Solar Panels Information and Guides
Make powering your home more affordable
Capture the abundant power of the sun and convert it to electricity to meet your energy needs.
Harnessing the sun to power your home can:
- significantly reduce your electricity bills
- make you less reliant on energy retailers and the grid
- help you to live sustainably
- contribute significant benefits to our environment
Solar energy is abundant – if we could use solar power to harness all of the sunlight shining on the earth for just one hour, we could use the energy to power the entire world for a whole year. And you won’t be alone in moving to solar. Australia has some of the best solar resources in the world, and around one in three households in South Australia already have solar panels.
Our solar systems combines high-quality solar panels with market leading inverters and only the highest class of installation and after-sales customer support to generate clean, reliable, and economic solar energy for years to come.
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How long does it take to pay back solar panels?
In most parts of Australia, a solar system matched to your daytime energy needs can pay itself back in 3 to 5 years, and save you thousands in energy costs over it’s life.
Adelaide has some of the best solar resources in the world – and we’ve only tapped into a fraction of the total potential. Adelaide, and the majority of South Australia, receives an average of at least 7 hours of sunshine per day. Payback periods on solar energy systems vary widely, according to a number of contributing factors:
- When you use energy
Solar panels generate electricity while the sun is shining. This means if you have panels without battery storage, you’ll get a faster payback on your solar system if you use most of your energy during the day instead of at night. However, if you include battery storage in your system, the times that you use electricity become less important as you’ll be able to use solar both day and night, either from your panels or from your battery.
- Your electricity usage and the size of your system
If you use more power than your system is capable of producing or your battery is able to store, your savings might be lower than what they could be. This can be avoided by choosing the right-sized solution for your needs.
- Your feed-in tariff
This is the amount your electricity retailer pays you (typically in cents per kilowatt hours) for any excess powert your solar generates. While feed-in tariffs are lower now than in the early days of solar, solar panel prices have come down even quicker and to the point now where paybacks today with the lower feed-in tariffs are actually better than what they were under the high feed-in tariffs. Even so, these tariffs change from retailer to retailer, so it pays to shop around and get the best deal.
- Where you live
Some areas of Australia receive a lot more sunlight than others, and therefore the same number of solar panels will produce different amounts of energy depending on where in the country they are installed. For example, a solar energy system in sunny Adelaide will usually create more energy over a year than the same one in down in Hobart.
ZEN Energy takes all these factors into account when we present the benefits of your solar system to you, and our consultants will be able to show how we design your solution for the best possible outcome.
Beware of other companies that suggest their systems can give you much higher savings than the same system from ZEN. In many circumstances, you might find the other company hasn’t considered all the factors we have, or may have made some guesses or assumptions that don’t actually fit with your situation. If you see a large difference between what ZEN suggests your system will do compared with what another company is saying, speak to our consultants to explore and understand the differences.
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Solar panel Installation
We are an Adelaide-based solar company, and have been since our beginnings in 2004.
Solar & storage experts
With over 10 years experience, we’re specialists in our field and we know solar & battery storage back to front.
A solution designed specifically for you
We find out how much electricity you use, when you use it and what you pay, then design a system specifically to suit your needs.
Most ZEN installations will take place over a single day.
ZEN qualified installers will arrive at your site at the agreed time, take you through what they will be doing, run final checks on your roof, meterboard and your switchboard. They’ll then get to work on fitting the panels to your roof, installing your inverter to your wall, and safely wiring everything together and connecting it to your switchboard to complete your solar system.
Once your system installation is complete, the installers will take you through the use of your system and how you can access your online monitoring report. The online monitoring allows you to see your electricity generation and the overall performance of your system over time, from any internet enabled device.
Once the solar system is installed, it requires only minimal maintenance from you other than ensuring your panels remain clean during the warmer, rain-free months.
In the unlikely event that something does go wrong with your solar panels, battery, or system, the Australian-based ZEN Customer Support Team is always available to assist you. They can be contacted on 1300 936 466 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that Australian based customer support adds significant value to your solar panel investment.
Frequently asked questions about solar panels
The answer to this really depends on how and when you use electricity.
Thanks to falls in prices, the days of having to have all of your solar panels north-facing to make sure you produced enough energy to justify the cost of your system are gone, and it’s now more important to make sure your panels match your electricity usage.
Having solar panels on your east-facing roof is perfect for those that use a lot of power in the morning; these panels will capture the morning sun and give you electricity when you need at most. Conversely, having solar panels on your west-facing roof is perfect if you use a lot of power in the afternoon or early evening; this works well in summer to cool down your house at the end of a long, hot day.
In most circumstances, a well installed solar panel system will last for up to 25 years. With our long history in solar, ZEN Energy is one of the few companies in Australia that can point to systems that are still performing well years and years after their installation.
Notwithstanding, its important to still understand what manufacturer’s warranties come with your solar panels. Solar panels come with a materials and workmanship warranty and a performance warranty
The materials and workmanship warranty is to cover poor materials or workmanship in the manufacture of the panel itself. Generally, these warranties are between five and ten years, meaning the solar panels are expected to be free of any material or workmanship defects for at least the warranty period.
In addition to this, the solar panel performance warranty is typically for 25 years, in line with the expected lifespan of the panel. This warranty sets the minimum performance expected from the panel for every year of its operation. To be conservative, assumes that this minimum performance is what your panels will achieve, but in many cases, the actual performance can be higher.
To determine the warranties that apply to your panels, review the manufacturers’ warranty in our knowledge centre.
Solar panel systems are very low maintenance. However, your systems output may be reduced if the panels become dirty.
Natural rainfall will often wash the panels and sufficiently remove accumulated dust and dirt, however, you may want to consider proactively cleaning your solar panels to optimise system performance or to account for areas where you experience higher than normal exposure to dust, dirt, or other debris. The best time to clean the panels would be late spring and late autumn.
For instructions to clean your solar panels and important information to prepare, read our fact sheet on how to clean your solar panels.
If you are just looking to add solar panels to your existing system, nowadays the most cost-effective option is often just to add a second solar energy system to your property that sits side-by-side with your current system.
Be aware that upgrading your system with more panels or battery storage may also result in losing your current feed-in tariff, and the requirements for adding panels or battery storage may differ from state to state. Our consultants will be able to take you through these requirements and guide you down the best path.
The time it takes to have your solution installed and up and running will depend on a few factors like the size of your system, and how long your energy provider takes to arrange any necessary meter alterations and your grid connection. ZEN Energy will help you with all necessary paperwork and arrange the required applications for your solution, but unfortunately we cannot control how long your energy provider takes to carry out their work and have you up and running. We will however keep you in the loop regarding the progress of your solution and any holdups along the way. The ZEN installation itself will typically take up to one day for a residential size system.
In most circumstances, a property will be suitable for a solar system, and it will just be a case of determining how the panels and system are best installed on your property and the benefits it will provide. Determining these details will depend on several factors, such as the orientation and space available for solar panels, any shading on the space available, the state and age of your switchboard, and your current electricity usage.
Situations where ZEN Energy may recommend that your property is not suitable for solar may include if you have very little available area for panels, you have a lot of consistent shading on the available areas, or your switchboard needs significant work to safely accommodate a solar energy or energy storage solution. However, even in these cases, your ZEN Energy consultant will talk you through the restrictions with your property before helping you decide whether or not to proceed with solar at your property.