Why Commercial Solar Makes Sense

Solar power can make a lot of financial sense. This is particularly the case with solar power for businesses. Here are some reasons that commercial solar Sydney makes sense:

  1. Businesses often consume a lot of energy – compared to homes, businesses tend to use a lot more energy. Whether it’s an industrial/manufacturing business or an office with air-conditioning, energy consumption is almost always higher at a business than at a home.
  2. Business hours are sunshine hours! – Because many businesses operate primarily during the day, solar panels can be very effective at offsetting consumption. This is when solar power can be most valuable.
  3. Solar power can offer businesses a better Return On Investment (ROI) than investing in other areas. Tax advantages and effective financing arrangements can make commercial solar power financially very attractive.
commercial solar sydney
A commercial solar system installed by Solarbank.

Commercial Solar Sydney – Choosing a solar system

Should businesses choose a solar system differently to how a homeowner does? Not necessarily. Businesses, however, may have different priorities to homeowners. Often for commercial solar the greatest emphasis is on the financial impacts i.e., the initial outlay vs the savings from the system. We would recommend however that equal consideration be given to the professionalism of the installers and the quality of the components. A poorly installed low cost system will cost more in the long term than a professionally installed high quality system.

The most important things a business should consider when choosing a solar system are:

  1. The quality of the panels, inverters and mounting system
  2. The workmanship and practices of the installers
  3. The after sales service from the installation company
  4. The system warranty – warranty of the individual components and the system as a whole
  5. The cost of the system – ensure you’re not paying too little or too much

Commercial Solar Sydney – Systems & considerations

If you’re considering a commercial solar system in Sydney there are a variety of things to keep in mind.

Commercial solar Sydney – list of considerations:

  • Which type of system should you invest in?
  • How large should your solar system be for the best savings outcome?
  • What Return On Investment (ROI) do you need to make the investment worthwhile?
  • Should you choose LG solar panels, Trina solar panels or another brand?
  • What are the rebates available to your business?
  • What are the tax implications of owning a solar power system?
  • Will a direct investment or finance arrangement work best for your business?
commercial solar sydney racking
The racking of a commercial solar system installation in Sydney before the panels went on.


Trina Solar Panels – 5 Reasons They Are A Top Choice

Trina Solar is one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world. Their impressive reputation puts them ahead in just about every way.

Trina don’t just produce high quality solar panels at a low cost, they invest heavily in research and development. And it’s precisely that reason which makes Trina solar panels stand out from the crowd.

Trina Solar in Australia

The solar panels available on the market today are far better than when Trina originally made their “Honey” PV cell breakthrough in 2012. Today we see their standard Multicrystalline module with an impressive efficiency of 16.20%. Their power tolerance of +5W means you are guaranteed either the rated module power or up to an additional 5W of power. For example a 265W will definitely be at least 265W and will deliver as much as 270W of power.

You know you’ve got a good panel when the manufacturer is a pioneer in research & development. Trina pours money into R & D to ensure solar panels continue to improve. They are literally at the forefront of solar PV module technology. Trina solar broke 15 world records since 2011. Now that’s impressive.

But one of the most pressing concerns for many Australians is what happens in the event of a failure. Most solar panels have the same warranty. But a warranty is only as good as the company behind it. Trina are an exceptionally robust company and have been around longer than most. This makes them one of the best choices when it comes to choosing a tier 1 solar panel.

Download Trina Solar Panels Datasheet Here

Trina Solar Panels in action

Trina panels are used on major projects around the world including here in Australia. Mildura airport, Adelaide airport and the University of QLD all use Trina panels to power their facilities. These are some of the largest solar installations in Australia and undoubtedly were selected under a great amount of scrutiny.

Check out the University of QLD 1.22MW Trina solar panels case study

The University of Queensland impressive solar system.

Trina Honey Solar Panels

What are Trina “Honey” Solar Panels? Trina released it’s high-efficiency solar cells in 2012 and named them “Honey” cells. Trina Honey modules come with what is known as a “linear” warranty. Instead of having set performance warranty periods, Trina guarantee a gradual performance change over time. This sets them apart from most other panel manufacturers and gives owners peace of mind.

trina solar panels warranty
Trina offers a linear performance warranty.

Trina Solar Panels – 5 Reasons They Are A Top Choice

To summarise, Trina Solar panels make an extremely good choice for both residential and commercial systems in Australia. Here’s why:

  1. Trina Solar have an exceptional reputation as a tier 1 panel manufacturer
  2. Trina Solar are leaders in R & D
  3. Trina panels have been used in many major projects around the world and chosen by for some of Australia’s largest solar projects
  4. Trina panels come with an unparalleled linear performance warranty
  5. Trina Solar are in it for the long-haul, meaning their warranties are solid!

Solar Panels Sydney – Comparison of Options

Solar panels Sydney – We want customers to find the best possible combination of quality and value.

We choose the solar panels we provide with great care to make sure you get the best outcome every time. It’s important to get an accurate comparison when talking about something as complex as solar panels.

solar panel comparison
Solar panel brands simulated outputs based on datasheet variation of efficiency with temperature and shading from clouds.

Solar Panels Sydney – Which Panels Are The “Best”?

When you’re shopping for solar panels for your solar system you’ll find out soon enough that everyone has their own idea of the “best” solar panel. Whether it’s based on simulations, performance in this test or that test, physical parameters or country of manufacture. Everyone has their own take on which panels are the best.

A reasonable approach to answering this question would be to look for:

  1. Durability
  2. Performance
  3. Value For Money
  4. A Company With Great After-Sales Service

These are without a doubt the most important factors in many people’s minds. And you need all of the above to really say you’ve got the “best” solar panel. For example, if you have a highly durable, high performance panel with great after-sales service but the price is double every other panel… You might question whether it’s really worth the price. Similarly for each of the above points, if one fails, you could be in for a huge headache down the track.

What’s Important In A Solar Panel?

Let’s take a quick look at the above 4 points plus other concerns many people have when comparing solar panels.

Solar Panel Durability

All solar panels sold in Australia claim to be durable. At least the warranties they offer claim that they will last 25 years or more! The truth is, many panels don’t last the distance. For many different reasons. While solar panels are quite a “stable” piece of equipment, there is still a lot that can go wrong. From defects in the silicon, to improperly sealed frames, electrical problems, shoddy soldering and much more.

So how can you ensure the panel you choose will last the distance? You can’t. But you can choose a reputable company and that gives you a very good chance of making an excellent choice. When it comes down to it, a solar panel’s durability is only as good as it’s warranties (more on that in a moment). And by choosing a company which has been around long enough and is big enough to honour their warranties, you’re making the right choice!

Solar Panel Warranties

Solar panels Sydney – What about warranties? Most panels offer a suite of warranties on their panels:

  1. 10 year product warranty
  2. 25 years performance warranty at 80% nominal output
  3. 15 years performance warranty at 90% nominal output

The problem: Has anyone ever claimed OR will anyone ever claim a warranty on panels 25 years after they’re installed? And based on their performance? How would you even measure this unless you’re up on the roof with a meter! The key thing however, is to choose a solar panel manufacturer who will be around in 25 years to help in the event that you do need to make a claim.

trina solar panels warranty
Trina offers a linear performance warranty.
Solar Panels Sydney – Solar Panel Performance

What about solar panel performance? The difference between different panels can be significant. Most of this is down to the build quality. More experienced solar panel manufacturers such as Trina and LG generally have better performance than less experienced manufacturers.

The chart below is a representation of the differences in performance and how poor panel performance translates into savings lost.

solar panels sydney performance
*Savings are based on a flat rate of $0.32 per kWh with performance of 4kWh/kW/day production

We only stock high quality solar panels with an excellent reputation in both quality and performance. Trina Solar is very well known and was the panel of choice for the MW (1,000 kW) scale University of QLD solar array. LG solar panels offer unparalleled performance as they utilize some of the most advance solar panel technology. Just as you would choose a Fronius inverter or a Tesla Powerwall if you wanted a solar battery system, LG and Trina are both excellent solar panel options.

Top 7 Solar Battery System Tips

When you decide to get a solar battery system, you soon find out it’s not as easy as you thought! A solar battery system is a complex thing, but the idea is usually the same; an energy system which you can rely on to provide most of your energy needs… most (if not all) of the time.

Here are the top 7 tips from Solarbank to ensure you choose a suitable solar battery system to do the job.

solar battery system
Here is a typical (AC) Powerwall setup for customers who already have solar panels.

Solar Battery System Tip #1 –  Know what you need

It’s crucial to firstly get some basic understanding of what you need. You should understand a little bit (at least) about your energy use and what you want to achieve with your solar battery system.

First of all, there are 3 important numbers you should know:

  1. How much energy you use each day (in kWh – usually around 20kWh/day for a typical household)
  2. How much energy you will use from a solar system (if it didn’t have batteries)
  3. How much energy is left to store in your battery bank

The first number is easy – look at your past power bills (at least 1 year) and get an average – each bill might be different due to seasonality.

The 2nd number you can get through “guesstimation” OR you could ask Solarbank for a FREE quote and we can run a simulation for you. Usually it will be around 4 x solar system size per day. So if you have a 5kW solar system, this would be 4 x 5 = 20kWh/day.

The 3rd number is very difficult to guess. It’s best you get an expert to assess your particular case to advise on this. Let’s say you use 10kWh in the day (from your solar system) and another 10kWh overnight. This would basically mean the excess 10kWh from your panels need to be stored in a battery for you to use overnight.

Here is a 3 phase solar battery system installed by Solarbank. The image shows a Tesla Powerwall with SMA inverter tech. Powerwall 2 would not require the white box.

Solar Battery System Tip #2 – Already Got Solar Panels?

If you’ve already got a solar system on the roof, you can easily add batteries. Tesla Powerwall 2 (AC) is specially designed for this. You may also need a solar system checkup to ensure everything is operating smoothly (before adding a battery to your system).

Solar Battery System Tip #3 – Feed In Tariffs

In case you don’t know, a feed-in-tariff (FiT) is how much you get paid for excess power your solar panels produce. Back in the “golden” days, feed in tariffs were high and solar exploded in popularity. This is important to consider when you’re looking at getting a solar battery system. Since you don’t want to lose any potential valuable feed-in-tariff. Most of the time, it’s easy to add a separate system, keep the feed-in-tariff on the old system and combine the 2 later on (if needed – once FiT expires).

Solar Battery System Tip #4 – Choosing Components

It’s important to get a quality system. Even more so today than previously. Since a solar battery system is more complex than a solar (grid) system, you want to make sure it’s quality. For example, you want a battery such as Tesla Powerwall 2 which comes with a 10 year warranty as standard. You also want something you know is going to perform. Something you can monitor. And something you can get fast help with (if needed).

Solar Battery System Tip #5 – Finding An Installer

You need a solar system installer who is well-versed in solar battery system installations. Solarbank have done many residential and commercial solar battery system installations. It’s important to get someone reliable and fairly close by who can answer all your questions and be there to help when you need it most.

Another beautifully completed solar battery system installation by Solarbank.

Solar Battery System Tip #6 – Monitoring

A solar monitoring setup is important. It’s how you know everything is running smoothly (or not). Powerwall 2 lets you monitor real-time use and alerts you when Powerwall is preparing for cloudy or severe weather. Getting it right with monitoring can make a big difference both to your savings and to your peace of mind.

An example of Tesla Powerwall monitoring

Solar Battery System Tip #7 – Maintenance

Maintaining a solar system is crucial. You should ensure your panels stay clean and that you get a solar system health-check at least once a year. Solarbank can advise on a maintenance plan that’s best for you depending on your circumstances.

Solar Installation Quality – Cable Fixings

We all know that electrical cabling can be dangerous.

It’s important to ensure that any cables carrying DC energy are properly secured to ensure an entirely safe solar system.

Cable Fixings

Australian Standards require that no cables be hanging under the solar panels and be in contact with the roof. Solarbank uses a combination of stainless steel cable ties and cable clips to fix all cabling to the panels and rails, which means no contact with the roof for the life of the system.

Here are some images to give you an idea of how we fix cables in your solar system:

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Solar Installation Quality – Roof Penetrations

Nobody wants to end up with a leaky roof after a solar installation!

Solarbank always ensure we install the correct flashing for the job in accordance with all standards.

Roof Penetrations

Australian Standards require the use of a Dektite® (or similar) gland for the cable entry through the roof. Solarbank uses full sized genuine Dektite® flashings to ensure a guaranteed watertight cable entry.

The image below is to give you an idea of what roof penetrations look like:
solar roof penetration flashing

Quality Check: Cable Fixings

Solar Installation Quality – Levelling Rails

Leveling solar rails is on Solarbank’s 6 point checklist. It’s another thing which makes our customers happy, while most people wouldn’t even think of it initially!

Leveling Solar Rails

Nothing looks worse on a home than a bowing/dipping or misaligned solar array on the roof. We notice them (even if others don’t). To ensure your solar panels are level we take measurements between the roof and the rail at either end then string line across the rail and then make adjustments to counter any bows in the roof (most roofs have a bow). Simple, but effective – level solar rails.

Here are some images to give you an idea of how we ensure your panels are level:

Quality Check: Roof Penetrations

Tesla Powerwall Price – Is It Worth It?

Tesla Powerwall. It’s the “new age” of energy systems. Homeowners now, more than ever can take full control over their power with the Tesla Powerwall 2.

But is the Powerwall worth it? What’s a good Tesla Powerwall price? How much does Tesla Powerwall cost with Solarbank? Will you be better off if you get one installed?

Tesla Powerwall Prices

Like everything, the cost of a Tesla Powerwall varies depending on;

a) The installer

b) Your location

c) Complexity factors of the installation.

In general though, Tesla Powerwall price is what you might expect from a state-of-the art piece of energy technology with more benefits to you than you might know. For the reasons above, we won’t get into specifics on what a Tesla Powerwall might cost. If you’d like to know a Tesla Powerwall Price then why not ask us for an obligation-free quote here!

Tesla Powerwall Price VS Returns

Getting Tesla Powerwall coupled with your solar power system is an investment. And like any investment, it’s important to consider the cost VS returns. Currently, solar panels give a better “return on your money” than Tesla Powerwall will. However, solar panels on their own cannot deliver as many benefits as a hybrid solar battery setup.

Getting a Tesla Powerwall with your solar system means:

  1. You make use of solar energy which would otherwise be “wasted” (sent to the grid)
  2. Your power bill drops even more than it will with just solar
  3. Your overall returns will be higher than if you just got a solar PV system

How Tesla Powerwall Saves You More Than Solar Panels Alone:

tesla powerwall price chart
Shows how Tesla Powerwall battery charges and discharges to give you more power than solar alone.

How Can I Get Tesla Powerwall For My Solar System?

Tesla Powerwall just got even better with the introduction of Powerwall 2. Very little change to the price of the system, but huge improvements all round! Powerwall 2 is a higher density unit with increased abilities to deliver power to you when you need it most (when the solar can’t cover all your use).

See the image below for an example of the improvements to Powerwall with Tesla Powerwall 2:

Tesla powerwall 2 comparison
Tesla Powerwall compared with Powerwall 2

Can I Get Tesla Powerwall For My Existing Solar System?

Yes! Now it’s easier to couple a Powerwall with your existing system. This is also called retro-fitting. There are 2 versions of Powerwall – The AC powerwall is built for this exact scenario (adding to a solar system with an inverter). The DC Powerwall includes some in-built inverter tech and is suited to new solar installations.

Tesla Powerwall 2 AC coupled
This is how Powerwall 2 can be AC-coupled to ANY existing solar PV system.

How Do I Get Tesla Powerwall If I Don’t Have Solar Panels Yet?

The DC Powerwall 2 will handle all your needs. You can install this unit with any compatible solar system. Ask us about how it could work for you now.

Tesla Powerwall Price – What’s it going to cost?

Tesla Powerwall 2 is not ‘cheap and nasty’. This is a premium system to deliver reliable power to your home. One thing is for certain, installing a Powerwall is going to be cheaper than paying for grid power into the future. Tesla Powerwall comes with a 10 year warranty! Which means it will most certainly give you an excellent Return On Investment.

Solar Installation Quality – Rooftop Isolator Protection

Solarbank has developed a 6 point quality check to give you an idea of the smaller things we think about to ensure that your installation goes as smoothly as possible.

Point 3: Rooftop Isolator Protection

Isolators are a critical (and often overlooked) part of a solar system. Solar systems have been known to fail in many instances where a poor quality isolator was installed, an isolator was installed incorrectly or not at all!

Australian Standards

Australian Standards require solar power systems to have isolators (switches) on the roof, at the inverter and in the switchboard. This applies to both DC and AC systems. Rooftop isolators have been the source of many solar system failures primarily due to water ingress into the switch after it has deteriorated in the sun.

IMO DC Isolators

At Solarbank we only use IMO DC isolators, which are made in Austria and in our opinion are one of the best available. In addition to using the highest quality isolators we also install all rooftop isolators with a metal housing to shade the isolator and limit the exposure to the harsh Australian elements.

Here are some images to give you an idea of what a solar rooftop isolator looks like:

Quality Check: Levelling of Rails

Solar Installation Quality – Tile Grinding

Solarbank has developed a 6 point check to give you an idea of the smaller things we think about to ensure that your installation goes as smoothly as possible.

Point 2: Tile Grinding

Tile grinding is simply using a the process of grinding a small portion off of some roof tiles in order to allow the brackets (which hold the rails in place) to fit securely onto your roof without jeopardising the integrity of your roof.

Clean Energy Council Guidelines

The Clean Energy Council installation guidelines require tile grinding. Tile grinding is critical when installing on a tile roof to ensure that the tile itself is not resting on the stainless steel bracket, which is fitted to mount the solar rails. If the tile is resting on this bracket there is a strong chance the tile will crack over time, potentially leading to water leaking into the roof. We care about your property and we make sure there is no chance tiles can crack or leak in the future.

Here are some images to give you an idea of what tile grinding involves:

Quality Check: Rooftop Isolator Protection