How to choose a solar retailer
With high electricity prices and some great government incentives, it has never been a better time to install solar – but how do you avoid the cowboys and pick a reputable solar retailer? Read our 5 tips to choosing the right solar retailer for you.
What is a Feed in Tariff
A feed in tariff is what electricity retailers pay you for any excess solar energy you don’t self consume and gets fed back to the grid. The rate varies from state to state, and retailers keen to get a competitive advantage will often offer an amount above that that is legislated.
What are Small Technology Certificates?
Small Technology Certificates (STCs) were initiated on 1st January 2011, replaying the old Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). They are an electronic form of currency initiated by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. Owners of solar systems are eligible to receive STCs, which can then be sold for cash. Suntrix offer to purchase your STCs when installing your solar system, to reduce your one-time cost.
What are the maintenance requirements of a solar system?
The Clean Energy Council recommends regular maintenance to ensure your system stays in peak condition, delivering the best return on your investment. An annual maintenance service and clean will ensure your inverter and panels are working efficiently.
What is a VPP?
A VPP stands for Virtual Power Plant. A VPP is created by a network of homes with solar panels and battery storage systems all working in unison to help stabilize the grid, as required. This means that your battery will work slightly differently to if it was under individual operation; however optimisation software ensure will ensure you achieve maximum savings on your bills.
What is a Power Purchase Agreement?
The provider that you enter into the agreement with owns and maintains the solar system that is installed at your property; and you agree to purchase the power generated by the system at a set price per kWh. The purchase price of the generated electricity is typically lower than what you would otherwise pay to an energy retailer; and the rates can be fixed according to the contract.
Suntrix has partnered with Future X Energy (Future X) to offer our commercial customers the option to enter into a PPA. Find out more.
Do I need a large roof?
The amount of roof space required depends on the size of the system recommended to you. Facing North at the correct angle or elevation and no shading issues will provide the best performance (kWh per dollar); but solar panels can also be installed facing towards the east or west as long as proper considerations are made.
In our experience, most businesses will have sufficient roof space to easily accommodate a system to meet the owners’ needs – both present and future; however there are other options available including, ground-mounted systems, floating solar and building integrated PV. Your commercial solar consultant will be able to advise on the best solution for you.
What finance options are there?
Suntrix finance & PPA partners have helped many businesses achieve solar with no capital expenditure and little or no change to operating expenses. More information on the options available to you can be found on our Finance page.
What is involved in the installation process?
Once we have received your signed sales order, your installation will be assigned to a Project Manager and a technical site inspection will be arranged, if required. Once we are satisfied that we have all the information required, your system will be designed by one of our accredited CEC designers.
Suntrix will submit the relevant applications required to install your system and replace/re-program your meter with your retailer and electricity distributor; and your PM will provide you with a tentative date for your installation to commence. Your date of installation will be confirmed once your electricity distributor has processed your (LEG) application.
You don’t need to be on site during the entire installation however you do need to be present at the start and again at completion.
Before you can start using your solar, your electricity provider will need to replace/re-program your meter. Suntrix will submit the relevant paperwork; and the retailer will liaise directly with you to organise the changeover.
How long before my system is up and running?
This will largely depend on the size and complexity of the project, as well as your retailer and electricity distributor completing their tasks in a timely manner. An indicative time frame is 4-8 weeks but you will receive regular updates from your Project Manager.
How will I know if my system is working as it should?
Included free of charge with every installation is our myWatt solar monitoring unit and app. Completely designed and built in-house, myWatt has been developed to ensure businesses are receiving the expected returns on their solar investment. By logging on the app you will be able to verify and monitor your solar, 24/7.
How do I know I am getting a quality solar system?
Suntrix is an Clean Energy Council approved solar retailer. We only use panels, inverters and battery storage systems that have been approved by the Clean Energy Council and meet the Australian Standards for use in the design and installation of solar systems. All our products come with industry leading product and performance warranties; and Suntrix provides a 5 year warranty on installation and parts.
How does a solar battery work?
A solar battery stores electricity produced by your solar system, so you can use the energy when you need it most – either at night, on cloudy days or during power blackouts (if the battery has back-up capability).
What are the benefits of a solar battery?
Simply put, it pays to store the rays! With low feed-in tariffs and high electricity prices, you should be looking to self consume as much of your solar energy as possible; and a solar battery can help you do this. Without a battery, any excess solar energy generated during the day gets fed back to the grid at a low rate, and when the sun goes down you have to rely on peak-rate electricity to power your home. Unless you have a feed-in tariff of 44c/kWh or greater, a solar battery will help reduce your bills by increasing your solar self-consumption.
The other major benefit of a solar battery is that it can provide continuity of energy supply during a power outage. If you live in an area prone to black-outs or have medical equipment that requires continuous power supply, you should make sure you purchase a battery that has sufficient back-up capability to suit your needs.
Can I add a battery to my existing solar panels?
Yes AC solar batteries such as Tesla’s Powerwall 2, Alpha-ESS’s Smile and Sonnen’s Eco can all be retrofitted to any solar PV system on the market.
What size battery is right for me?
There are a number of things to consider including budget, existing solar, energy consumption and extent you wish to be independent from the grid. It is important to have the right size solar system on your roof so you can achieve year-round performance from your battery and maximise your return on your investment. One of our friendly consultants will discuss your requirements and advise on the most suitable battery to meet your needs. We have also listed the manufacturer’s recommended and minimum solar system sizes on our Solar Battery Systems page.
How much is a solar battery?
The good news is that technological advances and growing demand, coupled with State government incentives such as the SA Home Battery Scheme, have made solar batteries more affordable. Prices vary depending on size, cell technology and brand but expect to pay around $9,000 for a Clean Energy Council approved product from a quality retailer.
What products do you sell?
Suntrix are pleased to offer a range of Clean Energy Council approved solar storage batteries including Tesla Powerwall 2, Alpha-ESS and Sonnen.
How do I get a quote?
Simply complete the form on our quote page and one of our consultants will get in touch. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will be able to any answer any other questions you have and will suggest the battery solution to match your requirements.
What size electricity system will cover my electricity bill?
There are a number of factors to consider when calculating the system size required to cover your electricity bill. These include your average annual kWh usage, orientation and pitch of your roof, potential shading, how much time you spend at home during the day and your eligibility for feed-in tariffs from your electricity supplier. Keep in mind, even if you can’t afford a system to cover your entire electricity bill, even a smaller system which offsets your usage is beneficial and cost effective in the long run.
Is mains electricity still needed?
Solar systems only produce electricity when they are exposed to sunlight. When there is no sunlight, no electricity is produced and you will need to draw electricity from another source such as the grid or a storage battery if you have one installed.
Will my solar system work during a black-out?
During a power black-out your solar system will automatically shut down and disconnect itself from the grid as a safety measure. Once grid power is restored the system will then automatically turn on. If having a continuous supply of electricity is important to you, you should consider including a home battery storage system with your solar system.