Recommended Solar Installers in Newcastle

Here are the solar power installers that are in the SolarQuotes network and serve Newcastle, New South Wales.

To get free quotes from 3 of these installers, simply pop your postcode in the box up the top and press the big red button.

Or if you want to learn everything you need to know about installing solar in Newcastle (and I mean everything) simply scroll below the table.

Newcastle Climate

Newcastle’s climate is quite pleasant. Summers are warm with an average high of 25.6° in January, while winters are mildly cool with an average low of 8.4° in July.

Newcastle Solar Potential

Solar panels on a typical north facing roof in Newcastle will receive an average amount of sunlight energy equal to about 5.0 hours of full noon sunshine a day. This puts Newcastle on par with Canberra and a little ahead of Sydney.

A new 5 kilowatt solar system on a north facing roof could be expected to produce an average of around 20 kilowatt-hours a day or 7,300 kilowatt-hours a year.

Solar Feed-In Tariffs In Newcastle

Feed-in tariffs are a payment for surplus electricity produced by rooftop solar that isn’t used by the household or business but is instead sent into the grid. In NSW the feed-in tariffs available depend on what is offered by electricity retailers.

Just which is the best plan to use depends upon individual circumstances. Electricity retailer plans can be compared using SolarQuotes’ electricity price comparison tool which allows you to enter your previous bill’s details and predicts how much various retailers would have charged for the same usage and provides information on the feed-in tariffs they offer.

The Rooftop Solar Application Process In Newcastle

I strongly recommend having your installer guide you through the application process for rooftop solar. In some areas network operators request that you contact them first, but that does not appear to be the case in Newcastle.

Maximum Solar System Size In Newcastle

Newcastle households can install up to 4.99 kilowatts of rooftop solar if they have single phase power. This maximum is determined by the size of the inverter, so it is possible for a Newcastle home to have 5 or more kilowatts of solar panels provided their inverter is less than 5 kilowatts.

Households with 3 phase power can install up to 30 kilowatts of rooftop solar before special protective equipment needs to be installed, but council permission will be required to install more than 10 kilowatts.

Ten kilowatts of solar panels covers a considerable amount of roof space. If they are 20% efficient they will take up 50 square meters. While solar panels don’t necessarily have to all be located together, many people will still have difficulty finding enough room on their roof for 10 or more kilowatts.

Newcastle Electricity Usage

A Newcastle household of 3 people without a gas connection will use an average of around 6,940 kilowatt-hours a year. The average Newcastle home uses 34% more electricity in winter than summer.

Newcastle Roofs And Solar Panel Tilt

The best angle to install solar panels is the angle your roof is already at. While it is possible to use frames that alter the tilt of the panels, unless there are special circumstances, these are not worth it these days, as it is generally cheaper and easier to just install extra panels.

The majority of roofs in Australia have a pitch of either 15 or 22.5 degrees. But Newcastle also has many homes with steeper roofs of 30 degrees or more. There is very little difference in output over a year between a shallow 15 degree roof and a steep 45 degree roof. Shallow roofs provide a mild advantage to households that have high summer air conditioning demand, while steeper roofs provide a mild advantage to those who use more electricity on winter days. Compared to panels on a shallow 15 degree roof, those on a steep 45 degree roof will produce about around 18% less electricity in January and about 22% more in July.

How Solar Panel Direction Affects Output In Newcastle

North facing solar panels will produce the most electricity, but placing panels facing east or west can definitely be worthwhile, especially if they increase a household’s self consumption of solar electricity.

Panels facing directly east or west will produce almost 20% less electricity than north facing panels over a year. East facing panels will produce more electricity in the morning, while west facing ones produce more in the afternoon. East facing panels will produce slightly more electricity than west facing ones because mornings are cooler than afternoons and heat reduces the efficiency at which solar panels operate.

Panels facing north-east or north-west will produce about 5% less electricity than north facing panels.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Rooftop Solar

For households with higher electricity demand in the mornings and afternoons than the middle of the day, an east-west split of rooftop solar panels can be an effective way to increase self consumption of solar electricity.

From around the 21st of December to the 26th of January, thanks to daylight savings time, the sun doesn’t set until after 8:00 pm in Newcastle. This is useful for powering air conditioners in the late afternoon with solar electricity, especially when using west or north-west facing panels.

Newcastle’s leafiest suburbs are the most likely locations where trees will shade roofs for a portion of the day, especially in winter when shadows are longer. The use of microinverters or DC optimisers can help limit the loss of solar panel output caused by shading.

Getting The Most Out Of The “Solar Rebate”

Many households and business can benefit from solar installations where the solar panels have a total capacity greater than that of their inverter. This will result in some loss of output from the solar panels when the sky is clear and the sun is high in the sky, but will cause greater output when the sun is low or skies are overcast. This results in a smoother production of solar electricity through the day which can help increase a household’s self consumption, which is very useful for improving the economic payback of rooftop solar.

A rooftop solar system’s total panel capacity can be up to one third larger than the size of its inverter and still receive the full amount of STCs which lower the cost of installing solar. This reduction is often referred to as the solar rebate. Technically it’s not a rebate, but many people don’t care and call it that anyway. The solar rebate will be reduced on the first of January each year until it ends in 2030, so the earlier a system is installed, the greater the rebate that will be received.

In Newcastle, the maximum system size allowed is determined by size of the inverter which must be less than 5 kilowatts for a home with single phase power. However, the total capacity of the solar panels can exceed this and be 5 kilowatts or greater. So a home with single phase power could install a 4.2 kilowatt inverter with 5.6 kilowatts of solar panels.

Upgrading Electricity Meters For Solar Power

An import/export electricity meter will need to be installed when rooftop solar is added to a home.

If you have an older switchboard with fuses rather than circuit breakers this will need to be upgraded. This could potentially cost $1,400 or more.

Rooftop Solar And Emissions

As Newcastle is Australia’s largest coal port, people there are probably very aware that the large majority of NSW’s electricity is generated from coal. Solar electricity generated in Newcastle will mostly displace black coal generation in NSW, along with a smaller amount of natural gas generation. This makes rooftop solar in Newcastle very effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Electricity Grid In Newcastle

The high voltage, long distance transmission lines that deliver grid electricity to Newcastle are managed by Transgrid, which is currently leased for a 99 year period by a consortium called NSW Electricity Networks.

The low voltage distribution of grid electricity to homes and businesses in Newcastle is done by the network operator, Ausgrid.

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