Energy Monitoring

    What does energy monitoring do?

    Energy monitoring systems allow you to measure how you use energy in your home and to identify ways in which you could use energy more efficiently. This may help you to reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint.

    What is Solar Analytics?

    Solar Analytics is an energy monitoring system that provides real time information on:
    • Household electricity consumption
    • Your solar energy system's performance
    • Net electricity bought and sold
    • How much energy your system should be generating vs actual energy generated on any given day
    • Alerts and faults diagnostics.
    Download the Solar Savers Solar Analytics Guide for more information on how to use the Solar Analytics tool. 

    How do I access my real-time energy information?

    Solar Analytics provides your real time energy information via a website. You will need to either create a new account or log in to your existing account.

    Access to Solar Analytics is provided by City of Adelaide and Cool or Cosy for the 10 year duration of the separate rate at no cost to residents.

    Download the Solar Savers Solar Analytics Guide for more information on how to use the tool. 

    Will landlords get access to Solar Analytics data?

    Only the resident (either owner occupier or tenant) will have a profile on Solar Analytics, which is specific to their home and subject to privacy terms and conditions.

    If you are a landlord and would like to get information about the performance of the solar system, please contact Cool or Cosy who will develop a tailored report for you. This report will indicate the performance of the solar system but will not provide energy consumption data.

Living With Solar

    What solar PV energy system components were installed?

    Only high quality components were selected and the solar panels and inverters are Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved. The components of the solar PV energy system include:

    Tindo Solar Karra 265 PV module  (made in South Australia)

    • Enphase micro-inverter S230 
    • Zeversolar Zeverlution 2000S string-inverter

    Clenergy Australia PV-ez Rack mounting systems

    Solar Analytics Energy Monitoring System.

    See the Operating Manual and Technology Guides for more

    How does solar power work?

    Solar panels collect photons from the sun which are then turned into Direct Current (DC) by the solar panels. An inverter then converts the DC into Alternating Current (AC) that can be used in your house.  Any excess AC power not used is automatically exported through your import / export meter to the main electricity grid.

    Your import / export meter, installed by SA Power Networks, or your electricity retailer records the amount of electricity exported back to the grid. Your electricity retailer will credit your electricity account for exported electricity if they have such an arrangement in place.

    Is there an operating manual for the system?

    For detailed information on all aspects of your solar systems, please see the downloads for: 

    • Solar Savers Operating Manual (Also referred to as “After Install Pack”)
    • Living with Solar Guide
    • Solar Analytics Guide

    A customised ‘Operating Manual/ After Install Pack’ was provided shortly after installation that is specific to each property. The Operating Manual includes important information as well as an electrical Certificate of Compliance and a System Performance estimate. If you require a new copy, contact the Solar Savers Adelaide team or Cool or Cosy.

    Something’s not working, what do I do?

    Refer to the troubleshooting list on system faults and errors in your Operating Manual. A manual is available on this page under Document Library.

    A customised ‘Operating Manual/ After Install Pack’ has been provided that is specific to each home. The Operating Manual includes this information as well as an electrical Certificate of Compliance and a System Performance estimate.  Your property would have received this manual shortly after installation in 2018. If you require a new copy, contact the Solar Savers Adelaide team or Cool or Cosy.

    If you still have issues, contact Cool or Cosy and quote “City of Adelaide installation” for assistance.

    How can I understand my bills now that I have a solar system?

    Understanding your energy bills is important so that you get the most out of your solar PV system.

    Download the Solar Savers Solar Metering and Billing Guide for more information.

    Do I need to clean or inspect the solar system?

    Under Solar Savers Adelaide, Cool or Cosy is not responsible for ongoing inspections or cleaning of the solar PV system.

    Cool or Cosy can provide safety, periodic and operation maintenance at the two (2) and four (4) year period after installation as outlined in Appendix C of AS/NZS 5033:2014 at additional cost to the property owner. Please contact Cool or Cosy if you wish to arrange for this service.

    You may wish to carry out regular visual inspections to ensure isolators and conduits are connected, sealed and fixed as per their installation. Over time solar PV panels may get dusty or covered in leaf litter or other debris. In Cool or Cosy’s experience, rain will generally wash dust and leaf litter off the panels and regular cleaning is not required.

    Should your panels be exposed to excessive bird droppings it may be worth cleaning the panels to ensure performance is not diminished. From a safety perspective, it is recommended to clean the panels from the ground if possible. The panels can be cleaned with soapy water and a hose. If it is not possible to clean the panels from the ground, it is recommended that you engage the services of a suitably qualified professional.

    Where can I get more information about solar PV systems and my own energy use?

    The following websites have some useful information:

    · Clean Energy Council- advice on living with solar and contacting your electricity retailer

    · South Australia Power Networks- advice on living with solar and electricity metering

    · Energy Made Easy - comparison of different energy retailers

    · SA Government - Energy and Environment - advice on home energy

    Where can I get more information on feed-in tariffs?

    As of 1 January 2017, Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) has not set a minimum retailer feed in tariff. Retailers can now determine what they will pay for electricity fed back to the grid and it will vary between retailers and between energy plans. 

    Websites such as Energy Made Easy allow you to compare energy retailer plans for customers with solar PV systems; we recommend that you research several retailers to find the best plan to suit you. 

    For more information on feed in tariffs please visit the ESCOSA website.

Separate Rate

    How does a separate rate work?

    Solar Savers Adelaide has been designed to use a separate rate that is charged to the land, and is paid off by participating property owners in quarterly instalments over a 10 year period. The separate rate charge avoids households paying an up-front cost for solar; and allows Council to recover the cost for the supply and installation over a longer time frame. The principle of the Program is that households are forecasted to save more on electricity bills each year than they will pay for the solar panels over the 10-year period.

    The separate rate is permitted through Section 154 of the South Australian Local Government Act 1999. As with other rates declared by Council, once a separate rate has been declared under the Local Government Act, it becomes a statutory charge against the land.

    The separate rate charge will only be applied to properties that have:

    • Registered interest to take part in the Program and met the Program eligibility criteria; and
    • Signed an agreement with the Council that enables the Council to facilitate the supply and installation of an approved solar photovoltaic system by a contractor approved by the Council.

    The separate rate remains with the land for the duration of the 10 year period, as the rate is levied to facilitate the supply and installation at the property. This is regardless of whether the system remains at the property, or if the property is sold.

    When was the separate rate applied?

    The first separate rate was due in March 2018, after the installation of the solar PV system was completed.

    The quarterly Solar Savers Adelaide separate rate applies for a 10-year period as part of the Property Owner Agreement signed between the household, Council and Cool or Cosy. The panels will belong to the property, and if the property owner moves any remaining repayments will remain with the property.

    How is the separate rate billed?

    The Separate Rate Notice will be included with your General Rates Notice. Notices are issued quarterly with payment due on the same date as your General Rates.

    Council offers several payment methods, with details included on the reverse of your Rates Notice. Payment methods include: online via Council’s Website, Direct Deposit, BPay, Post billpay, via Phone, Cheque; or over the Counter at Council’s Customer Centre at 25 Pirie Street or at an Australia Post outlet.

    What do the quarterly repayments cost?

    A property-specific quotation was provided to the household with the exact cost of installation as well as the quarterly instalments to be paid through the separate rate. Each household’s separate rate repayment was agreed in the Property Owner Agreement. If you do not have a copy of your Property Owner Agreement please contact the Solar Savers Adelaide team.

    Who owns the solar panels while they are being paid off?

    The separate rate will be applied to the land and the property owner will pay quarterly instalments over a 10-year period. If the owner decides to sell the property, any remaining repayments are taken on by the next property owner.

    Is there an option to pay back the separate rate earlier?

    No. The scheme has been designed to pay back over 10 years to overcome the cost barriers to solar for participants.

    What happens if I want to sell my property?

    The separate rate will remain with the land for the duration of the 10-year period, regardless of whether the system remains at the property, or if the property is sold. Please contact Council if you are selling your property and have any questions.

    Why is interest charged?

    An interest rate of 3.55% was applied to the total cost of the system in order to cover Council’s costs of financing the system over 10 years.

    Council has provided a $1,000 upfront rebate on the total cost of the solar PV energy system as part of the City of Adelaide's Sustainability Incentive Scheme. Council also bore the administrative and program costs as well as the costs of the Solar Analytics energy monitoring system.

    What if I miss a repayment or can’t make my repayments?

    If you are having difficulty making payment we encourage you to contact the Customer Centre to discuss payment options as soon as possible before the due date.

    If rates fall into arrears and other arrangements have not been made, fines and interest may apply. Details are included on the reverse of your Rates Notice.

    For rental properties - will landlords be able to increase rent to recoup the costs of the solar panels?

    There are certain protections available to tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 that affect whether statutory charges, such as Council rates, can be passed on to tenants. Decisions about the cost of rent payable by a tenant are ultimately matters between the landlord and tenant that must be dealt with in accordance with the terms of individual leases and that Act.

Overview of the Program

    What is the objective of the Solar Savers Adelaide Program?

    South Australia is experiencing an increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves. As energy prices continue to rise, vulnerable and low income members of the community are often forced to consider whether they are able to afford the energy costs associated with air conditioning. An increase in heat waves can pose significant health and financial impacts for households that are trying to maintain healthy indoor temperatures.

    The program was designed to address barriers including a lack of access to upfront capital to purchase and install solar PV systems; lack of clarity and trust in the solar market; as well as a split incentive between landlords and tenants. The Solar Savers Adelaide Program increased uptake of solar PV in residential properties within the City of Adelaide.

    In particular, the objectives of the Solar Savers Adelaide Program were to:

    • Increase community resilience to climate change, particularly through access to affordable energy for heating and cooling
    • Assist residents to reduce electricity consumption and costs
    • Reduce barriers to accessing solar PV for low income households and rental properties
    • Reduce city carbon emissions through increased installation of renewable energy
    • Support sustainable development in the City of Adelaide.

    What were the steps in the Solar Savers Adelaide Program?

    The steps followed in the Solar Savers Adelaide program are described on the Solar Savers Adelaide Your Say page.

    Has this been done anywhere else?

    • Darebin City Council has run two phases on their Solar Savers Scheme, with a third planned for 2019.

    o  See a case Study of Solar Savers Darebin

    o  Watch a video about Solar Savers Darebin

    • Solar Savers Victoria is a partnership between not-for-profit greenhouse alliancesand local councils, funded by the Victorian Government. Solar Savers is being progressively rolled out across participating councils from March 2017 to 2019. See the program inception information.