Frequently Asked Questions

Halcol Energy understands that to be in charge of your own electricity production and consumption raises some frequently asked questions.

So we’ve listed below are the answers to some frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answers you require here or indeed you require further information then please feel free to contact us.

Yes, Halcol Energy have our own Clean Energy Council accredited installation engineers to carry out your installation.
Solar PV is a renewable energy system which uses photovoltaic modules, usually on the roof of a building, to convert daylight into electricity. Photovoltaic cells are made up of thin layers of semi-conducting material (usually crystalline silicon) which generate an electrical charge when exposed to direct or diffuse daylight.
STC’s are Small Scale Technology Certificates and are used as a form of currency they are generated by the installation of green energy systems, the larger the system the more STC’s are created, you may keep them, sell them or sign them over to Halcol Energy to reduce the cost of your solar energy system.
Sunlight hits the photovoltaic cells and is converted to clean electricity. The inverter converts the electricity from direct to alternating current, so that it may be combined with the electricity being imported from the mains, and used to power appliances in your home. When the solar energy system produces more power than is needed, it is exported into the electricity grid. At night, power is imported from the electricity grid in the usual manner.
Units are how you are billed for electricity. To run a 100 watt lightbulb for 10 hours, you require 1,000 watt hours or 1 kilowatt hour (1 unit) of electricity.
Once installed and commissioned, you own the system, having control of a long-term free source of electricity that is exempt from price increases. You are not only saving money but actively saving the environment at the time. A Solar PV system makes no noise, has no moving parts, requires minimal maintenance, has a long lifespan and generates no CO2 emissions. Basically, it produces clean energy for years to come.
The location of your PV array (group of PV modules) is vitally important. The modules should receive the maximum amount of daylight possible, so it is not advisable to install the modules in situations where surrounding buildings or trees may cast shadows. The best location for a PV array in is on a north-facing roof angled at 30 degrees although east and west facing usually provides a minimum of 90% efficiency . Halcol Energy has various mounting solutions including on-roof, in-roof and flat-roof options, both landscape and portrait.
If the optimum angle is not achievable, over 90% of the maximum annual energy can still be achieved at 10 degree and 50 degree tilts and east and west facing roofs. North-facing vertical facades generate around 70% of the maximum.
Shading is critical. Minor shading can result in significant loss of energy. Since PV modules are linked together in series, the module with the lowest amount of irradiation falling upon it determines the operating voltage of the string in which it is connected. This is one of the factors considered in the Halcol Energy site survey carried out before any installation.
Yes. The PV modules only require daylight to work, and so will generate energy on dull and even rainy days. Temperature is also a factor when determining how much electricity a PV system will generate. The efficiency of a PV module decreases by a fraction for every degree the temperature is above 25 degrees Celsius. Therefore, a clear chilly day is perfect, because PV modules operate better at cooler temperatures.
A Solar PV system is silent in operation, has no moving parts and requires minimal maintenance. Most of the time the rain will keep the modules clean. However, a build up of dirt can effect system performance. The degree of soiling will depend on the location but usually dust accumulation and self-cleaning reach a steady state after a few weeks if the array tilt is at least 15 degrees. In extreme cases, dust may cause a power reduction of about 10%. The design of the system should aim to minimize uneven soiling. The modules can be cleaned once a year if desired with either a hose or, if possible, soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth.
There is no simple answer to this question. It will depend on how much you want to invest, how much of your electricity you want to generate via PV, and how much un-shaded roof space you have. It is not essential to provide ALL of your home’s electricity via solar PV (since you will still be connected to the national grid). If your PV system supplies half of your electricity, it will still make a serious reduction to your carbon footprint! After talking through your exact needs, Halcol Energy will be able to recommend the size of system you require.
According to statistics, the average three-bedroom house consumes 6497 units of electricity (kWh) a year. However, Halcol Energy always recommends that you look at your last few bills or call your electricity supplier to find out how many units you consume. You can then compare this to the output of the system which Halcol Energy recommends
Whenever your panels are producing more electricity than your home is using, it will flow back into the grid for other homes to use. After you have a solar system fitted the energy company will be notified by us to install a bidirectional meter that measures the amount of electricity imported and exported, you are eligible to receive a credit for the electricity exported. This will lower your electricity bills and ensure none of your green electricity will be wasted. Some energy companies are offering up to 11c kWh for energy you export to the grid!!
No. Halcol Energy’s Solar Systems are connected to the national grid. In the night, when the cells are not generating energy, electricity is bought from the utility company in the normal way. Any excess electricity generated during the day – for example, when you are at work – is sold back to the utility company.
Halcol Energy’s Solar Systems for homes are entirely grid connected. If there is a power cut, your system is automatically switched off. This is a safety measure designed to stop electricity leaking on to the national grid and to protect individuals who may be working to restore the power supply.
Most electricity retailers now offer between 6 cents – 11 cents per kWh but their rates change and it is always good practise to call around for the best offers available.
Yes. Some suppliers offer up to 8c per kWh more for every unit exported back into the electricity grid.
The cost of installation is dependent on a Halcol Energy detailed survey and will vary according to how easy or difficult it is to access the roof space and the type and size of the PV system chosen. Please contact us for current pricing. A Solar PV installation adds as little as 4% to the build cost of an average new three-bedroom home, but this can be added to its final value when sold. It also helps ‘future proof’ a home against rising fuel prices making properties doubly attractive to price-conscious house buyers. As fuel prices continue to rise, energy-efficient renewably powered homes will continue to sell at a premium.
Government grants have stopped but they offer another incentive in the form of STC’s (Small Scale Technology Certificate) these are available to help cover the cost of a PV installation for domestic systems.
PV systems can be installed and ready to produce electricity in 2-8 weeks from the time the design has been agreed depending on availability. The actual installation will take approximately one day depending upon your building type.
Most Modules have a manufacturer’s warranty of 25 years and a working lifetime of 40 years and beyond. Most invertors carry a minimum 5 years warranty.
No. Currently, Halcol Energy only services the QLD district of Australia, though there are plans to expand coverage. Our licenced electrical contractors are fully trained to install photovoltaic systems throughout Australia, hence we are keen to expand our servicable area.
Please contact the Halcol Energy Head Office where your call will be answered, and where possible we will endeavor to point you in the right direction.
No. Solar PV modules constructed with a glass front have two characteristics that reduce light reflection. In order to optimize electrical yield, the glass is treated with an anti-reflective coating which greatly increases the transmittance through the glass, maximising the amount of light reaching the solar cells. Secondly, the outer face of the glass has a slight granular texture. The result is a matt-like finish – rather than mirrored. Again, this is actually intended to maximize yield. These two characteristics greatly reduce reflection from the glazed front face of solar PV modules when compared with conventional glazing.
Solar energy technologies often have a higher investment cost. This means that a person is likely to pay more money initially to purchase and install a solar PV system. Still, in nearly all cases, the high initial cost is recovered through substantial fuel savings within the life of the product (40+ years). This time is significantly reduced by any government incentives in place such as grants and Feed-in Tariffs.
All Halcol Energy pv modules come with a 25-year performance warranty so, in the unlikely event that you experience problems, Halcol Energy will be on hand to diagnose your problem and, if necessary; arrange a home visit to ensure that everything is working as it should be. The installation comes with a 5 year warranty so you can be sure your service will be of the highest standard.
PV systems can be blended into virtually every conceivable structure for commercial buildings. You will find PV being used outdoors for security lighting as well as in structures that serve as covers for car parks and bus shelters, generating power at the same time. PV systems are also used to offset and operate all kinds of electrical systems, including lights, cooling systems, and appliances.

Today’s modules can be built into glass skylights and walls. Some resemble traditional roof shingles. Architects can use building-integrated PV (BIPV) to design buildings that are environmentally-responsive, aesthetically-pleasing, and produce their own power. BIPV provides a dual-use building material, reduces PV system costs by using the building as the mounting or support structure, and reduces utility bills through on-site power production.

Normally our answer would be no, unless you’re a licensed electrician with CEC accreditation.

Even if you are a licensed electrician, we still suggest using experienced professionals to design and install anything more than the simplest application, for the following reasons:

  1. You must be certified via the Clean Energy Council in order to be eligible for the government’s grands and possibly in order to collec the feed-in tariff as well.
  2. You might void the manufacturer’s warranties.
  3. You might not have a functional system after spending your hard-earned money on the system.
There are four main types of solar energy technologies:

  1. Photovoltaic (PV) systems, which convert sunlight directly to electricity by means of PV cells made of semiconductor materials.
  2. Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems, which concentrate the sun’s energy using reflective devices such as troughs or mirror panels to produce heat that is then used to generate electricity.
  3. Solar water heating systems, which contain a solar collector that faces the sun and either heats water directly or heats a working fluid that, in turn, is used to heat water.
  4. Transpired solar collectors, or solar walls, which use solar energy to preheat ventilation air for a building.
If you are a fully qualified electrician you may be eligible subject to passing some further training. Please contact us to discuss all further.

Still confused? Then get in touch and we can answer any of your questions

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