Frequently Asked Questions

Have you got some questions about going solar? Or energy saving? The answers you are looking for could be right here. If not, then please call us.

How do I go about getting a Solar System installed in my home?

There are 3 easy steps to solar:

1. Phone us today for a free quotation

Let our solar consultants find the best system for you based on;

  • Your budget
  • Your electricity costs
  • Your available roof space
  • Your needs based on when you use Power

2. Place an order

  • We will build your quote based on the information you have provided us with.
  • Sign quote and return to your salesman or email or fax to 02 6621 2009.
  • Place a 10% deposit to order your solar system

3. Installation

  • Each solar system installed is approved by a registered solar designer
  • Installation is conducted by an accredited CEC installer within 1-6 weeks of deposit (provided all relevant paper work is completed and submitted on-time)
  • Each solar system is independently assessed by a government electrical inspector

We will submit the relevant paperwork on your behalf to your electricity distributor and retailer to install your bi-directional solar smart meter. Too expensive? Ask us about finance options!

What is the payment period?

Payment is required prior to installation or by money order or bank cheque or cash on the day of installation. If you have applied for finance, approval needs to be verified before the day of installation.

How long will it take for my installation to take place after making my booking?

1-6 weeks. This depends on system size and any technical details we need to collect.

Is it possible to increase the size of a solar PV system in the future?

This depends on your roof space and the size of the inverter. If you have sufficient roof space and additional capacity in the inverter you could increase the size of your system. Or you could add a second system to your roof.

Please note: At this time, the solar Feed-in Tariffs in each state have limits on the system size which to they apply. Increasing the size of an existing solar power system could affect your eligibility for a Feed-in Tariff, but an additional system maybe an alternative. Please call us on 1300 722 527 for further information.

Does the orientation of the roof affect whether or not a home can successfully install a solar product?

Although it is optimal to install solar products on the north-facing side of a roof, it is also possible to install a solar PV system on the east or west facing side of a roof, as long as there is sufficient unshaded space.

What is a STC?

When you install solar power, you are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This entitles you to create environmental credits called Small-Scale Technology Certificates or STCs for short. Like other commodities, the price of STCs is not fixed and varies with supply and demand. One STC equals 1MWh of generation from a renewable source and is part of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target.

How are STC’s calculated?

The number of certificates you can claim may vary depending on your geographic location, what you’re installing, whether your installation is eligible for Solar Credits, and/or the size and capacity of the installed system. For example, a 1.5kW solar panel system in Melbourne might be eligible for a minimum 21 STCs, while a solar water heater in Hobart might be eligible for a minimum of 20 STCs. Solar Credits is a mechanism which increases the number of STCs that can be created for eligible installations of small-scale solar panel (photovoltaic – PV), wind, and hydro systems.

You can calculate the number of STCs claimable by a system by using the calculators on the Clean Energy Regulator website:

STCs are created in the online REC Registry for correctly installed eligible solar water heaters, heat pumps, and small-scale solar panels, wind, and hydro systems.

How do STC’s benefit us as customers?

Under the new RET (Renewable Energy Target); STCs may be traded to an electricity retailer for a point of sale discount on their renewable generation unit by their solar installer. Saving themselves is the value of the STCs generated. STCs are based on zones that are set by the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator. STC’s are zone based.

Why choose solar panels?

Aside from the impact of cutting your household’s carbon footprint by tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, solar units can drastically reduce your electricity bill in two distinct ways.

  • Firstly, by generating your own electricity from the solar panels you reduce the electricity you need to buy from your power provider.
  • Secondly, any excess “Green” electricity your system produces is sold back to the power provider.

These two benefits mean many households will be able to reduce their electricity bill significantly. Another often overlooked benefit is that the solar units increase both the energy rating and value of your house.

Are there other benefits from having solar panels?

Yes, by reducing Australia’s dependency on electricity generated from coal, we not only reduce CO² emissions, we also reduce the demand on water that power companies require to generate this electricity. Currently 130 billion litres of drinking water is used just to generate coal-based electricity.

Furthermore, if more Australians installed solar panel systems it will reduce the stress on our electricity grid. This in turn will minimise the number of blackouts occurring during times of peak electricity use.

Is there a warranty provided with the solar panel unit?

Yes, Nickel Energy provides warranties on your solar system in the form of:

  • A standard 5 year manufacturer warranty on your inverter
  • Extra warranty is available – Please ask our sales team for details
  • Solar Panels: minimum 10 year product warranty and 25 year performance guarantee
  • Mounting System: 10-year product warranty (manufacturer)
  • Workmanship: 7 year warranty on workmanship
What is a Grid Connect Solar System?

Grid connect systems, often located in built up areas, supply solar electricity through an inverter directly to the household and to the electricity grid if the system is providing more energy than the house needs. When power is supplied to the mains grid, the home owner usually receives a credit or a payment for that electricity. This is called a feed in tariff.

What can affect the amount of solar energy received?

The strength of the solar energy (radiation) available depends on the time of year, the time of day, and the latitude of the generation point. The amount of energy generated can be further affected by the amount of dust and water vapour in the air, the amount of cloud cover and any shading of the solar panels and the quality of the solar modules.

What is a feed in tariff and how much will I get paid?

A feed in tariff is whereby a grid connect system owner is paid for the electricity their system generates by a utility or government agency. There are two different types of tariffs, gross and net. A gross feed in tariff pays a premium on all electricity produced whereas a net feed in tariff only pays on surplus energy created by the system. In Australia, net feed in tariffs are predominant.

Can I insure my grid connect system?

Most insurers will allow you to include the system under your home and contents insurance, but please check with your insurance company first.

What happens on cloudy days?

In a grid connect system, as you are still tied to the mains power supply, any deficit will come from the mains grid.

How reliable will my system be?

As the Nickel Energy systems are designed to Australian Standards, the reliability of components and consistency of power supply will be more than adequate for the loads specified.

Is there any maintenance involved?

Nickel Energy highly recommend Annual system checks and panel clean. This must be done by a CEC qualified electrician to maintain your warranties.

What happens with grid connect systems during a blackout?

The grid connect inverter will automatically shut itself off within a few milliseconds of a blackout, to avoid the potential of a dangerous “brown-out” in your home and to prevent back feeding into the grid. Therefore even though you have a solar system during a blackout you will not have power available. If you want to keep on having electricity available during a blackout then you would need to have back up batteries installed as well.

Ask about our back-up systems or click here.

Can you retro-fit battery backup into a grid connect system?

Yes, battery backup systems require additional components – which can be costly; although pricing is rapidly dropping.

Where do you place the inverter?

Usually the inverter is placed near the meter box or garage. The inverter is silent and has a display to show the electricity generated and other data options such as total electricity generated since installation, are available.

Can you retro-fit battery backup into a grid connect system?

Yes, battery backup systems require additional components – which can be costly; although pricing is rapidly dropping.

What is the difference between solar power and solar hot water?

Solar panels take light from the sun and make electricity. Solar hot water systems take heat from the sun and heat water. It is easy to remember:

  • Heat from the sun heats the water.
  • Light from the sun turns on the lights.