BSPQ is Australia’s most honest and reliable source of solar power information. We give you all the facts on solar power so that you can decide if it’s right for you.
Australia’s Most Comprehensive Solar Power Information Centre
For those of you who want to find out more about solar power before making a decision to put it on your roof, BSPQ have collected a comprehensive list of information to help you along the way. If you’re not sure about something or you need more information, get in touch with our support team and we will help.
- Sunshine hits the solar panels and is converted into DC electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect.
- DC power is converted by an energy converter (known as an inverter) into usable AC power.
- Power from the solar panels is used in the home first.
- Any excess power is sent to the grid and any shortfall is met by pulling power in from the grid.
How grid-connected solar power works
Grid-connected solar power is a solar power system which also utilises an electricity grid as another source of energy. In a grid-tied solar power system, the solar power is “integrated” into the existing grid setup – this can be done in a number of ways. The most common form of grid-tied PV solar in Brisbane is a NET metered system. This system works as illustrated.
How a solar power cell works
A solar cell is a small silicon (doped) structure which can convert sunshine into DC electricity. This process of converting light into electric current is known as the photovoltaic effect. There is more in-depth physics to this process which we won’t discuss here.
How a solar panel works
Solar panels are made up of many solar cells in “strings” which enables them to produce a larger amount of energy than a single cell.
More information on how solar power works in Brisbane
Solar power panels, also known as solar PV or “photovoltaic” panels convert light from the sun into useful electricity. This is a complex process which uses silicone semi-conductor materials to work. The panels themselves are quite robust, have no moving parts and have a useful working life of up to 30 years or more.
What’s in a solar PV panel?
A solar panel is made up of many solar cells which are cut by machines and put together to provide greater power output. The main parts making up a solar panel are:
- Solar cells
- Busbars (for the electricity to travel)
- Transparent glass coating
- Panel frame (usually anodized aluminium)
Solar hot water panels work differently to solar power panels. While solar PV (power) panels work off the sun’s light and DO NOT like heat, solar hot water panels simply work by using the sun’s heat energy and storing hot water to be used in your home.
BSPQ can handle all of your commercial solar power needs. We will work with you, and potential installers to ensure a high return on your investment is achieved. The process for installing a commercial solar power system:
- Fill out our quote form here – entering as much detail as possible.
- Our team will do an initial analysis based on the information provided and give you some suggestions on system size, design and approximate cost/return figures.
- We liaise with suitable solar installers close to you and tell you what’s on offer with easy-to-understand comparisons.
- You review the information provided at your leisure and decide whether or not you want to go ahead with the solar power project.
The whole process is designed to make it easy for you to find out if a commercial solar power system is for you – and of course it is completely FREE.
More information on commercial solar power.
BSPQ are Brisbane’s residential solar power experts. Our services mean that you can get instant, unbiased and accurate advice about your home solar power system and you can get a great deal by using our online quote service for residential solar power. Using our BSPQ quoting service you can:
- Get access to expert solar power system installers in your area
- Have several different companies offer to quote for you without needing to contact them
- Get professional, unbiased advice on what system size you should consider
- Access expert information on everything you need to know about solar power before buying
- Make an informed decision about your residential solar power purchase
There are typically 3 different types of residential solar power systems available at the moment:
- Grid-connected solar power – this is by far the most common and the most cost-effective. This is the type of solar power that most people in Brisbane get to help offset their electricity bills. There are no batteries involved and the system works automatically, so there is no work involved.
- Hybrid solar power – this involves some batteries, while also having a connection to the electricity grid. In situations where power is absolutely crucial (e.g. for life support systems) hybrid systems are often used in conjunction with solar power. Hybrid solar power is also a good option for customers who want to go off-grid but dono’t want the large upfront costs.
- Off-grid or Stand Alone solar power – this involves batteries and no connection to the grid. A properly designed off-grid solar power system involves some forethought to ensure that the system meets your requirements. Instead of just being sized in “kW” or “kiloWatts”, off-grid systems are more accurately sized in “kWh” or “kiloWatt-hours”.
Because the cost of batteries is still quite high, grid-connected solar power systems are by far the most common residential solar power setup seen throughout QLD and Australia, although off-grid solar power is becoming very attractive as cost of living pressures have started making grid-connection an unaffordable luxury.
BSPQ aims to give you all the information you need to be a solar expert so that you can make an informed decision about your solar power investment. Here are some basic points to know about solar power:
- How solar power works – it is important to at least have some understanding of how solar power works before making a decision whether or not to buy it.
- What are the different components involved with a solar power system? – Namely, solar panels, an inverter, solar racking and some electrical cabling.
- How much will you save with solar power – this is extremely important and it is a little tricky to work out. See our page on residential solar power to work out approximate returns for your system.
- How much will a solar power system cost? – Get a quote through BSPQ to give you easy to understand, comparable solar power quotes from trusted, local installers.
Want to know the important parts of technical solar power? We’ve summarised all the stuff that you should familiarise yourself with if you want a little bit more than the basics on solar power:
- Bypass diodes – These are usually included inside the solar panel junction box and they act as a bypass path for the electricity if some cells in a panel are shaded. More bypass diodes means that there are less problems if cells get shaded but it comes at the expense of higher panel costs generally.
- Solar panel self-cleaning – Many panels come with a self-cleaning coating on the glass to ensure that they stay as clean as possible with as little maintenance as possible. This is always a benefit, but if you plan on cleaning your panels – BEWARE – water droplets can form a magnifying lense which may damage the cells if left in the sun.
- Solar panel production estimates – The CEC advises that solar panel production estimates for Brisbane residents can be accurately made using 4.2 as the average amount of hourly sun received daily. So for a 5kW system, you would expect to generate an average of 21kWhs per day. This includes bad weather and seasonal variations in sunlight.
- Estimating returns – Almost any home is going to be hard pressed to actually consume ALL of the power generated by your solar power system. The excess energy you don’t use will not save as much money as that which you use. Typically, 50/50 is a reasonable estimate in most cases for power used/power exported to the grid. This means that for 50% of energy produced, your savings will be equal to whay you pay for power (e.g. $0.28/kWh) and the other 50% will only be of benefit for your total feed-in-tariff amount (maximum is $0.18 in QLD currently – Jan, 2014).
Savings from your solar power system are admittedly not as good as they have been in the past for QLD residents, but you can still get excellent savings from your solar power installation.