Can solar panels be recycled?
Can you supply and install off-grid solar power systems?
Yes. Our solar provider is fully accredited to design, supply and install off-grid solar power systems. If you are interested, then request a quote online or call 1300 466 274.
How can I provide feedback on my MASH installation?
In our aspiration to continually improve MASH’s service, we appreciate all constructive feedback. To this end, we have a Customer Satisfaction Feedback Survey which we ask all customers to complete after their solar installation. This provides us with a gauge on how we are going, highlights areas that we can improve, and gives opportunities to share customer testimonials to promote the bulk-buy programs.
How to get support under warranty for systems installed via the MASH program?
Here are the details for how to get support under warranty for systems installed via the MASH program.
MASH Round 1
Supplier/installer: Stephen Breheny (now SB Solar Battery Services)
Call: 1300 103 889
MASH Round 2
Supplier/installer: Energy Matters
1300 137 123
MASH Round 3
As advised by Sunergy, the first step is to first follow the troubleshooting guide in your system user manual. Call outs where there is no problem with the equipment supplied are billable (eg grid over voltage, shading, vermin).
MASH Round 3.1
Tel: 1300 73 93 55
Please include details of whether the warranty claim relates to a residential or non-residential solar PV-system in your inquiry/claim as this will assist with the query.
MASH Round 3.2 and 4
Supplier/installer: Energy Matters
1300 137 123
Note: If your system was purchased as well as installed by Skybridge you can use the same contact details for warranty support, i.e.
1300 137 123
MASH Round 4.1
Supplier/installer: Macedon Ranges Solar Power
1300 693 113
MASH Round 5
Date: 2020 –
Supplier/installer: Cola Solar
1300 374 357
Supplier/installer: Specialized Solar
03 9117 6185
Is it worth getting solar if there is an export limit on my property?
Have you been told by your electricity network provider that there’s a limit set to the amount of solar power you can export to the grid? This is called export limiting. Unfortunately it is starting to crop up more frequently, particularly in rural areas where the electricity grid is weaker.
This FAQ explains what export limiting is, and whether it is still worthwhile getting solar if you have an export limitation imposed on your property.
The amount of power that you can export to the grid is set by the local electricity network operator. In the Bendigo, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander shires as well as much of the Hepburn Shire, that’s Powercor.
The ‘poles and lines’ infrastructure of the electricity grid were designed years ago when solar wasn’t so popular. Now that more than one in five Aussie homes have solar, this infrastructure is starting to show its age. On sunny days, when lots of power is being produced by solar systems, the grid can get maxed out resulting in power surges and issues with the quality of electricity supply.
Of course, the network operators have controls in place to maintain the supply and reliability of power to homes and businesses. One of these controls is to set limits to how much electricity can be sent back to the grid from solar power systems on homes and businesses. This is where export limiting can occur.
Typically in the Powercor area, the export limit is 5kW of exports for each single-phase household solar PV system. Sometimes Powercor can reduce that to a lower figure, or even set a zero-export limit. (Note: it is possible to install a larger system, say 10kW on a single phase property and meet the Powercor rules by export limiting the system to 5kW, assuming that Powercor provides approval for the 5kW export for your property).
If you are export limited, is it still worth getting solar? The answer is quite often YES, as long as your solar power system is designed correctly. If your solar system is sized so that most of the power generated by your solar system is used in your home, then you will be saving money. That’s because you’ll be using free sun power to run your home, rather than buying it from the grid. This is called ‘self-consumption’ and it is widely recognised that this is where the greatest savings are to be had.
Other ways of using the power that you can’t export to the grid include:
1/ Solar battery storage
We find that some people, when faced with an export limit, consider installing a solar battery storage system. With this approach, any excess power generated by your solar that you can’t use immediately in your home, is stored in your battery so you can use it later. The MASH Solar Bulk-Buy supplies and installs the Tesla Powerwall 2 battery – find out more here.
2/ Hot water system
There’s nothing stopping you from diverting any excess power from your solar system into a hot water system that’s powered with an electric heat pump. With hot water accounting for around one-third of many household power bills, that can prove to be a smart financial move.
3/ Air conditioning split system
Another great option is to install an air conditioning split condition for heating and cooling your home using the electricity generated by your solar power system.
Is the CVGA (the organiser of MASH) making any money out of bulk-buy?
The not-for-profit Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA) receives a small commission on each installation in order to make a contribution towards the costs of marketing and administration of the bulk-buy program.
What are the prices and brands of solar panels, inverters, and batteries installed by MASH?
Solar Power System by Region
As MASH is expanding into new regions, we have appointed two solar companies – Specialized Solar and Cola Solar. Both were selected through a competitive tender process completed in 2020. To find out more about prices and details of the panels, inverters, and batteries supplied and installed in your Shire please click on your Shire below.
What are the solar rebates and how do I apply for them?
There are two incentive programs for solar power systems installed on homes in Victoria:
- The Solar Homes Rebate (also known as the Solar Panels Rebate) from the Victorian government
- Small-scale Technology Certificates from the Federal government
Both the Federal and State government rebates are like point-of-sale discounts that reduce the up-front cost of going solar.
Which ones do you need to apply for?
- You do need to apply for the Victorian Solar Homes Rebate. The solar provider for the Mallee Sun Solar Bulk Buy, Specialised Solar, can advise you on the rebate application process.
- You don’t need to apply for the Federal form of ‘rebate’ – called Small-Scale Technology Certificates – as the paperwork is all handled by your solar provider. This is available to anyone buying a solar power system for their home.
Solar Homes Rebate – from the state government
The Victorian State Government’s Solar Homes Rebate is worth up to $1,850 for solar panel (PV) systems for eligible households.
The solar rebate program offers – in addition to a rebate of up to $1,850 – an interest-free loan of up to the same amount as the rebate, for eligible homeowners.
The first step in the process for applying for a rebate, is to select your preferred solar provider and get a quote. The supplier will upload the quote on the Solar Victoria website. Our solar provider, Specialized Solar, will be able to advise you and support you with the rebate application process.
Solar Homes Rebates
- Interest-free loans (over 4 years, or less if you like) in addition to the solar panels rebate
- Solar rebates for rental properties and
- Solar battery rebates
Federal Government ‘Solar Rebate’
The Federal Government ‘rebate’ is known as Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme under which Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) are issued. The STCs are worth around $555 per kilowatt of solar installed (at Feb 2020).
This amount is almost invariably treated as a point-of-sale discount, which means that the price you are quoted for a solar power system – in almost all cases – is net of the value of the STCs.
What are the steps for going solar with the MASH Solar Bulk-Buy?
There are 10 steps in the process, of going solar with the MASH Solar Bulk-Buy.
- Request a quote
Two ways to request an obligation-free quote:
- Call 1300 466 274
- Complete the online form.
- Quote & rebates
- Cola Solar, the company appointed to sell and install solar systems for the MASH Solar Bulk-Buy, will contact you by phone within 2 working days to discuss your requirements and provide you with a written quote.
- They can also advise you on the application process for the Victorian government’s solar and battery rebates.
- For full information about the Victorian government’s solar and battery rebates – and to apply – visit Solar Victoria at solar.vic.gov.au or call them on 1300 376 393 during business hours.
If you are interested in going ahead, you pay a deposit of 10% of the initial investment (this means the amount owing after all rebates and loans have been taken into account) to Cola Solar. The installation process cannot start until this has been received by Cola Solar.
- Rebate application
- If you want to apply for the Victorian government’s solar panels or battery rebate please let Cola Solar know. They will upload your quote to the Solar Victoria Portal, which will trigger the online process for your eligibility assessment.
- You then need to upload the documents required by Solar Victoria.
- If it’s confirmed that you are eligible, Cola Solar will claim the rebate on your behalf and deduct the rebate amount from the cost of your system.
- Connecting to the electricity grid
- Cola Solar will apply for permission from the network distributor (in most cases this is Powercor) to connect your solar and/or battery system to the electricity grid
- This process is often instant however in some cases the application may be sent for further assessment which can take up to 4 weeks.
- You will be contacted by Cola Solar within 7 days of network approval to schedule your installation.
- The installation team will be following a set of safety procedures relating to COVID-19 – learn more here.
- Your system is typically installed within 22 working days of network approval.
- You need to be home at the beginning and end of the installation or additional costs may be incurred.
- The installer will show you how to use the system and the WiFi monitoring, following social distancing requirements.
- Cola Solar will provide warranty information and an instruction manual
- The system will then be tested but not switched on until the independent electrical inspection is completed.
- Final payment
- Balance of payment is due on the day of installation.
- Independent electrical inspection
- The independent electrical inspector will be booked within 3 working days after installation.
- When completed, the inspector will switch your solar system on. It is important that you do not turn the system on yourself.
- Feed-in Tariff
- Within 7 days of the electrical inspection, Cola Solar will process the paperwork to have your system set up for your retailer to grant you the solar feed-in tariff and meter reconfiguration. Cola Solar will copy you in on this paperwork.
- You will then be notified by your electricity retailer when your system is set up for the feed-in tariff. This generally takes up to 30 days but this can take longer and varies depending on the electricity retailer.
Please note: your electricity retailer can charge between $50–$150 for costs associated with this re-programming and more if you need a new smart meter.
- After sales service
What are your COVID-19 safety measures?
Ensuring the safety of all bulk-buy participants and installers during the COVID-19 pandemic is of utmost importance. As of the time of writing (18 August 2020) under stage 3 restrictions for our part of Victoria, it is still allowable to install solar and battery systems as long as adherence is paid to the restrictions.
Here is a list of measures our solar supplier, Cola Solar, is taking to keep everyone safe.
- No customer-facing sales visits.
- Technical site visit prior to installation day – only if absolutely necessary.
- Installation team – maximum number of two installers to a vehicle; teams of 2-4 installers operating within strict social distancing guidelines, disinfect vehicle at end of day.
- All touch points to be sanitised – tools, ladders, switchboards, outside of the inverter etc.
- Customer interaction during installation – only be outside with 1.5m distance and kept to the shortest possible duration. Installers will not enter a customer’s property for any reason.
- Customers sign install documentation – all done online wherever possible.
This list will be updated should further rules come into place, or guidance.
We wish everyone the best during these challenging times. Keep safe and keep well.
What is a standard installation?
A standard installation means:
- Pitched roof in good condition made of corrugated iron or corrugated colourbond or Trim-dek fixed with roofing screws (i.e. excludes tile roofs, flat roofs or Klip-lok fixed from underneath)
- Single phase electricity supply
- A ceiling cavity large enough to work inside of (i.e. excludes cathedral ceilings)
- No asbestos within the areas where the installation is to occur, including but not limited to roof cladding, insulation, meter boxes/switchboards, eves or walls.
- Panels installed in portrait in one continuous array or with dual tracking where possible.
- Single story (i.e. less than 3.6 metres to the gutter line)
- Roof slope less than 30 degrees but more than 10 degrees
- Customer switchboard and/or sub board is compliant with current regulations and has sufficient room for a single pole main solar isolator
- Inverter able to be mounted in location chosen by installer. Customer requests to be accommodated where reasonable to do so.
- Cable run from the array to the consumer switchboard to be 30 metres or less
- No switchboard or meter re-wiring changes other than that required for the solar installation (i.e. excludes additional requirements mandated by some retailers including but not limited to rewiring of hot water boost tails, rewiring of climate saver boost tails or installation of timers on hot water).
- Within the Region.
What size solar power systems are available?
The MASH Solar Bulk-Buy can supply and install solar power systems from 2kW to 100kW+.
Who are your installers and suppliers?
Every 18 months or so, the MASH team goes out to tender to find the best solar retailer/installers for our bulk-buy programs who are offering the best customer service, best possible systems with above-industry standard warranties.
Based on our last tendering process which completed in April 2020, we have appointed two solar companies for the MASH bulk-buy program. They are Cola Solar and Specialized Solar. Both are Clean Energy Accredited Solar Retailers with an excellent reputation for customer service, quality installations and longevity in the market (which is important when it comes to honouring warranties).
The prices that they are providing for the solar and battery systems through the MASH bulk-buy are virtually the same. Both have a commitment to using local installers to do the work, whether they are installers ‘on payroll’ or sub-contractors working for them.
Cola Solar is the MASH solar company for Mount Alexander Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire, Hepburn Shire and the City of Greater Bendigo.
Specialized Solar is the MASH solar company for the Pyrenees Shire, Loddon Shire, Central Goldfields Shire and Ararat Rural City Council.
Both Cola Solar and Specialized Solar will supply and install solar PV systems and home battery storage systems (the Tesla Powerwall 2 battery) in the regions mentioned above. Off-grid enquiries will all go to Specialized Solar regardless of the region.
Importantly, both Specialized Solar and Cola Solar are Tesla Powerwall Certified Installers.
They both offer exactly the same warranties on all of the solar power systems and also the Tesla Powerwall.
If you are an installer in any of the above regions and you are interested in working as a sub-contractor to either Cola Solar or Specialized Solar, please get in touch with us at email@example.com