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How does Solar work??

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Robina, Gold Coast

    Default How does Solar work??

    Hi all,

    the house we have purchased has solar connected to the pool & house.

    does anyone know how this works to get money back for electric produced back to the grid etc?

    we are on Gold Coast


  2. #2
    Slow but rough Uncle Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    North Cooma, Canberra


    Do you have an inverter?

  3. #3
    1K Club Member Random Username's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012


    Since you mention 'pool', I'm guessing it is a solar water heating system. No, you don't get money, just (effectively) cheaper hot water.
    DIY electrical house wiring details suitable for Australia - http://goo.gl/9d33T (PDF file)

  4. #4
    2K Club Member barney118's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default How does Solar work??

    Any $ would only be good for the original purchaser, I believe it doesn't transfer for buying yours off you now, just save on bills best to run your appliances when the sun is about as the rest is freebies to electric company.

    Cheers Barney
    Sent from my iPhone 4s using Tapatalk
    cheers Look out if I have a tape measure in my hand.....I'm upto something

  5. #5
    3K Club Member johnc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004


    It does sound as if you have a hot water heater on the roof using sun power rather than an electric generator from solar panels. However it is completely wrong to say that you can't sell surplus power from panels back to the grid. You certainly can it is just that it will be at whatever price is being offered now. I think you will find though you are not generating any power. The original reply "do you have an inverter" is the key one, no inverter then no power.

  6. #6
    Senior Stinkologist Sir Stinkalot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Parkside S.A.


    You have had good advice so far.

    First port of call is to check to see if is a photovoltaic system (power) or a solar water heater for the pool. Pool solar heating is generally many lengths of black pipe that the pool water is slowly drawn through, being heated by the sun on the way through the long loop of pipework. The heated water is returned to the pool.

    The photovoltaic system has panels which would typically appear to be dark in colour, generally rectangular in shape and have a glass like surface. It would be easy enough to Google examples of both to see what you have. If it is a photovoltaic system you will have an inverter which converts the solar power into power to be used by your home or the grid. The inverter is typically located near your main meter box and there is often signage on the meter box advising of there being a solar system.

    If it is a photovoltaic system you should call your electricity retailer and advise them that you have a system. Many retailers put you on a slightly different plan. Over here is SA, and I think the rules are somewhat similar in other states, the first owner obtained a credit for power fed back into the grid from the government grant (feed in tariff) and also from the electricity retailer. The value of the government feed in tariff varied depending on when the system was put in. Being the new owner you will no longer receive the government feed in tariff, however you will still be paid by the electricity retailer for any power you feed back into the grid.

    Unfortunately if you are only receiving the retailer tariff it is less attractive. You will receive a credit for when power is being fed back into the grid. When the system is generating power your house has first use (fridge, lights, pool pump etc.) any excess is then sold back to the grid at a small price. If your house is using more than you are generating at any particular time you will be buying the excess back from the grid at the standard rate. Unfortunately at night, when you are not generating your own power, you will be buying from the grid at standard retail prices. The feedback component is for that instance, so if you generate and export 20 units of power during the day and use 30 at night, you have to pay full retail for the 30 you used at night and you only get paid for 20 you fed back during the day (at a much lower rate than you are buying at night).

    If you are only on the retailer tariff you are much better off trying to push your energy usage to times when you are generating your own power. Simple things like running the dishwasher, washing machine, pool pump etc during the day when you are generating will help save you money. If you are not using the power you are generating you will not get paid much for it and then need to buy it again at full retail prices.

    Its all very complicated but in summary, if you have a photovoltaic system call your energy retailer and let them know. Then try and shift your energy usage to align when you are generating your own power.
    Licence to drill!

  7. #7
    1K Club Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    A photo of your roof showing what solar equipment you have would make it easy to answer your questions.

    Also, is there an inverter somewhere? This will be a box mounted on the wall. It maybe either outside, in the garage or under the house if that area is easily accessible. It will have some electrical switches, cables etc connected to it and most have a small screen on the front which displays various information.

    At a guess, you've got solar water heating for the pool + a solar power system as others have said. Or you might have solar hot water either instead of, or in addition to, solar power. All these systems look quite different - a photo would make it easy to answer the question.

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