Your questions answered in more detail.
Solar parties are a fun and social way to get your questions about solar rooftop installations and batteries answered. We have private info parties where the host invites friends and neighbours for a casual get-together and public info events in local community spaces. UPDATE: While the restrictions around COVID-19 last, all events are conducted online via Zoom.
There’s a presentation by Zero Emissions Sydney North and our solar installer partner, followed by a Q&A session. All up about 1.5 hours. Guests bring their power bills to find out how much solar they need and how much money they could save each year. They’ll learn about the cost of a new solar system and the attractive payback periods. If guests are interested in taking it further, they can choose to make an appointment with our installer partner for a home visit to receive a detailed quote.
Zero Emissions Sydney North is a not-for-profit organisation, run entirely by volunteers.
We are an educator and act as a coordinator on behalf of residents to help ensure they are offered high quality products and services at competitive prices. We have taken the hard work out of choosing from the large number of brands and providers on the market, and have negotiated competitive prices for you.
Our Solar My House partner makes a contribution to support our work and Community Giving Fund.
After extensive research, Zero Emissions Sydney North chose to partner with Solarpro, a family-owned local business from Allambie Heights, based on the following criteria:
Yes, feel free to get other quotes. You can contact installers directly or use a comparison website, such as locally owned Solar Choice. While our partnership is with Solarpro, we don’t mind which installer you choose – we just love seeing more solar on roofs!
When you compare quotes, please compare ‘apples with apples’ as there are differences in quality, length of warranty and workmanship. Cheap offers can imply any of the following problems: inferior product quality, inferior installation (cutting corners when laying cables and connecting panels), poor customer service or financial instability of the company and the inability to service warranties in the future.
The listed prices are for a standard installation, which is a single-storey house, colorbond roof and no split roofs. Extras will be charged for specific variations, such as two-storey house, terracotta roof including tile grinding, split roofs and a high pitch roof. Extras can add between 5 and 15% to the listed price. You will receive a detailed quote specific to your house after Solarpro has conducted a home visit. Prices are current as of July 2021.
Yes, generous rebates called ‘Small-Scale Technology Certificates’ (or STCs) are still available but will decline to zero by 2030. As a customer, you do not need to claim the rebate. Solarpro does this for you. All our solar system prices are quoted net of rebates. STCs only cover solar, not batteries.
In 2021, STCs reduce the price of a 5kW solar system by around $2,500, which is between a quarter and a third of the total price.
Solar helps you save money in two ways:
Every household is different, but savings tend to be in the range of 40-60% from your bill (or more with a battery). This represents a return on investment of more than 15% per annum.
Depending on the solar system you buy (quality), your energy consumption profile and the specifics of your roof (sun/shade), the payback can be as quick as 3 years or as long as 7.
But, don’t forget, once you have paid off the system you will be generating free electricity for many years to come. And good quality panels last 25 years or more.
Even if you finance your solar panels, or add the cost to your mortgage, you will be ahead from day one, because the cost of finance is more than paid for by the savings on your electricity bill.
There is no straight answer – you need a solar expert to assess your old solar panels. Sometimes you can simply buy another set of panels and another inverter and add them to your old system. Often, though, it makes more sense to replace the old system and start fresh. Some factors that influence the decision are:
Yes, solar panels can be recycled.
Our partner Solarpro offers panel recycling. Contact them for more information here.
Plus, there are at least two recycling companies which offer a service in our area:
Recycling of solar systems is a growing industry in Australia. State governments and the Federal government are reviewing how to manage solar waste and are expected to introduce mandatory recycling in the future (similar to other e-waste such as computers and TVs).
For most solar systems you do not need Council approval. Solar systems larger than 10KW used to require Council approval but this threshold was scrapped in recent changes to the State Environment Planning Policy .
If your property is in a heritage conservation area, a planning permit is needed if the proposed solar system would be visible from a primary road. Depending on the circumstances a “Heritage Exemption” may be issued by Council.
For further advice, please contact your local Council:
The consumption monitor is an ‘energy meter’ which sits on your meter board. It reports your household’s energy production and use in near real time. The monitor connects to a phone app so you can see exactly how much energy you are producing, how much you are using yourself and how much you are exporting to or importing from the grid. This helps you become energy-savvy and save more money by choosing when to run appliances and when to offload to the grid. The Fronius inverter and the Solaredge inverter offer consumption monitors which are very user-friendly. Sungrow also offers a consumption monitor but it is not as easy to manage.
There is much debate about batteries at the moment. Depending on your energy consumption profile (how much electricity your household consumes and when you use most of your electricity), paybacks for a battery vary between 7 and 10 years, and occasionally more.
The cost of batteries will eventually come down due to economies of scale but may not do so for a while. You need to consider the cost of waiting. If you buy a battery now, you will save money by consuming more of your own solar-generated electricity instead of buying from the grid at higher prices.
If you decide not to buy a battery right now, you can add one later. Our solar partner will make sure your solar system is battery-ready.
Batteries offer many functional benefits:
Battery owners have additional opportunities to make money by participating in a ‘Virtual Power Plant’ (VPP). VPPs enable you to sell electricity from your battery to the grid at times of peak demand when prices are high (called ‘grid events’). There are several VPPs commencing in Sydney North with different offers and paybacks. The VPP of Diamond Energy, our electricity retailer of choice, is called GridCredits100. It pays $1 per kWh when you discharge your battery during grid events. Find out more Diamond Energy GridCredits100
If you don’t already have a smart meter then you will need to have one installed. Smart meters measure the electricity sourced from the grid and the solar exported to the grid.
Once you have paid the deposit for your solar system, Solarpro will send the paperwork to your electricity retailer and they will install the smart meter. Solar-friendly companies like Diamond Energy, our electricity retailer of choice, will install a free app-ready smart meter quickly so that you can enjoy your electricity cost savings from the moment your solar system is installed.
In addition, older homes may need to upgrade the electricity switchboard, which will cost from $800.
It’s a good time to switch to a solar-friendly electricity retailer that offers a free smart meter, a generous solar feed-in tariff and supports renewable energy in Australia. Zero Emissions Sydney North recommends Diamond Energy.
Solarpro is responsible for the installation, services, products and warranties subject to the terms of your supplier contract. Zero Emissions Sydney North is not responsible for these matters, but is available to respond to questions about the offer.
If you have received a final quote from Solarpro, you can change your mind, you have no obligation to proceed with the installation of the solar system. However, once you proceed with the final quote by making a deposit/signing a contract, you have an agreement with Solarpro. If you change your mind after entering into a contract with the supplier, you will need to discuss this with Solarpro directly. Zero Emissions Sydney North is not responsible for these matters.
Electricity usage accounts for up to 48% of residential emissions**. By replacing a large amount of grid electricity with your solar energy, you are considerably reducing your footprint.
If you also switch to a renewable-friendly electricity retailer for the remaining grid power you have to buy, you are able to be carbon neutral. Your electricity usage will be zero emissions! Check out Diamond Energy, our electricity retailer of choice.
|Environmental benefits of solar per annum||5kW System||7.5kW System||10kW System|
|Estimated kWh produced per year||7,300 kWh||10,950 kWh||14,600 kWh|
|CO2 emissions saved per year||5.4 tonnes||8.1 tonnes||10.8 tonnes|
|CO2 savings = equivalent to car km not travelled*||31,400 km||47,100 km||62,800 km|
** Source: Northern Beaches Council, Kinesis Report 2018 (residential emissions)
* Average emissions intensity for passenger vehicles in Australia is 171.5g/km, National Transport Commission Australia.
For every sale, Solarpro contributes to Zero Emissions Sydney North’s Community Giving Fund.
The Fund supplies and installs solar systems for local charities and not-for-profits. Lowering their power bills frees up funding for their core programs.
Our first installation was a 13.3kW system for Pioneer Clubhouse, a mental health not-for-profit organisation in Balgowlah, in April 2021.
Zero Emissions Sydney North is here to help – send us an email at email@example.com with additional questions and we will email or call you back.