Frequently
asked questions.

Although the concept of solar is understood, at B.Solar we understand that it is still hard to wrap your head around everything.

Below are answer to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. If you can’t find the answer to your question below, contact us on 1800 932 356 or email.

b.solar is an Australian company that launched in early 2019. We’ve been installing solar systems in South Australia since 2009 under our former name, Advanced All Energy. We provide end-to-end residential solar power and solar storage systems and our founders have cumulatively more than 40 years of experience in Australia’s renewables industry.

Because we are a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer, our customers can access Victorian and South Australian solar rebates, which require the solar retailer to be CEC approved. We are also approved by the South Australian Home Battery Scheme.

We operate nationally, with installation teams in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

Sometimes people prefer to meet us at their home. If you’re in South Australia or Queensland, our solar educators may be able to meet you face-to-face to discuss your current electricity consumption, your roof design and consult with you about different solar system options.

Once you know that best ways to save on rapidly growing coal-fired energy costs, you’ll understand why solar power makes good financial sense.

The best place to find out about b.solar and its solar power systems is to read our website or watch our videos. If you have more questions, contact our friendly solar team.

Electricity consumption is unique to every home. Many factors impact on it – how many people are there? What size of home do you have? Are you heating a pool? If everyone is at school or work during the day, it’s likely that most of your energy consumption occurs at night.

To get tailored advice about the solar system that best fits your household needs, you should get in touch. One of our friendly solar team members will discuss your current electricity bill, the size of your house and other variables, so that we can offer you the best possible solar system recommendations that specifically meet your needs.

Once you are happy and the final quote is accepted, b.solar will schedule the installation for a date that suits you. Normally, installers will be at your home for one to two days, depending on your solar system size.

Please note: non-metro installations can be delayed due to availability of installers that are willing to travel.

Connection to the grid is the final step in the installation process and this can take between 4-6 weeks depending on your energy distributor and/or energy retailer.

No, we do not require you to change your energy retailer. If you are happy with your current provider, there is no reason to change. We do recommend you discuss feed-in tariff (FiT) rates with your energy retailer. FiT rates can vary from provider to provider.

Although you may have installed a complete solar and battery storage solution, we would strongly suggest that you remain connected to the grid.

Photovoltaic solar panels absorb sunlight as a source of energy to generate electricity. A photovoltaic (PV) module is a packaged, connected assembly of typically 6×10 photovoltaic solar cells. Photovoltaic modules constitute the photovoltaic array of a photovoltaic system that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications.

A solar inverter (or PV inverter) is a type of electrical converter which converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network. It is a critical balance of system (BOS)–component in a photovoltaic system, allowing the use of ordinary AC-powered equipment.

Installing a solar battery makes sense if most of your electricity consumption takes place at night or when the sun is not shining. This applies to many families where parents go to work while children are at school during the day.

Solar batteries work by converting the DC energy being produced by your solar panels and storing it as AC power for later use. In some cases, solar batteries have their own inverter and offer integrated energy conversion. The higher your battery’s capacity, the more solar energy it can store.

Most solar batteries last up to 12 years before their life-span and capacity begin to deteriorate.

Digital meters, sometimes called “smart meters”, are devices that automatically record electricity use, then electronically report that information to the electricity retailer at regular intervals. These meters provide secure data that can show peak usage and isolate outages.

For some people, when they go solar, they will require a smart meter upgrade. This is arranged between the household and its energy retailer.

If you have excess solar electricity, you can send it back to the grid in return for a credit (known as a Feed-in Tariff or FiT) on your power bill. Not every energy retailer offers FiTs, so we recommend you speak to your retailer in advance to negotiate your FiT rate.

An electrical grid, or electric grid, is an interconnected network for delivering electricity from producers to consumers. Australia has a complex, very large distribution network, consisting of generating stations that produce electrical power, and high voltage transmission lines that carry power from distant sources to the end user.

Either you can sell your excess electricity back into the grid via Feed-in tariffs or you can install a solar battery to store your excess electricity for use when the sun is not shining.

The performance of a solar system depends in large part on the quality of its components.
Canadian solar panels, for example, carry a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty.

The quality of the inverter is also important when it comes to the lifespan of a solar system. Reliable inverter brands typically offer 10-year standard manufacturer warranties.

Please refer to the specific solar products for warranty information.

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Distributors are companies that own and manage the poles and wires that transfer the electricity to your house from a power station. They are also responsible for your smart meter and provide the information from your smart meter to the retailer.

Your retailer buys electricity from the distributor and resells it to consumers to power their homes and businesses.

You can choose your retailer, but you cannot change your distributor.

In Victoria, there are five electricity distributors – Ausnet, Powercor, CitiPower, Jemena and United Energy. They are each responsible for their own geographic regions.

To find out your distributor, please visit the Victorian government’s energy website.

In South Australia, SA Power Networks (formerly known as ETSA Utilities) is the sole electricity distributor in South Australia. To learn more, please visit SA Power Networks

In Queensland, consumers are serviced by Energex (which supplies customers in South East Queensland), Ergon Energy (which supplies rural and regional Queensland) and Essential Energy (a New South Wales Government owned distributor, formerly known as Country Energy, whose supply network extends into Queensland near Goondiwindi).
To learn more, please visit this AER website.

Like most electrical products in the market, life-span is dependant on a few variables. Generally most batteries last up to 12 years before their life-span and capacity begin to deteriorate.

PV is the acronym which stands for photovoltaic. It is the solar cell technology that converts sunlight into electricity.

A solar panel works by allowing photons, or particles of light to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. Solar panels comprise of many smaller units called photovoltaic cells. Many of these cells are linked together to make up a solar panel.

Each photovoltaic cell is basically a sandwich made up of two slices of semi-conducting material, usually silicon that is mixed with elements phosphorous and boron, which create conductivity within the cell and activate the movement of electrons.

The electrons move across the cells when are activated by the sunlight’s energy into the electrical circuit hooked up to the solar panel. Therefore, the power produced by a PV array (group of solar panels) increases with the intensity of the light striking it.

Visit our How Solar Works page to learn more.

The main difference between mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline panels is the purity of the silicon used.

To make solar cells for monocrystalline solar panels, silicon is formed into bars and cut into wafers. These types of panels are called mono-crystalline to indicate that the silicon used is single-crystal silicon. Because the cell is composed of a single crystal, the electrons that generate a flow of electricity have more room to move. As a result, monocrystalline panels have greater efficiencies than their poly-crystalline counterparts and generally thought of as a premium solar product.

Poly-crystalline solar panels generally have lower efficiencies than mono-crystalline panels, but their advantage is a lower price point. Poly-crystalline panels are also made from silicon, however instead of using a single crystal of silicon, manufacturers melt many fragments of silicon together to form the wafers for the panel. These panels are also referred to as multi-crystalline because there are many crystals in each cell, meaning there is less freedom for the electrons to move.

Aesthetically mono-crystalline panels are favoured by customers for their black appearance opposed to the poly-crystalline panels, which are bluer in colour due to light reflection.

The energy output of your solar solution depends on a number of factors such as your system size, location, roof aspect, tilt angle and the weather. Generally, the larger the system, the higher the output of electricity generated.

A number of factors need to be considered before you can determine whether adding more panels will support your existing installation.

  1. The new panels need to be matching with the existing installed panels. For example, if you have installed 275watt poly-crystalline panels, you need to obtain the same wattage and type ‘poly-crystalline’ panels.
  2. Your inverter capacity must not be greater than 133% of its rated power. For example, if you have a 3kW inverter, you can install up to 3.99kW worth of panels. If you have a 5kW inverter, you can install up to 6.6kW worth of solar panels.
  3. When you upgrade or add more solar panels to your system, you will have to re-apply to connect additional panels (kWs) to the electricity grid. This will affect your feed-in-tariff (FIT) rate. If you were an early adopter of solar and are receiving a Premium FIT, this may not work favourably. However, if you are not receiving a high FIT, then it may be more beneficial to add panels to your existing situation.

Overall, it may be more cost effective to install an additional system if your requirements are to generate more power. Get in touch with b.solar to find out how we can help you further.

Simply put, a collection of solar panels is electrically connected to form a string. One or more strings form an array of solar panels.

Shading affects the output of the entire string of solar panels. It blocks the flow of the electrical current, which in traditional solar strings without optimisers, effects the entire string equally. For example, shading 50% of one panel would reduce the entire system efficiency by 50%.

More importantly, there is a solution to shading, bsolar recommends optimisers, which can be included in all our solar power systems. This will increase the energy output from PV systems by constantly tracking the maximum power point (MPPT) of each module individually achieving the optimal output.

Solar optimisers are a small box attached to the back of every solar panel which operate with a string inverter. This enables the maximum energy output from each individual panel. Optimisers can be inbuilt within the panels themselves or fitted separately.

In traditional solar strings without optimisers, issues such as shading on a single panel would affect the entire string equally. For example, shading 50% of one panel would reduce the entire system efficiency by 50%. The benefit of optimisers lessens the impact of shaded panels on the overall system output while also offering individual panel performance monitoring.

The other additional benefit is that optimisers are less expensive than micro-inverters and achieve all the same benefits at higher efficiency and with higher reliability.

The best position to install PV panels is on a roof plane, which is facing closest to true north. Facing closest to true north optimises the exposure of the solar panels to the path of the Australian sun, resulting in maximum power generation.

The tilt angle of the panels is also important and is dependent on the pitch (angle) of the roof. Most Australian homes have a moderate roof pitch (angle) and this is usually suitable to the panel tilt angle required. However, if you have a flat roof, or an unusual roof pitch, b.solar can supply tilt frames that allow the panels to be adjusted to the optimum angle.

The inverter is best installed near your existing meter box, either inside or outside. Most inverters are IP65/67 rated which can withstand Australia’s harsh weather climates.

Solar power systems rely on sunlight, not heat, to work. Solar generates the most power when it is sunny. However, even on an overcast day your system will still generate about a third of the power it would generate in direct sunlight.

The amount of sunlight that a solar panel receives over a day is expressed in peak sun hours. As the amount of energy generated by a panel is directly proportional to the amount of energy it receives from sunlight, it is important to install solar panels in a way to maximise sunlight. One of our solar energy team will calculate the amount of energy generated by the solar PV panel from the peak sun hours available. Peak sun hours vary throughout the year and will also vary depending on where you live.

Electricity is either connected at 230 or 240 volts (single-phase, which accounts for the majority of domestic situations), or 400 and 415 Volts (three-phase). The latter is better suited for powerful appliances. A single-phase connection is common in small to medium sized houses that use an average amount of electricity. Three phase connections are more common in larger houses that utilise a lot of electricity, or in rural areas.

No. Solar panels are tested to withstand hail.

The IP code or International Protection rating classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects, dust, accidental contact and water in electrical enclosures. The standard aims to provide users with more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof.

IP65 means complete protection against contact and no ingress of dust. The object is protected by water jets projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction resulting in no harmful effects.

IP67 means complete protection against contact and no ingress of dust. The object is protected and ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1m of submersion).

The term “Tier 1” refers to the “bankability” of the solar panel manufacturer, not the quality of the solar panel itself.

The Tier 1 ranking scale was created by Bloomberg Energy Finance Corporation as a way to rank solar panel manufacturers in terms of their financial stability.

Bloomberg defines a Tier 1 solar manufacturer as “those which have provided products to five different projects which have been financed non-recourses by five different banks in the past two years”.

Tier 1 solar panels only come from the top 2% of solar manufacturers that are vertically integrated which means every stage of the manufacturing process is quality controlled. The manufacturer also uses advanced robotic processes and invests heavily in research & development. They must also have been manufacturing solar panels for over 5 years to qualify.

Check out Simon’s video on Tier 1 solar panel manufacturing.

ISO9001 is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organisations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

ISO14001 is an internationally agreed standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. It helps organisations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste, gaining a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholders.

b.solar chose monocrystalline panels as our primary product due to their longevity, effectiveness and superior return on investment.

Product warranties vary from brand to brand, product to product. To find out what warranty applies to solar panels or inverters, please visit the product section of our website.

A solar inverter (or PV inverter) is a type of electrical converter which converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network. It is a critical balance of system (BOS)–component in a photovoltaic system, allowing the use of ordinary AC-powered equipment.

Digital meters, sometimes called “smart meters”, are devices that automatically record electricity use, then electronically report that information to the electricity retailer at regular intervals. These meters provide secure data that can show peak usage and isolate outages.

For some people, when they go solar, they will require a smart meter upgrade. This is arranged between the household and its energy retailer.

When it comes to roof materials, tin (or colourbond) might win in terms of versatility, but tiles boast greater lifespan, offer heritage appeal and provide insulation.

When it comes to installing solar, there are two key differences between installing on tile roofs and installing on tin. First, it takes an installer longer to install on tiles than tin. Second, the equipment used to fit a solar system on a tile roof is different and costs significantly more.

Most solar companies will quote for a solar system that has more solar panels than the inverter size. For example, we might quote you for a system with 6.6kW panels, and an inverter that has an output of 5kW.

Why do we do this? Simply put, a 5kW inverter will always output 5kW of AC electricity. Your solar panels, though, naturally fluctuate greatly throughout the day, depending on light, so solar companies add more panels to compensate for this and to ensure you can get close as possible to a reliable 5kW output.

Australian government rebates are based on solar panels, not inverters. To curb everyone’s enthusiasm for adding more and more panels, though, oversizing is restricted to 30% more than the inverter output, which in turn is limited to 5kW by electricity distributors.

Any inverter you buy from B.Solar can handle a total panel capacity that is one-third larger than its own without issues.

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A Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) is a payment that you receive via your electricity retailer as a credit on your bill for the excess electricity that your solar power system produces and is fed back to the grid. The FIT is a rate that is set per kilowatt hour (kWh), and the rates vary depending on your retailer.

The value of Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) paid varies between energy retailers and can depend on where you live. For more information about FiTs, get in touch with one of our friendly solar team to find out more.

The cost to change over to a Smart Meter is dependent on your energy retailer. It is paid directly to them and generally costs between $50 – $200. Usually this cost is aggregated within your daily supply charge.

In Victoria, consumers can apply for a state government solar system rebate and interest-free loan, as well as a battery rebate, which is offered to specific postcodes.

Currently, Solar Victoria encourages homeowners to apply directly through its portal for rebates. We provide help to consumers trying to navigate the Solar Victoria portal, including providing easy-to-follow email instructions and videos.

b.solar currently accepts multiple offers of payment. For more information, visit our How to Pay page.

The return on investment for a solar pv system depends on a number of factors such as the system size, cost, electricity consumption patterns and the weather. In our proposals, your payback time will be clearly documented. Alternatively, try our solar calculator for more information.

A solar inverter (or PV inverter) is a type of electrical converter which converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network. It is a critical balance of system (BOS)–component in a photovoltaic system, allowing the use of ordinary AC-powered equipment.

Digital meters, sometimes called “smart meters”, are devices that automatically record electricity use, then electronically report that information to the electricity retailer at regular intervals. These meters provide secure data that can show peak usage and isolate outages.

For some people, when they go solar, they will require a smart meter upgrade. This is arranged between the household and its energy retailer.

For many households, going solar makes great financial sense, because of escalating coal-fired electricity bills. Solar can, on average, reduce household electricity bills up to 80% for as long as the solar system functions well.

We recommend that you use our solar calculator to determine the best financial outcome for your particular needs.

Despite the simple truth that financing solar systems usually means that you pay a higher total system price than if you were to pay cash, we think financing is great. Why? Because
financing means that you can pay very small weekly or monthly amounts that are, for many people, less than what they will pay if they continue to pay for coal-fired power. In other words, once their solar system is connected to the grid, many households are cashflow positive.

Put another way, if you could slash (up to) 80% off your coal-fired power bill, how much would that be returned to your wallet? Once a solar system is connected to the grid, this is what most households can expect to enjoy. Using our free online solar calculator, you can quickly see repayment amounts over different finance terms. For many people, solar repayments over a finance term cost less than the cost of continuing to pay for coal-fired power.

For information about B.Solar Finance, get in touch with the team.

Under Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, every megawatt hour of qualifying energy generation is eligible for renewable energy certificates (RECs). For qualifying residential rooftop solar systems, these certificates are known as Small-scale Technology Certificates (or STCs).

Assuming you’re eligible, when you install a solar system with B.Solar, STCs will be created. We will ask you to assign these STCs to us. Then we will deduct the value of them from your total system cost, so the price you pay for solar is less.

The number of STCs created depends on the amount of renewable electricity the solar system generates (or the amount of electricity consumption it reduces) (so the system size), where it’s installed (where you live) and when it’s installed (since the scheme reduces each year).

In South Australia, if you’re eligible, you can apply for a state government solar battery rebate.

When you accept our quote for an eligible home battery system, we will provide you with a link to the RateSetter website where the subsidy will be applied and you can apply for finance, if required. This can be done over the phone, if you don’t always have access to a computer.

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