9 of the most common solar questions
Solar power is becoming increasingly popular in Australia and around the world. In fact, as of 2022, more than 1 in 4 Australian households have solar.
However, when you're just starting out there can be a lot to wrap your head around. So if you're ready to investigate solar power for your home or business, here are the answers to nine of the most commonly asked questions.
1. How does solar power work?
When the sun’s rays hit the solar panels on your roof, it is turned into DC current electricity. The problem is that your home uses AC current electricity, which is why you need to install an inverter. The inverter converts the DC current to AC current, which can then be used in your home with the excess fed into the grid (or stored in your battery, if you have one).
2. Will solar panels generate electricity on cloudy or rainy days?
Solar panels will stop generating electricity at night but will still generate electricity on cloudy or rainy days, just not as much as on sunny days. To create electricity, your solar panels need direct sunlight, so whilst it doesn’t need to be a bright sunny day all the time, the more sun that hits your panels, the more electricity is produced.
3. Does roof orientation matter?
Yes, the orientation of your solar panels will make a difference to the amount of electricity produced. A northerly orientation is best, but your solar installer will look at the orientation of your roof and place the panels in the best locations to maximise the production of electricity on your property.
4. How much money can I expect to save on my bills?
This depends on a number of factors that include how much electricity your system produces, its efficiency, how much electricity you use, where you live, and the rate you are charged by your electricity provider.
5. What is a feed-in tariff?
When your solar panels generate more electricity than you're using, the overflow will either go into your battery or, if your battery is full or you don't have a battery, will be fed into the main grid. Your energy retailer will pay you for this additional electricity, and this payment is called the feed-in tariff.
6. Do solar panels need cleaning?
Most quality solar panels are designed to be self cleaning in the rain. If you don’t have much rain for a period of time however, they can collect dust, debris and bird droppings that will reduce the amount of electricity produced. So it’s a good idea to regularly check your panels and clean them with a hose or cloth, as necessary.
7. Can solar panels create hot water?
Some people get confused about solar power, thinking that it can also create hot water. While the electricity generated by your solar panels can be used to run your hot water system, your solar system itself won't be heating water directly. If you're after a hot water system, check out a .
8. Will solar panels increase the value of my home?
Yes, installing on your roof will generally increase the value of your property. Many buyers look for properties that already have solar power installed, because they can pay lower electricity bills immediately without installing the panels themselves.
9. How does going solar help the environment?
Solar panels help the environment because solar power is a renewable resource. Solar power lets you use the sun to power your home, which is a renewable, sustainable and environmentally friendly form of energy.