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Frequently asked questions
How do I view my Solar system production online?
Each inverter brand has its own unique app where you can monitor your solar system online. Please get in touch with our team and we will help you get online and start monitoring today!
How much warranty do I get and what does it cover?
There are a number of warranties that come with your Solar Panels System and Installation.
5 Year Workmanship Warranty – At Cerium Energy we provide a workmanship warranty that covers the labour component of the installation and is valid for 5 years from the date of installation.
15 – 25 Year Solar Panel Product Warranty – The Solar Panel Product warranty covers the Solar Panels from any defects or physical imperfections or issues, different manufacturers offer a varying range from 15-25 Years.
10 Year Inverter Warranty – The Inverter Warranty covers the inverter from any defects, issues or problems. All our Inverters offer a 10 Year Product Warranty.
We take care of all your warranty needs in house, if you have any issues with your system please contact us and our team will take care of it!
What is a Smart/Consumption Meter and is it worth it?
A Smart Consumption meter is an optional component offered by most inverter manufacturers. This type of smart meter, also known as a smart meter accessory, adds consumption data to its monitoring portals and will give homeowners better insight into their energy usage.
Most inverter brands who offer smart meter accessories also have a free monitoring portal, which allows you to monitor your solar production on most web-enabled devices. Adding a smart meter accessory to the inverter will also show you your energy consumption within the portal. This is extremely useful for optimising your self-consumption and planning for future energy storage. It also enables you to calculate the exact savings.
A consumption monitor will give you an exact measure of how much power you are using in the house at any given time as well as how much power you use from the solar panels and the grid. Have a look at our products page for more info.
What is panel efficiency and do I need a panel with high efficiency?
Panel efficiency is the amount of sunlight the panel is able to convert to energy. When comparing solar panels, it’s useful to determine which will produce the most power in the same amount of space, with the same access to sunlight, as well as determine what panel you actually need.
The two instances that should prompt you to buy a higher efficiency panel are:
- Low roof space – solar panels with higher efficiency will make the most out of the space that is available. Consider future requirements too, as you may need to add a second system if your energy demands increase in the future.
- Shaded roof areas – while greater efficiency doesn’t improve the performance of a shaded panel, it does allow you to get more production out of the non-shaded areas.
Panels with efficiency higher than 20% are considered excellent with the highest in the market around the 23% mark.
Data sheets are available along with all quotes sent out to our customers.
My inverter is 5kw but the panels installed equal to 6.6kw. Is this allowed?
This is also known as oversizing the inverter. Australian standards allow inverters to be oversized by 33% i.e. a 5kw inverter can handle upto 6.6kw worth of panels without any issues or compromise to performance.
This helps by maximising the production from yuor solar panels, Solar Panels Technology is not 100% efficient and this means that with only 5kW worth of Panels on a 5kW Inverter the system will struggle to reach the peak 5kW production. By having more wattage on the panels means that you will reach the peak performance quicker and for longer.
This also means that on cloudy or rainy days the panels will produce decent amount of power
How do I choose a good solar panel?
When selecting Solar panels for your property there are number of key factors to consider. At Cerium Energy we partner will industry leading brands to provide a solution best suited to your needs while keeping the budget in mind. We select suppliers based on two important factors that can affect our customers.
At Cerium Energy we only work with Tier 1 products and provide the best quality solutions for our customers.
First, we partner with brands who invest in high quality, high performance products, and have a proven track record.
Secondly, we are looking for brands that have been in the Australian ,market for 10 years plus and provide local warranty and after sales support. This ensures that if there are every any faults or issues with the products we can have a replacement part or unit organised asap leading to minimal down time.
Can you match the price of another quote I received?
At Cerium Energy we not only offer competitive prices, we also provide excellent installation and customer service. There are a number of factors that go into your solar installation quote, Our team of experts provide an adequative quote to ensure there are no surprise costs on the day of the install. If you have a quote from another company please send it through to firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will be happy to review the quote and provide a competitive quote.
Do I need to tell my Electricity about my Solar System?
Our local Australian based office will take care of informing your electricity company and electricity retailer/distributor. We will complete and send paperwork and documents to your energy retailer so it is essential that you update us if you have changed energy retailers recently. We will provide all documents to your energy retailer along with a copy for you. Sit back relax and enjoy the savings!
My system has been installed why is it not working/why is it not turned on?
Once the solar system is installed it will need to be inspected by an Energy Safe Victoria Inspector. These inspectors are independent to Cerium Energy and work on a ticketing system. The inspector has been informed of the installation at your property on the day of installation and has all your contact details. The inspector will come out and inspect the system to make sure it conforms to safety requirements they will turn on the system.
What happens on the day of installation?
Our CEC Accredited installation team will arrive on site in the morning and get setup for the job. For each job our CEC Accredited Designer will generate a site plan for the days work, this will include the following:
- Panels Location
- Inverter Location
- Disconnection Points
- Wiring Diagram
- Voltage Calculations
- Shading Implications
- Any other factors that need to be considered
We will then get started, we ask that you lock up any pets and treat the house a worksite. Your power will be turned off for about 15-20 mins during the day, however our team will discuss a time that suits you before doing this. To finish off we will ensure everything is installed as required and complete all testing. We will leave your home clean and in the same way we found it.
My solar application has been approved can i get it installed tomorrow?
That’s great news however there are a few more steps involved. Once your Solar Application is approved we will be notified at Cerium Energy. Once notified we will generate an installation contact, organise stock for installation, organise a day for installation pending weather and then contact you to confirm we can book it in on the required day and then carry out the installation.
Will I earn money from the Feed-in Tarrif (FiT)?
The energy generated from your solar system will firstly be used inside your property and the excess that is not being used will be exported back to the grid where your energy retailer will pay you for this energy. Each energy retailer has a different FiT and it is a good idea to shop around. You can use the website https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/ to compare different energy plans.
The idea of a solar system is to use as much power as you can during the day and feed back a minimal amount, this way you can make the most from your system.
What benefits are there if I install solar?
Solar Panels have a number of awesome benefits for you:
- You can reduce your power bill by up to 70%
- Once the system is paid off, make positive cash flow from your investment
- Power your home with clean energy
- Help the environment by using renewable energy
- Increase your property value
- Become a sustainable household
- and HEAPS more!
How can solar save me money?
A solar system will help you reduce the amount of money you are paying on electricity whilst also generating excess electricity which can be sent back to the grid for a Feed-In Tariff.
Lets have a look at an average scenario below:
- If your household bills are about $150 per month or $450 per quarter,
- You decide to purchase the standard 6.6kw system
- Your Solar panels should produce around 75% of your usage
- This will save you around $120 per month or $360 a quarter, annually $1,500
With the upfront cost of Solar systems ranging from $1,999 – $2,999 you will have your system paid off in the first couple of years, that’s an awesome Return on Investment.
How much will it cost?
We have Solar Packages starting from $0 upfront with easy to manage monthly repayments. The average cost of a 6.6kW Solar system can range from $7k-$10k. Upto $6,000 of this is covered by state and federal rebates. This means you only pay a small amount upfront to have solar panels at your property.
How long will my solar installation take?
Typically a 5-10kW system is installed in 1 day. Larger systems can take a couple of days. Our inhouse team takes care of the administration side of applying for rebates and approvals before the installation process can take place so get in touch today so our Cerium Energy experts can start your process.
Depending on a number of factors such as, roof type, single or double storey and the weather installation time frames can vary. Our team of CEC Accredited Designers and Installer will create a site specific plan for your installation and discuss all the particulars with you before the work is started.
We respect our customers and leave the property as we found it and take all our rubbish with us, we treat your home like its our own!
Solar Batteries. What’s all the fuss?
Cerium Energy has a wide range of solar batteries available for install so suit every budget and need. Get in touch with our friendly staff and we will be more than happy to help find the best option for you.
When you solar system generates excess energy there are one of two options – it can be sent back to power grid for a Feed-In Tarriff which is determined by your retailer or you can store the excess energy for use at a later time which is where Solar Batteries come in.
Solar Batteries store excess energy produced by your solar system for use at a later time when the solar system is not producing enough energy such as low sunlight days or at night. This allows the property to be independent as possible to the energy grid and energy companies. It provides the property the ability to have some power in the case of a blackout.
There are a number of battery rebates you be eligible for as well, get in touch with us today to find out more!
Can I monitor my solar system online and on my phone?
Yes you can!
All our inverters come with a built in Wi-Fi monitoring device which gives you access to the online portal which is available both online and on your phone to monitor how much energy is being produced by your solar system. The portal will show the amount of energy being produced at any given point in time along with historical data.
The online system can also send you and us a ping if there is something wrong with the system so we can rectify it asap!
There is an option to add a consumption monitor to the system which allows you to monitor how much power you are using in the house as well as sending back to the grid.
Speak to our team of experts today to fins the right monitoring solution for you.
What rebates are available for Solar Panels and Batteries?
Our team will help you maximise the amount of rebates, incentives and grants available so get in touch today.
Each state and territory in Australia has their own rebates, grants and/or incentives available to eligible properties installing solar systems and/or solar batteries.
The federal incentive is called the STC program which stands for Small-scale Technology Certificates. The STCs are created and issued by the government for renewable energy systems as a financial incentive to have these systems installed. The STCs are used to lower the upfront cost of the installation of your solar system and/or solar batteries.
Solar panel rebates are available of up to $1,400 plus the option of an interest-free loan of $1,400. The loan is required to be repaid over four years or can be repaid sooner in one lump sum.
Am I eligible?
Victorian households are eligible to receive a rebate for installing a solar PV system if they meet the following criteria:
- they are the owner-occupier of the property
- the owners have a combined household taxable income of less than $180,000 per year (based on their Australian Tax Office Notice of Assessment)
- they have not already received a solar battery rebate as an owner-occupier under the Solar Homes Program
- it is an existing property, valued at under $3 million
- they do not have an existing solar PV system*. (eligible if existing system was installed prior to November 2009)
More info at: https://www.solar.vic.gov.au/solar-panel-rebate
Further to the above Solar Victoria also has a battery rebate of $2.950 for eligible properties.
Eligible businesses can apply for a rebate of $3,500 to install a solar panel system, with the option to take advantage of an interest-free loan up to $5,000.
What are the steps involved?
Its an easy process:
Step 1 – Get in contact with us and we will ask you all the questions we need to give you a range of options to choose from
Step 2 – Choose the brands and layout that you like
Step 3 – We install and get your system up and running so you can save and enjoy the benefits
It really is that simple. There are some smaller steps in between which we take care of and some steps after which we handle so you can enjoy the savings.
How do I know what system is suitable for my property?
Here at Cerium we are experts at recommending the best solutions for your property. We consider all factors relevant to your property and your energy needs and provide a site specific custom quote. We will have a look at your current energy consumption, future energy consumption and advise accordingly on what is the best size system along with a range of panel and inverter brands to suit your needs and budget.
In most cases a standard family home required anywhere between a 5kW and a 10kW solar system, a few factors to consider are: roof space, electricity usage, grid supply rules and investment payback period. But you don’t have to worry about any of it, simply give us a call or fill in a quote request form and sit back and let us take care of it all!
What if it is a cloudy or rainy day will my system still work?
When it is a rainy or overcast day, sunlight is less prevalent and thus, the amount of energy that is converted is reduced. So when will my solar system work in the rain? All the time! The solar panel will still function in rainy conditions; however, it will function at a decreased capacity when compared to bright, sunny days.
The system will still work however it will be reduced as there is less solar energy available on these days. Rain will help clean the solar panels and help to maintain its effectiveness. Brand panels such as the Jinko N type are designed to work in low light conditions however there will be less energy generated compared to optimal weather conditions. The N Type Panels are designed to enhance the utilization of diffused irradiation, leading to a better low light performance. The half cut design ensures optmized shading behaviour, which is a crucial feature in current rooftop installations.
What is a micro-inverter/optimizer?
Microinverters are small grid-tie inverters that mount to each solar panel.
Power optimizers isolate and condition the DC power of each solar panel to a string of panels fed to a central inverter.
Many people will tell you that micro-inverters and optimizers are only required if you have shading or a complicated roof, but even in perfect conditions, they will still provide benefits to your system and its overall energy production.
Most standard string inverters optimise panels in one or two groups via their maximum power point tracker setup (MPPT). This setup has limitations. The panels must face the same way and be on the same pitch (some inverters provide relief here with parallel strings), shading is not managed well and you can’t monitor or control each panel individually.
With panel-level optimisation, each panel is individually managed. This means it can face any direction, be on any pitch and be isolated if it’s subject to any performance issues. The panels are also managed better over their lifespan, particularly as they can degrade at slightly different rates and pick up dirt unevenly – the individual management allows for adjustments when these situations occur. The performance benefits alone of panel-level optimisation are worth at least 5%, even on a shade-free, north-facing install.
In addition to the performance benefits, the production of each panel can be individually monitored, which is great for warranty claims, as well as identifying and isolating issues. Extra functionality, like panel level shutdown, is possible with certain systems. The complete design flexibility also allows you to get a small string of solar panels on an ideal roof, when a string inverter may not have been able to because of the small string size allowances. So even if you don’t “need” them, there are many good reasons to purchase a micro-inverter, as they will almost always increase your system’s monitorability and efficiency.
How do I choose a good inverter?
Aside from issues arising from your installation, studies have shown that the most likely fault you’ll have with your solar PV system will be with your inverter. This means that proven reliability is paramount if solar is a long term investment for you and your home and the most assured way you’ll get this is with a better inverter.
Reliability is not determined by your inverter warranty. Many customers have been stranded by manufacturers who had poorly designed inverters, the failures (and costs) of which they couldn’t support, and so they soon disappeared from the solar market. Some manufacturers have even been known to offer extended warranties as a way of enticing a purchase, however, these are of no value to the homeowner when the manufacturer is no longer operating to honour them. Manufacturers who have been in the market for a long time (e.g. Fronius) have clearly demonstrated their products are reliable and have shown they will be there to support future warranty claims or issues.
Better inverters have a superior design thanks to their manufacturer’s experience. They generate more energy thanks to better algorithms in their MPPT and are both more efficient and less likely to fail. The online portals and apps that come with them are easier to use and offer greater functionality than those produced by less experienced manufacturers. In some cases, you can even add components like a smart meter to monitor energy consumption, hot water controllers and smart home devices to optimize self-consumption.
What government grants are available?
Solar Energy not only saves you money, but saves the planet through lowering your greenhouse gas emissions. This entitles you to Small-Scale Technology Certificates, or STCs. These are credits issued by the government for the amount of energy you generate from today until the year 2030. The number of credits you are entitled to is related to the size of your system. Every year, the number of credits available reduces. As the STCs are a traded commodity, their value will also fluctuate. The more people that are buying solar, the lower the value.
This means that the price of STCs is not fixed, but your savings would be roughly between $2000 and $10,000 depending on the size of your residential solar installation. Make the most of the STCs and install your solar system now!
Each state and territory has its own grants – Get in touch today with Cerium Energy to find out more
What size system do I need?
This depends on various factors including; roof size, your electricity bill, your future plans and your budget. If you are a single phase property, you are capped at 5kW export limit. If you have 3 phases, you can go up to a 15kW export limit. Our consultants will analyse your bill and discuss your day to day running of your home to help you ascertain the right size for your needs.
How do I choose a good solar panel?
In terms of broad criteria to consider when choosing a good solar panel, We would advise you to look at:
- Relative price
- Whether the company has an Australian office for warranty support
- Company history
- Customer feedback
Solar panels, from a technology perspective, are simple with no moving parts.
How to work out if Cerium Energy is the right company for you?
While investing in solar is one of the best things that you can do for your pocket and the environment, some people have unfortunately not had the best “luck” with their investment and have lost a lot of money. They may have taken a risk on a cheap solar bargain, and the solar company has gone into liquidation and the panel company has closed up shop and re-opened under another name. What can you do to avoid it happening to you.
- Check how long the company has been established for – Cerium Energy has been around for over 4 years
- Check the installers are accredited by the Clean Energy Council – Cerium Energy is accredited with Clean Energy Council and is also a member with Solar Victoria.
- Are the panels and the inverter they are selling you still in production? If not, your warranty cannot be fulfilled. Watch out for “end of line” products often sold in “special sales” – Cerium Energy Ensures all inverters and panels are made by companies that are reputable and have a presence in Australia.
- Watch out for aggressive sales techniques. Take your time to review and make your mind up – Our team here at Cerium Energy is never pushy. We provide full disclosure and are transparent on all aspects.
- Has the company taken the time to get to know you, and your power usage? Have they taken the time to recommend you the size of system that fits your needs? Our expert team gets to know you and provide you with a solution that fits your needs.