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Frequently

Asked Questions

Solar Power Service Brisbane

Solar

What solar power system will I require to achieve my needs?

It is important to communicate what you are trying to achieve with your solar PV system. As there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution – what works for one family may not work for you. Everyone has different needs – reduce electricity bill, looking for best payback, grid independence, blackout power, reduced environmental emissions, or increased home value. By providing the exact information the installer will work with you to tailor a solar PV system solution that works for you rather than someone else. 

Additionally, it is very important to know how much electricity you use and at what times of the day. You can find your usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) on your electricity bill.

How much will I need to spend?

Discussing your budget needs early in the process will save you and the designer time and money further down the road. Understanding any budget constraints in the beginning will allow the installer to provide an efficient solution and quote that is within your expectations and without any surprises. This process also helps you understand the costs involved in different solar power system options and what you can expect.

What Government schemes are available?

There is a financial scheme available when purchasing a solar PV system. 

  • The Australian Government offers Small-scale technology certificates (STC’s) under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), where you are issued with tradable certificates for eligible solar PV systems.

Note: to be eligible for any scheme, ensure your system must be installed by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited installer.

Should I wait for solar technology to develop further?

Solar technological advancements are constantly improving, but marginal. If you are a solar prospect sitting on the fence waiting on some major solar breakthrough to make solar value better – not financially worth missing out on incentives as the current incentives will not be around forever.

Does solar work only with sunlight?

This is a common misunderstanding that solar panels only function in direct sunlight. The matter of fact is solar panels use daylight energy to produce electricity, and they do not need direct sunlight to work, but they are also fully capable of harvesting ambient light, even on cloudy days. What is more, solar panels performance can be more efficient in cloudy weather. A cloud can reflect or sometimes even magnify sunlight, which results in additional power output from your solar panels.

Will I still have electricity during blackouts?

No, if connect to the grid. Even though some people associate solar panels with off-grid living. All grid connected solar power systems will and must disconnect from the grid during a blackout, meaning that the solar system will shut down, due to is safety.

Yes, if off-grid living. Battery technology is improving rapidly, and cost is dropping. It may soon become far more common.

How will the system be maintained?

There is little maintenance with a grid-connected solar PV system. All you need to do is keep the panels clear of debris and dirt, and have the electrical system and wiring inspected by a licensed electrical contractor regularly.

Will I still have to pay any electricity bills?

If you convert to solar power, you will still need to pay a portion (a daily supply charge to remain
connected to the grid and any additional usage of energy) of your bill.

Do solar panels work at night?

Unfortunately, solar panels do not work at night. Solar panels rely on the sun’s light to generate electricity. However, solar power can be used at night if you have battery storage.

Do my panels still work on winter and cloudy days?

Solar panels work at all times throughout the year, even in winter. Your panels will even produce electricity when it is cloudy, though output is significantly reduced. There is a strong correlation between sunlight hours and solar output, so naturally, panels produce less electricity in the winter months.

Thermography

WHAT IS THERMOGRAPHY?

Thermography is the capture and analysis of thermal data to accurately assess patterns of an objects thermal radiation through absorption, reflection, transmission and emission. Thermography operates by accurately measuring the infrared or heat energy of any target objects surface, producing a detailed visual image showing its temperature profile in contrast with its immediate surrounding area. The process does not measure temperature directly but enables remote analysis of relative temperature and heat variations, accurately sourcing and calculating anomalies through the applied knowledge of thermographic principles. Excessive heat output is a key signature that an electrical system or component may be close to the point of failure or has the potential to cause a serious health and safety issue such as injury to staff or fire risk. Thermography or infrared thermal imaging is the most cost-effective method in determining faults in all electrical, electronic and mechanical equipment and structural issues and problems with buildings.

A thermographic survey of an electrical switchboard, for example, will reveal in seconds the location of any component with abnormal temperatures which may result in a fire, equipment failure or compromise staff health and safety.

Thermography is a fast, accurate, non-intrusive and inexpensive method of obtaining thermal information and problem detection. The knowledge gained provides the means to efficiently manage maintenance operations, optimize plant performance and increase plant life and safety.

HOW DOES THERMAL IMAGING CAMERA WORK?

Our eyes work by seeing contrast between objects that are illuminated by either the sun or another form of light. How infrared thermal cameras work is by “seeing” radiation from the objects, and this is achieved by using a special lens that focuses mainly on the radiation being emitted by all the objects-living or not – that it can see. This is why thermal cameras can operate at all times, even in complete darkness.

WHAT CAN THERMAL IMAGING HELP TO PREVENT?

Thermal Imaging identifies faults that are invisible to the naked eye. Thermal scanning is an efficient way to determine whether a piece of equipment needs to be replaced or not. This is important information for organizations as the continuity of production is guaranteed without unnecessary equipment replacement, leading to cost savings of thousands of dollars. Also, it picks up faults as they develop, so repairs can be planned accordingly, allowing organizations to fix issues before they disrupt the production process.

BENEFITS OF THERMAL IMAGING SERVICES FOR ORGANISATIONS

There are many benefits of using thermal imaging for electrical applications. The key benefits include:

  • Reduces down time: There is no need to shutdown operational systems during a thermal audit allowing production to continue as normal
  • Saves money: Deliverable tangible, return on investment (ROI) by early detection of faulty systems or components, corrective service can be planned and conducted before more serious problems or damage occurs which may result in long and unexpected interruptions to fundamental operational systems.
  • Fast and accurate: Thermal surveys can quickly scan and measure the temperature of surfaces electrical equipment under normal operating load conditions quickly and accurately with no interruptions and lengthy preparation or pre-inspection work. 
  • Non-invasive process: Thermal Imaging is nondestructive and involves no physical contact and consequently there is no potential for damage to the systems or equipment undergoing thermal surveys.
  • Reduces the potential for serious health and safety issues to occur: Early detection of problems will reduce the potential for injury to staff and risk of fire.
  • Revolutionized predictive maintenance inspection programs:  By detecting problems and scheduling repairs before a major failure occurs, productivity, profitability and workplace safety are all increased.
  • Risk Compliance: Supports the processes of Insurance specified risk assessment and prevention criteria. (Check this with your insurance provider).
WHAT CAN THERMAL IMAGING HELP TO PREVENT?

Thermal Imaging identifies faults that are invisible to the naked eye. Thermal scanning is an efficient way to determine whether a piece of equipment needs to be replaced or not. This is important information for organizations as the continuity of production is guaranteed without unnecessary equipment replacement, leading to cost savings of thousands of dollars. Also, pick up faults as they develop, so repairs can be planned accordingly, allowing organizations to fix issues before they disrupt the production process.

Solar Power Service Brisbane

Solar Batteries

Will I still have to pay any electricity bills?

It depends on a range of variables, such as – how much energy your household consumes on each day, the capacity and power rating of your solar battery, what loads your battery will help support, and whether you are connected to the electrical grid.

Are Solar Batteries worth buying?

Ultimately, whether it is worth getting a solar battery installed will come down to your personal energy usage habits.

Your dependence on grid energy may also play a part in deciding whether Solar Battery storage is the right option for you. If you are looking to take as much of your energy usage off-grid as possible, then Solar Battery storage is definitely a step in the right direction. Whether this be to save money on your bills or reduce your carbon emissions, a storage unit will be able to help you build a base for independent energy usage.

A Solar Battery works best for home energy usage when it is challenging the limitations of the grid, such as higher demand in the evenings or more expensive energy prices during peak times. If you are unable or aren’t willing to utilise your battery to overcome these energy challenges, then you may not see as many benefits to solar storage.

A solar installer can help you look at options based on your household size, energy usage data and geographical location to see which product or system may be the right fit for you.

Can I run my house on solar battery backup power only?

Yes. You may however require a larger battery system.

How much would it cost to run on solar battery only?

Several factors need to be taken into consideration such as: your consumption, consumption patterns, battery type, battery size, solar energy system size, and amount of sunlight.

Do Solar Batteries protect against blackouts?

Most Solar Battery storage systems can be designed to provide protection against power interruptions. Please discuss this with us if you require blackout protection with your Solar Battery.

Can I add a Battery to my existing solar system?

In most situations the answer is yes. If your system is several years old, you may have to replace the inverter with one that can manage a Solar Battery. Chat to us for a free assessment of your current system and expert advice on what your best options are.

Can I increase my Solar Battery Storage capacity in the future?

Yes. However, there are various factors to consider. The first question to ask is your solar system producing enough excess energy to charge another battery or will you need to add more panels to generate more power. Have a chat with us to discuss your needs for us to advice on what your best choices are.

Is Solar Battery Storage safe?

Solar Battery storage is perfectly safe if it is used properly and is well looked after. There are potential risks, but these are no different to the many electrical hazards already present in the modern home. However, it is important to be aware of the risks so they can be properly managed.

Safety aspects of Solar Battery storage to consider include:

  • general hazards of electrical wiring (as are already present in your premises)
  • chemical and fire or explosion hazards (these are similar to the hazards associated with bottled gas or a natural gas service)
  • possible escape of non-flammable gases when charging or discharging lithium batteries (which may cause risks of inhaling noxious gas that are similar to those of a natural gas leak if there is no ventilation)

 

How much storage do I need?

Every household is different. In the same way that you match the number of solar panels to your household’s energy requirements, your Solar Battery storage capacity also needs to be matched to your needs.

Solar Battery storage system will be influenced by:

  • your budget
  • where you live, your house location and type of house
  • your average household energy consumption
  • the time of day when household energy consumption occurs
  • the size of your solar panel installation and the energy generated by those panels
  • weather conditions
  • customer feed-in tariffs available to you
  • how you intend to use your battery (i.e., to supplement your energy supply, or to allow you to become entirely self-sufficient).

Our accredited installer will be able to advise you on the most suitable size for your needs and local conditions.

Which type of battery is right for me?

Lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are becoming a popular choice for use with household solar panels

ADVANTAGES
(COMPARED WITH LEAD-ACID BATTERIES)
DISADVANTAGES
(COMPARED WITH LEAD-ACID
BATTERIES)
higher capacity and storage  cost
lighter weight and higher voltage possible limitation in operating temperature range
smaller space and environmental footprint limited recycling programs in Australia
reduced maintenance, due to inbuilt battery management systems less well-known technology
longer cycle life and greater depth of discharge

Lead-acid batteries

The technology behind lead-acid Solar Battery storage is like that of a car battery, but with thicker electrodes. Many lead-acid storage systems have been installed across Australia. This uptake has mainly been driven by a combination of advances in the technology and the availability of cheaper solar panels.

ADVANTAGES (COMPARED WITH LITHIUM-ION
BATTERIES)
DISADVANTAGES (COMPARED WITH LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES)
Well-understood technology Require regular (albeit simple) checks and maintenance
Relatively cheap
Easy to acquire Limited depth of discharge (i.e. a lower proportion of the energy stored can be used)
Readily recyclable and have commercial value Requirement for external venting, which restricts installation
locations

Other technology types

Other technology types include nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, and flow batteries, but these are less common. If you are interested in these types of technologies, the manufacturer or our accredited installer will provide you with more detailed information.

What maintenance is required for my batteries?

Different Solar Battery systems have different requirements. Solar Battery maintenance is very important for ensuring the best performance of your battery storage system. The maintenance is performed by our accredited installer. In addition, it is a good idea to carry out visual checks at least once a month, to keep your system in top condition. If you notice something is not right, give us a call.

Once your storage system is installed, our installer will provide you with basic information about how it operates. You will need to understand how to interpret critical system health information and recognise when your storage system needs attention.

Your electricity consumption may also change over time, which can alter the long-term performance and life of the battery system. Check with our installer when the maintenance is undertaken, in case your consumption has changed significantly (e.g., if more people are living at your property or you have purchased new appliances).

If you are unsure of anything about your energy storage system, please contact our accredited installer, who will be able to assist you

 

Air Conditioning

How do I know what is the right size air conditioner for my home?

Speak to the installer to assess all factors affecting your indoor temperature and influencing your home’s heat load. Every home is different, and the right air conditioner will vary on many factors, such as room orientation, window size and ceiling insulation, simply to name a few. It is a critical decision to get right, as an air conditioner that is too small won’t effectively heat or cool your home, and one that’s too large will be inefficient and expensive to run.

Does an air conditioner ever need re-gassing?

Re-gassing an air conditioner will never be necessary if it is installed correctly. However, if the pipe connections are not properly or tightened, or if the pipes themselves degrade over time for some unforeseen reason, then they may leak, which is the most common cause of needing to re-gas an air conditioner. If there is a gas leak in your air conditioning system, it should be inspected by a qualified air conditioning installer.

How often should air conditioner filters be cleaned?

Generally, depends on the usage of the air conditioner. In a home, if it is a regular standard usage, filters should be clean every 3 months, if you have exceptionally high use or run every day like in a commercial situation you should clean your filters monthly. The more you clean them the healthier your air and the less cash you will spend on running costs. Additionally, in more dusty or polluted environments you should clean your filters more regularly. Cleaning your filters is the most important maintenance task you can do to care for your air conditioner.

How do I save energy while using the air conditioner?
  • Set your air conditioner to the recommended temperature setting.
    • Cooling: 24.0-26.0°C
    • Heating: 20.0-22.0°C
  • Turn off at night and save while you sleep.
  • Keep windows covered with blinds or curtains.
  • Keep air filters cleaned.
  • Only cool areas people are using by zoning.
air-condition maintenance brisbane
Solar Power Service Brisbane

Electric Vehicle

WHAT IS THE BEST EV CHARGER FOR MY HOME?

The best EV charger for your home will depend on your circumstances. We cater for a range of EV Chargers to match most situations and most EV makes and models – not only Tesla.

CAN AN ELECTRICIAN INSTALL EV CHARGER?

A licensed and certified electrician should have proper training and expertise to design and install your EV charger providing the appropriate solutions for your needs.

IS A HOME EV CHARGER WORTH IT?

Home EV charging is the most convenient and cost-effective solution with most EV owners charging their vehicles at home. With most private cars parked at home overnight, it becomes extremely convenient for EV owners if they have EV charging points installed in their homes.

Contact EcoPower with your queries about our product range.

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