Rooftop solar is never an “off the shelf” solution, because everybody’s energy usage and site are unique. So what are the variables that impact the cost of a solar system? In this article we discuss the unique variables that can change the cost of installing solar in your home or your business.
Analysing your energy needs
We start off by analysing the current energy consumption on your bill based on the average kilowatt hours you use per day over a 12 month period. We also evaluate future usage based on any planned changes such as plans to charge an electric vehicle, growing a family, or adding air-conditioning. We put your energy needs into a software system to calculate the best system size and solution to meet your needs. The kilowatt hours of energy you use per day will be impacted by how many people live in the home or work in your business, the energy efficiency of the building (including how well it’s insulated and how energy efficient your appliances are).
Roofline and Orientation
After working out how much energy you need to generate, we use state-of-the-art high resolution aerial imagery software to accurately assess the number of panels we can fit onto your roof. This varies between different brands as some solar panel brands are more efficient than others, allowing you to install a more powerful system on a smaller roof.
We also assess what direction your roof faces to capture the most amount of sunlight. Solar panels on a north-facing roof will get the most amount of sunlight to convert into power.
East and west-facing will also generate significant power, but the south side is typically considered a last resort. The roof orientation will also determine how many panels you need to meet your energy needs which will impact the cost.
Some customers prefer not to have solar on the front of the house for aesthetic purposes, and so may need to compromise which directions the panels face. However as panel manufacturers continue to innovate, there are more aesthetic panel and racking options that can blend in with the look of the roof in comparison to older solar systems.
We can also assess shading on your roof. If your site is impacted by significant shading issues that would reduce the amount of power solar panels can produce, we may recommend “Optimizers” or “Microinverters” to be added to your system to help combat these issues.
Quality of products
Like any product or service, there’s a range of prices and a range of different quality levels associated with them. Solar systems are no different - you get what you pay for. Often higher quality trusted brands have a higher initial purchase price, but they also are more reliable giving you a more secure investment. High-quality brands go through more rigorous testing such as testing for extreme hail damage. They’re built with higher levels of quality control resulting in less downtime and warranty issues. This ensures your system keeps generating power into the future. Energy Wired offers a range of solar panel and inverter brands, but we always focus on quality.
Storing your energy with batteries
When you purchase a “Grid Connect” solar system (made up of a solar inverter and panels), your site will run off power generated from the solar panels during sunlight hours, and then any extra unused power will be fed back into the energy grid. Outside of daylight hours you will use energy from your energy retailer.
If you want to store your energy to use at night time as well, you’ll also need to add a solar battery to your system. Some customers choose to get set up with a battery right away which is an additional cost, while others are happy to just have a Grid Connect system. You can also add on a battery at a later date. Energy Wired offers a range of solar batteries, and can help you assess the value of batteries for your unique situation through energy monitoring solutions such as Solar Analytics.
Some solar inverters have an energy meter built-in which monitors and analyses your energy production, identifies any issues and helps you get the most out of your investment. If you want to take this a step further, you can get a specialised energy monitor such as Solar Analytics which can even tell you what power retailer is offering the best options for your usage, as well as assessing whether you need batteries in the future, and alert you to any underperformance in your system, which Energy Wired can then help to resolve.
Purchasing a service
When buying solar, you’re buying a product and a service. The solar panels, inverter, and racking are all products, but you’re also buying the service of installation and after install service helping with any customer service issues or warranties.
As well as quality products, every Energy Wired install has a top-quality installation service and after-install customer service. Our quality is verified by independent solar inspections which always rates us highly on quality installation and electrical work. This means your site is safe, and secures your solar system to produce the optimal amount of power.
A quality Solar installer will:
Be a qualified A Grade Electrician, approved by the Clean Energy Council.
Provide you with an electrically sound and safe system with no shortcuts that compromise either safety or energy production.
Provide a visually neat and aesthetic installation
Reduce any downtime by coming back to you quickly and fixing any issues in a timely manner
Provide a quality customer experience throughout
One way to check for the quality of service you’re likely to receive is to check the company’s google reviews, and also check how long they’ve been around for. If they’ve been installing solar for several years, they are likely to be knowledgeable, and also a good indication that they’ll be around in the future to service your system.
There’s no one set price for solar, as a few factors have to be considered that impact the overall cost depending on the site of the installation. If you’d like an analysis of your energy consumption and some recommended options contact our team for a free consultation, or click on our solar calculator to get an idea of how much you could save.