Here are some common questions about our solar systems.
How does solar work?
Solar panels converts light into electricity through a mixture of physical and chemical reactions inside the panels. When sunlight strikes the cell, electrons in the panels will absorb this energy and start whizzing around the cells to create current that is captured and directed to a device called an inverter in the form of direct current (DC).
An inverter is the heart of the solar system where it converts DC into alternating current (AC) electricity and sends the AC through the home’s electric switchboard. From the electric switchboard, electricity is directed to your home appliance, power switches or the excess to be exported to the grid.
What are the hardware included in a solar system?
A solar system consists of a number of items such as the roof-mounted solar panels, an inverter, circuit breaker, isolators and batteries (optional).
It is also includes mounting kits to attach the panels to your roof and cabling that runs from the panels to the inverter and into your switchboard.
Where is the inverter located?
The location of the inverter is dependant on the type of inverter that is used in the solar system. There are two types of inverters found in the market – regular ‘string’ inverters (Fronius, SMA, etc.) and smart ‘micro’ inverters (Enphase).
For ‘string’ inverters, the inverters are located predominantly in the garage, carport or close to the electricial switchboard.
For ‘micro’ inverters, the inverters are located directly underneath each solar panels, thus eliminating the requirement for a large ‘box’ in the garage, carport or close to the electricial switchboard.
What is the difference between 'string' and 'micro' inverters?
When it comes to residential solar systems in Australia there is predominantly two options – regular ‘string’ inverter and smart ‘micro’ inverter technologies.
A ‘string’ inverter is a standalone unit, which coverts all the combined direct current (DC) from the panels into alernating current (AC) from strings of panels. There is typically one or two string inverters on each residential home.
A ‘micro’ inverter performs the same basic function of a ‘string’ inverter but are installed underneath each solar panel. Each of those panels are the size of a modern internet router. The biggest difference is that each panel will have the same number of ‘micro’ inverters. The advacement of ‘micro’ inverter technology allows each panel to work independently from the other panels, ensuring maximum output of clean renewable energy for your home.
Most of our installations are now powered by ‘micro’ inverters due to higher performance, flexibility in installation (roof orientation, expansion), support and safety.
What are the benefits of smart 'micro' inverters?
Here are 5 benefits of smart ‘micro’ inverters technolgy by Enphase:
1. Increased Solar System Output
A micro inverter is attached underneath each solar panel. The micro inverters converts DC to AC electricity under each panels which allows each individual panel to power independently from other panels, significantly increasing the overall solar system output. The limitation of a standard string inverter is that each panels are installed in series, which means that the system will always peform at a power rate of the worst performing panel. Shading from trees, dust, chimneys, power lines and even bird droppings will have a large impact on the overall solar system output.
The video below is an example of how micro inverters can significantly increase power output despite shading towards the end of the day.
2. Flexibility of Micro Inverters
Roof Orientation: The technology of micro inverters allow us to design a solar panel system for different roof orientations – e.g. panels can face both north, west and/or east. This mix orientation will solve an inherent issue for solar panels that have a larger peak power generation during the middle of the day, allowing the spread of power generation during the morning and evening peak, where most of the occupants are at home before/after work.
Solar panels expansion: Micro inverter systems also allow the future addition of panels in your roof space, only limited to your roof space as each panel with micro inverters can produce its own power independantly. Standard string inverters are usually sized based on the number of panels from the initital installation to ensure high performance of the system. This limits future expansion as the addition of new panels will require a replacement of the inverter and we would also need to match the solar panels in the string to ensure high performance of the system.
Battery ready: Enphase micro inverter ecosystems are battery ready if you are considering home batteries in the future. This is due to the design on technology that allows it to be compatible with most battery technologies in the market. Standard string inverters will need to be upgraded to an expensive hybrid solar inverters to allow future home batteries installation and does also have an issue with limited compatibility.
Single-phase vs three-phase: Traditionally for systems under 5kWs for a three-phase home, we would normally connect a single-phase string inverter to the phase that uses the most power as a three-phase string inverter will not be cost effective. For systems larger than 5kWs, the only option is a three-phase string inverter. With micro inverters, there are no limitations for single or three-phase power system.
3. Solar System Monitoring
Enphase software platform provides the system owners with ongoing data analytics such as energy production and consumption in your household. Their energy monitoring software is regarded as one of the best in the industry, on par with Tesla (via Powerwall 2).
In addition, the software also provides us with automatic email updates if there are any technical issues in your system, making it simple for us to pro-actively troubleshoot the issues remotely. This will save you days of downtime as you will have to wait and call out a technician on-site.
4. Best System Safety
As micro inverters coverts the DC electricity from the panels to AC electricity immediately under each panel, it avoids the need for high voltage DC cable runs into your home; increasing the overall safety to you. If regular string inverters are designed today, it will not pass the safety test due to the requirement for high voltage DC cable runs, which increases the risk of fire and power leakage.
5. No single point of failure
The most common issue of standard string inverters is either the failure of the inverters or if one of the solar panels goes wrong. When this event happens, the solar system will be down and will stop generating solar power during a warranty claim or service check. Micro inverters do not suffer from this issue as in the unlikely event of failure to one of the panels or micro inverters, the rest of the system will still operate as it is independant from each other. The added benefit is that Enphase micro inverters come standard with a 10-year full replacement warranty in Australia, an additional 5 years standard warranty in comparison to most main string inverter manufacturers (Growatt, Goodwe, SMA, ABB,etc).
Will I be exporting power to the grid?
Excess electricity that is generated by solar panels and not consumed during the day will be exported. Electricity that is exported to the grid will be paid as a credit by your energy retailer.
If a solar battery system is installed at your home, the excess electricity will be used to charge up the batteries first before exporting surplus electricity to the grid.
Why is our property still connected to the grid?
Solar panel systems converts sunlight into electricity during the day. On rainy days and at night, a backup power supply from the grid will still be required to power up your home.
For a fully sized battery system for your home, we will still recommend a connection to the grid as insurance to electricity supply.
Does a solar-only system work during a power outage?
No, a solar-only system will shut down automatically during a power cut. However, solar systems with Enphase IQ8 smart ‘micro’ inverters or houses with home batteries (Tesla, Enphase, BYD) will continue generating electricity during a power cut. The electricity generated by the panels will power selected circuits in your home.
Do you provide the installation of home batteries?
Yes. We do provide the installation of home batteries for direct purchases. Please let our solar specialist know if you are interested with battery technologies.
What is your change of mind policy?
When you either buy or subscribe solar through Kin Energy, you are entitled to a full refund of your deposit or cancelation of the subscription plan for any reason and at any time, 10 business days after you agree to proceed.
After this time, we cannot refund your deposit as the deposit goes towards covering the cost of the work completed to prepare your order – application for grid connection, order for solar hardware and scheduling dates for our installers. This is a business cost that needs to be recovered in the event of a cancellation.
Change of mind during installation day
We will work to ensure that variations on installation day are not required. However, there might be some variations that are required to complete the job in accordance to Australian standards. If you feel that the additional cost on the day is too significant, we will be happy to work with you to refund your deposit.
Do you provide the installation of wall chargers for electric cars?
Yes. We work closely with our specialist installers to install electric car wall chargers for your home. Please let our solar specialist know if you are interested with wall chargers for electric cars.
What are the timeframes for the installation of solar?
Once you have decided to accept and proceed with your solar system, the next steps are to select your preferred installation dates and if you want to opt-in or out of the Victoria’s Solar Home rebates. Please note that we would need to align your preferred installation days with our installer avaibility and rebate approval process and this will have an impact on the overall timelines.
Here are the estimated time-frame of the installation of solar:
Solar without state rebate/Subscription
- Installation date schedule: 3-5 business days after you have paid your deposit (purchase) or sign-off the solar subscription agreement (subscription)
- Installation day: 2-5 weeks after your date is scheduled
- Safety sign off: 7 days after installation
- Retailer/Network activation*: up to 20 days after safety sign off
Estimated time: 6.5 – 9.5 weeks
Solar with state rebate
- Rebate application/approval: 2-4 weeks from opt-in (depending on when the Victoria portal opens to accept applications)
- Installation date schedule: 3-5 business days after you have paid your deposit (purchase)
- Installation day: 2-5 weeks after your date is scheduled
- Safety sign off: 7 days after installation
- Retailer/Network activation*: up to 20 days after safety sign off
Estimated time: 8.5 – 13.5 weeks
Once the solar system has been installed and signed off for safety, we will collect and provide all the required documents and send them to your electricity retailer. They will start the process of ‘reconfiguration the meter’ with your local network which can take up to 20 days (it is usually quicker). If we could not get in contact with your electricity retailer, we will provide all the documentations for you to submit to your retailer.
What can I expect on installation day?
Here is an overview on how you can get yourself prepared ahead of the installation day:
- Installer arrives to your place at an agreed schedule. Please note that as the installer is working outside, we might need to reschedule if there are any serious weather events that are due to take place during the job
- Site inspection and completion of job safety requirements by the installer
- Commencement of installation at your place
- If you applied for the Solar Victoria rebate, you will need to show the installer your QR code so they can scan the job and you are able to receive your rebate (Only applies for Solar Victoria rebate)
- Testing of the solar system equipment
- If it includes solar monitoring, the installer will ask for your wifi and password to finalise the installation
- Installer will contact us to let us know that the job is complete.
Note: The solar system will need to be checked by an inspector prior to being switched on within 7 business days.
How do we ensure the safety of our installers?
The safety of our installers are our main priority. If an installer determines that the site is unsafe to complete the task, we will reschedule the job.
All our installers will wear harnesses whislt completing work on the roof and will not conduct work on a live swictchboard. Depending on our preliminary assessment, there might be a requirement for roof edge protection as well.
Here are a list of potential safety issues:
- Weather events (heavy rain, lightning, high winds, heatwave, hailstorm, poor air quality, morning frost)
- Limited or unsafe access to the roof
- Unstable or damage roof tiles
- Aggresive unleashed pets on premises
If we cannot adopt measures to make the site safe on the day, we will reschedule your installation in order to provide a safe working environment to our installers. We appreciate your support and assistance for a safe working environment.
How do we choose our installers?
We only engage exceptional local installers to deliver top-quality solar system installations at your place. Here are the two criteria that we look for:
- Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited
- Stellar local track record and have previously delivered successful installations within our network
What is the reconfiguration of the power meter?
The process of the reconfiguration of the meter is to record the amount of energy consume and exported to the grid.
As Victoria have mandated the installation of smart meters for all homes, the reconfiguration of the meter is done remotely. The process of the reconfiguration is managed by your electricity retailers.
Once the solar system has been installed and signed off for safety, we will collect and provide all the required documents and send them to your electricity retailer. They will than contact you ensure that you are happy to accept any charges assocaited with the reconfiguration before raising a work order with the power network to complete the work. This will usually take up to 20 business days (it is usually quicker). If we could not get in contact with your electricity retailer, we will provide all the documentations for you to submit to your retailer.
Why do we need approval from the power networks?
In Victoria, it is quite common for the power networks to require a ‘pre-installation’ connection approval. It is usually a standard process for them to record the size of the solar system being installed in their network so they could actively manage the grid network efficiently and effectively.
We will manage the approval process on your behalf and update you if there are any export limitations or installation requirements.
It is very uncommon if the power network to reject your application. If it happens and we are not able to find a solution with yourpower network, we will refund your deposit or cancel your subscription service.
How much does solar panel system cost in Victoria?
Trying to research how much to pay for a solar panel systems in Melbourne is difficult. There are plenty of solar systems advertised online (Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc) and the local papers that are too cheap. Those installers usually use cheap Chinese made panels and inverters and often does not come with full warranty support or it will be overpriced as people do not know what the fair market price should be.
The first thing that you might come across from your online search might make you believe that a 6.6kW solar system costs only $2,699-$4,399. Those advertisements will include keywords such as ‘Premium’ and ‘Tier 1’. It might seem like a great deal, except it is not! The cost is too cheap for a reliable high quality system and usually comes with plenty of conditions and cheap quality inverters that will fail under 3 years.
If you get 3 quotes from reputable solar installers in Melbourne, you will find that our prices will be close within hundred dollars of each other for comparable solar products and inverters (micro/premium string). Reputable solar installers will not discount the system by thousands as it will involved cutting corners and compromising the safety of the installers.
However, the price of premium string inverters and micro inverters are getting better every year. Reputable solar installers will pass on the savings to the customers as the improvement of reliability, safety, efficiency and ability to monitor the power generation of the solar systems outweighs making a quick buck from the customers.
Could you please outline the purchase cost breakdown?
When we issue an invoice for a solar system, it will consist of:
- Total price – the full price of your system including GST. The price includes the solar system hardware (panels, inverter, mounting systems, electrical consumables and installation cost)
- Less STC’s (Small-scale Technology Certificate) – STC’s will be subtracted from your full price. This federal government financial incentive is exclusive of GST
- Less State Government Rebate – if you applied and qualify for the Victoria’s Solar Home rebate, will deduct it here as well
- Final price – This is the final price of the system including GST less STC’s and State Government Rebate. This is the price that you will pay for a system.
- Deposit – to place and confirm your order, you will need to put down a 10% deposit. The amount will be deducted from the final price
- Remaining balance – the total amount remaining for the payment will be processed a day after the installation
What is the difference between Kin 'standard' and 'smart' solar systems?
The main difference between our ‘standard’ and ‘smart’ solar systems is the inverter technology. Our ‘standard’ solar system utilises string inverters and the ‘smart’ solar system utilises micro inverters.
The added benefit of the ‘smart’ solar system are:
- Back to base monitoring
- Online monitoring of solar system
- Works with partially shaded roofs
- Solar system size is easily expandable
- Battery ready
How does the deposit work?
To place and confirm your new solar system order, we will need you to put down a 10% deposit using Stripe or a direct payment to us (from the invoice).
Once you have place the order, we will organise the purchase of your solar system hardware, your installer and any power network approvals. The deposit helps us to cover these costs and provide us with assurance that you would proceed. The amount will be deducted from the final price.
If you change your mind and want to cancel or reschedule your order, we will process your deposit in line with our change of mind policy.
How do we collect payment for a solar purchase?
We process all purchase payments using Stripe and/or the direct payment to our account.
Stripe is built into the Xero invoice to facilitate the payment of a bill, which means you can pay it directly in your portal. Your debit or credit card details are stored with Stripe and our system notifies Stripe when the payment is due. After your payment has been processed, we will instruct Stripe to wipe your card details for privacy purposes.
When do we charge the balance?
Your remaining balace (the final cost less your deposit) is processed the day after installation. Before we process the payment, we will check with the installer if your system has been installed correctly and the relevant paperwork has been submitted. We will issue a final invoice for the work done.
What happens if we do not receive payment?
If we did not receive the remaining payment or your debit/credit card is decline, we will get in touch with you immediately.
If we do not receive a respond, we will attempt to contact you and/or process your debit/credit card every second day for a week. If after a week from the final payment date and we have not hear from you on how to proceed with the payment, we will take the appropriate steps to recover the remaining balance.
What are the potential variations in the quote?
When you first submit your query, we will review the solar potential of your home (tilt, orientation, sun exposure, shading) using our digital platform.
Once the design is generated, our qualified solar specialist will review the design. They will request further information to confirm your roof construction material and a photo of your electricial switchboard.
Here are some potential variations:
- Swichboard – A switchboard contains all the main electricial switches for your home. Some switchboards will have sufficient space to additional switches to the PV system and some will not. If it does not, the installer will need to upgrade and rearrange the switchboard
- Double/Triple storey – There is usually an additional cost for the installation of solar panel system for a double or triple storey home as the installer will require additional equipment and work to get onto the roof space
- Roof safety rails – A roof safety rail might be required to provide a safe working environment for our installers who are working at height if the roof is too steep or if there is insufficient safe working space on the roof
Who are we?
We are a team of engineers, tech developers and solar specialists, working towards a common mission of accelerating the transition to clean renewable energy.
Although Australia is in a unique position of one of the highest uptake of rooftop solar systems globally, we still have plenty of room to grow. We exists to empower our community to collectively be part of the energy transition – to take power back into our hands and reduce our reliance on our national grid; which is still predominantly powered by a mixture of coal and gas fire plants.
We understand that clean, renewable and accessible energy is critical for this transition. We are working with our community to build our own distributed ‘Clean Energy Grid’ on our collective roofs to harness the power of the sun while sharing surplus energy with our neighbours.
We are providing two solar plans for you to choose when you plan to install your solar panel systems; either by subscription or direct purchase.
- Subscription: The solar panel systems is installed and paid by us and we will provide you with all the benefits of solar at a low monthly fee. The subscription service is designed to lower the cost of entry for high quality ‘smart’ solar panel systems
- Purchase: The solar panel systems is owned by you and you will enjoy all the benefits of solar
Are you an installer?
No. We are project managers that partners with our solar installers, product manufacturers and investors to create a better solar experience for our customers
Who are your partners?
We partner with product manufacturers and installers to make the process of installation seamless and simple to our customers.
How long is our solar system warranties?
A solar system contains a number of pieces of hardware which are developed by different manufacturers. Here is the breakdown of our solar system warranties
- Solar Panel Modules (Manufacturing Defect) Warranty – 10 years
- Solar Panel Modules (Regular Performance) – 25 years
- Inverter Product Warranty – 10 years
- Workmanship Warranty – 10 years
What is the coverage
Our Solar Panels and Inverter product warranty covers product defects. We are able to use our internal monitoring systems to monitor this for you and will let you know when the panels or inverters are not performing as intended.
Manufacturers have different requirements when submitting a product warranty claim. We will submit the claim on your behalf and keep you updated along the journey.
For installation workmanship issues, we will get in contact with the installer and get them back on site as soon as possible once we have investigate the issue with you.
What is an STC?
Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) are setup under the Federal Government’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). This scheme covers resisdential solar systems under 100kW and will run till 2030.
STC’s is a financial incentive by the Government to help customers reduce upfront cost of installing a solar system. The value of STC’s is aggregated by third parties and the generated certificates are traded in the wholesale market.
There is no associated GST for individuals but if you are buying solar through a commercial entity, GST is applicable to the sale of STC.
Victoria's Solar Homes Rebate
The Victorian State Government setup the Victorian Solar Homes Program in an effort to help Victorian households reduce energy costs and shift to solar energy.
The program enables the installation of solar panels, solar hot water systems or batteries on 770,000 homes across Victoria in the next 10 years.
How does it work?
After you have decided to proceed with your order of your solar system, we will give you the option to apply for the Solar Victoria rebate or continue your order without it. To apply for the rebate, you need to meet Solar Victoria’s eligibility requirements.
When you opt-in to apply for the rebate, we will upload your quote to the Solar Victoria portal. The quote includes information of your solar system and how much you are likely to save from solar.
Once uploaded, Solar Victoria will send you an email asking you to begin your application. If you have the required documentation ready, it should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete the application.
Solar Victoria opens the portal twice a month with a set amount of rebates available each time. When the limit is reached, the portal is closed. To reserve your spot in the allocation period, it is best to complete the application as soon as you receive the email from Solar Victoria and when the portal open for applications.
One it is approved, you will receive an Eligibility Number from Solar Victoria. You will need to upload this document to our mySolar portal to finalise your order. You will also receive a QR code for your installer on installation day.
We will deduct the rebate from your remaining balance once installation is complete.
How does the interest free loan work?
The interest free loan is an additional rebate provided by Solar Victoria. It is managed by the State Government and the loan amount approved is up to a maximum of $1,850. This amount, in addition to the rebate will be applied to your remaining balance.
Depending on the final cost of the system, the remaining balance is covered by the customer. If the remaining balance is $0, there will be no additional payment required by the customer.
Please note that we will still require a 10% deposit to process your order. If you have a remaining balance, we will deduct your deposit from it. If you do have a surplus after deduction, we will refund the difference back to you after installation.
We always encourage feedback to the entire experience – good, constructive or bad.
If you have a complaint about the installation quality, solar system hardware and/or your solar performance; please get in contact with us via mySolar portal or [email protected]. We will try our best to respond quickly to your feedback.
If you need further information, our complaint handling procedure is provided via the link below: