How many solar panels do I need to run my house?
This depends on how much power you use. Even if you are a high user of electricity, you can dramatically
cut your energy use by being Energy efficient, which in turn would require a smaller more affordable
system for your home. Also, you don’t need to install enough panels to power the whole house if
you live on grid electricity. You could, for instance, buy as many panels as you can afford (and add on
later), and buy Accredited Green Power for the rest. Systems can be designed to meet 100% of your
electricity needs, or to the size or budget you require.
Do I need permission from the electricity supplier
before I install solar panels?
Yes. Electricity suppliers are not obliged to connect
system to the grid. Before you purchase a grid‐connected
solar power system, you will need to check with your local
electricity supplier about connection and metering arrangements.
What about heritage‐listed areas?
It depends on the council’s regulations, so it is best to check
with your local council.
Do I need home building insurance to install?
No, but Home and Contents insurance is a good idea if you
have solar panels. As with all major household
purchases, make sure that your solar power system is included.
What if my roof doesn’t face north?
North‐facing roofs are ideal for solar power, but most systems can work up to an angle of 45 degrees
off North, or a system can be designed on a side‐pitch array frame for West, and West Facing roofs.
Solar panels installed onto flat roofs can be tilted to face the sun.
If I move home, can I take the solar panels with me?
You could take your solar power system down and re‐install it at your new house provided the roof of
the new house is suitable. Or, you could include it in the selling price of your house.
How long does the solar installation take?
A Solar installation typically takes one to two days depending on your property. A site inspection will
determine the ease of installation.
The installation should include connection of the solar system to mains power, installation of the inverter,
and installation of the solar panels and framing.
Installation does not include the changeover of the electrical meter – this will be charged to you by the
electricity provider, and the meter normally gets changed two weeks following the installation.
Why does my meter get changed over?
The meter must be changed so your electricity retailer can read the amount the solar electricity you
export so they can credit your account.
Will solar panels damage my roof structure?
Your roof has been designed to carry a lot of weight and most roofs will hold panels without need
for reinforcement. Solar panel framing is attached to the rafters of the house so that the load is ultimately
borne by the roof structure not the roof material (e.g. tiles). Solar panels are placed over the
top of any roof penetrations, and all penetrations are waterproofed so the roof won’t leak
Are they easily maintained?
Yes. Solar panels are designed so that they need little maintenance. Dust typically reduces output by
5% but since solar panels are sloped, the rain keeps them clean. You’ll just need to hose them down
after long periods of little rain
Will my solar panels survive a hailstorm?
Yes. Solar panels are made of tough laminated glass and are generally indestructible. They are also
sloped so hail slides off
Is my Solar system electrically safe?
Using accredited installers will ensure the installation complies with the Australian Standards for
Solar Electricity Grid Connect systems. All installed systems are inspected by an electrical inspector
and a Certificate of Electrical Safety is issued.
Do solar panels produce enough energy to recoup the energy it took to make them
Yes. Modern solar panels will make approximately enough electricity in 4 years to cover the amount of
energy that was used in manufacture. Solar panels generally have a 20‐year lifespan
What is the environmental cost of making solar panels?
Making solar cells from silicon does use some toxic chemicals. However these are all contained and reused,
unlike the air pollution created by burning coal. Disposal can also be controlled
How efficient are solar panels in comparison to other renewable energy technologies
In terms of converting a renewable resource to energy, solar panels are less efficient (15%) than other
renewable energy technologies such as wind farms (30%) or hydro generators (40%). Solar panels require
the least maintenance since there are no ‘moving parts’ as in other technologies.
How many greenhouse gases would be saved with solar panels?
A typical 1 kW solar power system would roughly save 1.4 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year (a
tonne of CO2 is enough to fill a family home
Can you recycle old solar panels?
Since the silicon is treated with various chemicals (‘doping’) to make the surface more receptive to
light, it is difficult to Manufacture into new products. That doesn’t mean to say you can’t fashion a
great coffee table from an old solar panel