Frequently Asked Questions

Solar doesn’t have to be confusing.

Get the answers to our most commonly asked questions about solar and solar systems.

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A solar system is actually quite straightforward.

  1. The solar panels installed on your roof consist of photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. This then gets sent to your inverter, which converts it into alternating current (AC) electricity—the kind that’s suitable for your home.

  2. Your inverter is connected to both the electricity grid and your home, and sends the energy that your solar panels generate into your home electricity supply. If there’s no energy being generated, like at night or on a cloudy day, your inverter imports electricity from the grid instead. If you’ve generated excess energy that you’re not using, this gets fed back into the grid.

  3. A bi-directional meter system measures the electricity you import from the grid and the excess energy your solar system exports. Much like a regular electricity connection, you then get billed for the grid electricity you used—minus any electricity you exported to the grid.

  4. By generating your own electricity, you reduce your reliance on the power network, resulting in lower electricity bills. The savings build up over time, especially during sunny periods when your solar system produces more energy than you consume. Even better, the WA government offers a Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme, where eligible customers get paid a specific amount per kilowatt hour of electricity they export to the grid, which varies depending on the time of day

If you’re installing a new solar system you’ll need approval from both Synergy and Western Power. We can manage these for you.

Once you’ve approved your quote, all you need to do is provide us with a Synergy bill. We’ll then send this off to Synergy, along with your system details, and they provide us with a reference number. We then send this to Western Power, along with your system design and details, to get their approval to connect your solar system to the electricity network.

How you pay for your solar system and installation all depends on how you prefer to handle your money and your cashflow.

We offer two payment options: paying outright and a financed option.

Paying outright means you have to have the funds available, which can range anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000.

Alternatively, we offer Buy Now Pay Later financing options in partnership with Bright, Humm, and Plenty. Simply choose your preferred provider and we can organise your payment plan with them.

With so many solar installation companies around at the moment, all promising different things, you want to make sure you’re making the right choice. There are some simple ways to tell a reputable solar company from a bad one:

  • They have a physical presence at a local address, and you can actually visit them and discuss your solar needs in person. We recommend making a drive to their location too, just to make sure it’s actually legitimate.
  • They have an electrical contractor’s license number. Unlicensed electrical work is dangerous and unsafe, and an electrical contractor’s license number means they have trained, qualified electricians performing your installation. Also, if anything dodgy occurs, you have recourse to report them to Energy Safety.
  • They use an in-house installation team. This means there’s no outside relationship, and you’re working directly with the company itself—which again is ideal should anything not be quite right with your installation.
  • They’re happy to come to your property to view your home and arrange a quote on-site. Pushing for a sale over the phone, without even viewing your property, is suspicious. While a good company may ask for a deposit, they won’t push for it: they prefer to let the quality of their work do the talking.
  • They have some experience under their belt. Sure, you might have chosen a new company that’s just starting out, and that’s fine. But be sure to ask for a bit of information about their history and background. If there’s absolutely no available information about the company, it’s almost like they’re hiding something.
  • Google reviews, and of course, good old-fashioned word-of-mouth

The physical difference between single-phase power and three-phase power lies in the number of electrical phases or circuits each one uses.

Single-phase power has just one live conductor and one neutral conductor, and supplies
240 volts of power—roughly the same power as a standard home powerpoint. Most households in Australia receive single-phase power.

Three-phase power has three live conductors and one neutral conductor, and can supply both 240 volt and 415 volts of power. This effectively provides three single-phase lines to the property, tripling the amount of power available. Most commercial and industrial properties have a three-phase power connection.

You can typically tell whether you have single- or three-phase power by looking at your switchboard. If your switchboard has a single pole main switch, you have single-phase power. If you have a three-pole main switch, you have three-phase power.

STCs (Small-scale Technology Certificates) are a government incentive aimed at promoting renewable energy adoption. They apply to small-scale solar systems, like the residential solar system that you’re getting installed.

STCs are essentially given out when you buy your solar system. The number of STCs generated depends on the size and location of your system.

Now, it’s not technically a Government rebate. What’s actually happening is the Government gets businesses in emissions-producing industries to buy STCs from solar energy generators— in this case, you. This money then goes towards lowering the cost of your system.

The government provides an STC calculator to estimate the number of certificates your new solar system will receive.

To actually receive your STCs, you don’t have to do anything. At MLEC Solar we can handle the paperwork for you to ensure you get the STC certificates, and savings, that you’re entitled to.

This is a pretty common question that we get.

Kilowatts, or kW, is simply a measure of power—1,000 watts—and is the rate at which energy is generated or used.

Kilowatt hours (kWh) is the measurement of the total amount of energy that’s used over an hour. Essentially, one kWh is one unit of energy during the day.

So for example, when it comes to a solar system, a 3 kW solar system can produce 3 kW of power when it’s operating in peak conditions.

But when you look at your energy bill, and say you use 15 kWh of energy in a day, this doesn’t mean you need a 15 kW system. It means you need a system can can produce 15kWh of energy throughout the day.

We can help you identify and determine the size of solar system that’s right for your property.

This is known as solar inverter oversizing.

A solar inverter is the component that transforms the energy that your solar system produces (direct current, or DC, energy) into the type of energy your home can use (alternating current, or AC).

Here’s the truth: the kW rating of your solar panel system is based on tests only, which are performed in perfect conditions.

Say you’ve been quoted a 6.6 kW solar system but only a 5 kW inverter. In real-world conditions, your system never usually experiences the conditions it needs for a 5 kW system to generate that much energy. This means that your solar panels aren’t producing their optimal amount of energy, and won’t reach the 5 kW capacity of your inverter

So adding on more solar panels to your system provides extra capacity to the amount of solar energy it’s able to generate throughout the day. We typically recommend adding an extra 33% capacity, which would bring your 5 kW system up to a 6.6 kW system.

If your solar system is connected to the grid without a battery backup, it will not operate during a power outage. This safety feature ensures that electricity is not fed back into the grid while maintenance or repairs are being conducted, protecting utility workers from electrocution.

However, if your solar system includes a battery storage component, it can continue to operate during a power outage. The battery allows you to store excess energy generated by your solar panels, which can then be used when the grid is down, providing you with continuous power supply to your home, depending on the capacity of your battery and your energy consumption.

It’s important to note different brands have different capabilities. Contact one of our experts to find exact details of what your system can and cannot do.

Yes, your solar system requires some maintenance to ensure it operates efficiently and effectively over its lifespan. However, solar systems are generally low-maintenance compared to other forms of energy generation. Here are a few key maintenance tasks you should consider:

Panel Cleaning: Solar panels should be cleaned periodically to remove dirt, dust, bird droppings, or other debris that can accumulate and reduce their efficiency. The frequency of cleaning depends on your location, the angle of your panels, and local weather conditions. In many cases, rainfall will naturally clean the panels, but in dry or particularly dusty areas, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.

Inspection: Regular inspections are important to check for any physical damage to the panels, wiring, or the mounting system. Look for cracks in the panels, frayed wiring, or loose mounting hardware. It’s advisable to have a professional inspection done periodically to ensure everything is in good working order. 

Monitoring Performance: Most solar systems come with monitoring software that allows you to track the system’s output and efficiency. Regularly monitoring your system can help you identify any drops in performance that might indicate a problem or need for maintenance.

Vegetation Management: Ensure that trees or shrubs do not shade your solar panels. Shading can significantly reduce the amount of electricity your system generates. Periodic trimming of vegetation may be necessary.

While solar systems are designed to be durable and require minimal upkeep, adhering to a simple maintenance schedule can help maximize your system’s performance and lifespan.

Solar optimizers are devices used in solar panel systems to maximize the energy production of each individual solar panel, thereby improving the overall efficiency of the system. They are particularly useful in situations where solar panels are subject to varying levels of sunlight due to shading, orientation, or panel degradation. Here’s a breakdown of how solar optimizers work:

Per-Panel Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT): Each solar panel in a photovoltaic (PV) system has an ideal operating point where it produces maximum power—this point can vary due to changes in sunlight intensity, temperature, and shading. Solar optimizers are installed at each panel and perform MPPT for that specific panel. By constantly adjusting the electrical load to find this maximum power point, optimizers ensure that each panel operates at its peak efficiency regardless of the conditions of other panels in the array. 

Mitigating the Impact of Shading: In a traditional string inverter system without optimizers, all panels are connected in series, and the performance of the entire string is dictated by the weakest-performing panel (similar to the weakest link in a chain). If one panel is shaded or underperforming, it can significantly reduce the output of the entire string. Solar optimizers mitigate this issue by allowing each panel to operate independently at its maximum potential, thus minimizing the impact of shading or panel mismatch on the overall system performance.

Enhanced Energy Monitoring: Solar optimizers are often paired with advanced monitoring systems that provide detailed performance data for each panel. This allows for precise monitoring and troubleshooting at the panel level, making it easier to identify and address issues such as shading, soiling, or panel defects.

Increased Flexibility in System Design: With solar optimizers, panels can be installed at different orientations and angles without worrying about mismatched output affecting the system’s overall performance. This increases the flexibility of installation, allowing for optimal use of available space.

Safety Features: Solar optimizers can also enhance the safety of a PV system. In the event of an emergency or system shutdown, they can reduce the voltage of each panel to a safe level, minimizing the risk of electric shock during maintenance or firefighting efforts.

In summary, solar optimizers improve the performance of solar PV systems by ensuring that each panel operates at its maximum efficiency, regardless of the performance of other panels in the system. They offer a solution to issues like shading and panel mismatch, provide enhanced monitoring capabilities, increase design flexibility, and improve system safety.

Get a quote for your new solar system

Making the move to solar will set your home up with clean, green energy for years to come. So get in touch with us to get a quote for your new solar system. 

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