What is solar and how does it work?
- Solar energy is energy provided by the sun. It’s generated by the sun’s light – not heat, so it only works during the day.
- The sun shines on solar panels to generate Direct Current (DC) electricity.
- The DC electricity feeds into a solar inverter that converts it to 230V 50Hz Alternating Current (AC) electricity.
- 230V AC electricity is used to power appliances in your home.
- You receive solar credits for the excess solar-generated electricity which is exported to the grid.
Things to know about installing solar
Make sure you do your research before you start the process, to ensure your expectations are realistic.
- You must apply for pre-approval with your electricity distributor before you install. You can’t start the installation process until final approval is granted.
- Some distributors may limit solar export from additional solar connections, in order to manage voltage levels in the area. Before you install, check if you’ll be able to export back to the grid. Even if you won’t receive solar credits, you’ll offset your usage with the solar energy you’re generating.
- Many customers find it takes longer than expected to have their meter reconfigured so ask your electricity distributor about the timeframes before you install.
- Contact your electricity retailer to renegotiate your contract and confirm your projected savings. Be mindful that your rates (tariff) may increase after solar is installed.
- There’s a lot of paperwork that needs to be submitted and processed before your solar system is fully operational. Make sure you confirm that your solar installer has correctly submitted the following to your electricity retailer:
- Certificate of Electrical Safety (CES)
- Electrical Works Request (EWR)
- Photo Voltaic (PV) connection form, which may also be called an Embedded Generator (EG) or solar connection form.
- After the paperwork is processed, your electricity retailer asks your distributor to reconfigure your current meter or install a new meter for solar. This has to be done within 20 business days of receiving notification from the retailer, and your retailer will charge you a fee for this.
- Your distributor will also ask your retailer to change your tariff to the appropriate solar feed-in network tariff so that your export can be separately recorded (if you’ve been approved to export). This tariff is usually more expensive than your previous tariff.
- Once installed and properly connected, you’ll receive your usual electricity bill, stating your usage and export generation amounts. This bill generally includes the one-off fee for your solar meter upgrade.
- Your distributor will also ask your retailer to change your tariff to the appropriate solar feed-in network tariff so that your export can be separately recorded (if you've been approved to export). This tariff is usually more expensive than your previous tariff.
- Once installed and properly connected, you'll receive your usual electricity bill, stating your usage and export generation amounts. This bill generally includes the one-off fee for your solar meter upgrade.
How do I choose a good quality solar system?
All systems listed as Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved products meet Australian Standards and are accredited as Approved Products by the Clean Energy Council. To be eligible for a rebate, products must be on this list. See the CEC approved products list.
How do I know which solar products and installers are approved?
Lists of approved products and approved installers are listed on the Clean Energy Council (CEC) website to ensure you can easily determine what is approved and therefore eligible.
EWOV can't investigate complaints about solar installation companies as this isn't within our jurisdiction. If you can't resolve a complaint about your solar installer, please contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 or the Clean Energy Council.
Problems you may encounter
If you believe your bill is missing solar credits, check with your retailer that your meter upgrade has been completed properly. If there’s a problem with the paperwork or the meter upgrade, solar credits won’t appear on your bill.
- Solar installation delays
Any errors in the paperwork (including misspelt names, addresses, etc) will cause a delay.
The Clean Energy Council has detailed information outlining the installation process.
Also see the Solar Victoria website for information about solar rebates.