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At Stockland Wildflower, we’re all about helping our residents live a lower impact lifestyle.

3 min
25 March 2024

Our suburb of Piara Waters has one of the highest installation rates of solar systems in WA and actually, Australia with double the national rate of rooftop solar uptake. If you’re looking at building in Wildflower, chances are it’s on your wish list, too.

But whether you’re building new, or just researching ways to make your current home kinder to the environment or your hip pocket, this little guide might be helpful to support your decision making.


What is a solar system?

Next time you’re driving, pay attention to the roofs in your neighbourhood. So many of them will be proudly wearing sleek black panels. We love these neighbours! Each panel is made up of Photovoltaic (PV) cells or solar cells, that are busy letting energy from the sun jiggle and move electrons to create electricity. An inverter then converts that into power that can be used throughout your home - in your aircon, dishwasher, heat pump hot water system, induction cooktop and more.

 

Depending on the size and efficiency of the system, as well as your household’s energy consumption habits, you might be creating more than you need, or less than you need. Where you have more, there’s the option to connect to the grid (the public electricity network) and be paid a little bit for your efforts. This is part of the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS). If you’re not producing enough power to cover your needs, your home will draw down from the public grid what it needs to top itself up.

 

Can I save money?

Yep! Using solar energy is a savvy and proactive way to reduce your energy bills. Depending on the size of your home and the way you live in it, as well as which other choices you make (like going all-electric in a community like Wildflower) can massively impact your ongoing energy costs. Check out our recent article or some cold hard data showing how you can halve your energy bills.

  

If you want to get even more granular, try this free independent online calculator.

 

What's the kW bit mean?

When shopping for your new solar system, you’ll be seeing systems described by their kW. This essentially means the total capacity of all the panels together – so a 6.6kW system for instance would be 16 panels that are 415W each: 16 times 415 equals 6,640W or 6.6kW. This is a really common system for a couple of reasons, firstly the roof space needed aligns with typical home sizes in Australia and also they perform well when used with a 5kW inverter which is the maximum size allowed in some situations when installed with single phase power.

  

With 1 in 3 homes2​ now equipped with solar panels, WA is already ahead of the solar trend, and our very own Piara Waters is one step further, with more than 50%2 of homes adopting Solar PV. Installing solar panels to your home is a worthwhile investment to get off the grid and reap the rewards of compounding savings.

 

How do I know what size I need?

The size of your system will determine how much of your home power usage you can offset. Let’s think of it in a different way. Imagine you’re turning a tap on full bore, that’s like your solar system – it determines the maximum power you can catch from the sun.

Next imagine you’re trying to catch that water with a funnel, the funnel is your inverter – the next part in the process. There may be a little bit of spillage as it goes into the funnel and that’s ok, actually ideal, to make sure you’re using your funnel to its maximum capacity.

Now imagine you’re funneling that water into a bucket, except the bucket has holes drilled in the bottom to represent your appliances using power. You’ll ideally get a tap and funnel (aka panel and inverter) that means the flow of water into the bucket matches the typical maximum flow of water out of the holes. Excess water is also just going to cause the bucket to overflow and you’ll lose that too, unless you have something to collect the excess – like a battery.

Reputable suppliers will be able to give you a specific design and performance estimate to get into the nitty gritty of what will work best in your home. So don’t worry, you don’t need to train as an electrical engineer to figure it all out.

 

Do I need a battery?

It depends on the size of your system, how you consume power, and how determined you are to be completely independent of the grid in your power use. Batteries are currently still pretty expensive so getting one may not be made on a near-future cost saving premise.

 

How do I choose?

The solar industry is pretty competitive these days, so there are some things worth checking out to make sure you choose a supplier.

  1. Are they approved by the Clean Energy Council?
  2. Are the installers accredited with the Clean Energy Council
  3. What warranties do I have on the components, products and workmanship?
  4. Can you receive a site-specific design and performance estimate?
  5. If things need to change on the day of install, can you cancel?

We grabbed these questions from the Clean Energy Council solar guide which you can download here. It's well worth the read as it's also filled with plenty other information to help when buying solar.

When should I do it?

Chat to your builder, as well as your broker or your bank. Financially you may decide it’s easiest to wrap up in your mortgage, and logistically it’s often easiest to do in one hit during the build. But think about all of those established homes that are getting solar installed every day long after they were built – it’s possible to organise once you’ve moved in, too. Consider your options prior to prestart or your selection appointment. If you plan to do it later, or just want to keep your options open, you might be able to make the process a little smoother with some simple electrical changes during the build.

If you don’t wait too long, you could also be eligible for a reward in Wildflower’s Sustainable Home Reward scheme. Read all about it here.

  

All set on solar but now you need to find the home? We’re ready to help. Check out our most perfect properties here




The information supplied on this webpage is supplied for the purpose of providing an impression of Stockland Wildflower and is not intended to be used for any other purpose. All details, images and statements are based on the intention and information available to, Stockland as at the time of publication (March 2024) and may change due to future circumstances. Stockland does not give any warranty in relation to the information contained in any third-party websites referred to. Stockland does not accept any liability for loss or damage arising as a result of any reliance on the third-party websites or its contents. Stockland does not control the third-party websites and does not endorse those websites or any company, product or service mentioned on those websites.