Your Solar Power SystemFrequently Asked Questions

What does PV stand for?

PV stands for Photovoltaic. This is the technology whereby solar cells use to convert sunlight into electricity.

What are the different types of solar panels?

There are three main types of solar panels available. These are: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film. Each has its own advantages. Bradford solar energy systems are all monocrystalline as they are the most efficient and require the least roof space.

Here is some more detail about each type of solar panel:

Mono crystalline (monocrystalline c-Si) 

These panels are a proven technology that has been in use for over 50 years. They have the highest efficiency of 12-15%, meaning that fewer panels are required to produce a given amount of energy. They are commonly used where space is limited, or where there are high costs associated with installing large panels. They have a very slow degradation, generally losing 0.25 - 0.5% per year.

Poly crystalline (polycrystalline c-Si) 

These panels are similar to mono crystalline panels, but the silicon used is multi-crystalline which is easier to make. They are comparable to mono crystalline in performance and durability, except their efficiency is slightly lower, generally 11-13%. Slightly more panels are required to produce a given amount of electricity which increases the size of the panels and therefore the roof space required to install them.

Thin film 

These panels have a lower efficiency of 5-6%, so the panel is typically nearly double the size than the other panel varieties. Research is continuing to improve the performance of thin film panels and to refine the manufacturing process. Thin film panels tend to perform better than crystalline panels in non-perfect conditions - such as in places like Germany where the sun's irradiation is weaker and where there are more cloudy days than here in Australia.

What affects the energy output of my solar system?

The energy output depends first of all on your system size. The larger the system, the more energy it generates. Additionally, the solar system's energy output depends on your location in Australia, the direction they are facing (with north being best), the tilt angle and also the day and season.

What are the optimum conditions for a solar system to operate?

Solar panels produce most power when they are pointed directly at the sun. In Australia, solar modules should face north for optimum electricity production. For grid-connected solar PV power systems, the solar panels should be positioned at the angle of latitude to maximise the amount of energy produced annually.

Most Australian homes have a roof pitch of 20° to 30°. If your roof's slope is not ideal, our solar installers can create an appropriate mounting frame to correct the orientation and elevation of your panel. Now all you need is a beautiful, sunny day to generate maximum electricity!

How much sunlight should the panels receive?

The amount of energy in sunlight that a solar panel receives over a day is expressed in peak sun hours. As the amount of energy generated by a panel is directly proportional to the amount of energy it receives from sunlight, it is important to install panels so they receive maximum sunlight. Your Bradford solar energy specialist will calculate the amount of energy generated by the solar PV panel from the peak sun hours available. Peak sun hours vary throughout the year.

Does shading affect the performance of the panels?

PV panels should ideally be in full sun from at least 9am to 3pm. They should not be placed in shaded areas and be kept free from dust and dirt. Shade from things like trees, roof ventilators or antennas will have a large impact on the output of a panel, as it changes the flow of electricity through the panel. Shading or dirt on just one of the cells in a solar panel results in a loss of power from many cells, not just the one that is shaded. Fortunately, the Bradford and sharp photovoltaic modules used in Bradford's solar energy system are created with a bypass diode that minimises the power drop caused by shade.

Does the temperature affect output?

The amount of electricity a solar PV panel can generate is reduced as temperatures increase. Solar panels operate best at ambient temperatures up to 25°C. However, if the ambient temperature is higher, the panel’s output declines. Bradford recommends installing a roof vent to help keeping the roof space and panels cool.

Is hail likely to damage my panels?

No. The panels are tested to withstand hail. A hail test is conducted with a 25 mm diameter ice ball at 23 m/s (82km/h), directed at 11 impact locations.

Your Solar Installation

How long will the process take to have my solar power system installed and producing energy?
This will in particular depend on your meter change and grid connection which is done by your energy provider. Bradford will help you with the application but it can be up to two months until your system is grid connected. We will keep you in the loop regarding progress. The installation itself will take up to one day, depending on your system size.

When will my system be turned on?

As soon as the system is inspected and the meter changed and/ or reprogrammed and connected to the grid.

Environmental Benefits

What is my carbon saving?

Depending on your system size, your family's carbon footprint could be reduced by up to 6.9 tonnes per annum by investing in solar. Just one tonne of carbon covers a space of 10m x 10m in the sphere: a significant area of pollution.

What is the energy payback time for monocrystalline panels?

The energy required to produce solar PV panels will be offset within 2 - 4 years, depending on your climate zone (and level of sunshine) by the clean energy that the panels will produce.

Considering Bradford solar panels are warranted to perform for 25 years, there is at least 21 years of free clean energy to be produced from your solar system.

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