Frequently Asked QuEstions

How long does it take to install my system?

Your solar installation can vary according to the size of the system and your property. It could take from half a day to a full day, subject to good weather conditions.

When will my system be turned on?

Upon all the required paperwork being signed off by you and the solar system being inspected, the system will be turned on – this can take up to 10 days. Once your solar system has been turned on you can begin to benefit from solar power.

Who inspects my system?

Legally, your solar system needs to be inspected by an independent approved Energy Save Victoria inspector (Victoria only). The inspector is organised by Blue Solar and is included in our service.

The inspection will need to be carried out before the system can be connected to the grid.

The Clean Energy Regulator also carries out random audits up to 12 months after system installation. These inspections are to ensure that selected installations meet the legislated requirements for the creation of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs).

Is Solar Power safe?

The Australian solar industry is well regulated and safe.

Solar panels and inverters sold in this country must comply with a range of standards that maximise safety and reliability. Blue Solar only supplies and installs solar panel modules and inverters approved by The Clean Energy Council. The Clean Energy Council’s Solar Accreditation scheme ensures that the people who design and install solar PV systems are across all the latest safety requirements. Accredited installers are qualified electricians who have undergone additional training and assessment in the installation of solar PV systems. Systems must be installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer to be eligible for small-scale technology certificates (STCs). To keep your system running safely and effectively for many years, you will need to maintain it correctly.

Will my electricity bill go down once I get solar?

In short, yes, although your power bills will vary. Consistently using less than your power system produces is the best way to reduce your electricity bill.

The amount of money your household will save on power bills by going solar is affected by a number of factors, including:

Your energy consumption and the size of your solar power system – if you use more power than your system is capable of producing, your savings will be reduced. This can be avoided by choosing the right-sized system for your needs.

Your feed-in tariff – this is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any excess power your solar panels generate.

Your usage patterns – solar panels can only generate electricity while the sun is shining. This means that households that use a lot of power during the day may attract greater savings than those that consume most of their power at night. However, you will still receive a feed-in tariff for any excess electricity you generate during the day.

Where you live – some areas of Australia receive a lot more sunlight than others, so a solar PV system in Brisbane will usually generate more power than one in Hobart.

Businesses have a couple of other things to take into account, including the tax implications of any revenue received from feed-in tariffs

Will my system store the power I generate but don’t use?

No, if you don’t have a solar battery storage. Grid-connected solar systems do not store electricity. Instead, any electricity you do not use in your home is exported automatically into the electricity grid.

Does the power I generate get used in my property first or sent to the grid first?

The electricity from the solar power system will get used in your property first. Only the excess is fed back to the grid.

What is a solar feed-in tariff?

A solar feed-in-tariff is the amount your electricity retailer pays you for any electricity your solar PV system generates that you don’t use, and is instead fed back into the grid. Feed-in tariffs differ between states and retailers.

What happens if the grid power goes out?

The system will automatically shut down with a power outage and will switch back on when power is restored. If your system does not switch on when the power is restored follow the instructions in your owner’s manual or contact Blue Solar on 03 9229 3883 or email support@bluesolar.com.au

What is a small-scale technology certificate (STC)?

STCs are government incentives that help reduce the upfront cost of installing your solar PV system. The value of STCs your system receives differs depending on its size and location. As an accredited Clean Energy Council installer, Blue Solar is fully eligible to receive STCs and reduce the costs of your system.

Upgrading your system

Your ability to upgrade your system in future may depend on receiving permission from your distributor, on suitable arrays still being available, and on any upgrades meeting current Australian Standards. You may also choose to upgrade your system to include a backup battery. Blue Solar offers a range of solutions to help you take advantage of free solar energy at night. Upgrading your system may also result in losing your feed-in tariff. You will need to check with your electricity retailer and distributor to find out what the requirements are for upgrading your system.

What warranties and guarantees apply to my system?

All Solar PV panels sold by Blue Solar are provided with a 10-year replacement warranty plus a performance warranty of 30 years providing the consumer with a peace of mind that their investment is supported well into the future. In addition, the inverter is generally supplied with a 10-year replacement warranty by the manufacturer.

Does shading affect the performance of the panels?

Yes. Solar panels should ideally be in full sunlight from at least 9am to 3pm. Solar panels produce less power when they are shaded and should be situated where there will never be any shadows on any of the panels. If you have shading issues a Blue Solar team member will discuss your best options for maximum benefit.

Will it cost money to change my meter over?

Yes. The Blue Solar sale price excludes the meter change over. This cost varies from state to state depending on the energy provider and type of meter. To find out more information contact your energy provider.

Do my solar panels work at night?

Solar panels installed on your roof work during daylight hours. When the sun is shining directly onto them, sunlight can be converted into electricity. Your solar panel doesn’t work at night because there is no sunlight to convert to electricity and solar panels don’t generate power in darkness.

However, Blue Solar offers solutions to power your home in an environmentally friendly way, even at night. Your solar panels can generate so much power during a sunny day that any excess power you don’t use immediately can be conserved and stored into a backup battery system, so that you could take full advantage of the sun’s energy and use it at night.

What is the lifespan of a solar panel?

A solar panel typically lasts approximately 30 years. During that time, most systems require little to no maintenance beyond removing leaves or snow and hosing off debris. In general, the life of solar panels depends on the quality of the solar panel technology used, including the photovoltaics (PV), and the quality of the overall installation. Annually, solar panels lose close to 0.5% in overall performance. After 25 years of operation, high-quality solar panels will still be operating at almost 90 percent efficiency. The modules we install on homes and businesses are efficient, lightweight and aesthetically pleasing. More importantly, they’re cost effective and extremely efficient.

What are solar inverters?

Solar power inverters are a part of solar electrical systems that help convert the sun’s energy into usable power. The solar panels on homes and businesses are made up of small groups of semiconductors that react to sunlight by freeing electrons. But while those free electrons can travel through an electrical circuit, they can’t be used to power most appliances until they have passed through solar inverters. The photovoltaic (PV) cells in solar electrical systems convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter converts that DC voltage into the alternating current (AC) electricity that people can use to meet some or all of their energy needs. The reason solar inverters are necessary is because DC and AC power work differently. In DC power systems, an electrical current only flows in one direction. In AC power systems, the current moves in both directions. While some things that require electricity can use either AC or DC power, the power grid in Australia uses AC power. Therefore, almost everything we use every day runs on AC power, directly or through a converter.

What are the different types of solar inverters?

Solar systems are clean, safe and reliable because photovoltaic panels are able to harness the sun’s renewable energy without using moving parts or generating emissions. Inverters for solar panels make it possible to harness power from sunlight by transforming the electricity collected by PV panels into useable AC voltage.

There are three main classes of solar inverters, each used in different types of solar energy systems. Stand-alone solar power inverters are used in isolated systems that power appliances or homes directly. Synchronous solar panel inverters, also referred to as grid-tie inverters, create a link between a home system and the utility grid – excess energy is stored in a battery and can be sold back to the utility company. Multifunction inverters can do both.

There are two types of inverters used in most solar installations – string inverters and microinverters. String inverters convert electricity from multiple panels while microinverters convert electricity from a single panel. No solar inverter class or type is perfect for every application, which is why Blue Solar will help you understand your options and find the technology to meet your unique needs.

Will I lose my solar feed-in-tariff if I add a battery?

Most Solar Feed-in-Tariff’s require that you do not expand your existing solar panel setup, that you do not upgrade your solar inverter, and that you don’t feed energy back into the grid that has come out of anything except (directly) from your solar panels. So, here’s the thing – most battery inverter/chargers can be configured to never send electrical energy back to the grid. Instead, the stored battery energy will only be delivered to your house (as ‘self-consumption’ of locally generated energy). One way to help prove to a grid operator (via your installer) that your battery system is genuinely incapable of exporting energy to the grid (and hence that it is not classed as a ‘generator’ in their view) is to install an additional device in the circuit, called a ‘zero export control’ box. This device independently measures the energy flowing to and from your home and will disconnect your battery inverter if it ever tries to export energy to the grid. If you are seeking to install a battery and to avoid losing an existing Solar Feed-in-Tariff, make sure you raise this request with us. We can draw up a proposed installation diagram and submit it to your grid power distributor, seeking their prior approval in a manner that will not result in you losing your Feed-in-Tariff. Should your grid power distributor reject your request to install a battery and yet retain your Feed-in-Tariff then you can consider whether to proceed with the battery installation, or whether to wait until your solar feed-in-tariff has expired before adding a battery to your home.