- How does it work?
- What is the 'grid'?
- What is a kilo watt hour?
- Does the system use batteries?
- What types of solar systems are there?
- What happens during a blackout with a grid connected system?
- Will the system power my whole houses electricity needs?
- How much of my houses electricity will a 1kW system supply?
- What happens if my system produces more power in a year than I use?
- If it is a rainy day, will I lose power?
- How do I know how much energy my system is producing?
- What maintenance is required on the system?
- What reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions will my system provide?
- Does the system work like solar hot water?
- Do you offer upgrades to 1kW systems?
- Do you offer high efficiency solar modules?
Our Products Questions
- How do you know if my house is suitable?
- How long does the installation take?
- Do I need to be home on the day of installation?
- Where do you mount the solar modules?
- What is the optimum angle for the modules?
- Where does the inverter get positioned?
- What is a standard installation?
- What extra costs might there be?
- Is there any charge for changing the meter?
- My house is fully shaded, can I still have a system?
- How long from paying the deposit will it take for my system to be installed?
- What happens after you have installed my system and when do I pay the balance?
- My meter board is a long way from the house. Will I need a cable to be trenched in for the solar system?
- What type of roofs can you install on?
- How much roof space is required for a 1kW system?
- I have a flat roof, what are my options?
- I am planning a renovation after the solar is installed, what do I do?
- What is the quality of your installations?
- What is the warranty provided?
- Does the warranty of the solar modules cover hail damage?
- Who do I contact if my system is faulty?
Government Rebate and REC Questions
- Can I take the solar system with me if I move?
- What happens if I sell my house within 5 years from installation?
- What are REC’s?
- How many REC’s can be created?
For safety reasons, the solar system is required to shutdown during a blackout, even in the day. We offer backup solutions that use batteries that can both grid-feed and supply your house during a blackout.
Our 1kW system comprises of 6 x 175W monocrystalline solar modules. At an optimum, unshaded mounting location (True North, 24 deg pitch – Northern NSW), the system will produce 1506kWh/year. This is around a quarter to a third of an average homes yearly needs. In dollar value, at current rates of around 16.3c / kWh and a 1:1 buyback rate, this equates to about $245 electricity saving.
In other terms one of our 1kW systems will supply:
6 x 18W CFL (Energy saver light globes) used for 6 hours / day each – 236kWh/yr
Average Refrigerator/Freezer (400L) – 500kWh/yr
LCD widescreen TV (81cm) & set top box / DVD player used for 5 hours / day – 301kWh/yr
Medium Stereo used 6 hours per day – 87kWh/yr
5kg Washing machine used once/day – 55kWh/yr
Average laptop computer used 8 hours / day – 102kWh/yr
Boiling kettle 3 times / day – 98kWh/yr
Cordless phone and mobile charger – 43kWh/yr
Microwave oven (no clock) used 5 minutes / day – 45kWh/yr
2 Slice toaster used once per day – 20kWh/yr
You will receive credits on your electricity bill, and you can request payment annually for your excess electricity generation, while you pay nothing for your electricity consumption.
No. Your electricity usage will again come from the grid seamlessly as it does in night time.
The inverter has a digital readout which shows the solar systems instantaneous, daily and total output figures. The bi-directional digital meter installed shows the import and export energy to/from the grid.
Very little. Rain will usually keep the solar modules clean, though in dry or dust conditions it may be necessary to hose down the modules or wash with soapy water and rinse. The inverter has a heatsink that should also be kept clean.
A 1kW system will reduce approximately 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide gas being introduced into the atmosphere every year. Household electricity usage in Australia accounts for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions.
No. Solar electricity is generated via the photovoltaic effect. Solar hot water uses the suns energy to heat water in pipes.
Yes. We can install a larger inverter with a 1kW system which will allow you to add more solar modules later. You can also add additional inverters and solar modules later to operate in conjunction with the original system.
Yes. We offer SunPower’s USA made modules that are 17.3% efficient. This means a 215W module is the same physical size as a regular 170W module, allowing greater utilisation of limited roof space.
Our Products Questions
We source our modules from leading manufacturers in China and the USA through Australian distributors. We only use the highest quality products for our systems and can provide you full technical specifications.
We use German made SMA & Kaco, Austrian made Fronius and the new transformerless, high efficiency Aurora inverters from Power One made in Italy.
We offer backup options that allow you to have a grid-connected system that can supply your electricity needs during a blackout. These systems use batteries which are charged either from the solar system, the grid or an external generator. When the batteries are charged and the immediate electricity needs of the house are supplied, excess electricity is exported to the grid gaining you credits. When there is a blackout, power is supplied to the house by the solar system (in day time), the batteries and the generator if needed.
One of our BCSE accredited installers will do a site inspection on your house at a suitable time to assess the options available to you and advise you if there are any additional costs.
Usually less than one day.
Yes. We will need access to your roof space and have access to an electrical outlet. We also want to be certain you are completely happy with our installation and show you how it works.
On your most north facing roof with minimal shading, reducing cable lengths as much as possible. Systems can be mounted on East or West facing roofs, but a performance loss of up to 10% may be experienced.
In Northern NSW, the optimum angle is 24 degrees for a grid connected system. This is the latitude (29deg) – 5 deg which favours the longer summer days. This differs from a battery based system which generally has to favour the shorter winter days, when electricity usage is more.
Usually near the meter board, but may be installed near a distribution board if that is the nearest connection point, keeping cable lengths from the solar modules as short as possible.
A single storey house with a metal/tin roof, less than 20m of electrical cabling required and a suitable meter board or distribution board for the inverter connection.
There are extra costs for tile roofs, 2 storey houses, difficult roof access, greater than 20m of cabling, upgrading meter board or distribution board. You will be advised at site inspection if there are any of these costs.
Currently (Sept 08) Country Energy is not charging for the bi-directional meter changes in Northern NSW, though have advised that charges will be likely in the future and be in the order of $220.
Shade is to be avoided as much as possible. The accredited installer at site inspection will determine what options are available to you. It may be possible to use a shed roof or build a ground mounted system in an unshaded area.
It takes approximately 6 weeks for the government to pre-approve the rebate. Once you have received your pre-approval we aim to have your system installed with 3 months.
Once the system is installed, we will test it and show you basic operation. We are then required to leave the system switched off until Country Energy checks the system and change the meter to a bi-directional type. This can take a week or two depending on Country Energy’s workload. Once the system has been switched on we require you to pay the balance (usually the rebate amount) and sign the installation completion report and the REC assignment note. You will then receive the rebate amount directly from the government in around 6 weeks.
My meter board is a long way from the house. Will I need a cable to be trenched in for the solar system?
No. We can connect the inverter to any distribution board inside a house or a shed.
Metal and Tile roofs. Tile roofs have additional costs due to greater difficulty in install. Asbestos roofs are not suitable.
Approximately 8 square metres is required for each 1kW of solar modules. We usually mount the modules in a row (1 row of 6) which is a total size of 5 m x 1.6m. We can also mount in other configurations such as 2 rows of 3 where each row is 2.5m x 1.6m. Our Suntech solar modules are 1580mm x 808mm x 35mm and weigh 15.5kg.
A flat roof in Northern NSW will still generate 89% of maximum. We can supply raised frames at additional cost if your existing roof meets AS1170.2 for wind loading requirements. Generally the additional cost of the raised frame will take many years to pay for itself.
The solar modules can be removed then reinstalled on the new renovation. This may require extra cabling and would take several hours of labour.
We pride ourselves in our work and attention to detail. Our installers are BCSE accredited, experienced and monitor all stages of your installation. Our electricians are fully licensed and all parties carry liability insurance.
The solar modules we use all carry 25 year performance warranty. The inverters carry 5 year warranty. The frames have 10 year warranty. Installation has a 1 year warranty. All warranties are backed up by manufacturer’s distributors in Australia.
No. The solar modules are designed to withstand a 2.5cm (1inch) hailstone at 80km/h. You should check with your home building insurance company to make sure the system is covered should damage occur.
Contact Nickel Energy and we will ascertain what the problem is and have it rectified under warranty if covered.
Government Rebate and REC Questions
Not for 5 years. It is a requirement of the rebate that the system must be maintained, operating on the premises for 5 years from installation.
The new owner takes on the 5 year rebate commitment with DEWHA from the original installation date.
Renewable Energy Certificates. This is a government legislated system for trading renewable energy generation and encourage its deployment. It is managed by the Office of Renewable Energy Regulator (www.orer.gov.au). As your solar system generates renewable energy, REC’s can be created from it. As part of our competitive solar system pricing, you assign these REC’s to Nickel Energy and we register and process them. This helps keep our price to you as low as possible.
With a 1.05kW system installed in Northern NSW, 21 REC’s are generated for 15 years