Solar Panels Guide

Everything About Solar Panels: Types, Costs And Installation

Solar panels are a real godsend. They reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and save us money on energy bills. But are they worth the investment? This article reveals everything about solar power. We wanted to provide our readers with the most valuable information possible, so we decided to get in touch with specialists. Why not learn from Velocity Solar who have multiple service locations including Ballarat ( and Geelong in the state of Victoria and have been in the solar game for awhile. You can find out more at Velocity Solar’s Facebook.

How Solar Panels Work

An array of silicon cells absorbs sun rays. A transformer converts this light energy to Direct Current (DC) electricity. A solar inverter converts DC to Alternating Current (AC) electricity which is fed into the grid or used in the house. Solar panels work efficiently when they’re exposed to direct sunlight. Power output drops when it’s cloudy and stops when it’s dark. Besides generating electricity, solar panels are capable of heating water.

Solar Power Investment

The cost of solar technology is dropping at a staggering rate. How long your new system will take to reimburse itself depends on several factors. These include the cost of your solar panels, how much power you use, local electricity rates and your system’s size or output. Get the full benefit of your system to avoid paying high electricity bills.

Types Of Solar Systems

Battery storage or solar hybrid is the in thing. This system is extremely efficient. It stores the energy solar panels produce for later use.

  1. Grid-connected (on-grid) systems draw power from the sun all day long. The system shifts to grid power at night or if it’s cloudy.
  2. Hybrid systems are on-grid and have a backup battery. At night, they power your home using the power stored in the battery.
  3. Standalone systems aren’t grid connected. They only generate electricity during the day.

Solar Panel Cost

Cost varies according to the panels you choose, the size of your system and where you live. Other factors that influence your expenditure include:

  • Installation costs, especially labour
  • Size of the inverter
  • Height and design of your roof
  • Framing cost
  • Fees for grid connection
  • Meter change or switchboard upgrade
  • Removal of trees and other shading elements
Let’s Delve Into The Details
  • System size – Most residential systems are either 3.0kW or 5.0kW. A 1.5kW system is cheap but produces little energy.
  • Installation – A straightforward installation is cheaper than one that needs frames to hold the panels in place.
  • The brand – Choose a reputable brand, not the cheapest. It’s more efficient and comes with a longer warranty (at least 25 years). Budget brands end up costing more and may not qualify for government rebates.

What Are The Exact Costs?

As a rough guide, it costs between $2500 (for a basic 1.5kW system) and $12,000 (for a premium 5kW system). Expect the price to range from $3500-$6000 for a 2kW system and $5500-$9500 for a 4kW system. A 10kW system starts from $13500. You’ll pay more for a high-efficiency brand, to buy several panels and if you choose a hybrid system that has battery backup.

Installation Of Solar Panels

Make sure your solar installer is qualified, accredited and licensed. Depending on where you live, a builder’s or electrical license may be necessary. Solar panels are either installed on the roof or on the ground.

Nitty-Gritty Of Solar

Solar Energy: What It Is and How Solar Panels Work

To power your home or business, solar panels capture sunlight and turn it into electricity.

Our sun – a giant glowing ball (for dummies) or natural nuclear reactor (for geeks) – releases photons. These tiny packets of energy travel millions of miles, from the sun to the earth, in minutes. Each hour, ample photons hit our planet to generate sufficient solar to satisfy global, annual energy needs.

As solar technology improves and solar costs drop, we’re able to fully harness the sun’s abundant energy.

Indeed, solar is one of the world’s fastest-growing power sources. Its growth has even surpassed that of fossil fuels. A few years from now, everyone is likely to enjoy the benefits of solar electricity – in one way or another.

How Solar Panels Work

When photons hit solar cells, they dislodge electrons from their atoms. Electrons generate electricity when they flow through an electrical circuit, which is formed by attaching conductors to the negative and positive sides of a cell. Multiple cells form a solar panel. And multiple panels (modules) make up a solar array when wired together. The more panels you’re able to deploy, the more energy you’re likely to produce.

What Solar Panels are Made of

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels feature many solar cells. Like semiconductors, solar cells are silicon-made. And, just like in a battery, they’re built with a negative and positive layer, which together form an electric field.

How Solar Panels Generate Electricity

PV solar panels produce direct current (DC). With DC electricity, the flow of electrons in a circuit is in one direction. The journey begins from the battery’s negative side and ends at the battery’s positive side.

With alternative current (AC), there’s a push and pull of electrons in reverse direction, much like a car’s engine cylinder. Generators generate AC electricity when, next to the magnet, a coil of wire is spun. Many energy sources can power a generator, including diesel, wind, solar, nuclear and water.

AC electricity is suitable for power grids because transmitting it over long distances is less expensive. Because solar panels on the Gold Coast generate DC electricity, we use an inverter to turn DC into AC.

What a Solar Inverter Does

Simply put, a solar inverter creates AC electricity from DC electricity. Besides converting DC into AC power, inverters, the brains of the system, provide system stats and ground fault protection.

From the onset, central inverters have ruled the solar industry. The introduction of micro-inverters has revolutionized the PV industry. Micro-inverters, unlike central inverters, optimise for each individual panel – not for the whole system.

How a Solar Panel System Works

First, sunlight hits solar panels on the rooftop. The panels turn the energy into DC current. This current flows to the inverter, which converts it into AC. AC electricity, the final product, powers your residential or commercial building.

Through a system known as “net-metering”, there’s no energy wastage. Surplus energy, produced during the peak daylight hours, is fed back into the mains grid for use elsewhere. For the production of the excess energy, the customer gets tax credits.

Residential & Commercial Roof Maintenance

Residential and Commercial Roof Maintenance


Your roof is the first line of defence against natural hazards like heat, snow, hail, wind, ice and rain. It’s also the most vulnerable part. Every day, weather and other elements land on your roof, contributing to rot and rust. Maintaining your roof is the remedy for these constant attacks. We got in touch with a Canberra roofing company to find to get some industry insights into roof maintenance.

Signs of a Roof Problem

Putting off roof inspection for long is detrimental. You have to identify problems and fix them straight away. Some issues are visible from inside and outside the building. Dark streaks on your shingles signal algae growth, while water stains on your ceiling indicate a leak.

A roof leak, due to holes and cracks in the roof, is a sign of immense trouble. If the building has odours or mould inside, water penetration might be the cause.

Depending on the roof’s slope and ease of access, you can do the inspections yourself. But, in many cases, it’s better to hire a roofer. This ensures the job is done correctly and safely.

What to Look For On the Roof

Ponding or stagnant water on the roof can cause premature ageing and deterioration of shingles. Eventually, this leads to leaks. Undetected leaks can rot wood decks, rust steel roofs and soften lightweight insulation. Excessive pooling adds weight to the roof, weakening the deck.

Bubbles indicate moisture on the roof cover. This can lower the roof’s effectiveness and reduce its lifespan. The release of gases from the insulation board is the cause of bubbles.

Roof flashing, the strips of metal between the roof and the wall, deflect water away from the joints and seams. A gap in the flashing increases the chances of roof collapse during water intrusion and high winds.

Cracking ridges and tears in the roof allow water to seep into your house.

Additional Areas for Inspection

Check your lighting protection system. If it’s loose or apart, a puncture or tear in the roof is likely. A system with disconnected aerials or cables won’t provide protection to the building’s occupants.

If there are skylights, seal them. Without a sealant, the skylights dislodge, allowing wind-driven debris and rain to enter the building. Plastic panels become brittle and susceptible to cracks when no maintenance is done.

Care and Maintenance

The best way to strengthen weather resistance and avoid roofing problems is through preventative maintenance and regular care. After a severe hurricane or storm, inspect your roof for damage. Such weather can reduce the strength and life of the roof.

Inspect the roof for leaks and remove any accumulated debris or loose objects. In dry areas, debris like leaves can ignite the roof during a wildfire. A clean roof lacks materials that hold moisture.

Trim trees to prevent leaves from dropping on the roof and branches from scratching the roof.  Check downspouts and gutters for twigs and leaves that inhibit proper drainage. And seal any gaps with cement. Replacement is necessary if the flashing is deteriorated or vents are unstable.

Hire a Roofer

Roofers determine the roof’s health, estimate the roof’s remaining life, develop a maintenance plan and draft steps to safeguard the roof.

Solar Adoption

Is Solar in Darwin Right For You? We Help You Decide

Whether or not solar makes sense to you, now’s a good time to migrate to renewable energy in Darwin, NT. Solar is a sound idea – capture free and abundant sunlight and convert it into energy. This reduces your energy bills and conserves natural resources.

Why Solar?

Well, it isn’t too expensive anymore. Things have changed over the years. Of late, solar is in high demand, all because of the lower prices, higher incentives and multiple financing options.

Energy-Saving Potential

With solar panels, you can stamp out your electric bill completely (after recouping the system, installation and maintenance costs). In other scenarios, however, you can only cut your utility bill by 10-50%.

Solar panels are useful during the day, but useless at night. Unless you acquire solar batteries to preserve excess power, you’ll still have to rely on your local utility company. How much you can save depends on your home’s set up and how you pay for the system.

On average, it takes 5-10 years for homeowners to recoup their investment. More tax credits and smaller systems shorten the recouping period.

Roof Position

A ground-mounted system is ideal if your roof is 20% shaded (or more). If your roof faces the sun, for the most part of the day, rooftop solar is a suitable option. For those who live in winter areas, don’t fret. Solar panels can capture sunlight scattered by humidity or clouds. Therefore, areas with cloudy days and cold climates can utilise solar. In fact, solar panels perform better in colder temperatures.

Cost Benefit

Where you live, how you finance your investment and your current energy usage determine the amount of money you can save by going solar. The longer you stay in your home, the better. Buying solar panels, only to relocate in a few years, wouldn’t give you sufficient time to maximise and enjoy the savings.

Estimate Your Savings

Before going solar, find out if it’s right for you. To compute your estimated savings, grab your electric bills, and check the amount of energy you consume every month. For an accurate estimate, request a solar installer, like, to check your roof. Houses that are out of the sun, either because of tall trees or buildings, may not be suitable for solar.

Financing Options

Get the most ROI by paying for the panels with cash.

Buy the System

Compared to purchase agreements and leasing, buying solar panels saves you money and increases your property’s value. Once you recoup the procurement costs, you’re guaranteed significant utility savings. However, there are maintenance costs.

Lease the System

To use the system, you have to pay a fixed monthly amount. In return, you get a reliable electricity package. Most leases include system maintenance. But you won’t get rebates or tax breaks with this option because the system isn’t yours.

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

With a PPA, one pays for the amount of energy used. As with a lease, there’s no down payment and you don’t possess the system. The amount of electricity you buy may vary by season.

Choosing A Roof

Choosing The Best Roof For Your House

From manmade products like plastic polymers, sheet metal and asphalt to natural materials such as wood and slate, there are various styles and types of roofs to choose from now than ever before. Though each has its benefits and drawbacks, they can add a unique design element to your house. So which one is perfect for you?

What to Look for in a Roof

There are several factors to consider when choosing a roof including:

  • How long it will last
  • Cost – Is it expensive or affordable?
  • The materials used – Are they recyclable and sustainable?
  • Weight – Is it too heavy for the walls or roof framing?
  • Design – Will the look match the style of your house?
  • Terrain – Is the roof flat or sloped?
  • Vulnerability – Can the roof withstand natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes?

Also, find out whether the roof is allowed by the local building codes.

Pros and Cons

Some roof types are better suited for your home than others. Factors like the strength of the framing and the slope of the roof may limit your choices. In places prone to strong wind, heavy rain or scorching sun, look for a wind, fire and moisture resistant product. Below is a list of the different types of roofs.

Asphalt Composition Shingles

Asphalt shingles are highly popular due to their low cost and striking appearance. They are made of fibreglass (more moisture and fire resistant) or organic paper fibre (better for wind resistance and cold weather). Since the roof is a petroleum-based product, it’s not eco-friendly. In humid climates, opt for algae resistant shingles to prevent staining.


Though more costly than asphalt, metal roofs last longer and are more wind resistant. The roofs are made of steel, copper or aluminium to enhance durability. Besides tensile strength, metal is lightweight, wind and moisture resistant, and recyclable.

Plastic Polymers

This durable roof closely resembles slate. Molded from a high-quality plastic polymer material, this roof is low maintenance, long lasting and resistant to fire and wind.

Clay Tiles

While heavy and brittle, clay tiles are very durable and leak resistant. The traditional Spanish or Italian look can be made to resemble slate or cedar shakes. Made from natural materials, this roof type is low maintenance and eco-friendly.

Concrete Tiles

Less expensive and much heavier than clay tiles, concrete tiles can be used on steep and flat roofs. Their appearance is stylish. Paint can be applied to the surface to add curb appeal. Though the tiles are durable, they can easily break.


Of all roofing materials, the slate is the oldest. Though expensive, it’s very durable. It’s made from natural rock, hence its dark grey irregular appearance. As slate roofs are heavy, they require a reinforced structure for support and specially trained roofers to install.

Wood shingles

Wood shakes are made from rot-resistant woods such as cedar and redwood. Although wood gives a natural look and is moderate in weight, it has a shorter lifespan and needs periodic maintenance. You can use wood shingles on flat and steep roofs.

We can’t take the credit for these great tips. A shout out to Sunshine Coast roof restoration for this expert advice. Be sure to visit their website or even check out their roofing Sunshine Coast Facebook account.

Benefits of Maintaining and Repairing Your Roof

The roof is one of most neglected areas in many homes. Most homeowners assume that roofs can last long without any maintenance. What they don’t know is that a well-maintained roof lasts two times longer than one that is not taken care of. With a little help from Mr Highlights Roofing, here are other benefits of inspecting and repairing your roof regularly.

Ultimate protection

A roof protects you, your family and your possessions. It defends against rain, wind, sun, snow and other elements. This means your roof should be stable when you need it most. A proper inspection ensures your roof stays in tip-top condition even during severe weather. It also reveals several problems that you were not aware of. Such issues include rotting, bending, mould, cracks in the wood, and spaces between the slates. If not fixed immediately, these issues can weaken your entire roof.

Save money

The difference between a weak roof that is neglected and a robust roof that is in good condition is the amount of money you shell out. It’s better to take preventive measures to avoid costly repairs. Maintenance can save you hundreds of dollars on roof repairs. A strong roof can also save you lots of cash in repairs during extreme weather. When storms, tornadoes and other kinds of inclement weather occur, you need to rely on your roof.

Add value to your home

A clean regularly maintained roof that is damage free is a great selling feature if you decide to sell your house. For a buyer, a healthy roof is cost-effective in the long run. Family, neighbours and friends also appreciate the curb appeal a beautiful roof creates.

Low energy bills

Worn out roofs allow light wind to run through your property. This causes your air conditioner or heater to run harder to keep your place comfortable. Eventually, it leads to an increase in your energy bills. You can save a couple of dollars monthly if you contact a roofing company to inspect your whole roof for possible leaks and cracks. When your roof is tightly sealed, you can lower your utilities.

Reduce stress

No one wants a roof that is not able to withstand the hardships and elements of Mother Nature. That is a total nightmare. Knowing your roof is sturdy, warrantied for several years, and will keep your place warm and dry inside presents a peace of mind.

New look and technology

The repaired roof can be painted to improve its appearance. During repair, some old features may be replaced with modern components.

As you can see, roof repair is a huge decision that has a big impact on your property. If you can’t afford to replace your roof, then consider repairing it.

Anyway, it is important to conduct regular maintenance. It ensures that you identify small roofing problems and repair them before they become enormous and expensive.

Since some issues are hard to locate, call in an expert roofer for a routine inspection. It’s not a good idea to do the inspection yourself if you have no roofing experience. Besides, you risk falling off the roof.



Rubber Roofing Materials – An Overview

Rubber roofing materials are gradually gaining popularity amongst the homeowners, owing to its features like excellent durability. Rubber roofs are easy to mend too. Plus, rubber roofing materials are most eco-friendly.

When it comes to rubber roofing materials, there are two distinct varieties. One is a membrane that can cover a whole roof and the other one is a membrane that can cover only the roof shingles.

Usually, house owners find the first one to be ideal, as covering the whole roof with the help of a rubber roofing membrane largely discards the chances of any roof leak. Rubber roof shingles, on the other hand, are basically shingles that are covered by a rubber material. They are light in weight and are easy to install.

Roofs are one of the most important parts of houses. Homeowners must not take it casually. Roof renovation and installment projects imply huge investments. Hence, one must be careful while making a decision. Rubber roofing is a new roofing alternative that involves rubber roofing materials like plastic bottles, PVC pipes, plastic bags, and tires.

Rubber roofing provides outstanding insulation to a house. This helps in lowering energy costs. Rubber is highly durable, almost like concrete roofing. A homeowner is bound to find maintaining a rubber roof easy and less time-consuming. It is also inexpensive. Rubber roofing materials are not at all prone to crumbling. This makes rubber roofing an ideal choice. Rubber roofing materials are totally resistant to fore. Hence, by installing a rubber roof, the risks of facing any fire mishap gets largely reduced.

For those houses that have flat roofs, one can consider adding rubber sheets to flat roofing materials. The process of installing a rubber sheet on a flat roof is similar to the process of fitting a rug or a mattress on the floor. Slanted roofed houses can make use of rubber roofing tiles. Proper rubber roofing materials must be arranged beforehand.

Before installing a rubber roofing sheet or rubber tiles on a roof, it must be made sure that the substrate is swept off and made free of any kind of debris. If a roof is already damaged, proper measures must be taken to repair the damages before installing a rubber roof.

When the original roof is restored, an underlying structure is positioned on the roof that facilitates adding particle board insulation. Skirting is laid on the edges of the roof to make sure that the water is drained directly to a gutter. The rubber sheet is then placed on the roof over a wood strip that is placed at a distance of about 6 inches from the gutter edge.

The sheet is fixed by stapling. It must be ensured that the rubber sheet is let to overhang on the sides of the roof edges so that it can be fixed firmly later on. The sheet is then screwed properly. One must make sure that proper rubber roofing materials are used. Using any defective material can pose a big problem in future. House owners can consider buying rubber roofing tools from the rubber roofing materials, the ultimate destination for home improvement requirements like rubber roofing materials.