What’s the finest solar system in Australia?
Hello, this is a video about the best solar system available in Australia today. It's a comprehensive look at all of the different components, panels, inverters, and the software that makes everything work well. If you only want to see a part of it, please click on one of the chapter links. I really hope you find this valuable.
What is the Best Solar System Available in Australia Today? Well while that may depend on your own definition of best. In this video we take a look at the solar system that independent testers, industry and consumer groups consider to be the best solar panels and inverters. The ones that offer the best performance, yield, reliability and savings.
Before we begin, I'll assume that you already know that solar power in Australia is due to rising energy costs, imperative financial savings, dramatic improvements in solar technology and costs, and our climate, and that today more than one in five households has a solar system.
One thing you may not know that well is that solar systems are supposed to last around 30 years. That means you get the maximum financial benefit and the maximum environmental impact. While many, many of the solar systems sold today are lucky enough to last five or sometimes even three years. Therefore, choosing the best, or at least a good solar system, pays off both the time and the extra money it costs now in order to save a lot more later.
So let's start with panels. It is actually quite easy to find out which panel brand is the best out of the hundreds available. At Solaray we simply look at a combination of all the important criteria. Performance or yield, efficiency, reliability, security, guarantee and of course the costs.
The panel that outperforms all others today is, in our opinion, the LG NeON panel. Widely regarded as the most powerful and affordable panel in Australia.
There are one or two other panels that come pretty close to some of the criteria, but the LG NeON panels are the only ones that we think are the best of them all. So let's go through them one by one.
Performance and yield. Ultimately, the most important characteristic of a solar module is how much energy it produces over a long period of time. Independent tests by organizations such as CHOICE and DNV GL, a global environmental quality company, consistently show that the LG NeON panels deliver more energy and thus more savings than any of the other panels tested. This is also confirmed by the test panel system that we have on our roof at Solaray, where we have installed some of the major panel brands, with the LG NeON 2 being the clear front runner.
This is also confirmed by the monitoring reports from thousands of our customers with LG panels. In fact, LG's own data shows that the NeON panels can deliver around nine to 15% more energy each year over the life of the system than a cheaper, similarly specified panel. That means you'll save a lot more on your utility bills than you spend on the relatively low upfront cost.
Oh, and when you consider that LG panels last at least 25 or 30 years, and many of the cheaper panels fail in much, much less time, that makes the choice of LG NeON even more compelling.
So what about efficiency? Despite what you might think, solar panel efficiency isn't the most important factor. Not to say it doesn't matter, it just isn't the most important thing. The efficiency relates to the nominal power divided by the size of the panel. In other words, the amount of electricity it produces per square meter.
This is important when trying to maximize the performance of your solar system with limited roof space, which is often the case today. But 10 kilowatts are still 10 kilowatts, regardless of whether in a small or large space. Nevertheless, the LG NeON panels naturally have one of the highest efficiency classes available.
Let's look at the reliability. This is a big one now. Do the plates last as long as they are supposed to and how often do they fail? In the past 10 or 15 years at Solaray Energy we have installed hundreds of thousands of solar panels and we are all still servicing. Without going into a whole bunch of numbers, let me just say that our most reliable panel we've ever sold is the LG NeON 2. and we struggle to find more than one or two panels that have ever had a problem.
Security. You might think that this hardly needs to be mentioned nowadays, but if a solar panel is poorly installed and lets in water, for example, it can lead to a short circuit and maybe even a fire. While this is unlikely to be the case with most good quality panels, there is a potential risk with cheap panels.
Now we come to the guarantee. With solar panels, there are three really important things to understand about warranties. The first is how long is the real guarantee? What does it cover? Will you ever be able to use it when you need it?
All solar modules in Australia have a so-called performance guarantee, which guarantees that the module will deliver a percentage of its original performance after 25 years. However, this is meaningless and worthless, at least for private customers, and the complaint offered is often limited to a few dollars and in most cases cannot be asserted even if the product no longer works. In other words, the performance guarantee is not a real guarantee as most of us would think.
The real guarantee is a product guarantee. The same as a television or computer that is guaranteed to work as advertised for a period of time. For solar modules, this is usually 15 to 25 years and the LG NeON panels are at the forefront of the market with a full 25-year guarantee.
But, and that's a big but, the warranty is only eligible if the company that made it is still in business and still operating in Australia. In 2013, there were more than 450 solar module manufacturers operating in Australia. In 2019 it was less than 70. That means that more than 85% of all brands sold in 2013 are without a manufacturer's guarantee and believe me, we get dozens and dozens of calls every week from people who have a defective solar system under warranty, but can do nothing about it. In most cases, they will have to write off their investment and buy a completely new system. Sometimes, even if it's only a few years after installation.
This is why we chose LG panels in addition to better performance and reliability. LG is a large global company with strong local business in Australia, which makes its guarantee the safest of all competitors.
Let's finally take a look at the cost of the panels. Well, all of this will of course have its price and yes the LG panels are more expensive, but if you plan to stay in your home for more than five years you will save a lot more than the initial extra cost and peace of mind knowing that you are fix it if there is ever a problem.
Now we come to the inverters. Inverters are the motor and the brain of your solar system. First, they convert the direct current that the solar panels produce into alternating current that your home uses. For the past 10 years, technology has done for inverters what smartphones did to wall phones.
A few years ago, solar inverters consisted of a single large box into which the solar modules were fed. This had a number of problems, not the least of which was that it didn't work very well. You can see that with a single old style inverter, because of the way the panels are wired together, the entire system would perform at the worst performance at the output of the panel. Since all panels function differently, even if they come from the same production batch, you automatically lose up to 5% of your performance. If even one plate is shaded, has a leaf on, or is damaged, it becomes dramatically worse.
Nowadays, almost all high-quality solar systems installed have a device under the panel that allows them to work independently of the others. This means that you get a lot more performance and thus savings.
The other important thing the solar industry has learned over the years is that high voltage and hundreds of volts of direct current flowing through your roof and home are downright dangerous and a fire hazard.
Modern solar systems minimize this by either converting the direct current on the roof into alternating current. Remember, AC power is circuit breaker protected and much, much safer. Or by placing a device under the panel that turns the panel off when an electrical problem occurs. We always recommend this, except in unusual cases.
The best of the best inverters today is the Enphase Microinverter. It converts direct current into alternating current on the roof. This makes it the safest solar inverter on the market. It optimizes each panel so that it produces more performance and therefore greater financial savings. It has a long warranty and a fabulous track record when it comes to reliability. Oh, and it also has the best software and technology of any inverter we've seen.
That brings us to the third major component of the best solar system available. The one who makes it smart. Smart solar systems are the heart and brain of every home management system today. Here you have control over your energy consumption, how much you save and how you manage your home.
Not only does the Enphase system called Enlighten give you all of that, it also proactively monitors the health of your solar system so you always know that it is delivering what you expect. It also means that if or when you install a solar battery you will get the most benefit from it too.
In summary, we believe that the best solar system in Australia today is one that has the LG NeON modules, the Enphase microinverters, with the Enphase management software, Enlighten, that manages the entire system.
Of course, the solar system today is a complex piece of technology and must therefore be planned, installed and, above all, managed and looked after by experts.
Solaray Energy has been recognized as Best LG Module Installer and Best Enphase Microinverter Installer in Australia every year for the past five years. We have the most experience, the best track record and, more importantly, we have a dedicated team of support staff to ensure that your system is working as expected and helping you get the most of it.
So if you are looking for the best solar system in Australia today, speak to the one company that specializes in it more than any other. With more customers than anyone else and the longest track record of installing the best.
Contact us today.