Australia’s latitudinal position on the planet and a near-perennial dry climate makes it immensely suitable for solar energy production and usage. On any given day, a major part of Australia receives a high measure of solar radiation during any given time.
Solar panels have been fitted in many Australian household rooftops since the 1970s and nationwide, there’s an estimated 300 MW of installed photovoltaic (PV) power, contributing an estimated 0.1 to 0.2% of total electricity production.
The Australian Government is supporting the roll out of renewable energy solutions through many programs and schemes, and has set a goal to replace the total energy requirement to the tune of 20 percent with solar energy by the end of the year 2020. For example, The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme has been set up to encourage the installation and use of solar panels by households as well as small businesses.
The RET scheme comprises of two different parts, Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and Large Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET). Whereas the SRES scheme caters to the needs of the small homeowners and businesses, the LRET scheme covers large-scale commercial operations.
The RET schemes offers solar credits instead of rebates for recent installations of photovoltaic systems. The solar credits are issued in the form of tradeable certificates. The solar credits multiplier depends on the capacity of the system that has been installed. Alternately, they can be traded in the certificate market for lower prices. The prices of these certificates can vary and are driven by the demand of companies that have to purchase and surrender a specified number of certificates in a year.
For more information about schemes and rebates please visit this page
How much do solar panels cost?
The typical pricing for a grid feed solar system installation for any type of household in New South Wales in Australia would be as follows (as an example only): Installed capacity – 1575 W, Energy generated per day – 6.3 kWh, Number of solar panels – 7 (225 W each), Price Including Installation – AUD $8922, Solar Credits Discount – AUD 2418 (approx.)Net Price – AUD $6504
Remote area solar power system installations are costlier and are also dependent on the distance to the power grid. Increased use of solar power technology has resulted in making solar photovoltaic systems more affordable for everyone.
How do Solar Energy Systems work?
If you’ve never looked into, or read about solar energy alternatives for your home, here’s a quick run down: a photovoltaic system works to convert the energy from the sun into electricity. This is accomplished with the help of solar panels. The energy conversion takes place within photovoltaic cells that make up the solar panel. There are no moving parts in a solar panel and this converted energy is supplied to the main household electricity line through an inverter. Alternately, with the help of a grid interactive inverter, the unused electricity can also be fed into the national electricity grid.
Solar hot water systems installed in household rooftops use the heat of the sun to provide hot water for various household uses. These are different from the photovoltaic systems that use solar panels.
The amount of electricity that can be produced with the help of solar panels depends on many factors that include the place where the solar panels are located, the number of solar panels that have been fitted, and the quality of the panels that have been used for the purpose of energy conversion.
The number of solar panels that are required to be put up depends on the power ratings of the devices that are to be run on solar power. Solar panels are chosen for a particular installation keeping the optimum size/wattage in mind. More panels are required in case direct sunlight is not available. If you live in Australia, or anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, the solar panels should be fitted facing north to collect the largest amount of available sunlight.