Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does it cost to install solar panels?
A: The price of solar systems has dropped dramatically over the past few years, making it an increasingly attractive option for homes and businesses.
The upfront cost of your solar PV system is affected by a number of different factors, including:
- government incentives and support schemes available
- contractor installation costs
- type and number of solar panels, which affect the output of your system in kilowatts (kW)
- type and size of inverter (the part of the system that converts the electrical output of your solar panels into AC electricity for use in your home or business)
- type of framing equipment and other system components
- height and accessibility of roof and whether it is tiled, metal or concrete
- any after-sales service agreements
As a very rough guide, the total cost of getting a home solar system up and running is between $2500 (for a small 1.5 kW system) and $11,500 (for a top-of-the-line 5 kW system).
For businesses, the approximate cost of installing solar ranges from around $15,000 (for a 10kW system) to more than $200,000 (for a high-capacity 100 kW system).
Q: How much money will I save with solar panels?
A: The amount of money your household will save on power bills by going solar is affected by a number of factors, including:
- Your energy consumption and the size of your solar power system – if you use more power than your system is capable of producing, your savings will be reduced. This can be avoided by choosing the right-sized system for your needs.
- Your feed-in tariff – this is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any excess power your solar panels generate.
- Your usage patterns – solar panels can only generate electricity while the sun is shining. This means that households that use a lot of power during the day may attract greater savings than those that consume most of their power at night. However, you will still receive a feed-in tariff for any excess electricity you generate during the day.
- Where you live – some areas of Australia receive a lot more sunlight than others, so a solar PV system in Brisbane will usually generate more power than one in Hobart.
Businesses have a couple of other things to take into account, including the tax implications of any revenue received from feed-in tariffs.
Q: What is a solar feed-in tariff (FiT)?
A: A feed-in-tariff is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any electricity your solar PV system generates that you don’t use, and is instead fed back into the grid.
Q: What is a small-scale technology certificate (STC)?
A: STCs are government incentives that help reduce the upfront cost of installing your solar PV system. The value of STCs your system receives differs depending on its size and location.
To be eligible for STCs, your solar system must be installed by Clean Energy Council accredited installer.
Q: How can I tell if my installer is accredited?
You can find an accredited installer in your area using our find an installer tool.
Remember, to be eligible for government rebates in the form of STCs, your system must be installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer.
Q: Where can I find a list of approved solar PV modules and inverters?
A: The Clean Energy Council maintains a list of all solar modules and inverters that meet Australian Standards for use in the design and installation of solar PV systems. Only systems that use products from the approved lists are entitled to rebates in the form of small-scale technology certificates (STCs).
Please note that the Clean Energy Council does not certify modules and inverters directly. For a product to be included on our approved lists, the manufacturer must provide a certificate of compliance from a recognised certifying body.
Q: Can I recycle my solar panels?
A: Reclaim PV Recycling operates an Australian solar panel take back and reclaiming scheme throughout Australia.
When you are buying your solar panels, check with your supplier whether they have a recycling program in place.
Q: Is solar power safe?
A: The Australian solar industry is well regulated and safe.
Solar panels and inverters sold in this country must comply with a range of standards that maximise safety and reliability. The Clean Energy Council maintains a list of currently approved solar panel modules and inverters.
The Clean Energy Council’s Solar Accreditation scheme ensures that the people who design and install solar PV systems are across all the latest safety requirements. Accredited installers are qualified electricians who have undergone additional training and assessment in the installation of solar PV systems. Systems must be installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer to be eligible for small-scale technology certificates (STCs).
Initiatives such as the Clean Energy Council’s Approved Solar Retailer scheme are also ensuring that the Australian solar PV sector stays safe and reliable.
To keep your system running safely and effectively for many years, you will need to maintain it correctly. See our after installing solar PV section for details on inspecting, maintaining and upgrading your system.
Q: Do solar panels work at night or during cloudy weather?
A: Solar panels do not generate power at night. Once the sun goes down, your home or business will start to draw power from the main grid as usual.Solar panels still work on a cloudy day; however they will not generate as much electricity as when the weather is clear and sunny.
Q: What should I do if my solar PV system stops working?
A: If your solar PV system is still under warranty, you should contact the retailer you purchased your system from to arrange repairs. If you bought from a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer, you can rest assured that every part of your system is covered under warranty for at least five years.If your system is out of warranty, you should contact your retailer or an accredited solar installer. However, you may be responsible for the cost of any repairs.For more information on what to do if your system stops working, refer to solar PV warranties, complaints and disputes.