How well do solar panels really work in Cairns?
This short article gets right to the point, cuts the BS and shows exactly how an existing solar panel installation in Cairns works. If you are considering solar and want to see how it actually works in Cairns rather than just what the datasheets and salespeople say, then this article is for you!
So, based on a real installation in town, we look at what the expected solar production was vs. the actual output over a full year.
It is all very well and good looking at datasheets and estimated solar production figures, but what actually happens after the system has been installed? Does it live up to these estimates?
Some basic things to understand before reading on: We have taken a real solar install in Cairns and used actual data from the Wi-Fi monitoring set up at the home. This data is simply measuring current running through cables and is 100% accurate.We have then compared this real-life data to a simulation for solar panels in Cairns using software called Nearmaps. This software creates a chart showing how much energy is expected to be produced. We can then compare the solar simulation with the real results.
So, the idea is simple:
Solar Panels Cairns expected energy VS Solar Panels Cairns actual energy.
Firstly then, let’s take a look at the actual installation specifics. Don’t forget, this is an actual solar installation in Cairns we completed in February 2019.
We have two arrays:
- 14 x Q Cell QPlus 285w panels at 22.5° tilt and 126° orientation relative to North.
- 9 x Q Cell QPlus 285w panels at 22.5° tilt and 306° orientation relative to North.
When we program this into the Nearmap solar simulation toll this is what the expected solar production should be:
The total expected solar production for the solar panel simulation for Cairns was 8,608kWhs.
The most recent month of solar production prior to writing this article was May so we want to compare the figures annually from June in year one – May in year two. The chart below shows actual data with May year one through to May year two inside the red box.
The total amount of energy produced in one year from June – May was 9,306.23.
Solar Panels Cairns Expected: 8,608kWhs
Solar Panels Cairns Actual: 9,306kWhs
Difference: + 698.23kWhs
So, the actual system installed in Cairns produced 698.23kWhs more solar energy than expected…woo hoo! But hang on, what does this actually mean to someone looking at installing solar in Cairns?
It means that the actual figures (for the last 12 months at least) are really good for installing solar panels in Cairns. Bearing in mind, this is a solar array installed by a great install team, using really good products. If you did this test with inferior solar panels or a poor-quality installation it would most likely not produce anywhere near as much energy.
What does the difference actually mean in $$?
This system was expected to produce 8,608kWhs. If the customer here used 50% of the energy and exported the rest to Ergon then the solar array was expected to save the customer $2,065.92.
The system we tested produced 698.23Kwhs more than expected. The value of this will depend if you used the energy, or sold it back to Ergon. If you used the energy it would be worth approximately $192.01*. If you sold it back to Ergon it would only be worth $61.44**. The difference would depend on how much energy you used in the home during the day when the solar energy was peaking.
They could have used that extra $192 to buy something they actually wanted, instead of giving it to Ergon Energy. I don’t know about you, but if I got an extra $192 every year that I didn’t expect from my solar system, I would be pretty happy!
This article is written in clear and basic terms for consumers to understand. For those who are keen to dig deeper into the specifics and look at the more technical side of testing solar panels in Cairns, we can help with that too! Get in touch and our experienced CEC Accredited Solar Designers, electrical and electronic engineers will gladly spend as long as you like discussing and sending through pages and pages of data if you are interested. As mentioned, this article is designed to get right to the point and give every day consumers the information they need when trying to work out exactly how solar panels actually work in Cairns.
Some other useful links:
*based on $0.25 peak rate plus gst
**based on $0.08 feed in tariff plus gst