Solar Power – FAQ
A lot of the information and jargon surrounding solar power is very confusing. You can rely on us to have up-to-date and expert knowledge about the industry, and we will be able to guide you through the process and educate you about the system we install so that you feel confident in understanding how it works.
- What are Solar Credits/ Small-scale technology certificates STC’s?
The Solar Credits program is part of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, whereby the Australian Government has committed to delivering 20% of our electricity supply from renewable sources by 2020.
Under this initiative, every megawatt hour of renewable energy generation is eligible to produce renewable energy certificates (RECs). Small-scale technology certificates (STCs) are created by eligible installations of solar water heaters, air source heat pump water heaters and small generation units (small-scale solar photovoltaic panels, wind and hydroelectricity systems). This means when a solar system is installed it is eligible to not only access the value of the energy it produces, but also the value of the STCs representing 15 years of generating capacity – a process known as deeming.
The value of a STC is created by the Federal Government placing a mandate on our electricity retailers and large energy users. To meet this mandated commitment, they must invest in a renewable energy project directly, or go to the registry and purchase STCs in order to meet their commitment. The market price for STCs is created by the Government establishing a penalty for not achieving the mandated target. Rather than pay a penalty the energy retailers can purchase STCs from homeowners installing solar systems.
So, by purchasing a solar system you can supply STCs to help Australia achieve its 20% commitment to renewable energy by 2020!
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- Who is the Solar Credits program open to?
Home owners, small businesses and community groups are all eligible for the Australian solar credits program. No-one is means tested under the new solar scheme. The scheme also covers off grid installations. Schools are also eligible for the Solar Credits scheme.
- How do I register or claim my STC’s?
When you purchase a solar system from Save With Solar, we have already discounted this value for you in your solar quote. On the day of installation you will assign the STCs over to us and we will then complete the registration of these certificates with the Renewable Energy Regulator on your behalf.
While you can claim the cash value of the STCs yourself, that means you’ll need to pay the full price of the solar power system up front and then have the paperwork hassles, followed by the wait.
- Are solar power systems reliable?
Our solar power systems are covered by Australian standards and installed by trained, qualified professionals. They are very reliable, and the actual life of the solar panels is expected to be more than 20 years. Inverters are generally guaranteed for five years, but will mostly have a lot longer working life than this.
- Are there any ongoing costs?
No, generally the maintenance costs of solar are nil to very low. All our parts are of the highest standard and are covered by warranty; should any prove to be faulty they will be replaced at no extra cost. The only possible ongoing costs therefore are the replacement of any components that fail outside of the warranty period. Solar panels are generally guaranteed to produce at 80 per cent of its rated output for roughly 25 years.
- Can I add more solar panels to my system later?
Yes, you can, but only up to the capacity of your inverter. If you are planning on adding more panels later, we recommend you choose an appropriately sized inverter now.
- What happens if there is a power blackout?
For safety reasons, you cannot continue to be supplied to with solar power during a blackout. Grid-connected solar power systems must shut down within a fraction of a second of the grid losing power. This allows repairs to be made safely to the grid. Your system will automatically reconnect when power is restored to the grid.
- Will my home and contents insurance cover my solar panels?
Yes, your system is covered by a standard building policy. You should contact your insurance company to ensure that the sum insured is sufficient to cover the replacement of your home including your solar power system.