Tesla Solar Roofs Are Very Expensive And Their Warranty Is Far From Infinite

elon musk is buzz lightyear

Infinity Warranty? As Chuck D once said. Don’t believe the (Tesla) hype.

In October last year, Tesla announced they were making tiles with built-in solar cells that would allow a roof to generate electricity without the need for solar panels.  Installations of these solar roofs will start in the United States in June and you can go to Tesla’s Australian site and slap down a $1,310 deposit to reserve one.  Tesla says they will be available here in 2018 and, given their record of meeting their own self-imposed deadlines, they should definitely arrive before the heat death of the universe.  Just so long as they don’t get cancelled like the DC Powerwall 2. [Read more…]

East West Facing Solar Panels On A Single Inverter Input Can Work Well

east and west facing solar panels

Is it OK to put East and West facing panels on a single input inverter?

[Read more…]

How to install solar panels on a metal roof – without leaks.

This post comes courtesy of Trevor Berrill. Trevor is Principal of  Solaris Sustainable Homes and is a 30 year veteran of  both renewable energy  and energy efficiency. It is a honour to have him contribute to this humble blog. Here Trevor describes how a good solar installer should install solar panels to a metal roof and how bad installers, in a hurry can do the wrong thing and leave you with a leaky roof!

Over to you Trevor.

Holier than thou? How to avoid leaks in the roof! [Read more…]

The Truth About Your Roof And Solar Power: 3 Questions You Must Ask.

roof with panels

Is your roof good for solar?

Imagine you walk in a shoe store and the shop assistant immediately starts measuring your head with a tape measure. You’d think she was mad, wouldn’t you? And you’d be right, of course. Sometimes the basics are just self-evident.

If you need shoes, all the information you need is right there at the bottom of your legs. Same with solar power.  No reason to start anywhere but right up there on your roof.

And there are 3 questions about your roof that you have to answer right away before we move on to anything more advanced. And you’ll soon see why…

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Solar Panel Direction: Which Way Should Your Solar Panels Face?

Should you point your solar panels North so that you get the maximum power from them?

Not necessarily…let me explain:

And here’s the transcript if you prefer reading: [Read more…]

How Do You Know If Your Roof Is Good For Solar Power?

Back to the absolute solar basics today on the SQ blog!

In this video I describe the 3 things you need to understand about your roof before buying a solar power system.

And here’s the transcript if my pink shirt gets too much for you: [Read more…]

Solar Panel Tilt Frames: Are they worth it?

tilt frames for solar panels

Tilt frames maximise energy yield, at a price.

Here is (another!) really common question that I get:

“I’ve got 3 quotes for solar: The first company says my roof is at the wrong pitch and wants to charge me hundreds of dollars extra to put my solar panels on tilt frames to optimize the amount of electricity I get. The second mob say it is fine to just put the panels flush on my roof and the third guy says that, yes my roof isn’t at the perfect pitch, but the best solution is to mount them flush to the roof and simply add an extra solar panel to make up for any reduced power output.

Now I’m really confused! Help!”

The problem here is that there are 2 extremes of solar installer in my experience: [Read more…]

Solar Panel Orientation: Is West the new North?

The following is a very common question that comes in to SQ HQ.

“My roofline is North/South, so my largest roof areas face either East or West. I have been told that North Facing is ideal, but I  have a tiny North facing roof! Can I put some solar panels on the East or West Facing roof (or both) ?”

Short Answer: Stick some (perhaps all) on the West!

Longer Answer: In terms of the amount of power produced, facing your panels East will produce exactly the same amount of power as facing them West.  In either case you’ll generally take a 10-15% power hit compared to having them facing the ideal direction (North).


Is North always the best direction for solar panels?

So why do I say “probably West” as the short answer to the question?

Well, the reason I err on the West facing roof is because that part of your roof will get the sun later in the day. An East Facing solar array will generally produce its peak power at 10-11am. A West Facing array will produce its peak at closer to 2pm.

Most people use more energy later in the day. And most people want to use as much of their solar energy as possible, without exporting it. Why? Because at the time of writing most Feed In Tariffs give you less per kWh if you export the electricity than you pay for imported electricity. So most people will pay off their solar system quicker if they minimise exports.

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8 Reasons To Get A Site Inspection Before Buying Solar Power

a solar inspection

If you are considering putting some solar panels on your roof, then I strongly recommend that you have a physical site inspection before getting firm quotes.

Since I started SolarQuotes many years ago, we’ve handled hundreds of thousands of quote requests and over those years the most frequent complaint I’ve had from people looking for quotes is:

“This solar installer won’t even give me a ballpark price for a solar system! He’s insisting on coming round to my house first!”

[Read more…]

Solar Panels On Roofs Facing Different Directions? Then You Need To Do This.

Here is a photo I took of a house around the corner from me.

A House With Solar Panels Facing Different Directions

As you can see, it has solar panels on 2 separate roof areas. In solar jargon, you would say there are 2 “strings” of solar panels.

The main string is facing North, which is the best roof orientation for solar panels. These panels should get the optimum amount of sun throughout the day.

The smaller string is facing East. These panels will get 15-20% less sunlight than the panels facing North.

Obviously the installer could not fit all the panels on the North facing roof. Fair enough.

If your home will require solar panels on multiple roof areas, which face different directions, then you should use a special type of inverter to ensure that you still get good system performance. [Read more…]

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