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How solar panels work

Solar Panels collect energy from the sun and turn it into electricity. First Choice Home Improvements are specialists in installing Solar Panels Adelaide, we can customise an installation to suit your needs.

The Inverter on the wall turns the electricity from the Solar Panels into the same type of electricity we use in our house – that is 240 volt AC. The more panels you have, the more your system will generate.

The inverter should be sized to match the output of the panels to ensure the greatest efficiency. During the day you can use your own electricity instead of buying it at 40c.

The bigger the system the bigger the savings on your power bill. A correctly sized unit will deliver the most value.

What Solar Rebates do I receive?

Lots of people think the rebates are gone – but that’s not true. The Federal Government still subsidise solar power. In general they pay for about 25% of the system price. Achieved through STC’s (Small-scale Technology Certificates). We trade in your STC’s at the time of the installation so the price we quote you is the nett amount. Think about it as a co-payment on your contract – paid by the government.

We do all the paperwork so it’s really simple for you!

Feed In Tarriff
The other Rebate commonly referred to is the Feed In Tariff (FiT). This is the rate you receive when you sell excess power back to the grid. Previously subsidised by the State Government, on top of the amount you get back from your Energy Retailer. The State Government has now ceased this initiative but the Retailer still pays you a percentage. It’s currently 6 to 16 cents per kWHr depending on who your Retailer is.

This means; you still get a discounted system. The discount is significant too. The FiT is pretty attractive too when we size the system properly to meet your needs. It also means batteries might be an option for you to consider – ask First Choice Solar about what system is right for you and if batteries are an additional benefit for your system and lifestyle needs.

What solar products to use

Buying Solar is a lot like buying any electrical appliance. Let’s use the example of a TV.

TV.’s come in all sizes at all different prices. Different brands, different features, different quality, different warranties, big brands, obscure brands, good brands, cheaper brands, good picture and sound through to poor picture and poor sound.

Solar Panels and Inverters are the same.

We have all bought a TV before, so we understand that, but we might not have bought Solar before.

Don’t despair! We have used our knowledge and experience to match products together to make choosing simple.

We call our range Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum

For the technically inclined, we have details about Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum products, including PDF downloads. Click on the big buttons for in-depth detail.


Bronze is an economical option for budget conscious people who want solar Adelaide that still want a good system. Importantly it’s not too cheap. We can buy cheaper equipment – but we won’t go there. You can pay too little for Solar. Be warned!

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Our Silver line is our most popular. It offers excellent products from respected manufacturers still at a very economical price.

These products come with excellent warranties as well as excellent known performance in Australian conditions.

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Gold is another step up again, same panels as the Silver but with the added advantage of Optimisers. An optimiser  on the back of each panel offers peak individual performance for each panel. This system can be 18% more efficient than a “string” inverter setup.

A system with optimisers can be as efficient as Micro Inverters, but is simpler with less inherent problems.

We also offer an All Black option which looks really good, especially on a dark roof.

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Platinum is our Solar with Batteries range. We go to a top performing panel, inverter and battery combination. It sounds over the top for a house but not so. SA Power Networks has been granted permission to progressively change the whole of SA over to “Peak Metering”. See our information page on “Peak Metering and how it affects me”.

Batteries are a great way to avoid the peak. We believe instead of a 20% increase in charges for electricity, you might get a 20% decrease. That’s a difference of 40%.

That means your batteries will pay for themselves quicker than you think.

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What questions to ask when buying Solar Panels Adelaide

Are you a diversified business or are you wholly reliant on Solar?

This is the really BIG ONE. We are a diversified business. That means we are not wholly dependent on Solar. The comfort to you is that we will be around for a long time to come. You can trust us and we offer you complete peace of mind.

Who am I dealing with and how long have you been in business?

We are a Family Owned and operated business established in 1990. We grew up in Adelaide and plan to retire here – one day.

Who is the business owner?

Andrew Box is the business owner, and you can ask to talk to him anytime.

Where is your office?

We are in our own building at 2 Railway Tce, Mile End (corner of Junction Lane). Nice and central.

What are your office hours?

Our office is open Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 4:30pm (sometimes later).

How many people work in your office?

We have 7 full time staff plus our installation crews for Solar Panels Adelaide.

Can I come to your office and look at some products?

You can come to our office anytime and check us out.

What are your licenses and qualifications?

We are licensed for Solar and General Electrical. Our electricians are fully qualified and trained especially in Solar Panels for Adelaide homes. We make sure we have lots of mature, experienced people in our business.

Are you fully insured?

We are fully insured, with QBE. We can provide you with a Certificate of Currency should you need it.

Are you registered for GST?

We are registered for GST.

Do you have an ABN?

We do have an ABN, its 32055625039.

Are you registered to claim STC’s?

We are registered to claim STC’s.

Are you a member of the Clean Energy Council?

We are Members of the Clean Energy Council

How do you handle warranties – if I have one?

If you should find you have a warranty, all you need to do is call our office. We will handle the whole thing in-house and keep you informed of the progress.


How does my Solar Panel Warranty Work

Warranties in solar are not as simple as it seems. The Panel manufacturers all state similar claims on their brochures. It usually states a 25 year performance warranty and a 10 or 12 year manufacturers guarantee.

The Inverter manufacturers also state similar warranties on their brochures. Inverters usually come with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, and some offer for an extended warranty for an additional fee.

The process is to claim through your Retailer. Therefore if you buy your solar power system from First Choice Solar, that would mean claiming through us. Be careful – If the company you purchased through no longer exists or stops trading – you have lost your warranty!

That’s why the calibre, depth and integrity of who you choose to purchase from is so important. Also, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Remember Unleash Solar or The Solar Shop or Solar SA, all are no longer in business.

In the unlikely event of a warranty, email us with all of the details and we will handle it, whilst keeping you informed the whole way.

Do I need solar panel batteries? – Maybe!

A standard solar system has no batteries. It makes electricity during the day while the sun is shining. At night your house draws power from the grid.

With Solar, during the day, you use your own power (free) instead of buying power at the meter. At night you have to buy power at the meter (40 cents).

Factors like how and when you use your power, whether you’re home during the day and the size of your power bill determine the value of batteries in your home.

If you had batteries, your solar panel system would charge them during the day with your excess power (instead of selling it via the FiT for 6 cents). At night you could run your house off your batteries (instead of buying power at 40 cents). Highlighting how batteries can be viable in the average home. They can even make you ‘black out proof.’

We don’t just plonk in a ‘one size fits all’ solution. If you’re interested in batteries we map your power usage with a special device for one week. We then analyse the data collected to make a recommendation. If you then engage our services – the mapping and analysis is free.

If you choose not to go ahead or with another supplier, there is a small fee to this service.

Solar Adelaide, Peak Metering and how it will affect me

How it will affect me?

The short answer is about a 20% increase. SA Power Networks have been granted permission to progressively change the whole of South Australia over to Peak Metering.

The scheme has periods per day of standard fees, shoulder fees and peak fees. It also identifies with months of the year. Peak is from 4pm to 9pm in the evening for the 5 month period from November to March.

Your Peak will be calculated as your highest single day usage on any one of the 91 or 92 days of your billing cycle. The ‘Peak Load’ rate doesn’t reset until the meter is read.

What does that mean for me?

That means if there is one hot day and you turn everything on and have one day of really high usage – that becomes your ‘Peak Load’ for the purpose of billing by your Energy Retailer. And it doesn’t reset until the next scheduled meter read.

The only way to avoid a big hit in the wallet is to avoid using power in the Peak times. SAPN’s own literature talks about turning appliances off.

It also mentions batteries. Batteries are the only sensible solution. Having your own Solar System will soften the blow. Solar Panels with batteries can offer a real solution.

We can program your system to draw off your batteries during the Peak Load period – avoiding any Peak Load charges. The Clean Energy Council believe this will not only save you from a potential 20% increase to your bill but possibly save you a further 20%. That’s a 40% difference.

To understand more, see our “Do I need batteries“.

To see the SA Power Networks information release download the PDF here.

To view our terms and conditions click here.

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