One of the primary reasons to switch to solar power is to save money on the expensive electricity bills, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work in many households. Many homeowners in Port Macquarie, Taree, Nambucca Heads, Coffs Harbour and the Newcastle region do not enjoy the full benefit of economic savings from solar energy.

The reason? Well, solar energy is free, but your savings directly depends on how well you use it. Making the most out of solar power is the only way to start seeing significant savings on your electricity bill.

What Is Solar Self-Consumption?

Solar self-consumption is a simple concept. It means you start using your solar energy production for all your energy needs in full potential from your rooftop solar panel system. It implies running all your appliances and devices during the day when your solar panel produces solar energy.

It also indicates maximum grid independence during the daylight hours. The less energy you draw from the grid, the more savings you make with solar power. For instance, as a rough calculation, every time you use your solar energy instead of drawing power from the grid, you save up to 20 to 30c. This is how solar self-consumption reduces your electricity bills.

The excess energy after running your appliances go to the grid, wherein you get some benefit from the feed-in tariff. However, count this as a benefit only if your electricity bills are low.

How Do You Increase Solar Self-Consumption?

Solar energy is free (excluding the capital investment), whereas buying from electricity providers is not. Therefore, by making the most use of it, you can also make up for the solar power investment costs in a few years.

Here are a few ways to help you maximise solar self-consumption and make solar savings.

1. Analyse Your Energy Usage

The key to improving your savings is to know about your energy usage pattern. You have to check your energy production and consumption rate. Using a smart meter is helpful for this analysis. It helps you track how much energy you use from the grid and your solar energy production.

To begin with, check how much energy you consume from the grid in a day and during which time your energy consumption is higher. Then, check how much energy your solar panel produces and whether it meets your needs at peak times. By analysing these details, you can change or find ways to consume your solar energy at its most.

2. Make Use of Your Appliances During the Daytime

Solar panels work during the day. It means you are generating solar power during the day. Therefore, by running your appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and other electrical appliances during the day, you are using your solar power. It also includes charging your gadgets, hot water system and gardening tools.

Even if you work somewhere during the daytime, use timers or check if your appliances have a delay start feature. In this way, you can avoid using grid energy at night. One more thing to take care of is to ensure your devices are off when not in use. It’s because electronic devices in standby mode can still consume power.

3. Install Solar Batteries

The best way to improve your solar self-consumption is to install a solar battery system. By installing solar batteries, you reduce your overall grid dependency. You can use the stored solar power at night and as a backup during power outages.

Ask your solar installers for more professional tips and guidance on maximum solar self-consumption. If you need any help regarding this, please reach out to us. We are happy to help you with anything solar.

A good solar system serves you for a solid 25 to 30 years, whereas cheap solar panels serve you just for a short period. You may have to spend a lot on repairing them. In addition, what sounds harder is the helplessness that homeowners in NSW go through with this situation. Most solar installers do not assist or provide any support after installation, leaving them in dismay. So, when it comes to solar panels and installation in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, you should stay away from cheap solar panel systems and installations at any cost.

Let’s give you more insight on how and why cheap solar systems become more expensive in the long run.

Poor Quality Solar Panels

Solar panels are the main component of a solar energy system. Its performance and quality also include its quality of withstanding harsh climatic conditions.

Thankfully, with technology, solar panels have become more efficient and cost-effective. It does not mean solar panels are cheap. These so-called cheap solar panels are usually non-branded, poor-quality solar panels from unknown manufacturers.

Poor quality solar panels are most likely to get electrical issues, microcracks, internal corrosion and hot spots quickly. These issues affect the total power output and decrease the life of solar panels. Hot spots can permanently damage the solar battery and inverter system, which needs replacement with a new system.

Substandard Solar Inverters

The solar inverter is as critical as solar panels in a solar power system. A high-quality solar inverter from a leading manufacturer has high-efficiency ratings, performance, and warranty service. On the other hand, a poor quality inverter does not offer any of these.

Many solar installers compromise on the quality of solar inverters, bragging about their efficiency to see profits. Poor quality solar inverters may perform well for 2 or 3 years but often face issues with overheating and isolation faults— and eventually, dies out. They affect the overall performance of your home or business’ solar energy. Sooner or later, you need to replace them.

Unprofessional Installations

Believe it or not, poor solar power installations are the main reason for solar energy system failures in Australia. When it comes to the Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie regions of NSW, many solar installers offer affordable installation quotes. Unquestionably, home and business owners are tempted to go for the cheapest deals. The problem here is your solar installer may use a branded product but may lack adequate installation training.

As a result, bad and unsightly panel positioning, exposed cabling, and overshadowed panels are some of the typical examples of unprofessional installations. Poor installations are also dangerous. For instance, the exposed cable creates electrical hazards and solar system failure. So, make sure you hire trained and accredited solar installers.

Poor Warranty & Support Services

When you go for cheap solar installations, just remember you may have a warranty at the time of purchase, but it’s not a surety. It goes like this— you come up with a problem in your solar energy system and give your solar installer a call, they may pick up, but they will neither address your issue nor attend to it. You end up calling the customer service of the unknown manufacturer, and that most often does not help too.

A standard solar battery and panel system comes with a minimum warranty of 10 years. Some also include a labour warranty. Don’t fall for misleading advertisement scams regarding cheap solar as there is no such thing.

Paying twice or thrice the amount of cheap solar for a high-quality solar power system is worth every cent. Kindly contact us for more details.


Australia receives an incredible amount of sunlight throughout the year, and so does NSW. Hence, more and more homeowners and businesses in NSW, especially Newcastle, are utilising solar power from the abundant sunlight. And many have already shifted to solar energy systems from the grid electricity system.

As of May 2021, NSW tops the highest number of solar panel installations with a whopping number of more than 100,000 solar panel installations.

If you are contemplating whether going for a solar panel system will benefit your home or business in Newcastle, we are here to help you. Here’s everything you need to know why choosing solar power in Newcastle is a smart choice.

Average Solar Power Generation in Newcastle

The amount of sunlight that hits the solar panels during the peak sunlight hours determines the amount of electricity it generates. A normal rooftop in Newcastle receives an average of 5.3 peak sun hours a day throughout the year. It means you can make maximum savings on your electricity bill when you fully consume the solar energy produced in the peak sun hours.

If you install a 5kW solar system, you will generate 26.5 kWh of solar energy (as per 5.3 peak sun hours), whereas an average household consumes just 19kWh of energy per day.

The amount of solar energy generated per day will vary depending upon the peak sunlight hours and other factors. When solar panels convert sunlight into electrical energy, they lose some energy as heat. In addition, the placement and orientation of solar panels also affect the performance and efficiency of the solar panel systems.

Typically, in Australia, north-facing panels produce the maximum amount of solar energy with a 15% efficiency loss. Nevertheless, they will still make significant savings and provide energy independence from the grid.

How Much Can You Save?

The amount of money you can save from installing a solar power system depends on three factors. It’s your energy usage, location, and the size of your solar system. It also changes with different weather conditions and seasons. Summer and winter months see the highest energy consumption rate depending upon the cooling and heating system usage.

If you are installing a new solar energy system, firstly, you must assess your average daily energy consumption. You can do this by checking your electricity bills. Also, if you are considering the financial benefits from feed-in tariffs, bear in mind that there are no feed-in tariffs for new solar panel installation in Newcastle and NSW.

Analysing these factors will help you choose the right solar power system that reduces your electricity bill. You can also completely offset your electricity bill by installing a solar battery system. It enables you to use your own saved energy at night and during power outages. If you are not sure, your solar installer can help you choose the right solar system for your home or business in NSW.

NSW Solar Rebates and Incentives

The residents of Newcastle, NSW, benefit from solar incentives that the federal government offers— through the Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs). These STCs are tradable certificates that you can sell to save you as a discount on the solar panel installation cost.

The number of STC you will receive depends on the size of your solar system and the location. The sunnier area you are, the more STCs you get. For instance, a 5 kW in Newcastle will receive a rebate amount of $2,870.

Have more queries? For more information on solar panel installation and cost in Newcastle, contact our expert team of solar installers in Always Energy.

Do solar panels need cleaning? Yes, it is mandatory to keep your solar panels clean. However, it doesn’t mean you need to clean them every single day. Cleaning and monitoring solar panels from time to time will improve their life, efficiency, and performance.

How To Keep Your Solar Panels Clean?

Solar panels are prone to accumulate dust, grime, leaves and bird droppings that reduce the overall output of a solar power system. Bird droppings are serious culprits. Together, they can reduce your solar energy system performance up to 20 to 25%. Depending upon your location, you need to check them frequently to keep them clean. For instance, your solar panels may accumulate more dust quickly if you are located near the roadside or if your solar panels lay flat on the roof.

Many homeowners think that rainwater does the cleaning work, so solar panels essentially do not need manual cleaning.

It is not true because even though rainwater can wash off the dust to some extent, you still need to clean your solar panels. Consider your car windshield. You clean it more often when it rains— and the same applies to solar panels. You need to clean them to keep them in great shape for optimum performance.

So how do you keep your solar panels clean? Let’s take a look.

1. Inspect and Prepare the Solar Panels

Start by inspecting your solar panels if they are just covered by a film of dust or have bird droppings. In either case, you can’t use harsh soaps or abrasive sponges as they can scratch, leave a mark on the solar panels, and attract more dust.

The best way to wash your solar panel system is to use a hose or a bucket of soapy water. You can also use a soft sponge to clean bird droppings if necessary. Avoid using a pressure cleaner.

2. Turn Off the Solar Power System

Shut down your entire solar energy system, including the solar inverters and batteries, to avoid any potential electrical damage to the panel installation while cleaning with water. Also, ensure that you disconnect your rainwater tank to prevent the dirty water from cleaning the solar panels flowing inside.

3. Make Safety Your Priority

If you decide to clean your solar panels by yourself, you must ensure your safety first. The best way to ensure your safety is to clean the panels from the ground with any long-handled cleaning equipment. Similarly, you can use a suitable nozzle for the hose to let the water reach the panels. If this seems impossible and you need to get on the roof, make sure you wear a hard hat along with a safety harness to ensure your safety.

4. Choose the Right Time

For efficient cleaning results and to avoid damaging the solar panels, you must avoid cleaning your solar panels in the noontime. It’s because your solar panel installations are probably hot by noon, especially in the summer, and sudden exposure to water can bring cracks in the solar panels. In addition, soapy water can leave stains or marks due to heat.

The best time to clean your solar panels is in the early morning or evening. You can also clean them anytime during a cloudy day.

5. Begin Washing

After taking care of all the above steps, start washing your solar panels by directing water towards the top of your solar panels to avoid damages. Also, make sure you use only a soft sponge to scrub gently to remove bird droppings and grime. To avoid stains, wipe off the excess water from the solar panels with a rubber squeegee after cleaning.

Need more professional guidance for cleaning your rooftop solar panel installation? Reach out to us now.