FAQ

FAQ

Frequently asked questions about government rebates, how solar works and solar installation.

Government Rebates

What are the rebates available?

There are two types of assistance both state and federal government provide when installing a solar power system.

  1. A rebate when u purchase the system, which comes off the system price.
  2. The purchase of excess power your system will produce.

What assistance can I get in purchasing the system?

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) creates a financial incentive for owners to install eligible small-scale installations such as solar water heaters, air sourced heat pumps and small generation units (small-scale solar, wind and hydro systems). AICA Energy takes this into account, reducing the cost of your system. We handle all the complex aspects of dealing with the SRES scheme and provide you with the discounted price.

Eligible systems are entitled to a certain number of small-scale technology certificates (STCs) based on the amount of renewable electricity the system produces or displaces. These STCs can be created and sold to buyers (usually liable entities emitting greenhouse gasses).

The value of a Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC, formerly called Renewable Energy Certificate or a REC) can fluctuate daily. Their market value is determined by the supply and demand situation at any one point. Importantly for you, the discount that can be claimed on an approved solar power system or solar hot water system can be calculated by:

The number of STCs attributed to that product * STC Value = Amount received as a point of sale discount.

The STCs for a solar power system is calculated by multiplying the rated output of the system in KW by the factor of the Zone (Zone 3, Perth = 1.382), multiplied by the deeming period of 15 years, rounded down.

  • For a 1.5KW system: 1.5 X 1.382 X 15 = 30 STC’s. (Zone 3).
  • For a 4KW system: 4 X 1.382 X 15 = 82 STC’s (Zone 3)
  • Untied to grid / standalone systems STC’s available up to 20KW with no multiplier.

How do I sell excess power generated and is it paid by the electricity retailer?

REBS stands for the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme and it is available to residential customers, non-profit organisations and educational institutions that have renewable energy systems between 500 watts and 5kW. The system must have an approved bi-directional meter and all of the necessary approvals.

Synergy and Horizon currently pay 7c for every kW of energy you send back to the grid for a period of 10 years from when the system is installed. This means that you will reduce your electricity bills, plus, depending on the size of the system you purchase and the amount of electricity you’re able to export, you may receive a credit on your bill.

If you are eligible for feed in tariff you get more value for the energy produced by your system. Unlike REBS which is the amount Synergy pays for electricity purchased from a customer, the net feed-in tariff is the amount the state government pays eligible customers for any excess energy they export back to the grid (in addition to REBS). Synergy administers the subsidy on behalf of the government which is offered over a 10 year period. The net feed-in tariff scheme was open to applications from 1 July 2010 to 1 August 2011.

  • Customers who applied before 1 July 2011, receive 40 cents per unit (KWh)
  • Customers who applied after this date, receive 20 cents per unit (KWh)

If you do decide to increase your solar inverter size, you'll no longer be eligible to receive this subsidy.

Unfortunately, this scheme is no longer available to new applicants.

Getting Solar

What if my roof doesn’t face North?

Solar Power systems can be installed on roofs facing anywhere from due east to due west. North is best for absolute production however a well-designed system will match your solar production to your home’s electricity consumption.

What if I have a flat or low pitched roof?

Systems can either be installed on flat roof or tilting frames can be installed at an extra expense. Usually a slight pitch to allow for water runoff and self-cleaning is recommended.

What size system will I need to run my home?

The size of system you will install depends on several factors. These include:

  • How many panels will fit on your roof?
  • Your budget.
  • Your needs, a smaller system may be enough to offset your whole bill.
  • Your future plans to upgrade your system

How long does installation take?

Depending on the size of the system the installation time varies from 3-4 hrs to few days

  • 1.5kW – 3-4 hours
  • 3kW – 1 day
  • 5kW – 1 to 2 days

Once I have signed up, what’s the process?

Once you have decided on the system you would like installed, we will contact your electricity network provider and obtain authorisation to have the system installed. Once approval has been granted, we will arrange an installation date with you, usually within 2-4 weeks. We will also send you a pack containing your invoice and paperwork to sign up to the Feed in Tariff.

How it works

What does a typical home solar power system consist of?

Panels,inverter, bi-directional meter and mounting system

Do I still need electricity from the grid?

You only need to pay for electricity when your panels aren't producing enough energy to power your home, when the sun isn't shining brightly. The good news is, battery storage technology will enable you to store excess energy produced during the day, and so you can take advantage of it long after the sun goes down.

If my energy requirements increase, can I upgrade the system?

Yes.

Things to think about when you are upgrading your system:

Any changes in capacity can affect the grid and needs approval from Western Power before your installer can get started.

Increasing your solar system and/or inverter capacity, may affect your eligibility to participate in REBS. For example, if you increase your system above 5kW, then we can no longer pay for any excess energy you export back to the grid.

Please be aware that if you are currently receiving the Net Feed-in Tariff and looking to upgrade your system and/or inverter capacity, you may no longer be eligible to receive credits.

What can affect the amount of solar energy generated?

The amount of energy produced by the solar system depends on several factors:

  • Panel Orientation –A system facing due east or due west will produce around 15% less than one facing due north.
  • Roof Pitch –A 30 degree pitch is optimal however you will only lose around 1% production for every 5 degree deviation from this.
  • Weather – How many clear or cloudy days are experienced in your area. Australian cities are some of the best cities on earth for solar.
  • Shading – Solar systems hate shade, small amounts of shade during 9am – 3pm can have a dramatic effect on production
  • System Capacity – The larger the system, the more energy will be produced.

Will my solar PV panels provide me with electricity during a black out?

No. Once the voltage in the grid drops below a certain level, your inverter will shut down until the grid is back up and running. This is a requirement as Western Power line workers could be electrocuted if you send electricity back to the grid whilst they are working.

The Equipment

How long will my grid connect solar power system last?

The panels come with a 25 year warranty and inverters come with 5year warranty.

Is the system installed by qualified electricians?

Yes, our expert installers are qualified licensed electricians accredited by the Clean Energy Council of Australia for the design and installation of your system.

Is there any system maintenance involved?

There is minimal system maintenance required over the life of the system. You may be required to hose down the panels from time to time to remove dirt. The panels will self-clean when it rains

Can I insure my system?

Yes. The system can be covered under home and contents insurance. Contact your insurer for further details.

Do I need a new meter?

To install a solar power system you’ll need to have a bi-directional energy meter that is capable of separately measuring and recording electricity flows in each direction - consumption and export.

The Environment

How will I be benefiting the environment?

Solar energy doesn't produce greenhouse gases, keeping the environment clean.

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