Rising Living Costs But It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

The cost of living in Australia has increased & is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Two key factors driving the cost of living are interest rate hikes (COST OF MONEY) to combat Australia’s 20-year high inflation rate & geopolitical instability affective energy supply/prices (ENERGY). With this in mind consumers are urged to be proactive and find ways they can save and soften the impact.

Interest Rates Rising in Australia

The Reserve bank of Australia (RBA) is dealing with the highest inflation rate in 20-years at 5.1% & in May increased the cash rate from historic lows by 0.25% with more hikes predicted. AMP’s head Investment Strategist and Economics and Chief Economist, Dr Shane Oliver is predicting the cash rate by the end of the year between 1.5% and 2%, that’s a large increase from today’s rate. This will mean mortgage holders will have less disposable income and need to prioritize their spending.

Rising Electricity Prices

In the first quarter of the year, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said wholesale electricity prices went up a staggering 141% when compared with the same period last year. Australians have been warned to prepare for further rises, with power prices expected to jump by 40% over the next two years according to an energy analyst.
Both the cost of money (interest rates) and energy prices underpin the cost of living expenses (essential items) and a household’s ability to manage their budget.

Knowing What’s Ahead – Reduce Costs

Knowing what’s ahead, homeowners and businesses are encouraged to be proactive and look at how they can reduce their costs before it becomes unmanageable.

Finding effective saving solutions that have a large impact is difficult in this environment, however they do exist. Unfortunately when it comes to reducing your mortgage expense you’re reliant on finding a better rate which we definitely encourage. However when the underlying cash rate is being increased by the RBA it’s more about finding the lowest rate in a rising rate environment.

On the energy front it’s a different story, households can take full control of their electricity bill by becoming their own energy provider. Installing a solar power system allows households to reduce or eliminate the need to buy electricity at ever increasing prices.

Take Control of your Electricity Bill

Generating and consuming your own power provides complete energy control and pricing. Once a solar system is installed you’ve locked in your energy rate and depending on your solar solution after 4 to 5 years (system paid off) you have an asset that generates free renewable energy, no emissions and no electricity bill for the next 20 years.

An electricity bill is like rent, it never stops unless you buy. 

Here’s a quick solar equation based on a quarterly electricity bill of $750 ($3000 per year).

  • Renting electricity for the next 25 years: $3000 x 25 years = -$75,000
  • Buying a solar power solution: $3000 (80% solar saving) $600 x 25 years = -$15,000

With solar you save $60K over 25 years, there aren’t many investments with returns/ savings as good as solar and well worth considering.

We’ve already seen a surge in demand for solar with the recent energy price rise. Households are looking to reduce their expenses and a solar solution can substantially reduce the cost of living.

Take the first step and get in contact, no-obligation free assement   here


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Electricity Costs Are Rising Faster Than You Think

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has predicted electricity price hikes of up to 40 per cent over the next 24 months, in a sobering development for households already battling skyrocketing costs.

AEMO’s report comes amid growing pressure on the Morrison Government to act on soaring power bills — with the government repeatedly blaming state governments’ energy policies, but critics pointing to its own lack of climate change policy and delays on regulatory reforms.

Labor is calling on the Government to adopt its plan to halve power bills within two years. Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler said an “extraordinary” 141 per cent surge in electricity prices was due to retailers hiking their rates, with figures showing NSW households were hit hardest by increased bills.

See “Wholesale power prices soared 141 per cent, year on year, and households should brace for more” ABC by reporter Daniel Mercer

What States are the Most Affected by Rising Electricity

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its latest report on electricity prices in Australia on Wednesday, revealing that some consumers are paying up to $300 more than what they were paying last year.

The ACCC’s report showed that Queenslanders saw the highest increase in their electricity bills at around $400, while Western Australians and Victorians also saw increases of around $300.

According to the report, these price increases occurred in states with the biggest dependence on coal and gas, and the market volatility for those fuels was having an outsized effect on power prices.

How to Beat the Energy Price Hike

Energy prices are rising, so we’ve got some tips for how to beat rising energy prices. The first thing you should know is renewable energy provides a natural hedge to this, while also decarbonising the grid.

Renewable energy provides cheap electricity, energy independence, so the price of electricity generated by a solar power system is effectively fixed. Fossil fuels become more expensive and their use becomes less desirable due to climate change concerns, renewable technologies are becoming increasingly attractive — and they’ll remain so even if fossil fuel prices come down again in future years.

Solar technologies have come a long way and are now very efficient, meaning they’re able to produce greater amounts of energy for less money with more reliability.

It’s never been a better time to protect your family from energy inflation, 1 in 4 Australian households have already protected their families. Fix your electricity bill with your own renewable solar power solution. Make the most of the government’s generous incentive program to offset the solar installation cost & eliminate energy inflation.

If you’d like to find out more about installing a solar power system, battery solution and what government incentives you’re eligible for please contact us here.


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Mono vs Poly Solar Panels: What Is the Difference?

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.


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Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying a Battery

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:

  • Solar Victoria
  • 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.


Final Recommendations


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 Feed-in Tariffs: How to Make Money From Solar Panels?

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:

Scenario Savings ($) kWh Sales ($) Total ($)
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.

New Solar Export Rules From the AEMC: How Do They Affect Solar Owners?

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.