Complete Guide to Solar Installation For Households

The clean energy council has published a free guide to buying and installing solar panels for your home.

Contemplating solar installation on your home can be pretty confusing at first. What size system to install? Who do I get to do the job? And what the hell is a feed-in tariff?

The clean energy council is here to help with this guide packed full of useful tips:

What covering in the guide?

  • Here’s a few things they cover:

  • The different types of PV systems

  • The much they cost?

  • Government rebates

  • What are feed-in tariffs

  • Maintenance of your solar system

Download the CEC Guide to Solar

Inner West students and council join forces to put solar in schools

The Sydney inner west solar scene has been boosted as a group of student leaders in the area have joined the growing solar in schools movement.

The Sydney Student Leader Coalition (SSLC) is a collective of high school students from inner west schools that advocates for change within their communities. The Coalition is partnering with Inner West Council to get rooftop solar for local schools.

Mayor Darcy Byrne has welcomed the initiative and offered Council support. He describes the students’ enthusiasm as “inspiring”, saying it should be matched by local government action.

Members of the Sydney Student Leaders Coalition with Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne.

Twin goals: saving the environment, saving money

The motivation behind the inner west solar initiative is both economic and environmental.

Participating schools could potentially shave off thousands each year from their electricity bills. They could also drastically reduce carbon emissions.

SSLC started the ball rolling after being inspired by Caringbah High School south of Sydney, which has already saved thousands per year on electricity bills with solar power.

How the inner west solar school program will pan out

The Department of Education will provide 50 per cent of the funds for a rooftop solar array through its tendering program. It’s then up to the school to set a budget and goal and come up with the rest of the funds needed.

The Department also offers other resources. This includes information and advice on the size and type of solar installation each school would need.

Raising money is only one aspect of this, however, and Inner West Council will assist with practical support.

Byrne says Council will help the students co-ordinate the solar in schools program. This will include organisation, formulating proposals, and the logistics of making solar installations happen.

Growth of solar in schools movement

While the Morrison Government continues to ignore this week’s alarming IPCC report, solar programs for schools are growing in popularity.

Through the Solar My School program, for instance, more than 50 schools in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have installed solar panels or are in the process.

For example, Rose Bay Public School in Woollahra has saved over $5,000 and 25 tonnes of emissions a year through its 30 kW system. Bondi Public School has also saved nearly $6,000 and 27 tonnes of emissions with its solar installation.

Some Aussie schools are going one step further by installing solar batteries. Last year, a boarding school in Rockhampton installed a Tesla Powerpack to store energy from its 100 kW solar array. This enables the school to store solar power generated during the day and use it after sunset.

The Powerpack is the commercial version of the Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery.

Two of Australia’s biggest solar farms set to light up Riverina town

Two of the biggest solar farms Australia has seen so far are planned for Balranald in rural NSW.

The 255 MW Sunraysia Solar Farm is due to begin construction shortly. The $350 million project should generate enough energy to power around 50,000 homes.

Building of the Limondale solar project will also begin this month. The 349 MW installation will consequently be Australia’s largest solar farm to date. German energy company Innogy is developing Limondale, while Australian-Chinese firm Maoneng Group is backing Sunraysia.

Two biggest solar farms will boost state economy

A construction camp will be set up in the remote town in western NSW to house construction workers.

As reported by ABC News, half of Sunraysia’s output will supply power generator and retailer AGL. A quarter will feed Sydney’s University of New South Wales, with the remainder in to the national grid.

The Limondale solar plant should reach full operation in the mid-2020s. Construction of the Sunraysia solar installation should be complete by the first half of 2020.

However, Energy Networks Australia (ENA) is raising a red flag over renewable growth in Balranald and nearby areas lining the Murray River. The issue is whether distribution infrastructure can meet increased energy generation.

Grid overhaul required to handle solar growth

ENA Chief Executive Andrew Dillon says the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is now investigating possible upgrades to the grid. This would ensure it can accommodate the rapid growth of renewable energy.

It is therefore a priority to integrate the Red Cliffs integrator near Mildura. This will strengthen the interconnection between Victoria and NSW.

Dillon says investors will look elsewhere if necessary network upgrades do not eventuate.

Because of this, the NSW government is developing a transmission infrastructure strategy. This will then build on AEMO’s recently released integrated system plan.

Rapid growth in solar farms throughout Australia

NSW is not the only solar farm ‘hot spot’ in the country, however.

Recently, Queensland issued a solar farm guide to help local authorities deal with the state’s growing large-scale solar power sector.

Meanwhile, three major solar projects in Victoria will help the state meet its target of 40 per cent renewables by 2025. Mildura, Echuca and Shepparton will host the solar farms.

Further south, Tasmania’s Wesley Vale Solar Farm should generate up to 25,600 MWh of electricity annually. This is enough to power 2,900 homes.

Major solar panel and solar thermal projects are also under way north of Port Augusta in South Australia.