roof. It is 50 mm in thickness and after installation offers a completely flat looking surface on the roof top.
The other very interesting development in ‘integrated’ solar panel technology is the ‘solar tile’ – basically a roofing tile that incorporates photovoltaic cells into their construction, whilst maintaining their mechanical strength and rigidity. The obvious benefits of this technology is that the entire roof area can be, potentially covered with solar tiles. Costs are currently 60 percent more than ‘discrete’ solar panels, but this is an area of domestic solar power likely to catch architects eyes as an ‘elegant’ way of incorporating solar power into Brisbane homes.
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