There are a number of factors that impact your roof's suitability for solar:
- Roof area and shading
- Roof material and pitch
- Your current switchboard
Roof Area & Shading
Solar panels vary slightly in size by brand and output, but are generally around 1.6m x 1m. Even the smallest solar systems require 6 panels at a minimum, so your available roof space needs to be at least 10sqm. A medium size residential solar system (5kW) would require 19 panels.
Some roof space may be impacted by shading from nearby trees, reducing your available space.
The first step in the Jim's Energy solar process is to conduct a free, no obligation assessment of your roof to identify available space and any problematic shading.
Roof Material & Pitch
The installation requirements change slightly if your roof is tin or tiled. The optimum roof pitch depends on the latitude of your location, ranging from 12° in Darwin to 37° in Melbourne. Standard roof pitches in Australia are 15° or 22.5°, so if your roof requires additional tilt, we will discuss options for tilt frames, which can significantly improve the output of your system.
Unfortunately, slate roofs are not suitable for solar.
The ideal roof will face north, but it's still possible to install solar on north-east, north-west, east or west facing roofs. A north-east or north-west facing roof will reduce your electrical output by approximately 8%. An east or west facing roof will reduce your electrical output by approximately 16%.
We would not recommend installing solar on a south facing roof.
Your current switchbox
Your meter box, fuse box, electrical wiring and switchboard must be compliant and solar ready. A bi-directional meter is required for solar; to monitor and record the import and export of electricity. If you already have a smart meter, it will most likely need to be reprogrammed for export monitoring. Often, we can upgrade your equipment free of charge and will make sure your equipment is ready before installation.
On average, 10% of properties are deemed unsuitable for solar, primarily due to shading by large trees or the direction and material of the roof.
A bi-directional meter is required for solar. A bi-directional meter can monitor and record the import and export of electricity.
If you already have a smart meter, in most cases it will need to be reprogrammed for export monitoring. If you do not have a smart meter, one will need to be installed.
Three phase smart meters do exist and are solar enabled!
You must have your landlord's approval to install a solar system on the roof of rented premises, as only the property owner has the right to assign STCs (see government subsidies below) to a third party such as Jim's Energy.
First, it is good to know the difference between a kilowatt (kW) and a kilowatt hour (kWh). A kW is 1,000 Watts and is a measure of power. A kWh is a measure of energy equivalent to the power consumption of 1,000 Watts for one hour.
The Clean Energy Council estimates that each 1,000W (1kW) of solar PV produces on average, 3.6 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day in Victoria and 3.8 kWh in northern Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.
You can quickly understand the amount of energy your system will generate in Victoria by calculating the system size in kWs x 3.6 kWhs.
To calculate your system size, multiply the number of panels by the capacity per panel (265W). Eg. 19 panels x 265W = 5.035kW system.
According to the Clean Energy Council, a 5.035kW system would therefore produce 18.126kWhs of electricity per day.
A 5kW system producing 18.1kWhs per day x 365 days per year = 6,752kWhs.
The average daily consumption for a household is 18-20kWhs per day. If there is no-one home during the day, you could export energy back to the grid and receive a feed-in tariff (currently a minimum of 11.3c/kWh in Victoria) as additional income on top of your electricity savings.
Solar systems typically produce power between 8am and 4pm, with most of it consumed during the day in typical business environments. Where a system produces more electricity than is needed or consumed, excess electricity is exported to the grid. State governments in Australia have legislated that you will be eligible to receive financial compensation for exported energy. The value of solar feed-in tariffs (FiTs) varies by state, and changes frequently. Click here to read more about Victoria's time-varying feed-in tariffs and about current feed-in tariffs nationwide.
In any residential solar proposal from Jim's Energy, your percentage export assumption will be detailed. Our aim is to minimise export where possible by sizing a system to meet your consumption patterns.
All warranties on our solar systems are manufacturer warranties. Jim's Energy only uses trusted, proven supplies. Our mounting systems are provided by Clenergy with a 10-year structural warranty. Our top of the range solar panels are German engineered Q-Cells and come with 12-year structural warranty and 25-year output warranty. Our inverter range includes Fronius (10-year warranty), Solis (8-year warranty), Solar Edge (12-year warranty) and Solar Edge Optimisers (25-year warranty). All installation work is covered by a 5-year warranty. Electrical equipment, including circuit breakers, switches and wiring are covered by a 1-year warranty. In the event of a warranty claim, please contact our customer service team on 1300 570 886. Insurance on warranties is available for large installations.
- Jim's Energy will complete a detailed site assessment at no cost nor obligation to you.
- The site assessment will determine the suitability of your property for solar (and other energy efficiency solutions if required).
- After providing a copy of your most recent electricity bill, you will receive a quotation for the supply and installation of a solar system, customised to fit your unique requirements, preferences and energy consumption patterns.
- The quotation will include likely investment returns, system benefits, finance options and our terms and conditions.
- If you are happy to proceed with the solution recommended, the 'Agreement to Proceed' page should be signed and returned to us.
- Installation of a solar system typically takes place 3-4 weeks from receipt of the Agreement to Proceed.
- After installation, your grid connection application will be passed to your electricity distributor for approval.
- Your distributor will connect your solar system to the grid, you will receive your new feed-in tariff and you will see the full benefits of going solar!
Jim's Energy is part of Australia's largest, most trusted franchise; Jim's Group. Established in 1982 with 3,500 franchisees nationwide, Jim's has a proven track record for quality.
Offering a portfolio of solutions to improve households' energy efficiency, Jim's Energy specialises in the supply and install of residential solar, energy storage, energy broking and energy monitoring systems.
Jim's Energy is a Clean Energy Council accredited solar retailer and ISO 9001, 14001 and AS/NZS 4801 certified.
Jim's Energy is also part of Echo Group, a 100% Australian owned and operated company. Echo Group employees have more than 100 years of combined experience in solar and energy efficiency. Jim's Energy and Echo Group affiliated businesses, have installed thousands of solar PV systems in Australia since 2007.
Jim's Energy is a partner to Victorian council bulk buy programs, accreditations for such programs follow detailed due diligence programs.
In the event of a loss of electricity to your property (a blackout), the solar system will turn off. This is in line with Australian Standard AS4777 - anti-islanding to protect people repairing the line from electric shocks. A commercial solar and battery storage solution with an Emergency Power Supply built in, will be triggered to provide power to a property in the event of a blackout.
If you live in an area vulnerable to blackouts, click here to read more about solar battery storage options available.
There are two types of federal government subsidies for solar - Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) and Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs). STCs are issued for solar systems <99.9kW and are traded through the wholesale market. Their value is largely determined by supply and demand and wholesale prices can fluctuate considerably. STCs are being phased out by 2030 and reduce in value by 6.5% on 1 January each year. There is no indication that federal subsidies will continue after 2030.
As of 19 August 2018, the Andrews' Labor Government in Victoria launched the Solar Homes subsidy program. The new Victorian solar rebate offers homeowners a subsidy of 50% off the cost of their solar system, up to $2,225. For more information and to determine your eligibility for the subsidy, click here.