Steps in getting solar

Learn about the steps involved in getting a solar system.

Here’s some important things to check if you’re thinking of getting solar

1. You've done your research

Have you also considered the size of your roof, shade area on your roof, how much electricity you use, what your budget is, and the Government schemes available in your area. Find your latest electricity bill and see how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you use on average each day. Also think about when you use the most electricity, is it during the day or at night? For easy access to your bills, log into your account.

Keep some money in your piggy bank

CASE STUDY

Brooke uses on average 10kWh during the day and 15kWh overnight. She should look at a solar system that only covers her day time usage and not one that covers the entire daily average to save on costs. Because Brooke would only be eligible for the regional solar feed-in tariff, It's best that she chooses an appropriate sized system to avoid paying more for a system than she really needs.

If Brooke was to get a system that covered her total daily usage, she might be offered a deal for 6 kW system that could generate 30kWh per day in ideal conditions. Now, you may think that this is a good thing as she would be generating more than she's using, right?

Wrong - If Brooke got the 6 Kw system, here's what would happen.

She makes 30 kWh from the solar per day with 10 kWh getting used up by the house during the day, so there are 20 kWh of exported solar power. At today’s price this works out to be 20 x $0.06583^ = $1.32.

Remembering she is using 15kWh overnight and this is purchased todays tariff 11 rate of $0.21760^. So the night time usage is a total cost of $3.26.

Brooke potentially has paid a lot for system that isn't really providing her with much benefit.

Sure, she's reduced her bill by approximately $1.32 per day, but she could have obtained a similar result by installing a smaller system to only cover her daytime use, while keeping more money in her bank for the future.

^^ Calculations are based on 2021/2022 tariff pricing for the Regional Feed-in Tariff

2. Check the solar feed-in tariff

Visit our tariff page or contact our friendly local team to find out the current solar feed-in tariff for regional Queensland. Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages and the impact on your electricity bills. More information on the solar feed-in tariff can be found on the government website.

3. Find a solar retailer

It’s a good idea to shop around and get several quotes from reputable solar retailers. The price of solar PV systems can vary quite a lot so ensure you know the important questions to ask. The Clean Energy Council (CEC) website has advice on finding an approved solar retailer and has links to assist you in finding an accredited solar installer.

4. Apply for connection, receive approval and sign the contract

Your solar retailer or installer will provide you with a contract based on your accepted quote. They'll usually also submit the application form to the network provider to get your new system connected to the grid. Further information about the application process can be found on the Ergon Energy Network website.

Please note: If you are asked to sign the solar retailer/installer contract before you have received the network  connection offer, make sure your contract can be changed or cancelled just in case you have to consider a different PV system.

5. Install your solar PV system

Once you have accepted the connection offer from the network provider, you are ready to arrange installation. Your system must be installed by a CEC accredited installer. Ask to see your installer’s accreditation card or ensure they are listed on the CEC’s webpage.

6. Don't turn on your inverter

This is really important!

Your installer must leave your system switched off until the metering has been replaced or programmed to measure export. Before the system is turned on, you should talk to your installer about how to do this safely.

If your system is turned on before a solar capable meter is installed, your bills will be estimated based on data from the same time last year.

You're almost there, just one more important step before you can turn on your inverter.

7. Connect system to the electricity grid

Your solar retailer, installer or electrical contractor will work with the network business to finalise your solar PV system connection to the grid. If necessary, they'll arrange to replace your electricity meter with a new bi-directional one. Your power may be interrupted for the installation of your new meter.

Once you have a bi-directional meter installed onsite, check with your solar installer if it's ok to turn on your system.

Once your solar is installed and compliant metering is in place, check for the ‘Queensland Solar Scheme’ details on your account

8. Check and maintain your system

Your solar installer should provide you with a maintenance schedule. It’s usually as simple as keeping the panels free of dust and debris and having the wiring checked by an electrical contractor periodically. For further tips, check out our already got solar page or visit the CEC website to guide you on what to do once your system is installed.

9. Ensure safety during bad weather

Your solar PV system can be damaged during a storm, cyclone or flood and become unsafe. It’s very important to know what to do to ensure your safety, so please read networks solar power safety webpage. It’s also a good idea to check with your insurer if your solar PV system is covered by your current insurance policy.

Picture of a man checking his inverter