Gold Coast Residential Solar - Common questions explained ..

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You may have been thinking about it for a while, and finally gotten around to getting some quotes to work out which solar system is going to be best for your home.

Like anything, you’re likely going to get a few quotes for said home solar power system, so you can compare and ultimately make a decision.

In simple terms, here is what you should be looking for…

  • Good quality equipment - That being the main components, panels + inverter.
  • A good quality company - How long have they been around and will they do a good job?

The perfect combination for a “good home solar system” is quality gear, at a fair price, installed by a well-established company who will install it professionally for you.

You don’t want your solar system to be inferior brands, at a “too good to be true” cheap price, purchased from a sales company who has only been around for a minute, and use subcontractors to perform their installation work.  If you buy one of these, you’ll be calling the above described “good quality company” to repair or replace it in the not too distant future.

There are many different brands of solar inverters and solar power panels.  They vary in quality.  The key message is to do your research.  A quick google search will usually lead to some reviews of brands.With all internet research, you will find good and bad.  Follow the brands that have mostly good and very little bad reviews.  (Example – search any well known brand car, and you’re sure to find some bad press somewhere on them.)


Residential Solar Inverters

European manufactured inverters lead the market in quality.  Chinese make up the rest of the market and they will generally be cheaper due to mass production.  Some brands are good!  Some are not so good.  Do your research and talk to a reputable solar supplier who has been in the industry and understands which brands have ‘stood the test of time’. Fly by night companies will not understand brand legacies that have proven industry longevity.


Home Solar Panels

 98% of panels are manufactured out of China or the Asia region.  This is not a bad thing.  For the layman, the simple answer is… yes… do your research.  Impossible to list and rate them all here, but if you find a company you trust, they will guide you through the process.

Jason, one of our owners and our lead installer strongly recommends panel and inverter brands which are steadfast such as Fronius and provide a second to none after sales service with an office located in one of the major capital cities and offer extended warranties on their product.


Our thoughts ..... 

At 4shore Solar we have been servicing the Gold Coast and surrounding areas for almost 10 years. Our team is small, and we do not outsource any of our work. We are a quality over quantity type of company. This you could say has been instrumental in the longevity of the business. We strive to only recommend and use quality products by formidable brands.

Fronius Solar Inverters are one of few inverters manufactured in Europe, it is by far our top pick of inverters. Fronius is most definitely a premium option. We understand not all budgets stretch this far and endorse Sungrow Solar Inverters as a reliable option for an entry level product. Both options come with a standard 5 + 5 year warranty with options to extend. After sales servicing can-not be faulted as both have large serviced offices based in Melbourne.

When it comes to solar panels we highly recommend the following options for your home residential solar system for several reasons; Jinko Solar, REC, QCELL, Longi and LG. All of these brands have with stood in times of peaks and troughs and been servicing Australia with product for no less than 5 years, some much more! Several large highly instrumental wholesalers stake their reputations on these exact panels and ‘bank’ so to say on these products.


Our advice BEWARE ; Cheap solar often ends up being the most expensive …..


               Installing solar panels.


Some common questions explained ...


What is a kilowatt and what are kilowatt-hours?

System sizes are measured in kilowatts.  Each panel will be rated to a particular size.  Multiply that by how panels you have, and there you have the system size.  i.e. 20 x 330w panels equals 6.6kW (6,600 watts).  While the energy we use is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh); 1 kWh is equal to 1,000 watts working for one hour.

Home appliances draw an extreme amount of energy. As a rule of thumb we rate an appliance at 1,000 watts; left running for 1 hour will consume 1kWh of electricity. In your home we break your appliances up into 3 different categories –

  • Small Appliances : toasters, hair dryers, coffee machines, hair irons and the dreaded vacuum cleaner. All of which produce heat, and draw a lot of watts in thankfully a relatively short amount of time.
  • Large Appliances : white goods such as washing machines, dryers, dish washers and pool pumps. These products use big-watts but can be controlled and manipulated to work in conjunction with your solar system even set too timers for better efficiency and a more economical use of your home solar power production. If you are savvy and use our simple rule of thumb as outlined above you can best run appliances during the day in conjunction with your solar power systems output. This is where the addition of a smart meter providing live graphs can become beneficial for the enthusiast.  
  • Indefinite Appliances : fridges, freezers and water heaters we call these indefinite as they run consistently for days at a time and draw the most amount of energy use in the home; and rarely turned off. 

What is the best roof space to use?

Due to the arc of the sun in the southern hemisphere; rising in the east and setting in the west. North is the most efficient direction for your home solar panels.  If you don’t have north facing roof space available for use, then second best option is east and west.  South is an absolute last resort, and rarely used.  There are no 2 solar installations the same. Panel locations are treated on a case by case basis, best suited to the consumption and site specific requirements. 

How do I reduce my bill?

Simply put – use your appliances through-out the day.  Try not to use them at night.
At night, you’re buying power from the grid.. always.  Through the day, you’re generating power FREE from the sun and your solar power panels.  Therefore, you want to use that FREE power and not pay for it.

Minimising night time usage by being pro-active; for example - packing the dish washer at night and turning it on the next morning, setting the pool timer to run from 7am – 2pm, having appliances set to timers where you can to have them run throughout the day if you are at work. Updating hot water systems and white goods once they reach a life cycle of about 10 years. As technology evolves so do efficiency ratings. Where there is a means there is a way to make things work!

How much is the rebate?

The government subsidises each solar purchase.  Your quote should have the rebate itemised.  Your quoted amount should be AFTER the subsidy has been removed.  This would be your complete out of pocket amount.

How long will it take to pay off my residential solar power system?

Return On Investment is dictated by the purchase price.  Your ROI should be near enough to 3 years, give or take.  If your ROI is much more than this, the system is too expensive.  If ROI is much less, then you’re price is too cheap!  Yes, if you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice! Spend the dollars up front for a quality installation, installed professionally, and it will exceed your expectations.

What do I need to do?

Once you’ve chosen your installer and ‘shaken hands’ on a system and price, you need to speak with your retailer about 2 things.  (OR – now is a good opportunity to look at other retailers and see if there is somewhere better!  Ask the company you’re dealing with for advice.

1. Electricity plan – How much will they pay you for your unused solar power and what are the other fees?

You should be comparing 4 things.

(a) Peak rate   (b) Off peak rate   (c) Supply charge   (d) Feed-in tariff

2. If your meter needs upgrading (ask the company you’re dealing with) if there may be a charge.  Ask your retailer (or prospective retailer) what that cost is.  $0 is best!  Negotiate with them.
--> That’s all you need to do!

How long until my home solar system can be installed?

Installation can usually take place within 3 weeks from date of deciding.

The installation itself, depending on size, can be completed in 1 day for anything up to a 8kW as a rule of thumb, and anything bigger may take place over 2 days.  You will be advised of your individual circumstance.

If your meter needs upgrading, this may take up to 4 weeks.  Sometimes shorter and sometimes longer.  You move into the queue with Energex and will be completed as soon as possible.

This all might sound complicated and all too much to understand.  Don’t be daunted!
If you can’t find a company who simplifies this all for you, then keep looking!

Once you find a company who makes you feel comfortable, then all of this will be explained up front with no surprises anywhere to be found.


Some things that a quality solar company will assess and complete on your behalf >

  • System size to fit your requirements
  • Panel position/placement
  • Meter box compliance (you will be advised if any upgrades are required)
  • Location of inverter installation
  • Does TV antenna need to be relocated?
  • Notification to your retailer and Energex


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