Instyle Solar doesn’t just sell and install solar systems. We’re vocal advocates of the incredible benefits solar provides Australian electricity consumers and the planet. Solar is the now and the future of powering your home and business, and more Australians than ever are converting to the cleanest and most cost-effective source of electricity there is.
One of the critical aspects of our business here at Instyle Solar is to ensure our customers, and Australians generally, have access to solar resources and information that allows them to stay in touch with everything solar. An informed consumer makes better choices. This fact certainly rings true in the case of technologies such as solar systems.
The blog section on our website has now hit 100 articles and continues to grow. If it’s solar, if it’s renewable, we have it covered. From inverters to solar installation, from rebates and FITs to solar lifestyle, our resource is comprehensive, it’s here at your fingertips, it’s free and easy to use. Feedback from our customers and visit rates have confirmed our blog is a resource you value highly.
Today’s article is designed to be a solar resource reference centre. It’s kind of like the catalogue section of your local library. This will become your ultimate one-stop solar resource for navigating your way around our blog section.
The starting point is based on the premise that you have little to no solar knowledge. The destination is the place at which you become an informed solar consumer, keeping abreast of the latest solar developments. It is only a loosely linear trip; we’ll take regular twists and turns while meeting the odd fork in the road.
Read this article like you would read an adventure book. When you come to a link, you can click your way to an article that will explain the current point or topic in detail. Alternatively, read on until you find another point that you would like to investigate.
It’s fun and very informative. Grab a coffee and relax into it. Grab a pen for some notes and start reading. We can assure you, if you follow all the links you’ll become the expert solar source in your neighbourhood. Let’s go.
The Solar Journey Begins
1. Jargon City
Like anything, solar comes with its own language, terms and jargon. The first link we will provide you is Our Complete Glossary for Solar Power Jargon. Let’s call this your home base. Whenever you come across terminology you don’t understand, visit this link for a concise, easy to understand the definition. This section changes and grows as more solar terms are identified for demystification.
2. Solar Basics. Starting Your Solar Journey
OK. You’re thinking of going solar. Your primary driver at this point is that you see everybody else doing it. You don’t want to miss out, you’ve heard it's great for the planet and may save you a packet in electricity costs. Here are 8 [Really Good] Reasons to Go Solar.
Now you’re convinced it’s a good idea. What’s your first step? The first step is to relax and take your time getting clued in. There’s no rush yet, and there is some critical and peripheral background information that will help you understand solar motivation in depth.
You may be aware that our government subsidises home and business solar system purchases. We’ll look at this later. Firstly, let's have a look at government involvement in the solar industry and how it provides even greater motivation to install a system. Here are two articles, What's Wrong with Australian Power Policies, and What Is The NEG, and What Does It Mean for Us?
Again, these articles should provide you with further motivation to cut your reliance on the grid and take control of your own electricity with a solar system. While the government has provided you with the mechanism to install solar cheaply, it should be clear by now that’s the only positive thing they have done to date.
A solar array is a significant investment. It has decades-long implications and impacts. We expect you would like to know that solar is here to stay, that solar is not a fad or fly-by-night technology. What can we expect from solar energy going forward? Will the market that supported renewable energy yesterday be the same tomorrow? What are the boffins and key players telling us about renewable energy going forward?
You are even more convinced a home solar system is a right path for you and your family. The benefits are clear as day, and you’re feeling very positive. In conversation with other people, you have discovered that there are those who disagree with solar and the motivations behind it. Stand firm. Most of the detractors are less informed than you think. Here is a way to successfully debate a solar detractor.
You might also like to investigate Just How Sustainable are Solar Panels?
Having won the debate and now convinced beyond doubt solar is brilliant, you want to start the process. You want solar on your home as you will save a lot of money, reduce your carbon footprint and, you’re hearing on the grapevine, it may actually add value to your property.
You now have to do some pretty serious investigation. This is fun, however, and we’ll show you what to do, when and where.
You need to have a look at your roof. That’s where your system will be mounted. Is your roof suitable to hold a solar system? If it’s not, can you mount a solar array on the ground? With that established, and you’re happy that you can mount a solar system on your roof, or the ground for that matter, what’s next?
You’re pretty handy with tools and instructions. Is it possible to install a solar system DIY? You’ll see now, it’s probably better left to the experts. However, you have some other interesting solar processes to keep you busy.
You are installing solar to save money. Before you go about getting a quote on solar, you really need to be aware of all your options for becoming energy efficient. Ultimately, understanding your power consumption can help you improve efficiencies and may also save you money on the installation of your new solar system.
Knowing how to read your electricity bill correctly is the first place to start. Remember, refer back to the jargon glossary when you have to. Armed with a working knowledge of your power consumption via your electricity bill, now is the time to do your home energy efficiency audit.
There are lots of things you can do to save or conserve energy and therefore money. There are also a few myths floating about that won’t save you any energy at all. Let’s have a look at Busting Energy Saving Myths.
The kitchen is a location that consumes plenty of power. A simple rethink or even a redesign can put you at the helm of a functional kitchen that is also brilliant at conserving energy. Here are a few options for making an energy efficient kitchen. Can you apply these principles elsewhere in the home?
While we’re at conserving energy, here are 7 ways you can be energy smart, save money and reduce your carbon footprint in the process.
3. Let’s Go Solar
You are now significantly more clued in than you were. You have some serious motivation for installing solar, and you are learning terms and jargon. Importantly, you have a working knowledge of your electricity consumption and how you can reduce it before you start getting solar system quotes.
It’s worth noting that all the information you have gathered about your electricity consumption is critical. It allows your solar installer to accurately quote you on the right system for your needs.
Let’s go solar 101 and take a look at the ultimate solar buyers' guide. It might seem like a lot of information to absorb at first, but your solar installer or retailer will support you through the process.
Even though there is a lot of great solar information and resources to guide you through the process, there are still common and recurring solar mistakes. Let’s have a look at 5 common mistakes and how to avoid them.
4. Getting Ready and Choosing the System Size
You have seen a great range of solar panel configurations on local roofs. Some have four solar panels others have 24. What size solar system will suit your needs?
There are a number of other environmental and technical factors that will impact the size of the system you will need. A good solar retailer will inspect and advise, but it is important for you to be aware of them. Here are some of the variables that impact on solar array performance and what exactly should you expect from the solar panel efficiency.
You need to be very aware of the neighbouring buildings, trees and other structures that might cast shadows on your proposed array. This can become a big problem and it is very wise to understand the impacts of overshadowing on your array well before it is installed.
The wise customer will also recognise that such a structure (your array) coupled to your home may have insurance implications. You may have added value to your property, and it also needs to be clear as to whether your array is contents or building. An understanding of insurance implications prior to solar installation simply makes sense.
Solar works only during the day, when the sun shines. In the evening or when it’s overcast, your solar array is not powering your home. To combat this situation, there are batteries that can take on the process of powering your home when the sun is out of view. If you would like to run a battery, this decision should be made before getting your solar quote.
5. Do You Need the Energy Storage?
A battery is a great option, and it’s best to learn a little about home batteries to help with your deliberations. You might also want to consider some pros and cons about installing a home battery. If still in doubt, read this: 5 Common Myths About Solar Batteries Busted.
You’ve probably noticed that Tesla and LG are very prominent brands in the Lithium-ion battery industry. Here are a couple of technical reviews of their products from our solar experts:
However, there are also other manufacturers offering great products.
Here are 5 leading battery storage companies that aren’t Tesla and more innovations in energy storage are yet to come.
We also suggest that you get your head around other products, like batteries from BYD, Sonnen, Sonnenschein, Simpliphi. Even though we may not recommend some of them to our clients for various reasons, we believe it’s fair to know all your options.
By the way, this article will help you read our technical reviews like a pro: How to Understand Solar Battery Datasheets.
One of our most loved articles by readers is Here’s How LGs Solar Battery Stands Up To the Powerwall. Don’t miss it out!
6. Which Solar Panels to Choose?
With a new found knowledge of batteries under your belt, you need to look a little further into solar panels. There are differences in technology and quality. A few little insights will see you on the path to purchasing quality panels. Here is a solar panel buyers guide.
Now you’ve just heard the terms Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline: What’s the Difference? Is it important for you to decide? You may well take advice on mono and poly, but learning which solar panel brands are the best is a wise path to take and something that is easy to understand.
Reading a couple of reviews of solar panels will help you establish parameters for carrying out your own solar panel deliberations.
Check these solar panel reviews for great insights:
To really boost your knowledge of solar panels here are 18 Facts You Probably Don't Know About Solar Panels.
You might also like to know about new technologies such as thin-film solar panels or super black solar panels. Or add such terms as BIPV, concentrated photovoltaics and bifacial modules to your vocabulary. You never know where the small talk at a dinner party will lead you.
7. What About Inverter?
Just when you thought you were all clued in and ready to call Instyle Solar for a quote, there’s another bit of tech for which you should have a basic knowledge. An inverter turns DC current (what your solar panels produce) into AC current (the current your electrical devices need to run).
Inverters are a critical part of your solar system. Here’s a guide to choosing the right inverter for your needs. There are different types of inverters. Learn the difference between string and micro inverters, find out more about DC optimizers and get the basics of hybrid inverters here.
Now, with so many options, which inverter should you choose?
Here are a few technical reviews of different inverters from our solar experts:
8. Rebates and Feed-In Tariffs
OK. You’re nearly ready to get a solar quote, you’re loaded with a library of critical solar information and you feel primed to make a solar call. But before this happens it's pretty important to understand the government incentives that save you money on your solar purchase, and on your electricity bills.
Here is all you need to know about solar rebates in 2018. Feed-in tariffs are different to rebates as you have just discovered. As they are regionally specific in most cases, here is everything you need to know about feed-in tariffs in Queensland, with prices. There is also a raft of new incentives for Queenslanders to investigate. It could make a difference to your solar purchase.
9. Quote Time
10. Your Solar System is Up and Running
So what happens after your system is installed? Here’s a step by step guide. Now, to keep things functional and operating at peak, here’s a to-do list of 6 Post-Installation Services for Your Solar System.
Don’t miss out on monitoring software reviews:
11. Getting Down to Business. Converting Your Business to Solar Power
With your home solar installation a roaring success, you have decided that it is a no-brainer to install solar to run the electrical needs of your business. It’s time to install solar at your business.
It can be complicated; there is often far more to consider when installing solar for businesses as opposed to domestic installations. Follow the links for a step by step guide.
Many businesses have already made the conversion to solar. These pioneers have tested the water and have a wealth of information to share. Based on experience, here are 16 Avoidable Energy Efficiency Mistakes Business Owners Make.
12. Solar Fun Bits
All of this solar stuff can seem a little serious. Solar has a fun side too. Here is a link to 8 Solar Powered Gadgets to Stay Green on the Go. And while you’re at it, here’s something for the campers who love to go electric out in the great outdoors. Here are 10 Solar-Powered Essentials for Aussie Camping.
Solar can provide solutions in an emergency, particularly in disaster relief where mains power has been devastated and cannot be quickly reinstated. Have a look at pop-up solar power in action during a crisis. Or learn about the most impressive solar farms in Australia and overseas.
13. Keeping Abreast of the Solar News and Innovations
Our solar scouts scour the world’s news channels for the latest solar and renewables news. Each week we publish a section in our blog about solar news you may have missed. We bring you the stories, good and bad, so that you can remain abreast of all the developments.
Read about how blockchain is shaping the energy market, and how smart micro-grids are powering the people, discover impressive clean energy startups, news from ASX and amazing innovative companies like 1414 Degrees, Power Ledger or ClearVue and everything about the growth of the Lithium market.
And here is what you can expect from now on. ‘What you may have missed in solar this week’, is your weekly solar briefing that contains only the most important news about everything solar from new inventions, history and political energy issues to bikes, electric vehicles and renewables technology.
Here are our past issues just to whet your whistle if you want to get updated fast on everything solar:
As you can see, getting the best out of solar is all in the research and preparation. Find out everything you can and understand it as best as you can. Use every resource available to you. In the solar world, knowledge is power.
Solar will certainly become part of your life in the short term. It’s not if, but when. Solar is not a fringe technology any longer, it’s mainstream, and will become an essential part of baseload power supply to the grid.
The demands of climate issues and the ever-increasing complications of traditional power generation and distribution ensure that solar is with us to stay and will play a major role.
This article has taken you on a resource drive to informed solar installation. We hope you recognise that our blog is so much more than this, however. This article provided links to over 50% of our solar and renewables related articles. We’d love for you to explore further.
Embrace your energy future. Keep in touch with all the renewables developments as they unfold. Our blog is here to inform and entertain, and we hope your enthusiasm and curiosity, that inspired us to deliver it to you in the first place, will continue unabated.
If you want to see how much solar or battery storage could save you over the next 5 years, then take our solar saving calculator quiz below!
Or talk to an Instyle Solar expert about the best solutions for home energy storage or PV-panels.
Otherwise, head back to the solar blog to find even more great educational content.
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