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Do you want to fight climate change and save on your home's energy bill? A properly installed solar panel system can help free you from your dependence on fossil fuels and help you start to save almost immediately on your electricity bills.
Here's what you need to know before deciding to buy solar panels, plus the information you need to get a quote from an installer.
What's in this guide?
- Are solar panels a good idea in Melbourne?
- What return can you get from solar panels in Melbourne?
- What's the process for installing solar panels?
- How much do solar panels cost to install in Melbourne?
- How much electricity does my home need?
- Do I need approval to install and connect solar panels in Melbourne?
- How to get a solar panel quote in Melbourne
- How to compare solar panel installers
- Compare solar panel installers online
- What solar incentives are available in Melbourne?
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Are solar panels a good idea in Melbourne?
Melbourne is well known for its fickle and variable climate. From December to February, the area heats up with ample sunshine. June and July are often cold with drizzle and October is known to have the most rain.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) shows annual rainfall at about 533mm. BOM also reports that a home in Melbourne will receive around 4.18 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of sunshine for every square meter every day.
What return can you get from solar panels in Melbourne?
No solar system is 100 percent efficient, but to get an estimate for your return on solar panels in Melbourne we will look at optimum efficiency.
A single kilowatt kW solar system can create 4.18 kWh - 4.8 kWh of energy every day in Melbourne. With a 2kW system, you can expect about 8.36kWH - 9.6kWh per day. If you have a 10kW system that functions at 80 per cent in Melbourne, then you can expect 31.4kW - 36kWh.
According to Solaray Energy, a small 5 kW system can generate 20kWh per day which can save about $500 every quarter if a home uses all of the power generated. You can also install a battery storage system to save excess solar power for later use.
Depending on your energy retailer, you might also be able to earn tariffs from the extra electricity that your system makes and feeds back into the grid.
What's the process for installing solar panels?
Solar panel installers in Melbourne usually follow a standard pattern. Below is a brief explanation of the process for installing solar panels.
- A roof and site assessment which involves measuring the roof, checking the structural integrity, and collecting readings to check the variances in sunlight and shading.
- The solar installer will explain to the homeowner the different solar panels, manufacturers and inverters as well as roof placement.
- Necessary permits and paperwork are completed before installation starts.
- The roof undergoes prepping, electrical wiring is hooked up, racking installed, and solar panels fastened to the racking system. The inverter system is connected to the panels and all connections are made to immediately start converting the sun's energy to power.
- Final inspections are carried out.
How much do solar panels cost to install in Melbourne?
Solar panel installation in Melbourne is remarkably affordable compared to other areas of the world. Prices are about $5,550 for a 5kW system, according to Nexergy Solar. A 10kW system averages around $12,440. The price includes the inverter, panels, racking, and installation.
An average-size home usually only requires a 5kW system but if you have a larger home then you might need a bigger 10kW system.
How much electricity does my home need?
Prior to picking out a solar panel system, you'll want to determine how much electricity your home needs. One of the easiest ways you can decide on your electricity consumption is to check your monthly energy bill or read your meter frequently. Most providers will also display your consumption rate online in an easy-to-read format.
All household consumption rates are different. A large family of four will use more electricity than a couple. A couple can use about 19 kWh per day. However, many things can impact your daily electrical consumption such as the appliances in the home. You can use an energy calculator to determine the amount of energy various appliances use to get a better idea of what uses the most power.
Do I need approval to install and connect solar panels in Melbourne?
In Melbourne, you will need a planning permit to install a solar system if your property is affected by heritage overlay or is a part of the Victorian Heritage Register. Also, you might need a permit if the panels are visible from the street or from a public park as is the case with properties in the City of Melbourne.
If the solar energy system is going to serve the land, then a planning permit is required.
Please remember, if you do not gain planning approval or a planning permit when it is mandated then you could be liable for costly penalties.
In new developments, planning applications must clearly show that the development has the potential to offer high environmental performance with energy efficiency as outlined by the Local Policy (Clause 22.19) Energy, Water, and Waste Efficiency of the Melbourne Planning Scheme.
The installation of solar energy systems on new buildings must contribute to environmental targets. Designers should incorporate roof forms along with orientation, solar access, inclination, and suitable structure in their plans. The solar panels can be incorporated into parts of the facade, shading structures, and roofs.
To connect to the energy network, you must complete certain forms (typically your solar panel installer will complete the paperwork) to receive approval prior to starting the solar installation.
How to get a solar panel quote in Melbourne
You can search online to find potential solar companies. Look through business directories like Whitepages or Yellow Pages, or on solar marketplaces like Solar Quotes or Solar Choice. These sites let you obtain quick online solar quotes by entering your address to be paired with local solar installers. Our guide to accurate solar panel quotes has more tips.
Prior to reaching out to a company to obtain a solar quote, you should have certain information ready:
- Your average monthly electricity consumption
- Decide what type of system you want: on-grid, off-grid, or hybrid.
- Know what your roof is made from and the age of the property
- A rough budget
- A date when you want the system installed
Always take the time to read the various customer reviews about the installers to make sure they have a good reputation prior to contacting the company.
Request an itemised quote so you have a firm idea of how much everything is going to cost. Check out our guide to obtaining solar panel quotes for more information.
Solar Run is a solar retailer who can help you install solar on your rooftop.
- Get quotes for solar panels and battery storage
- Clean Energy Council approved retailer
- NSW, VIC, SA, QLD and ACT
How to compare solar panel installers
Here are a few tips on how to compare solar panel installers Melbourne
- CEC-accreditation. Solar installers should have the necessary Clean Energy Council (CEC) accreditation to handle solar panel installations. This allows you to apply for small-scale technology certificates (STCs) which can help you save on your installation.
- Industry experience. Always look at a company's longevity. Ideally, the business should have served the community for several years.
- Customer reviews. Take the time to read reviews on Google, Facebook and other business directories which give an insight into the company's reputation. The company should have an acceptable track record.
What solar incentives are available in Melbourne?
In addition to reduced electricity bills, there are also government incentives available for solar panel installation.
The Melbourne Renewable Energy Target has the goal of hitting 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. To spur residents to participate, rebates are being offered to encourage solar panel installations.
The Solar Homes Program rebate helps households install solar panels through rebates. Homeowners can also seek no-interest loans to further complement the rebate. With the rebates, homes can receive up to $1850 off the cost to install solar PV panels.
Australians have shown a strong dedication towards reaching 50 percent renewable energy in the near future. Melbournians are also focused on not only saving on their home energy costs but on becoming more eco-friendly by installing solar panels. The time has never been better to utilise solar energy with cost-saving rebates and skilled solar installers offering competitive quotes. Just be sure to compare quotes from multiple installers first and do you due diligence on installers before selecting one.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to buy the panels myself?
No, generally your solar installer will order the necessary solar panels once you decide on what system you'd like to install.
Can I install solar panels myself?
Installing solar panels requires the skills of a professional because the process involves electrical expertise and additional technical knowledge. It can be dangerous to install solar panels yourself without the correct equipment and qualifications.
Is it harder to sell a house with solar panels?
Solar panels often increase the value of a home and can even make it easier to sell.
How long do solar panels last in Australia?
Solar panels can last a minimum of 25 years if they're well maintained and well made, although can become less effective over time.
What angle and what direction should my solar panels be installed at?
To successfully utilise the sun, the panels need to be placed at a 20 to 30-degree angle on a north-facing roof.
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