uMost solar panels you see in homes and businesses can be classified into Monocrystalline (Mono) or Polycrystalline (Poly). Both types use photovoltaic cells (PV) made of crystalline silicon, but the difference lies in how these cells are produced. In a mono solar panel, each cell is made of a single crystal, while a poly solar panel has cells made of multiple crystals.
The easiest way to identify the type of solar panel is by looking at its colour. Monocrystalline panels are characterised by their black PV cells, while polycrystalline panels have blue cells.
However, the differences go beyond just their appearance:
Mono solar panels are more efficient, which means they convert a larger percentage of sunlight into electricity. However, single-crystal PV cells are more difficult to produce, making these panels more expensive.
Poly solar panels are less efficient, but they also have a lower price – manufacturing multi-crystalline solar cells is much simpler.
Return on Investment (ROI)
As we live in the Sunburnt country with plenty of rays, both types of solar panel offer an excellent return on investment.
Monocrystalline panels are seen to use roof space more effectively as they convert more sunlight into electricity. However, polycrystalline panels are also viable when space is not a limiting factor.
The exact efficiency of a solar panel will depend on the manufacturer and the specific model. Also, consider that both panel types have improved their efficiency over time. If you compare the latest products from top panel brands from around the globe, Mono solar panels are around 10-20% more efficient than Poly.
Choosing Between Mono and Poly Solar Panels
Since Polycrystalline panels have a lower conversion efficiency, they might give the impression of being inferior products. However, this is not necessarily the case – you can find quality solar panels of both types in the Clean Energy Council (CEC) list of approved products. For many homeowners, the decision between Mono and Poly solar panels depends on two factors:
How much space is available on your roof? Mono solar panels are recommended if space is limited, since they produce more electricity per square metre.
Do you prefer a specific colour? As mentioned above, polycrystalline PV cells are blue, while monocrystalline cells are black – one colour may match your home aesthetic better.
If you have plenty of space for a home solar system, and you don’t have a color preference, you can compare your options from a financial standpoint. Mono solar panels are more expensive individually, but both types have similar installation costs. You also need less monocrystalline modules to reach a given capacity (in kilowatts), since each panel has more watts – this compensates their higher price.
You will find that both module types are evenly matched in terms of payback period and ROI. Monocrystalline panels have a better financial performance in some cases, while polycrystalline panels come out on top in other cases.
Comparing the Space Needed by Poly and Mono Solar Panels
The exact dimensions of residential solar panels vary depending on the brand and model. However, they are typically 1m wide and 1.7 – 1.8m tall, and this applies for both Mono and Poly modules. In other words, each panel will cover an area of 1.7 – 1.8 square metres.
Since Monocrystalline panels generate more watts with the available sunlight, you will need less of them to reach a certain capacity. To visualise how space requirements vary, assume you’re comparing a 325W poly module and a 360W mono module. Let’s compare the space requirements for the 6.6kW Solar system – a common system size in Australia.
Using the 325W panel, you need 21 units to reach 6,600W.
Using the 360W panel, you only need 19.
You would be getting exactly 6,825W with the poly modules (21x325W), and 6,840W with the mono modules (19x360W).
The poly modules use a roof area of 37.8m2 (181 W per m2), while the mono modules use 34.2m2 (200 W per m2).
In this example, you save the space required by two solar panels – around 3.6 square metres, roughly the size of two doors. This is not an issue if your roof has plenty of space, but every square metre counts when the available area for solar panels is limited.
With a reliable provider like Arkana Energy, you can expect high performance and consistent savings on your power bills – regardless of the type of solar panel used.
At Arkana Energy, we work with leading CEC-approved brands such as Powerwave, LG, Samsung and Hyundai.
If you’d like to find out more about CEC-approved panels and solutions, please contact us here.
No upfront money required. Let us help you save on your electricity bills. Discover how.
A battery is an excellent upgrade for a home solar system. When used by themselves, solar panels can reduce your power bills reliably for decades. However, they only produce electricity when the sun is shining, which means you will continue to consume (and purchase) energy from the grid to power your home at night. What’s more, solar panels cannot be used as backup power systems during blackouts, unless they are equipped with energy storage.
You can see why energy storage is so attractive.
A great energy storage system, such as a home battery, will achieve the best results if you choose a high quality product with the right specifications for your home. In this article, we will discuss 5 important things to consider when purchasing a solar battery.
1) Energy Storage Capacity and Power Rating
When comparing the technical specifications of battery systems, two values are very important:
The energy storage capacity, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
The power rating, measured in kilowatts (kW).
If you want to cover 100% of your energy needs with solar power, you need a battery with enough storage capacity for your nighttime consumption. However, you must also consider the electric power used when many home devices operate simultaneously.
For example, if your home has a typical consumption of 10 kWh after sunset, simply choosing a battery that stores 10 kWh may not be enough. If the battery has a power rating of 4 kilowatts, and your appliances are suddenly using 8 kW, the 4 kW difference must come from the grid. In this case, the battery has enough energy storage capacity, but the power output is too low to keep up with your consumption.
2) Type of Battery
Most solar power systems with energy storage use lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries, and each technology has pros and cons.
Lead-acid batteries are an older technology with a well established supply chain. They have a lower price than lithium batteries, but also a shorter service life and more complex maintenance needs. A lead-acid battery will typically last for 500 cycles, which is less than two years if charged and discharged daily.
Lithium-ion batteries are a newer technology. They can be a more expensive option, but this is compensated by a longer service life – some products are rated for 10 years or more. This type of battery is better suited for frequent charging and discharging, making it an ideal complement for solar panels.
Lead-acid batteries are better suited for applications where they will not be charged and discharged frequently, such as emergency power systems and off-grid installations. On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries are a better option for home solar systems, since you need a product that tolerates frequent charging cycles.
3) Clean Energy Council Approval
By purchasing a high-quality solar battery, you can ensure reliability and safe operation. However, having so many options available can cause confusion. The best recommendation is looking for solar batteries in the CEC Approved Product List, which offer the following advantages:
They meet Australian standards, including the lithium battery safety standard 62619:2017
They qualify for incentive programs applicable in your state or territory
They are independently tested for quality and electrical safety
At Arkana Energy we only work with approved brands like Alpha ESS, LG, Tesla and Sungrow. We are a CEC Approved Solar Retailer, and the professionals who work with us are CEC Accredited Installers and Designers.
4) Service Life and Warranty Period
Solar panels are warranted for up to 25 years or more, but battery systems have a shorter service life, which means you eventually need a replacement. However, the best home batteries with lithium-ion technology are normally rated for 10 years – with 10 year warranty coverage.
Lead-acid batteries are also viable, but their short service life of 500-1000 cycles is a limiting factor – this is less than 3 years of use with daily charging and discharging. In addition, you will need frequent maintenance and replacements. Lithium-ion batteries are much less demanding in terms of maintenance, while lasting much more.
Currently, the Tesla Powerwall, Sungrow LFP, Alpha ESS and LG Chem RESU are among the best batteries in the market, and all offer a 10-year warranty. The Tesla Powerwall has a storage capacity of 13.5 kWh, while the Sungrow LFP, Alpha ESS, LG Chem RESU product line offers many options from 6.5kW.
5) Battery Incentive Programs
Energy storage technology still has a high price, but you can claim incentives in many parts of Australia which make home energy storage an attractive solution.
Before purchasing a solar battery, check the available incentives and make sure you meet their eligibility conditions. The following are the main battery incentive programs in Australia as of 1 September 2021:
Next Gen Battery Storage (ACT)
South Australia Home Battery Scheme
Home and Business Battery Scheme (NT)
Empowering Homes (NSW)
The specific incentive amounts and requirements depend on the program, but in general, only high-quality products installed by professionals will qualify. All the programs listed above offer cash incentives for solar batteries, with the exception of Empowering Homes, which provides interest-free financing.
Energy storage technology can greatly enhance solar power systems, but choosing the right battery is very important. Ideally you will want a lithium-ion battery, with enough storage capacity and power output to cover your home energy needs. To ensure high performance and safety, you should look for a CEC approved battery from a trusted manufacturer. Also, make sure you qualify for any incentive programs available in your state or territory.
Keep in mind that even the best battery technology can fail when not installed properly. With a solar battery system from Arkana Energy, you’re getting high-quality products and a professional installation by Clean Energy Council Accredited Retailer, Designer and Installer.
Looking for solar or a battery for your home or business? Fill out the form below to request pricing.
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Solar power is one of the fastest-growing electricity sources in the world, and also one of the cheapest. There are now solar farms with lower generation costs than coal power stations, and the installed price of a home solar system is significantly lower than the electricity costs it saves. In most cases, you can expect to spend less than $7,000 on a 6.6-kW solar system after subtracting the nationwide STC incentive, even with high-quality components. However, your accumulated savings will likely surpass $14,000 in less than 10 years, which is double your investment!
Solar panels are only productive during the day, with most production taking place around noon when there is maximum sunshine. However, homes consume electricity throughout the day and night, and as a result, solar panels often produce more power than is required throughout the daylight hours.
Many governments use a simple solution for this: your electricity provider purchases your surplus energy, and the payment is deducted from your power bill.
The rate you are paid for each kilowatt-hour sent to the grid is the feed-in tariff or FIT.
Before solar panels became popular in Australia, homeowners were offered very high FITs as an incentive to try the new technology. However, electricity providers now only pay a fraction of what they charge. For example, you may be charged over 30 cents/kWh when using electricity from the grid, while getting an FIT below 10 cents/kWh.
Feed-in tariffs are useful for making money with surplus electricity from solar panels. However, the economic benefit is higher when you consume a larger percentage of that energy. In other words, a kilowatt-hour saved is worth more than a kilowatt-hour sold.
What Percentage of Solar Generation Is Used at Home?
Homes with solar panels rarely consume all the electricity generated, since that would mean using all electrical devices at noon. The exact usage of solar energy will depend on your consumption habits, but many households fall between 30% and 50%, while the rest is exported to the grid. To demonstrate how this affects savings, we will assume that two homes have solar systems of the same size with equal productivity, but different usage habits:
Home #1 uses 30% of the solar power generated while exporting 70% to the grid.
Home #2 uses 50% of solar generation, exporting the other half.
The two systems in this example have a capacity of 6.6 kW, and they produce 10,000 kWh per year. Both homes are charged 28 cents/kWh for electricity consumed and are paid an FIT of 8.5 cents/kWh. The following table summarizes the savings and electricity sales in each case:
kWh Sales ($)
Home #1 (30% solar consumption)
$840 per year
$595 per year
$1,435 per year
Home #2 (50% solar consumption)
$1,400 per year
$425 per year
$1,825 per year
Savings don’t appear directly in your electricity bills, since they represent energy that never crosses the power meter – it goes directly from the solar panels to the inverter, and from the inverter to your home devices. After going solar, you will simply notice that the quarterly power bill decreases.
On the other hand, solar energy that is sold to the grid gets measured by the power meter, and the amount can be seen in the electricity bill. The kilowatt-hours sold are multiplied by the feed-in tariff, and that amount is subtracted from your quarterly payment.
If both homeowners have a quarterly bill of $600 before going solar, they would notice the following changes after the installation:
The quarterly bill for Home #1 will decrease to around $390, and estimated kWh sales of $149 will be subtracted. The payment is reduced from $600 to approximately $241.
The quarterly bill for Home #2 will decrease to around $250, and estimated kWh sales of $106 will be subtracted. The payment is reduced from $600 to approximately $144.
In both cases, the return on investment improves when surplus solar energy is sold to your electricity provider. However, your power bills become even lower when you consume a large percentage of solar power.
How To Choose the Best Feed-in Tariff Provider?
You may be tempted to choose the electricity plan with the highest feed-in tariff available, but the answer is not so simple. Some providers will try to lure you with an attractive FIT, while charging a high tariff when you consume electricity from the grid. Unless you have solar batteries, you will likely depend on the grid on cloudy days and at night.
The best approach is estimating your quarterly bill after going solar as we did in the example above. A qualified solar company like Arkana Energy can analyse your previous bills, so you get a better idea of your consumption habits. Based on your actual consumption and the expected solar generation, you can pick the electricity plan that minimises your quarterly bills.
Want to find out more about how you can save on your electricity bill? Click here to request pricing.
On 12 August 2021, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) completed its new rules on how power networks will compensate solar owners for surplus production. While there have been concerns that homeowners will be paid less, the new rules also create incentives for technologies like battery systems and electric vehicles.
Australia has become a global leader in solar energy. However, power networks have a technical problem that could slow down solar adoption:
According to the CSIRO, one in every four Australian homes now has solar panels.
However, many homes have minimal consumption around noon, and their solar generation is mostly sent to the grid.
Power grids were not designed to handle electricity flows in both directions, and they cannot always absorb the solar power coming from homes at noon – this can be compared to a traffic jam.
The new AEMC rules reduce the value of solar exports when the grid is congested. However, power companies will also introduce paid “solar export plans”, and some of them will reward homeowners for providing energy at times of high demand. The reform will be applied until July 2025, giving power networks and electricity consumers plenty of time to prepare.
How Solar Exports Change Under the New AEMC Rules
Benn Barr, AEMC Chief Executive, has clearly stated that all networks must have a basic free export service for solar owners. According to AEMC simulations, homeowners will still get about 90% of their current earnings from solar feed-in – without changing their consumption habits or choosing a paid export service.
However, the AEMC reform creates an opportunity to earn more, by taking advantage of plans that give incentives during certain hours:
As you might imagine, the best rates will not be paid at noon, since most homes with solar panels are already supplying power.
The best incentives can be expected after sunset, when there is no solar generation and home consumption reaches its peak.
Solar export plans will be subject to approval from the Australian Energy Regulator to ensure they benefit consumers, while preventing misleading plans.
If you already own a solar system with batteries you can benefit the most from storing the excess power you consume throughout the day for use in the evening or when the new export plans arrive in 2025. You can look for a plan that pays high incentives during peak demand hours, and use surplus solar generation to charge batteries at noon. When the export tariff to the grid reaches its highest value of the day, you can supply the stored energy or save that energy for later use in the evening, lowering your household power bills
To complement the earnings from a solar battery system, you can change energy habits to minimise power bills. Electrical devices such as storage water heaters can be programmed to only run when there is surplus solar energy, or when electricity providers charge their lowest tariffs – never during peak demand hours, unless it’s strictly necessary.
About Arkana Energy:
At Arkana, we’re here to bring more positive energy into the world, pure and simple. It’s why we love solar so much – it reduces your power bills while helping repair the planet. So much positivity! But we don’t just do it through our products; we do it through our people too.
We’re a family-run, family-owned business. In fact, we named Arkana after a farm that’s been in the family since the 1930s. Why name a modern business after an old farm? Because that farm symbolised what we wanted our business to be: a happy place built on fairness, integrity, and hard work.
Arkana Energy is one of the top 10 solar installers in Queensland and New South Wales, according to Sunwiz. We have installed thousands of solar power and battery systems throughout Australia, receiving hundreds of 5-star reviews on Google and Facebook.
Australia has many favorable conditions for solar power, which have helped the country become a global leader in renewable energy. Australia deployed 7 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar power in 2020, and nearly 2.7 GW were in the rooftop solar market. The abundance of sunshine makes solar panels more productive, and high electricity tariffs make their production more valuable – each kWh from solar panels is one kWh subtracted from your power bill.
The Clean Energy Regulator has played an important role in the Australian renewable energy industry, with two main incentive programs. The Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target focuses on larger projects, while the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme benefits smaller installations – including solar PV systems up to 100 kW. The SRES can be summarised as follows:
The total electricity production of your solar power system is estimated, considering the time period between its installation year and the end of 2030.
For every 1,000 kWh of estimated production, you get one Small-Scale Technology Certificate or STC.
Electricity retailers and other organisations that purchase large amounts of energy have a legal requirement to support renewables – this includes purchasing STCs annually.
The market price of STC is constantly changing based on supply and demand, but it has recently stayed at around $38-39.
As an example, a solar power system that produces 100,000 kWh between its installation year and 2030 gets 100 STCs. If they are sold at $39 each, this project gets an upfront incentive of $3,900 to help cover its installation costs (note these are just example figures to show you how the calculation works).
The Clean Energy Regulator has developed an STC calculator, where you can estimate your incentive when going solar. You simply need to input your postcode the planned solar capacity in kilowatts, and the expected installation date. The calculator will determine the STCs for the project, and you can multiply that number by $39 to estimate the financial incentive.
State and Territory Incentives for Solar Power in Australia
Since the STC incentive comes from the federal government, it is available for solar installations located anywhere in Australia. However, several states and territories have also developed local incentive programs, which can be added to STC rebates. The following are the main incentive programs from state and territory governments in 2021:
Solar Victoria offers solar panel incentives for homes and small businesses, and homes can also get solar water heater and battery incentives.
The home solar incentive is $1,400 as of July 2021, and it can be combined with an interest-free loan of the same amount.
The business incentive is available for solar power systems up to 30 kW. The rebate is $3,500 for the first 5,000 installations approved, and will then be reduced to $1,750.
South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme focuses on adding energy storage to solar power systems. The incentive is $300 per kWh for energy concession holders and $200 per kWh for other homes. In both cases, the maximum incentive is $3,000.
In New South Wales, the Empowering Homes program offers interest-free loans of up to $14,000 for new solar power systems with batteries and up to $9,000 for adding batteries to existing solar installations. The state also has the Solar for Low Income program, which installs 3-kW solar systems at zero cost for eligible homes.
In the Australian Capital Territory, the Next Gen Battery Storage program offers a rebate of $825 per kilowatt of battery output. The incentive covers up to 30 kW in residential systems and up to 50 kW in business-owned systems. The ACT Solar for Low Income is different from the program of the same name in NSW – it covers 50% of the cost of solar power systems, up to $2,500 per installation.
The Home and Business Battery Scheme provides $6,000 grants for solar panel + battery systems in the Northern Territory. The benefit is not only available for homes and businesses, but also for non-profit and community organisations. To be eligible for the incentive, the installation must have a battery capacity of at least 7 kWh.
Calculating Solar Incentives in Australia: A Brief Example
To demonstrate how STCs and other solar rebate programs make home solar power more affordable, we will calculate the total incentive for three system sizes in three locations:
6.6 kW, 8 kW and 10 kW
Brisbane (QLD), Sydney(NSW) and Melbourne (VIC)
Larger installations get more STCs, since the incentive depends on the estimated kWh production between the installation year and 2030. Solar panel systems also get more STCs in sunnier locations, since the kWh output per panel is increased.
Australia is divided into four zones for STC calculation purposes, where Zone 1 gets the most sunshine and Zone 4 gets the least. The number of STCs per kilowatt of solar capacity changes depending on the zone:
Zone 1 = 1.622 STC per kW
Zone 2 = 1.536 STC per kW
Zone 3 = 1.382 STC per kW
Zone 4 = 1.185 STC per kW
Brisbane and Sydney are both in Zone 3, which means the STC incentive per kW of solar capacity is the same. However, the incentive is decreased in Melbourne, being located in Zone 4. The following table summarizes the STCs for the three system sizes in the three locations, and the corresponding cash incentive at $38 per STC.
System Size (kW)
Brisbane STC – Zone 3
Sydney STC – Zone 3
Melbourne STC – Zone 3
$2,964 from STCs
+$1,400 Solar Victoria
$3,572 from STCs
+$1,400 Solar Victoria
$4,484 from STCs
+$1,400 Solar Victoria
Since Melbourne is located in Zone 4, the STC incentive is smaller than in Brisbane and Sydney. However, after adding the $1,400 from the Solar Victoria program, the total incentive is actually higher in Melbourne.
In this example, the solar installations in Melbourne would also be eligible for an interest-free loan of $1,400. The installations in Sydney would be eligible for interest-free loans of up to $14,000 from the Empowering Homes program if they include a solar battery.
In conclusion, incentive programs are one of the driving forces behind the growth of solar power in Australia. STCs can be claimed anywhere in the country, you get more of them in sunnier locations, and each STC reduces your upfront cost by around $38. The outlook is even better when your state or territory also offers incentives, since they can be combined with the STC rebate.
However, not all solar power systems are eligible for incentive programs. To get the STC incentive, you must use solar products in the Clean Energy Council approved list, and you must hire CEC Accredited Installers. A simple way to meet both requirements at once is working with a CEC Approved Solar Retailer like Arkana Energy.
Want to learn more? Click the button below to Request Pricing in your postcode today.
*information is accurate at the time of writing. Published 9 August 2021.