At Suntek Solar, we are focused on providing best of services with the highest levels of customer satisfaction & we will do everything we can to meet your expectations. With a variety of offerings to choose from, we're sure you'll be happy working with us. Look around our website and if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us. We hope to see you again!
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Solar panel checklist
- Buy accredited products.
- Use an accredited installer who is a signatory to the Clean Energy Council's voluntary code of conduct.
- Get a 25-year warranty for your panels, from a company you can be confident will still be around for the long-term.
- Check your eligibility for rebates and payments
- Ensure your house is suitable
Choosing an installer
The Clean Energy Council (CEC), Australia's peak body representing the clean energy sector, accredits both installers and systems that meet certain standards. To be eligible for any small-scale technology certificates, systems must be installed by a CEC-accredited installer.
Retailers can also sign up to the CEC's voluntary code of conduct which demonstrates a commitment to best-practice installations
So your best bet is to look for an accredited company that is a signatory to the code of conduct, has been in business for a while and has an established track record, relevant experience, specialist expertise, and a good reputation.
Types of solar panel
- Monocrystalline panels are typically black in colour and have a reputation for higher efficiency than multi-crystalline (or polycrystalline) models, which are typically dark blue and are sometimes said to have better temperature tolerance (see efficiency below). The differences come from the manufacturing processes of the silicon cells in each case. In practice there's not necessarily a clear advantage either way; as with most high-tech products, solar panels are a complex assembly of many components and the overall performance depends on more than simply the type of cell.
- Interdigitated back contact solar cells (IBC), or rear contact solar cells, are a variant of standard solar cells. They can achieve higher efficiency by having all the electrical contacts on the rear of the cell (rather than at the front), so there are no metal contact strips preventing light getting to the cell surface. The Sunpower panel in this test uses IBC cells.
- Thin film solar cells are made from a thin layer of photovoltaic material (such as amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride or copper-indium-gallium-selenide) on a base plate of glass, metal or other substance. This technology is evolving and while it promises more flexible applications than standard solar panels, it's so far generally less efficient and is rare in rooftop arrays. It's used in various large and small applications, from building-integrated PV systems to solar-powered calculators and garden lamps.
This is simply a measure of the panel's electricity output (in watts) compared to its surface area. Generally, the higher the efficiency, the more power you can get from a given roof area, and you might have lower installation costs too. However, if you have plenty of roof space, you might find it more economical to buy cheaper panels with lower efficiency and just use more of them.
This may come as a surprise, but although solar panels are meant to sit on roofs in direct sunlight, they actually become less efficient as they get warmer, due to the physics of the photovoltaic effect. So you'll sometimes get less power from the panels on a very hot day than on a mild day (and remember, even on a 25°C day, your rooftop panels could be operating at well above 40°C). Solar panel power ratings are based on standard conditions (25°C panel temperature). Some panels have better temperature tolerance than others (look for a lower 'temperature coefficient') and are therefore a better choice in hot climates. Correct installation is also important; that's why panels should be installed in a way that allows air to circulate underneath the panels to help keep them cooler.
How does a solar PV (photovoltaic) system work?
Certain materials can be made to produce electricity when light falls on them; this is called the photovoltaic effect. Solar panels use this effect to convert energy from sunlight into direct current (DC) electrical energy. An inverter unit then changes this into alternating current (AC) for your home's electrical circuits. Any excess energy can be fed back to the electricity grid, for which you may be paid an agreed feed-in tariff, or it could be fed into a battery storage system so you can use the stored power later (at night, for instance)
Solar panels work best when they're north facing, pointed directly at the sun, at an optimal angle and not blocked by trees or shading. The effectiveness of solar panels also depends on where you live and the weather.
Q: Is now a good time to install solar power?
A: Yes. The payback times in all the states and territories are pretty good now, mainly because the technology is so cheap at the moment. It's hard to imagine it can stay at this level as it's not much above the cost price of the gear and the labour costs.
Q: Are prices going to come down even more?
A: Grid-connected solar systems are unlikely to cost any less than they are now. The predictions are that over the next couple of years solar prices will go up.