Buying A Solar System
The key information about buying an electric solar power system.
The average consumption in today’s family households consumes between 20 and 30 KW/h of electricity per day. Single person households can consume less than 10Kw/h per day. Please check the rear of your electricity bill as in many cases it will show average daily consumption.
A 2 to 3 kilowatt system in many areas of Australia can provide about a third to half the electricity needs for a family of four. Our solar calculators on this site lets you work out the best scenario for you in regards to solar system size.
Please keep in mind that when you for example consume 5000 kW/hrs at electricity a year and you choose a system that generates 5000kW/Hrs per year – you will not be bill free. The reason is that you will still pay for the electricity you use at night and during rainy days. The extra electricity your system generates during the day, given the lower feed in tariff nowadays, will not completely cover the cost of the electricity at night.
Nevertheless your solar system will help reduce the impact of increasing electricity prices.
There are a number of factors that you should consider when selecting a solar panel. They are:
Any solar panel company can make a promise about quality, materials, warranty and support but the key is selecting a product made by a company whose promises can be trusted and who will be around in the long term to support you. Trustworthiness is hard to quantify but is usually best described through experience, reputation, commitment, transparency, integrity and size.
The quality of solar panels available in the market varies greatly. The type of aluminium used for the solar panel frame, the thickness and quality of the solder, the efficiency and quality of the solar cell, the water seal over time, the way the cells are encapsulated, the protection against micro cracking, the UV resistance of the backing sheet, the quality of the cables and plugs, all these factors together determine the quality and longevity of the solar panel.
LG panels are made in South Korea, in the Gumi factory, located near one of LG's state of the art LCD TV factories. Our manufacturing process is automated as our video example (LG's Automated Solar factory) shows . Our panels are manufactured to within a fraction of a millimetre to the same specification. We only use high quality input materials. The quality control done on our panels is as extensive as is done for LG’s other world class electronic equipment such as TVs, washing machines or fridges.
Trustworthiness also extends to your local supplier and installer of solar panels. Choosing a long established local company who has partnered with a diversified solar panel manufacturer is a great place to start. LG’s Authorized Dealer network offers you this combination.
Performance matters in two distinct ways.
Firstly, you need a solar panel that produces a good power level. Good power need not be the highest power (unless you have very limited space), but certainly it should be towards the upper end of the typical power ratings available in the market, which steadily increase over time as efficiencies increase.
|In 2013 LG’s current Mono-X 60 cell panel has 260W output, while many other panels only 250W output. Over the life of the home solar system, assumed to be 25 years, this difference of 10W per panel will give you for example in Brisbane over 8000kW/h more output for a 20 panel 5,2kW LG system compared to a 20 panel 5kW system.|
Secondly, the solid and ongoing panel performance of a solar panel should also be backed up by strong technical confidence which can be demonstrated through tight power tolerances, a low temperature co-efficient and a clear description of how the products are tested, affected and rated against Potential Induced Degradation (PID) and Light Induced Degradation (LID).
A supplier who makes quality solar panels such as LG electronics typically offers a strong warranty that provides peace of mind about ongoing performance and has the dependability if something goes wrong.
Many of the homes in Australia which are an average of 3 or 4 bedroom houses are suitable for solar energy. The same applies to small or large business who use solar for running fridges, cookers or lighting. There are a few instances when the solar power system is not suitable for you. Some examples include:
a. The orientation of suitable roof is North / North West or North East , as southern roofs are not ideal. In general the best orientation will depend on your daily consumption pattern. Your installer (LG Dealer Search) can advise about this.
b. The roof space with the correct orientation does not have any space, because of chimneys, hot water solar panels, whirly birds or skylights.
c. There are trees shading your roof during most of the day or the shadow of the building next door throws shade on your roof for significant times of the day. In some instances micro-inverters can assist in these situations. Please ask your authorized LG solar installer (LG Dealer Search) for advice.
d. The roof of your home is made from asbestos. Please replace your roof before installing solar power.
e. Your roof tiles are very old and break easy when stood on, or you have a very rusted metal roof - which should be fixed first before installing a solar system.
These are all valid reasons why you might not be able to install a solar system on your roof.
While deciding to buy a solar system consider the following suggestions:
1. Undertake some solar research via our FAQ site and other sources like the Clean Energy Council’s consumer guide . Alternatively speak to family and friend who already have solar installed to enquire about the benefits.
2. Do your research about brands and prices. There are some very cheap offers in the market, but often these cheaper deals hide poor quality equipment made to appear like quality. You are looking for a 25 year lasting product so that your financial investment is repaid over and over. Find out about the company offering the very cheap deal. Often some internet research reveals a good overall picture.
3. Do not give into pressure selling and deadlines. It’s one of the oldest sales tricks in the book. If the sales person cannot give you the time to make a considered decision, then what are they fearful off you’ll discover about the deal with a little research. If the company has just come into town for a solar deal , they will be gone after the install and you will be left to your own devices. Please buy from local installers. In years to come you might need their local solar expertise and support.
4. How big is your roof and how big a solar system can fit? Try our roof size calculator to work out how big your solar system can be on your specific roof. To check the calculator result contact your local LG dealer.
5. Solar systems vary in quality and size and so does the price. Set yourself a budget. As a rule of thumb each KW of a quality solar system will cost in the range of$1,750 to $2,200 for a residential system up to 5 kW. Do not look for saving few dollars and buying poor /cheap quality. This will cost you more in the future. You are making a 25 years or longer investment , so please consider quality and real warranty support over everything else.
6. Panel Types & Certifications: There are mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline and amorphous films available in Australia which are used for solar systems. We recommend the high efficiency mono-crystalline solar panels, as this is the technology used most often in solar systems in the world today. It is also the most tested technology, as mono-crystalline panels have been mass produced since the 1970s. They have a black appearance and from our point of view will blend in more to your roof and neighbourhood than the blue multi-crystalline solar panel variety.
7. Solar systems attract government rebates if they have been registers with the Clean Energy Council. You should check with the install companies of the offered panels are registered (most are nowadays). All LG panels are registered and have gone extensive fire resistance testing, a latest requirement - introduced in mid 2013 - in the Australian Solar standards.
8. Manufacturer’s Warranty: Many manufacturers will offer 10 years manufacturing warranty and an 80% efficiency warranty of 25 years. For a normal consumer it becomes difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Companies like LG offer stepped warranty and a replacement warranty. Most importantly it is not a company based in some remote location in the world but has a large presence in Australia. Finally make sure the manufacturer has a local legal entity in Australia. Should you have a dispute in years to come a company with no link and contact in Australia is hard to pursue when it comes to consumer rights.
9. Chose a quality Inverter to go with quality panels: An inverter is the heart of the solar system. It will have a direct impact on the efficient of conversion from solar power to usable electric power of your system. The more efficient the inverter, the better the energy conversion process will be. The bigger and more established the manufacturer, the more likely warranty claims or required repairs will be dealt with smoothly.
10. Mounting & Accessories: There are building standards for every aspect of the mounting and electrical accessories used in a solar system. Quality systems are certified. Ensure that the installer uses the certified product by getting the products used in your system listed as part of the quote.
11. Quotes & Buying: We will recommend that you get a few quotes for comparison. Do not get pressurised by sales person to sign then and there. Avoid the travelling band of solar installers hitting town and then disappearing, never to be seen again. Use local install companies and take your time, before you buy.
We suggest you contact your local LG solar panel dealer who will give you professional advice.
All systems installed in Australia have to be signed off by an accredited solar system designer/installer. There are a number of elements which are considered while designing a system to suit your requirements. The designer considers the following:
a. The available roof space and optimum location to install the system.
b. The orientation of the roof and in case a system with more than one solar string (split solar power system) the orientation of the different roofs.
c. Ensuring the roof area or the installation site is capable of handling the desired solar power system's additional weight.
d. Sizing the strings of panels for the correct voltage of the inverter.
e. Ensure the design meets building codes and electrical standards.
f. Determining the most suitable location for the inverter and the way the cables are run.
g. Considering appropriate monitor options.
The key components susceptible to failure are the solar panels and inverter. However, high quality products tend to have long lifecycles which are reflected in the long warranties available, particularly for solar panels.
A solar panel is a relatively a simple device with no moving parts. Solar panels typically have 25 year output warranty and depending on the quality of the panel can be expected to last beyond this. Also solar panels which are exposed to wind, fluctuating temperatures and weather do deteriorate and each year produce a little less electricity. Cheaper panels, with less UV stabilized backing sheets, cheaper sealants and framing can deteriorate faster and more rapidly.
LG’s warranties generally predict an average of 0.7% loss of power each year after the 1st year and thus, at the end of the 25 year output warranty period the solar panel may have lost up to 20% of its initial power rating. This means in light condition where the solar panel would produce 250 Watt, the same panel in 25 years might only produce 200 Watt. In reality, high quality products have been shown to degrade even less than this, while low quality panels might degrade more.
Inverters are complex electronic devices, having to adjust output power every second, inverters are more susceptible to failure although quality brands, which are designed using the highest quality components, are likely to exceed typical 5 year warranty periods. Many manufacturers now offer warranty extensions of 10 years or more. Some cheaper inverters have had a bigger failure rate in Australia after a relative short timeframe than the top quality brands.
Although the cables, safety devices and mounting systems are less influential, the use of poor quality materials can lead to premature system failures. In cases of non branded plugs and cables complete system failures have occurred. Therefore, it could be argued that in order to get a decade of low maintenance solar electricity buy quality solar panels, quality solar inverters and ask for quality balance of components. LG is confident that our panels will give you years of reliable functionality.
WATER DAMAGE IN ISOLATOR
There are various sizes of solar power panels available. The higher the output, the higher will be the efficiency of the solar panel (as long as the size of the solar panel is the same - of cause). A number of years back the 170W to 190W solar power panels were considered a high wattage panel. Today the technology has improved so that 260W panels are considered a good solid efficiency as more solar power can be produced in a smaller roof space. LG offers panels from 260W to 300W. As a rule of thumb, the higher the efficiency, the higher the cost of the panel. Nevertheless some higher efficiency panels can offer a shorter return on investment period. Please discuss the Return on Investment period with your LG solar installer (LG Dealer Search) .
|The LG Mono-X Black, a great looking panel|
With your own solar energy system, you can produce not only the energy of the future and make an active contribution to climate protection, but you are also choosing an investment with a good rate of return for the following reasons:
- 1. Energy prices have increased over the past years. A solar power system will allow you to be less exposed to any further increases in the future. Other than getting a very large system it is not likely that you will get zero dollar bills, but you may be able to receive reductions in your electricity bills. The bigger the system the more electricity it will generate and potentially the bigger the reductions.
- 2. You will produce your own electricity and use it for your own consumption. Naturally for this portion of your past bills, you will not have to pay the energy retailer any more.
- 3. When you are overseas or interstate for holidays and do not use your electricity in your house the electricity you do not use is fed back to the power grid, and most energy retailers will pay you a small feed-in tariff. This will then be applied as a credit against your future bills.
Please note there is still a solar government rebate available in all states and territories, and even though it is less than what used to be available in the past, on a 5 KW system for example you are likely to receive over $3,000 in rebates. On a 2 KW system it is likely to be around $1,200 to $1,400.
Some solar installation companies offer financing options, which could reduce your initial outlays. This will allow you to use the electricity cost savings to help finance the repayments.
Millions of home owners across the globe and in Australia have already chosen LG solar panels. A certified LG installer will guide you from your first considerations through to planning and installation of your solar energy system.
The price of a solar system can be affected by a number of variables including:
- Government rebates available
- Quality of panels, inverter and workmanship (huge differences)
- Number of panels
- Tilt and orientation of panels (if tilt frame is required for example)
- Type of inverter - string inverter or micro inverters
- System design and configuration
- Shipping costs for equipment and parts
- Dealer installation costs
- Relocation of objectives of shading like antennas
- Type and angle of roofing (for example, tile or tin)
- Height of roof such as single or multi-storey
- Site preparation needs (for example the condition of roof)
Your local solar power system installer will be able to give you professional advice and pricing (LG Dealer Search).
1. Is part of your roof east, north or west facing and free from shade between 8am and 5pm?
2. Is there enough room on this part of your roof for solar panels? You need at least 7m2 of roof space for every 1.0 kW of solar system. Use our roof space calculator on this website to check out how big the system on your roof can be roof space calculator.
3. Is your roof area peppered with chimneys and antennas which could pose overshadowing problems?
4. Is your roof strong enough to support the solar panels and racking? Most Australian roofs are of sufficient structure to support a solar panel system. Nevertheless have a site inspection and let the solar dealer check it out.
5. Have you set aside a budget to cover the costs of installing solar power for your home? A quality residential solar power system that will make a dent in your electricity bill starts around $3500 and can go as high as $9000/$10,000 for a 5kW system. As you want the system to supply you with reliable electricity for 25 years plus it is important that you choose a high quality system.
6. Have the installer explain how much electricity your system could generate each year and also how the installation position of you panels affects the time of the day that the electricity will be generated. Make sure the panel positions match your consumption pattern. For example Eastern direction panels will produce most electricity in the morning, Northern facing will give you the biggest output of electricity in the middle of the day and North West facing modules will provide most electricity in the mid to late afternoon.
7. Do you know the process involved once you decide to go ahead with your purchase? Ask the solar system installer to outline all the various steps, including grid connection and any meter changes and precise warranty responsibilities preferably in writing.
When buying or building a home it is possibly the easiest time to afford solar electric systems. You could simply add the cost of the system to the construction/purchase costs and therefore pay it with your new mortage. There are not many items in your home, from garage to front door and stove that will pay for itself after a few years, adds value to your home and then starts to make money for you, year after year.
There are solar panels installed in Australia in the early 1990s which are still producing electricity today, so you can expect the quality solar system benefits to be available for decades to come.
If the the orientation of your roof and available roof space can support a solar system we recommend you seriously consider installing a solar power system when you buy a home. This will help you improve the energy efficiency of your home and reduce the green house gas foot print of your home at the same time. The Mono-X Black panels are a very attractive looking panel and can add to the apperance of a new home.(Mono-X Black product information) Consider also energy efficient lighting, solid insulation and an energy efficient hot water system at the same time to protect your wallet from rising energy prices.
It is advisable to organise some maintenance inspections every few years to make sure that all parts of your solar electric power system are operating correctly. At the time of purchasing the solar power system consider negotiating a price competitive follow up inspection 12 months later. Maintenance is important to ensure that your solar power system continues to operate more efficiently.
LG solar panels are guaranteed for 10 years as manufacturer’s warranty and have a 25 year output warranty (warranty information). Many high quality solar power inverters now give 10 year manufacturer’s warranty. Make sure you also insist on high quality DC cables, circuit breakers and panel mounting frames to enjoy safe and reliable solar energy for many years to come.
As a consumer the national consumer laws guarantee your rights when you buy goods and services – including your rights to repairs, replacements and refunds.
For solar related consumer affair matters call