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Best Solar Panels for Brisbane Residents

What are the Best Solar Panels for Brisbane Residents?

It is without question that solar panels are a fabulous investment – one that can pay itself back in less than five years! It’s also true that the real benefits of solar will emerge naturally if you make the ‘right decision’ on a system.

Brisbane City Council - 2. Flickering Wind Generator (Section B) - Location: on Riverwalk bikeway below St Vincent's Hospital Brisbane. Artist: Jonathon Coleman. Materials: painted steel, shinkolite, solar panels. Date of installation: 1995
Brisbane City Council – 2. Flickering Wind Generator (Section B) – Location: on Riverwalk bikeway below St Vincent’s Hospital Brisbane. Artist: Jonathon Coleman. Materials: painted steel, shinkolite, solar panels. Date of installation: 1995

Of course, what is ‘right’ for you will depend entirely on the context you are in. The construction/type, quality, and capacity of your panels can be tailored to perfectly suit your home, and your region’s weather conditions. 

Let’s break down the components of solar panel systems to help you decide for yourself what works best in your home. Solar panels are long-term investments; be sure to research carefully before purchasing!

The Anatomy of Solar Panels

Understanding the components of a solar panel shows us how the hardware operates in practice. This knowledge allows anyone to discriminate between panels for their quality. 

Solar panels are placed on top of homes and businesses to convert sunlight to a form of electricity known as Direct Current (DC). 

This DC is directed toward an Inverter where it is converted to usable electricity, known as Alternating Current (AC). The AC is fed to the switchboard and distributed around the house or commercial establishment. 

The solar panels are mounted to the building’s roof with a racking system that holds them in place. They can only be installed through a CEC certified provider to avail of rebates and warranties. 

Solar panels themselves come in two primary types:

  1. Monocrystalline – Each cell is made of a single silicon crystal. These are the most common kinds. People choose monocrystalline panels because they take up far less space and have long lifespans (25 years +). Featuring a more uniform and smooth appearance for homeowners, these panels also have the highest efficiency ratings (17% – 24%), making them more appealing than polycrystalline. 
  2. Polycrystalline – These are similar to monocrystalline options, as they are also made from silicon. However, they are manufactured differently. These panels cost less, and they are also more ‘environmentally friendly’ than monocrystalline, with less waste produced throughout the manufacturing process. Polycrystalline panels are typically less aesthetically pleasing, with an uneven texture and colour. They also have lower levels of efficiency (15% – 20%) and a decreased lifespan (15 – 20 years). 

There are other solar panel types… such as thin-film, Perovskite, and concentrated PV, but these are niche, not-mainstream technologies. The majority of solar panels will be either monocrystalline or polycrystalline; it’s also where you will get the most return on your investment, right now. 

How do I Choose a Solar Panel System?

A solar panel system refers to the entire structure: capacity, number of panels, inverter, battery, hardware, and installation. What concerns us the most is the capacity/output, and whether it matches your needs. We’ve broken it down for you into some easy steps:

  1. Energy consumption – Know your energy requirements. Read your meter, look at your bills, and see how much energy you consume. This will allow you to understand how much you need!
  2. Rooftop condition – Take note of the space you have on your roof, and which way your house is facing. Also note whether your roof is flat or tilted. 
  3. Regional Rates – Understand the rebates, electricity rate, and feed-in-tariffs in your specific region. It will have a drastic impact in terms of how much you pay initially and how long it takes to break even on your investment. 
  4. System size – Using the figures above, you should be able to understand how many panels are required, and what size system is most appropriate. For many Australian families, a 5kWh to 7kWh system is appropriate for average energy consumption. 
  5. Choose a brand – Next, you can look at major manufacturers that supply solar energy systems matching your requirements. These manufacturers will generally also offer strong warranties and excellent customer support. 
  6. Contact local suppliers – Local solar installers and suppliers will work with major brands and offer you the best install. Moreover, they will be able to tell you things that you might have overlooked, giving you further advice on selecting the right solar panels, and advising you on optional components (MLPEs, batteries, etc). 

Remember that not everybody needs the highest power, highest quality solar system. A good analogy is that of a Ferrari. It’s a fantastic machine, but that does not mean it’s the ‘best choice’ for everyone. A Volkswagen would do just as well to get you from Point A to Point B. Analyse your needs first, and then choose a solar panel system to match. 

Criteria for Choosing the Best Solar Panels

The solar panel is an essential component of the overall system. It’s what converts the sunlight to DC, with different models doing so at varying levels of efficiency. When you are seeking to select the best solar panels for your Brisbane property, you need to find out:

    1. How thermally efficient is this solar panel?
    2. Are these solar panels monocrystalline or polycrystalline?
    3. How many of these solar panels will I need to satisfy my energy requirements?
    4. How long will these panels last?
    5. How do these panels look, aesthetically?

When choosing solar panels, you also have to carefully select your installer. You want to purchase solar panels from an established manufacturer, and installed by a licenced solar provider. These are long-term investments – you can’t afford to take chances with new panels that are untested, with no established process for repairs, maintenance, and upholding warranties. 

Typically, it’s advised to work with a service provider that offers you guarantees, giving you details on the solar panels. They provide you with reputable solar panels and take care of the installation, and you only deal with the actual provider – not directly with the manufacturer.

Regardless, you want a strong warranty, an affordable installation, and thermally efficient panels that match your requirements. You also want the installer to be a member of the Clean Energy Council (CEC). 

The installation is as important as the solar panel itself: if the panels are tilted at the wrong angle, you will lose out on efficiency. If they are not facing the correct direction, you won’t get the benefit of as much sunshine. Racking and wire harnesses need to be correctly installed so that the water is draining properly. Poorly installed solar panels may need to be repaired or replaced. 

What Are the Best Solar Panels in Brisbane?

There are many contenders for the title of ‘best solar panels in Brisbane’. Ultimately, the most reputable solar panel manufacturers are LG and Longi. If you visit any solar professional, they will likely list these brands as their two primary options. 

LG

LG has over 30 years of experience in the manufacture of solar panels. LG are known for the durability of their designs. They have a rigorous manufacturing process, which detects micro-cracks in the panels. The panels offer resistance levels of 5400 PA (which is very respectable), and the company offers great customer service and support. 

The total power range of LG solar panels is between 320W to 380W, and thermal efficiency ranges from 19-21%. They offer a 25-year performance warranty and a 10-year equipment warranty. 

Longi

Like LG, Longi is an internationally recognised manufacturer that offers reliable solar panels. The company  has been in business for over 20 years. They comply with international standards and have a thermal efficiency rating between 18-22%. This is as high as thermal efficiency gets in the solar panel industry for monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. For comparison, lower quality panels will operate at around 15%. 

The power capacity rating for Longi solar panels is between 310W – 350W, and they offer a 25-year performance warranty along with a 12-year equipment warranty. Again, these are among the strongest warranties you are going to see in the industry. 

Other Manufacturers

While Longi and LG are among the most well-known and reputable providers of solar panels, there are other manufacturers of quality solar panels… including:

  • Jinko – A Chinese manufacturer established in 2006. They are a stable company with over 15,000 employees. They have a fantastic track record, both financially and technologically. Jinko solar panels are used in many industrial and commercial applications in Australia. 
  • Hanwha Q Cells – A German company that produces high-quality solar panels. Established in 2009, it was taken over by Hanwha Group in 2012. In 2020, the company occupied 12% of the Australian market share of residential solar panels. 
  • Solarwatt – One of the oldest solar panels companies. It was established in Dresden, Germany in 1993 and still holds its office there. Solarwatt is an innovative company, but not as large or diverse as some of the other heavyweights. 
  • SunPower – One of the oldest solar panel companies worldwide. Founded in 1985, it recently split into Sunpower and Maxeon Solar, following Chinese investment in 2020. It retains its branding name as Sunpower, and only sells to authorised installers, not wholesalers or distributors. 

The Best Solar Panel Models in Brisbane

To take a more granular approach, the following are some of the best specific solar panels models, with some metrics for comparison. Keep in mind that the majority of high-quality solar panels are going to offer an efficiency rating between 18-22% with a 25-year performance warranty and 10 to 25-year equipment warranty. 

Surprisingly, there may not be as much separating each brand as you might expect. There are other considerations aside from the solar panels themselves, and you will need to discuss these with your solar panel provider to ensure the best possible outcome for your home or business. 

Brand Warranty Efficiency Bloomberg Tier 1 Rating Degradation Rate
LG Neon R Product: 25 Years

Performance: 25 Years

Up To 22% Yes Guaranteed 90.8% After 25 Years
Longi HI-MO4 Product: 12 Years Max

Performance: 25 Years

Up To 21% Yes Guaranteed 84.8% After 25 Years
Sunpower Maxeon 3 Product: 25 Years

Performance: 25 Years

Up To 22.5% Yes Guaranteed 92% After 25 Years
Jinko Tiger 66 Cell Product: 25 Years

Performance: 30 Years

Up To 21.5% Yes Guaranteed 87.4% After 30 Years
Solarwatt Vision 60m Product: 30 Years

Performance: 30 Years

Up To 19.5% No Guaranteed 87% After 30 Years
Q Cells Duo G8 Product: 25 Years

Performance: 25 Years

Up To 20% Yes Guaranteed 85% After 25 Years
REC Alpha Series Product: 25 Years

Performance: 25 Years

Up to 22% Yes Guaranteed 92% after 25 years
Winaico Gemini Product: 25 Years (With Registration)

Performance: 25 Years

Up to 21% No Guaranteed 85% after 25 years
Hyundai VG Series Product: 25 Years

Performance: 25 Years

Up to 20.5% Yes Guaranteed 84% after 25 years
Phono Twin Plus Product: 15 Years

Performance: 25 Years

Up to 20% Yes Guaranteed 80% after 25 years.

Making Money With Solar in Brisbane

Solar systems are often connected to the main electricity grid. If you’re ‘plugged in’, the grid will supply energy once your solar system is not supplying enough electricity to power your house.

Solar panels feed excess energy back to the grid in return for a ‘feed-in tariff’. This is lower than the price of paying for a unit, but it’s still a good way to earn extra cash while making the best use of your resources. 

The following table outlines how long it will take for a typical 5kWh system to pay itself down in major Australian cities. This should indicate why solar panels are a financially viable choice for so many Australians. The stats don’t lie: solar panels are a great way to save money!

City Breakeven Period (Exporting 50%) Breakeven Period (Exporting 75%)
Brisbane 4 Years 5 Years
Darwin 5 – 6 Years 5 – 6 Years
Perth 3 – 4 Years 5 Years
Adelaide 2 – 3 Years 3 Years
Hobart 5 Years 7 Years
Melbourne 5 Years 6 Years
Canberra 4 – 5 Years 6 Years
Sydney 4 Years 5 Years

Which is Better: Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline?

Monocrystalline solar panels are better than polycrystalline, when price is not an issue. 

They are more energy efficient, they have a more uniform appearance, and they last longer. Aesthetically, some people do claim that the polycrystalline blue looks better than the monocrystalline black – but that’s more of a personal preference. Monocrystalline panels need less space, too! 

Polycrystalline solar panels are best on budget install, or for those who are very environmentally conscious. The longevity of monocrystalline panels is often a major selling point. You can get an extra 10 years out of them, in comparison. This translates to a significantly increased ROI that offsets an initial upfront investment, by a large margin. 

How Many Panels Will I Need?

Understand your daily energy requirements. Read your meter and refer to your bills to see how much you are consuming. 

You might also want to consider a home energy meter. This is attached to your metre to display information to a separate display in terms of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual energy usage. 

You want a solar system that has enough output to meet those requirements. Depending on the size and efficiency of each individual solar panel, your results could vary. 20 solar panels can have an identical output to 12 solar panels, depending on their size and efficiency. It’s a moving equation. The most common sizes are:

  • 60 cell panels: 39” Width x 66” Length
  • 72 cell panels: 39” Width x 77” Length
  • 96 cell panels: 41” Width x 62” Length

Solar Panels: Final Considerations Before You Purchase

Choosing the best solar panels in Brisbane is merely the beginning: other details affect the quality of your solar system’s performance. Talk to your local solar provider – they can advise you on a range of questions… like the number of solar panels you need, the inverter you should purchase, and the tilt/angle of the panels. Details are really important, here. 

While there may not be that much of a difference between the various models of top solar panels, there is certainly a difference in terms of the installation process. A big one. 

The slope of the roof, the shading, and your longitude/latitude play a key role in energy conversion. Only a skilled CEC installer can point you in the right direction after reviewing your home. 

Talk to Nationwide Solar Solutions for professional installations, with leading brands, at the best prices. We offer a comprehensive solar service! Nationwide uses Tier 1 panels and inverters, providing CEC approved installs across Australia. 

Rest easy with the best solar installers in Brisbane – call us now on 1300 800 991 for a free solar quote!