Solar panels buying guide

Install a system that produces carbon-free energy and insulates you from rising coal-fired electricity prices.
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01.Installing solar panels

Solar panels

The popularity of solar panels, which can be fixed to your roof to generate electricity, has grown significantly in recent years. Our recent report looks at typical payback times for a small system.

In this report you'll find:

  • What to consider when choosing a solar panel system.
  • Where to find an installer/designer.
  • How to calclulate your system's approximate payback time.
  • Government rebates and incentives that are available.
  • How to a avoid a dodgy import.
  • What 'feed-in' tariff will you be paid for electricity your panels produce?

How solar photovoltaic (PV) systems work

Flat solar modules are mounted on your roof and convert energy from sunlight into direct current (DC) energy. A device called an inverter then changes the DC energy into alternating current (AC) electricity. This can be used to power your household appliances. A grid-connected system can feed excess energy into the electricity network (grid), while a standalone system needs a battery to store excess energy.

Solar panels work best when they’re north facing, pointed directly at the sun, at the correct angle and not blocked by trees or shading. The effectiveness of solar panels also depends on where you live and the weather. Of the capital cities, solar panels in Adelaide and Darwin generate the most electricity on average each day, somewhere between 10% to 30% more than Hobart and Melbourne. These and other factors need to be considered to calculate a system’s payback time and likely energy output.

Tune into the CHOICE Radio podcast to hear Alan Dooley and Christopher Zinn discuss the myths and hidden costs of installing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels

Subscribe to the free CHOICE Radio podcasts.

For more information onSolar energy, see Energy and water.



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