1: What are the steps for going solar with the Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy?
There are 10 steps in the process, of going solar with the Hepburn 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 Hepburn 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
2: What size solar power systems are available?
The Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy can supply and install solar power systems from 2kW to 100kW+.
3: Can solar panels be recycled?
Almost all solar panels sold today have a 25 performance warranty, and the majority are expected to go the distance. When solar panels do eventually reach end-of-life we work together with companies such as Ecoactiv and PVCycle, who specialise in solar panel recycling and e-waste management solutions. Ecoactiv have solar panel recycling stations in all Australian states. Upwards of 95% of the PV panel can be recycled.
You can read more about Ecoactiv and PVcycle here:
4: 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.
5: Is it worth getting solar if there’s 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 can be 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 Hepburn Shire, that’s Powercor.
The ‘poles and lines’ infrastructure of the electricity grid were designed years ago when solar wasn’t a big deal. 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 limit is 5kW of exports for each household solar PV system. But sometimes Powercor can reduce that to a lower figure, or even set a zero-export limit.
If this happens to you, is it still worth getting solar? The answer is generally 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 Hepburn 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.