The Solar Calculator Blog

Benefits of solar panels

Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy Last updated: January 2024 Reading time: 5 minutes Over 3.6 million Australian households have decided that the benefits of solar energy outweigh the drawbacks 1. That’s one in three homes that have lowered their household bills, reduced their environmental impact, and potentially increased the value of their property. But Continue reading

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History and invention of solar panels

Who invented solar panels? Solar energy history The concept of harnessing the power of the sun’s rays dates back to the 7th century BC years when magnifying glasses were used to make fire and reportedly burn ants! However, it wasn’t until 1839 when the photovoltaic effect was first discovered by a young French scientist, Edmond Continue reading

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Solar energy facts and statistics

Australian solar energy facts and statistics Solar panels continue to be installed on household rooftops in Australia at an increasing rate generating clean, renewable energy from the sun. Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator reports that as at the end of February 2023, a total of 3.414 million solar power systems have been installed on Australian homes Continue reading

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Solar inverter repairs

Are solar inverter repairs possible? The potential benefits of solar energy are appealing, saving money while positively impacting the environment is a great thing! However, if your solar power system doesn’t work as it should, it can detract from both your savings and environmental benefits. Rather than replacing entire panels, you might consider inverter repairs, Continue reading

Posted in: Inverters

Solar panel recycling

Can solar panels be recycled? It is possible to recycle your old solar panels. Homeowners and businesses alike will want to understand that while recycling e-waste (electronic waste) such as solar panels is possible, it isn’t always straightforward. Businesses have a responsibility to focus on sustainability initiatives, and recycling e-waste is certainly a worthwhile consideration, Continue reading

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Advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy Renewable energy is quickly becoming the world’s cheapest and most popular source of electricity as the world accelerates our transition away from fossil fuels. Renewable energy is energy derived from sources that do not diminish over time like sunshine, wind and water. As we continue our efforts to Continue reading

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Smart Meter for solar power

Do I need a Meter upgrade when I install solar panels? If you’re thinking about buying a solar system, you’re probably busy looking into the different brands of solar panels, inverters, and perhaps even a battery to store extra power. During the solar installation, you may also need to upgrade your electricity meter and possibly Continue reading

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How are solar panels made

How Are Solar Panels Made? Solar panel technology has increased significantly in recent years resulting in panels that achieve far greater efficiency. Solar panels provide a long list of benefits including no emissions, no noise, and no moving parts – not to mention incredibly long lifespans – they’re one of the key technologies driving our Continue reading

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Solar panel shading

Do solar panels work in shade? Solar panels will still work in the shade, though output is likely to be significantly reduced. As to how well the solar panels will work in the shade depends on: What is causing the shading Is the shading opaque or translucent How long the shading lasts As we explain Continue reading

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3 Phase solar inverter

What is a 3 phase solar inverter? A 3 phase solar inverter is a device that converts Direct Current (DC) electricity generated from solar panels to Alternate Current (AC) and distributes it across a three phase power supply. 3 phase solar inverters cost more Typically, 3 phase inverters cost $300 – $500 more than a Continue reading

Posted in: Inverters

Micro inverter vs string inverter

Micro inverters vs string invertersvs optimisers We explain the differences, advantages and disadvantages of micro inverters, string inverters and solar optimisers. Importantly, we tell how you can determine which option is the best for your solar power installation. Before we can compare each of the three alternatives, let’s recap how each one works. Micro inverters Continue reading

Posted in: Inverters

Solar optimisers

What are solar optimisers? Why you might want them Solar panel optimisers are devices that attach to all, or a particular panel, and allow it to function independently of every other module in the series. Solar optimisers are not a form of solar inverter. Rather, they work in tandem with a string inverter and they Continue reading

Posted in: Inverters

Micro inverters

What are micro inverters? How they might benefit you A micro inverter is a small solar inverter that is fitted to each solar panel, they allow the modules to operate independently of each other. If solar output is compromised by shading or soiling on one panel, only that singular module is affected and not the Continue reading

Posted in: Inverters


The best solar inverters Our solar inverter buying guide lists the best inverters and tells you how to select the right one for your solar power system. Our solar inverter guide covers: What is an inverter Types of inverters How to select the best inverter The best solar inverters Prices CEC approved inverters What is Continue reading

Posted in: Inverters

Solar companies

Tips for selecting the best solar installer Selecting an installer company to supply and install your solar power system is the most important step in going solar. Once you have decided that solar panels are worth the investment, you then need to find a good company to recommend and supply the system components, and perform Continue reading

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How to use solar panels

How to use your solar panels for maximum savings The best way to use solar is to run your household appliances when your solar panels are generating electricity. Ideally, you want to minimise the amount of electricity your system exports to the grid, and instead use solar energy to power your appliances directly. Minimise solar Continue reading

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Solar panel efficiency

Solar panel efficiency Solar cell efficiency is the rate at which a solar panel transfers the sunlight via photovoltaics into electricity. The average cell efficiency of a solar panel is between 15 – 22%. The level of efficiency varies between manufacturers. The higher the efficiency of a solar panel, the more solar power it will Continue reading

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Net metering

What is net metering? A net meter is a metering device that allows you to sell your excess solar power back to the grid in return for a financial credit. The net meter also records the electricity you buy from the grid. Solar net metering Solar net metering records your electricity imports from the grid, Continue reading

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Do Solar Panels Work at Night

Do solar panels work at night? Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity. So, do solar panels work at night? The answer is no, they don’t produce electricity at night. However, it is possible to use the solar energy generated by your solar panels during the day, at night, using a solar system with Continue reading

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Do solar panels work on cloudy days

Solar panels still work when it is cloudy Yes, solar panels work on cloudy days. However, solar output typically decreases significantly in cloudy conditions. Determining the impact overcast conditions have on the output of solar panels is difficult; as there are many different types of clouds. It is a long-maintained theory that solar panels can Continue reading

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Do solar panels work in winter

Solar panels even work in winter Yes, solar panels work in winter. Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity, not heat. Although there are less available sunlight hours in winter months, a solar panel system can still produce electricity, albeit solar output will be lower than in summer months. The benefit of the winter Continue reading

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How do solar panels work

How do solar panels work? Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity that you can use to power appliances in your home. The sun’s light, and not heat, generates direct current (DC), an inverter then converts the direct current into alternate current (AC) that you can use in your home to power your electrical Continue reading

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Do solar panels need cleaning

Do solar panels need cleaning? Solar panels typically don’t need cleaning, rainfall is enough to free the surface of the panels of dirt and grime. The exception is for solar panels that are installed at a tilt of 10° or less, in this situation, it is recommended you clean your panels as rainfall is less Continue reading

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Are solar panels worth it

Are solar panels worth it in 2024? In every Australian state, no matter your electricity consumption, solar panels are worth buying in 2024. While there are many variables that impact the cost, savings and payback of solar panels, the upshot is that in Australia they are a good investment. Typically, solar panel systems will payback Continue reading

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How long do solar panels last

How long do solar panels last? Solar panels typically come with a 25-year warranty, but in reality, they will last beyond 25 years. However, solar panels degrade slightly each year and output diminishes by between 0.3 – 1.0% per year. When determining how long solar panels will last, an understanding of the degradation rate and Continue reading

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Solar panel output

Photovoltaic output of solar panels Converting the rated Wattage of a solar panel into electricity to find its photovoltaic (PV) output, is essential in order to weigh up the feasibility of solar power. There are many inputs and variables required to calculate how much electricity solar panels generate; and each must be considered before the Continue reading

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Solar panel temperature

The effect of temperature on solar panel performance Temperature has an effect the efficiency and maximum pv output of a solar panel. The hotter a panel gets, the less power it generates. The ambient temperature, temperature coefficient of the actual panel and the type of installation are all factors that affect the yield potential of Continue reading

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Solar Panel Orientation

The effect of orientation on solar output The direction solar panels should ideally face for optimum sun exposure, varies depending on location. For Australia, solar power yields are higher when panels face north. In fact, all Southern Hemisphere locations should ideally position panels in a northerly direction. If your property is located in the Northern Continue reading

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Solar Panel Angle

Solar panel angle affects performance The angle and orientation of your roof, along with the location of your property, will have an impact on how much solar power your panels can generate. Solar panels generate maximum power when they are positioned perpendicular to the sun, so that the suns rays hits the panels on a Continue reading

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