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Solar Power in Australia: Beginner's Guide to Buying & Installation - 2024

Learn everything you need to know about solar power, buying and installing solar panels in Australia, including benefits, costs, government incentives, and choosing the right system for your home

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Everything you should know about solar:

Choosing the best solar system can be a difficult task for everyone. You need to research solar panels, inverters, batteries and combinations of them, solar installers, government rules and regulations, solar rebates, and pricing. I am here to assist you in the simplest and easiest way to make the best choice for your new solar system.

This guide aims to assist you in avoiding untrustworthy installers, selecting the best solar components at an affordable price, and gaining a better understanding of solar panel systems. By doing so, you’ll be able to choose the most suitable solar system for your needs, rather than purchasing one sold to you by a salesperson and be positive you’re paying the correct amount of cash for a properly sized household solar energy system set up for your home in 2024. Take your time and enjoy reading this comprehensive solar 101 guide for the next 15 to 20 minutes.

A sound solar system on your roof will stay with you for 25 years, So you should invest a reasonable amount of time researching and choosing your system.

1. What is Solar Power or Solar Energy?

Solar energy simply refers to the energy generated by the heat and light emitted by the sun. As we all know, the sun is the ultimate source of power. When this energy is transformed or converted into electricity or utilised to warm various materials like air and water, it is known as solar power.

1.1 What is a Solar Power or Solar Energy System?

Solar power systems convert energy from the sun into usable electricity. Solar power/Energy or panel systems can generate electricity without causing any damage to nature. Solar energy is captured in two ways: by converting sunlight into heat or by using photovoltaic cells found in solar panels and transparent photovoltaic glass.

Solar-electric or Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology converts sunlight directly into electricity. PV can provide electricity for residential and commercial buildings, including power for security lights, air conditioning, and other devices. A solar panel system is a combination of several parts and components. But here, we will only discuss the important four components as given below.

Reader tip: If you find any difficulties or need help understanding any particular concept because it may be technical or have any queries, you can email me at enquiries@ayka.com.au. I will try to help you and resolve your query immediately.

2. Pros and cons of Solar Energy

Solar energy, a renewable and sustainable power source, offers many benefits alongside certain drawbacks. Here’s an in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages of harnessing solar energy.

Advantages of Solar Energy

1. Renewability:

Solar energy stands out for its infinite availability. Unlike finite fossil fuels extracted and exhausted, the sun’s energy provides a perpetual source that won’t deplete, allowing for continual harvesting.

3. Increased Property Value:

Homes equipped with solar energy systems typically command a higher price, approximately 3.74% more than comparable properties lacking solar installations, resulting in an average valuation increase of $14,329. This added value is especially significant for off-grid solar setups, facilitating access to cost-effective land in rural areas.

4. Technological developments:

The solar industry’s expansion drives advancements in technology, enhancing the accessibility and efficiency of solar energy. Better panel efficiency and battery storage solutions push solar power to widespread acceptance.

5. Remote Access:

In remote areas where extending power lines is impractical or too costly, solar power systems offer a viable solution for generating electricity independently of the grid.

6. Money Back Through Credit:

Solar power systems can produce surplus electricity, enabling homeowners to sell this excess power back to the grid. This practice, termed net metering, results in financial credits or payments, effectively lowering energy expenses and enhancing the economic appeal of solar investments.

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

1. Spatial Requirements:

Solar panels need a lot of space, which can be difficult for some properties. The size and quantity of panels required for a typical residential system necessitate ample rooftop or land area.

2. Weather impact:

The effectiveness of solar panels depends on how much sunlight they receive. External factors such as shade, snow, or cloudy weather can reduce their output. While tools are available to minimise these impacts, they come with extra expenses.

3. Initial financial burden:

The initial cost of installing solar panels continues to challenge many people. Despite decreasing expenses from industry growth and technological progress, the upfront investment for purchasing and installing solar panels can still be substantial.

4. Expensive Energy Storage:

Storing solar energy for off-grid use or as a grid-tied system backup significantly increases costs. Although battery technology is advancing, making storage more efficient and less costly, batteries remain one of the most expensive components of a solar system, requiring maintenance and eventual replacement.

5. Sunlight Dependence:

The electricity production of solar panels is directly tied to sunlight availability, leading to reduced or no output during nighttime or inclement weather. It necessitates battery systems for continuous power supply, adding to the overall cost and maintenance of the solar energy system.

6. Roof Compatibility and Orientation:

Solar installations are only sometimes compatible with some roof types. Optimal energy capture depends on roof orientation towards the sun and the roofing material, which can influence the ease and cost of installation.



Decrease use of Non-renewable Resources

High Upfront Cost 

Long Term Saving 

Sunlight Dependency

Reduce Electricity Bill

Scarcity of Materials

Technological Developments

Increase Property Value

Long Product Lifespan

Expensive Energy Storage

Remote Access

Solar Energy Storage is Expensive

In conclusion. At the same time, solar energy presents a promising alternative to traditional power sources, offering sustainability, reduced operating costs, and property value enhancement; potential adopters must carefully consider the initial investment, site-specific challenges, and the practicalities of energy storage. As the solar industry continues to evolve, many of these disadvantages are expected to diminish, making solar energy the best option available for many applications.

3. Main Components of Solar Energy System

There are some crucial components of a solar power system, as given below:

  1. Solar panels
  2.  Solar inverter
  3.  Racking/mounting
  4. Consumption Monitoring
  5. Batteries

Tips for Beginners:

DC stands for Direct current,

AC stands for Alternate Current and

KW Stands for Kilowatt per hour

3.1 Solar Panels:

solar panels, or Photovoltaic panels(PV Panels), are equipment that converts sunlight, made up of photons or energy particles, into usable electricity for powering various electrical appliances.

Generally, electricity generated by solar panels is DC electricity.

3.1.1 What are Solar panels (PV) constructed of?

3.1.2 What function do these parts play?

  1. Solar cells: The solar cells are connected to the collection through busbars and cross-connectors. Solar cells are the heart of the solar panel, made of thin slices of semiconductor materials, typically silicon, that convert sunlight into electricity. 
  2.  Encapsulation: The encapsulation/back sheet offers a layer of defence for the solar cells from the setting and provides electrical insulation.
  3. Glass Casing: Solar panels are covered with a layer of tempered, anti-reflective glass, which protects the solar cells from weather, dust, and impact while allowing sunlight to pass through efficiently. Glass is generally durable for any weather conditions.
  4. Frame: The frame is usually made of aluminium, which is essential for architectural security and the placement of the panels.
  5. Backsheet: The back sheet is installed and attached to the back of the solar panel; the back sheet is made of a durable, waterproof material. It serves as the last line of defence for the inner components, protecting against heat, moisture, and mechanical damage.
  6. Busbars: Busbars are thick strips of copper or aluminium that conduct electricity from the solar cells. They play a crucial role in collecting and transferring the electrical current generated by the cells.
  7. Anti-reflective Coating: it is applied to the glass casing; this coating reduces the reflection of sunlight off the panel’s surface and ensures that more light is absorbed by the solar cells, thereby increasing the panel’s efficiency.

The primary difference between solar panels is the kinds of solar batteries they utilise. A photovoltaic panel is divided into two cell kinds: monocrystalline and polycrystalline.

3.1.3 Types of Solar Panels

There are mainly three commercially available solar panels. These are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin films. We check out each type in even more detail below.


These solar cells are sliced or cut from a single crystalline silicon, providing a consistent blue or black look. Monocrystalline cells generally have the highest effectiveness. The cells’ composition is purer since they’re crafted from individual silicon units.

Mono panels are designed to deliver good performance in hot weather and low-light environments, providing closer to their rated output even when conditions are not ideal.

While cutting wafers of mono panels from silicon, corners get cut off, resulting in wasted space as they have curved corners.

The High production cost of mono panels is reflected in their higher price point for consumer buyers, as they are more expensive than poly panels with the same wattage.


Polycrystalline solar panels are fabricated from melted silicon that has been cooled and solidified, creating many tiny crystals. Although less efficient than monocrystalline panels, they are still dependable and affordable renewable energy sources. They are affordable and easy to manufacture compared to monocrystalline, making them a popular choice for residential and commercial installations. They can perform well in high temperatures and under low-light conditions, providing a satisfactory return on investment.

Thin film solar:

Unlike traditional crystalline solar cells, thin film solar cells are created by adding one or more thin layers of photovoltaic materials on various substrates, including glass, metal, plastic, or a combination of these materials. However, they are less popular and practical because their efficiency is less efficient than crystalline solar cells. They may become popular as research and development progress in renewable technology.

3.2. Inverters:

The inverter converts DC electricity from the panels into AC electricity that your home appliances can use. Generally, electricity generated by electricity is DC electricity, and the electricity we need in the house for home appliances is AC electricity; that’s why we need an inverter to fix these requirements.

There are types of inverters as follows:

String inverters: These are wall-mounted inverters that act as the conductor for a group of solar panels, converting their direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) for your home appliances.

Microinverters: Imagine tiny magicians performing under each solar panel, directly converting DC to AC and working independently for each panel.

Power optimisers: Power optimisers combine elements of both types. An optimiser system incorporates a string inverter mounted on the wall and optimisers attached only to each solar panel or selected panels. They maximise energy output by adjusting panel characteristics. Ideal for shading situations

3.3 Solar Panel Racking and Mounting:

Racking and mounting are used to hold solar panel systems on the roof or ground and to give them sturdy support in bad weather, wind and other natural calamities.  That’s where racking and mounting come into play. Here’s what you need to know:

1. What Is Racking?

Think of racking as the backbone for your solar panels. It’s like the frame that holds everything together. If you’re putting panels on your roof, the racking system attaches directly to the roof. It provides structural support for the solar panel array. For larger setups on the ground, racking includes mounting structures and support posts. These allow you to adjust the panel angle to capture maximum sunlight and boost energy production.

2. Why Does It Matter?

Proper racking ensures your panels stay put, even during storms or heavy snow. It also lets you optimise the panel tilt for better sun exposure. Whether on your roof or the ground, a solid racking system keeps your solar setup safe and efficient.

3.4 Solar Power Monitoring Systems:

Having solar panels on your roof is like having your own mini-power plant. But how do you know if it’s working efficiently? That’s where solar power monitoring systems come in!

Think of these systems as your solar panel’s personal doctor. They keep an eye on your panels’ health and performance. Solar monitoring happens through your system’s inverter. Some inverters have built-in monitoring software, while others use third-party systems for more detailed analysis.

These systems give you real-time and historical data. You’ll know how much electricity your panels produce, how much you’re using from the grid, and even the impact of shade on their output.

Why does it matter?

By tracking your solar energy production, you can adjust your consumption habits. Use more solar-generated energy during the day to save money. Plus, monitoring systems can catch problems (like a sneaky underperforming panel) before they surprise you with a high power bill.

Solar monitoring turns data into actionable information, helping you maximise your sunny investment!

3.5 Batteries:

Batteries are like big rechargeable power banks that store electricity. Imagine your solar panels soaking up sunlight during the day and converting it into electricity. But what if you’re not using all that electricity right then? Or what about at night when there’s no sunlight? That’s where batteries come in handy.

Batteries store the extra electricity for later use, so you can still have power when it’s cloudy or at night. They ensure you get the most out of your solar panels, providing a reliable energy source whenever you need it, day or night. It means you can always enjoy the benefits of your solar energy system, not just when the sun is shining.

4. Direction/ Angle of Solar Panel on Roof

It is crucial to ensure your solar panels are positioned correctly to maximise sunlight absorption and achieve the highest energy production.

In Australia, the optimal tilt angle for solar panels is 26°, facing north. If your roof doesn’t align with this ideal angle, don’t worry. Solar panels can still be installed, though you might experience a slight decrease in energy output. Additionally, installing tilt racks and brackets to adjust the angle may involve additional expenses.

For the best electricity generation from the solar panel installed on your roof, it’s all about direction and tilt. Here’s a simple breakdown:

Direction Matters:

  • East-facing panels: Catch the morning sun, making more power early in the day.
  • West-facing panels: Capture the afternoon sun, producing more power later in the day.
  • North-facing panels: In the Southern Hemisphere, these get sunlight throughout the day, making them the most productive overall. However, they might not catch as much morning or afternoon sun specifically compared to east or west-facing panels.
  • South-facing panels: Not usually ideal because they get less sunlight, but they can still be helpful, especially if you have no other option. They can produce about 30% less energy than north-facing ones but can still be beneficial.

Even if your panels face east or west, you can still benefit greatly, especially if your household uses more power in the mornings and evenings. Some people worry that solar won’t work well for them if their roof isn’t facing north, but that’s not true anymore. Thanks to lower solar prices, east or west (and even south in some cases) can still provide great returns on your investment.

Angle is Also Key:

  • The best angle for your panels depends on where you live. In Adelaide, for example, a tilt of about 29 to 30 degrees from horizontal is ideal.
  • If you can’t get the perfect angle, don’t sweat it. Even if the panels are not at the optimal angle, they’ll still produce plenty of power.
  • Flat roofs can be tricky because rain won’t wash the panels clean as easily. If your roof is flat, using tilted frames helps shed rainwater and keeps the panels clean, but remember, they will need more frequent cleaning.

In short, solar panels work best when they face the right direction and have a good tilt, but even if conditions aren’t perfect, you can still generate plenty of power. Solar energy is versatile and can be adapted to different situations, making it a valuable energy source for almost any home.

5. Read These Important Factors Before Buying a Solar System in Australia

  • Your roof size and orientation: North-facing roofs are ideal for optimal sunlight exposure.

  • Your energy consumption: Determine your average daily or monthly electricity usage.

  • Government rebates and feed-in tariffs: Research available incentives in your state or territory.

  • Solar system quality and warranty: Choose a reputable installer and invest in high-quality panels with a decent warranty.

6. Finding a Reputable Solar Installer in Australia

  • Get quotes from multiple installers: Compare prices, system specifications, and warranties.

  • Check licenses and certifications: Ensure the installer is licensed and certified by the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

  • Read online reviews: See what other customers say about the installer’s service and quality. See Google reviews first because they are always reliable and trustworthy, as Google does not allow fake reviews on its search engine.

7. AYKA Solar: Expertise You Can Trust for Solar Power Installation

At AYKA Solar, we have a team of experts, highly qualified engineers, and trained technicians who can offer in-depth consultations, analysing your energy consumption and roof space to design a customised solar solution that perfectly fits your requirements.

8. Conclusion

Investing in solar power can be your most significant and wisest decision as an Australian homeowner, offering financial and environmental benefits. Enjoy the advantages of clean, sustainable energy for years.

9. FAQ'S

Solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into electricity with the help of photovoltaic cells(PV cells). This clean energy can power your home.

Inverter is a helpful translator. It takes the DC electricity from your solar panels and converts it into AC electricity, making it usable to power your home! So, the sun’s rays become clean energy that keeps your lights shining and appliances running smoothly.

During nighttime or cloudy days, your solar system won’t generate electricity. You’ll rely on the grid or stored energy from batteries.

Excess solar energy not used immediately is fed back into the grid, earning you credits through feed-in tariffs.

Some energy providers offer plans integrating solar panels and battery storage for more efficient energy use.

Yes, if you want to:

  • Save money on electricity bills: Make your own clean energy and pay less to the grid.
  • Increase your home value: Solar panels attract buyers, making your home worth more.

It costs around $4,500 to $15,000, but government and state government rebates (if available) can help bring it down.

  • Grid-connected: Connected to the grid, you use your own solar during the day and the grid at night.
  • Off-grid: Not connected to the grid, you rely on batteries for nighttime and cloudy days (for remote areas).

Usually, it takes 1-2 days for a standard system to be installed. (Supply/delivery of solar system components like panel inverters may take time. Also, some other approvals are needed, like meter approval. The average installation time from the day of booking is 15 days.)

Look for:

  • Clean Energy Council (CEC) accreditation: Ensures they meet industry standards.
  • Experience and good reviews: Choose someone with experience in your area and happy customers.
  • Multiple quotes: Get quotes from several installers to compare prices and systems.
  • Warranties: Ensure they offer warranties on the panels and installation.

Yes! There are rebates and feed-in tariffs to help you save money on the cost of solar.

  • Clean the panels: Usually 2-4 times yearly for optimal performance.
  • Get an inspection: Have a qualified electrician check your system every few years.

Remember, rooftop solar is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save on electricity bills!

Here are some of our recommendations:

  1. Do not go with a shady installer just because they offer you the lowest price quote. You will save money now, but a good installer and a sound solar system will save you money for the next 25 years.
  2. Do not invest in low-quality cheap solar panels or inverters. If you want to save money, go for affordable but quality products only. 
  3. Read Google reviews first; Google reviews are the only trusted and reliable way to know about sellers

I hope this information will be helpful to you. And I hope you will save lots of money in the future with solar. Have a happy solar journey.

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