FAQs

Please see below for a list of some commonly asked questions.

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1.01 What is a grid-connected solar system?
Sep. 15, 2010
A solar power system uses photovoltaic panels to generate electricity from the sun’s energy. A grid- connected solar system is connected to the main electricity grid instead of using batteries to store the solar electricity. This means that during sunlight hours your photovoltaic panels provide electricity to your house or the main grid if it is generating more electricity than what you are using. During the evening, or if you need more electricity than is generated by your photovoltaic panels, you can draw electricity from the main grid as usual.

1.02 What do I need for my solar system to be grid-connected?
Sep. 15, 2010
In order for your solar system to be connected to the main grid, you require a new electricity meter. This is called a bi-directional or 'import-export' meter. This new meter records the electricity fed into and drawn from the main grid. Most existing meters only read electricity drawn from the main grid (one-direction). You need a bi-directional meter in order to be eligible for feed-in tariffs which are discussed in question 1.06.

Pyramid Power installs your solar panels, and your electricity provider (or a Level 2 electrician, Accredited Service Provider - ASP) will install your new meter at a charge and connect you to the grid.

1.03 Am I eligible for any Government financial incentives for a Grid-connected Solar system?
Sep. 15, 2010
Yes, Pyramid Power will advise you on what Government financial incentives you may be eligible for. The financial incentives are in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), Solar Credits and a Feed-in Tariff.

1.04 What are Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)?
Sep. 15, 2010
STCs represent the amount of pollution saved by generating clean renewable energy. Any owner of a Small Generation Unit (i.e. your solar panels or Solar Hot Water system) are eligible for STCs which can be traded for cash on market similar to the stock exchange. We help make trading STCs simple for you by offering you a point of sale discount on your renewable energy system in exchange for you assigning your STCs to us following installation. We will then reduce the price of your solar panel installation based on the value of the STCs.

1.05 What are Solar Credits?
Sep. 15, 2010
Solar Credits are another Federal Government incentive introduced to replace the previous solar rebates. Solar Credits are a multiplier of RECs that increases the discount you receive for eligible solar systems. For example, eligible solar systems installed between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011 will receive 5 x the number of RECs up to a capacity of 1.5 kilowatts. This means that the cost of your system will be even cheaper.

1.06 What is a Feed-in Tariff?
Sep. 15, 2010
A Feed-in Tariff allows you to be paid by your energy provider for all solar electricity that you feed into the main grid. Most State and Territory Governments have solar Feed-in Tariff schemes that pay you a premium rate for your solar electricity. You continue to purchase electricity from your energy provider at the standard rate but sell the electricity you've generated with your panels at a premium rate. Please consult with Pyramid Power to confirm the premium rate you are eligible to receive form your energy provider.
You require a new bi-directional or “import/export” meter in order to receive a Feed-in Tariff.

1.07 What is the difference between a 'gross' and 'net' Feed-in Tariff?
Sep. 15, 2010
A majority of Australia's current Feed-in Tariffs schemes are 'net', which means you are paid for excess electricity fed back into the main grid from your grid-connected solar system after use in your house. In comparison, under a gross Feed-in Tariff scheme, consumers are paid for all electricity generated by your grid-connected solar system.

1.08 What is the cost of a gross or net meter?
Sep. 15, 2010
The cost to install a gross or net meter varies from State to State and between Accredited Services Providers (Level 2 electricians - ASPs). In some States bi-directional meters are installed for free by the energy provider. In most States and Territories, the installation of bi-directional meters comes at a cost which is additional to the fee for installing your solar system.

In NSW, gross or net meters must be installed by an ASP and base prices start between $220 and $350. The set up of your existing meter box may require further work which will come at an additional charge. We suggest that you shop around.

In the ACT, ActewAGL install bi-directional meters for a fee of $168. The ACT also require an additional charge for electrical inspection by the Regulator (ACTPLA) of $186.

In Victoria, meter installation fees can vary from around $110 to $350, depending on the amount of work involved and may cost more if additional work is required.

1.09 Do I need a new electricity meter?
Sep. 15, 2010
Yes, to take advantage of your State's Feed-in Tariff you will require either a bi-directional net meter or a gross meter. Our local representative will be able to advise you of your options in this regard. Your electricity provider (or Accredited Service Provider - ASP) will install the meter, depending on the state you live in.

1.10 How do I inform my energy provider that I am installing a Solar System?
Aug. 19, 2010
With Pyramid Power, we handle the paperwork for you! Once you accept your estimate for a Solar System, Pyramid Power will arrange your application to connect to the main grid and your Feed-in Tariff contract with your energy provider.

1.11 How much will I earn from my Solar System?
Sep. 15, 2010
This will depend on your solar electricity generation, the Feed-in tariffs in your State or Territory and whether it is a gross or net Feed-in Tariff. The average electricity output of your solar system depends on the size of your system, orientation, number of peak sun hours, shading, size of the inverter and weather. As a guide, we have provide a table displaying the average daily output and earnings based on Feed-in Tariffs under the Solar System product information.

1.12 What is the price of a grid-connected system?
Sep. 15, 2010
We will not mislead you by putting prices on our website, as prices vary greatly according to many variables as market conditions change rapidly. We believe in giving you a price that genuinely reflects your individual needs - the size of the system you would like, your budget, the installation and energy producing requirements. The market value of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) fluctuates, which will also affect the point-of-sale discount and total cost. Call us and book a free site visit or fill in our online estimate form. Get the facts first up front, and then compare prices - make sure you're comparing apples with apples.

With most states in Australia paying you a Feed-in Tariff for the electricity you feed back to the grid, you will be able to benefit from your investment as soon as you are connected to the grid.

1.13 What type of panels do Pyramid Power use?
Sep. 15, 2010
Pyramid Power use a range of different panels for different situations and applications. All our panels meet stringent International and Australian standards and are accredited by the Clean Energy Council of Australia. Please consult with one of our Sales Advisors for the product specification on our suggested panel.

1.14 How do solar panels work?
Sep. 15, 2010
The very simple answer is that they convert solar radiation into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter changes DC current to AC current that can be available for use in the household and/or for export back to the grid.

1.15 How long will the panels last?
Sep. 15, 2010
Pyramid Power only supply very high quality solar panels which meet industry standard benchmarks and are Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited. Modules designed and manufactured to these high standards can provide several decades of clean, free, renewable electricity. All our panels come with a performance warranty. Please refer to the manufacturers warranty for the warranty specifications. Each of these can be found on our website.

1.16 How long will the total system last?
Sep. 15, 2010
Your grid-connected solar system is designed to be tough and reliable with longevity in mind. It may continue to produce clean energy for decades. Following your system maintenance guidelines (in your User Manual given to you by Pyramid Power after installation) will ensure reliability and optimise generation output over a longer period of time.

1.17 Are the panels damaged by hail?
Sep. 15, 2010
Generally, no. The panels are rated to withstand impact from hailstones of 25mm in diameter. Some areas are prone to hailstones of this size or larger but they are rare and isolated events. It is recommended that you include your solar system on your household insurance policy.

1.18 Can I upgrade at a later date?
Sep. 15, 2010
In most cases upgrading to a larger system is possible, the amount of available roof space being the first consideration. The size of the inverter is usually matched with the capacity of the panels but if the inverter has greater capacity than the number of panels installed, it is possible to upgrade to the capacity of the inverter. It is also possible to install more panels with an additional inverter.

1.19 How many panels do I need?
Sep. 15, 2010
If your aim is to become self-sufficient for your energy usage, it depends on your actual consumption. Our Sales Advisors can help you calculate the best-sized system to meet your household usage; just have your latest electricity bill handy. Often, the available roof space or budget will determine the size of your system. If you have good available roof space, the larger the system you install, the greater the financial and environmental gain will be.

1.20 What is the best angle to mount the panels?
Sep. 15, 2010
The optimum angle and orientation for mounting solar panels is facing true north at an incline equal to the area's latitude. In reality this is rarely possible, but in most situations a solar panel installation can achieve a very high percentage of the maximum efficiency. Tilt frames can ensure the highest possible return for roofs with low inclination.

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