Frequently asked questions

How can I trust SolarCloud

SolarCloud have invested in obtaining the right licences and regulatory approvals so consumers and businesses are protected.

SolarCloud is an Australian company approved by the Australian Energy Regulator to sell electricity.

SolarCloud is registered by Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Solar cloud scheme ARSN 612098110 to buy and manage solar panels on behalf of investors.

These licences and approvals make SolarCloud legally permitted to operate, reselling electricity and an investment product.

Key to gaining the ASIC registration was an independent trustee to look after the panels, panel owners investment and make sure the panel system continues to operate.

The Huntley Group huntleygroup.com.au (a BRI Ferriers company briferrier.com.au) is the trustee and manager of the invested funds and scheme. They are responsible for the all financial management including calculations and distribution of investors’ disbursements.

The money generated from selling the electricity generated from your panels is split 80-90% you and 10-20% SolarCloud.

SolarCloud does not have direct access to your money. We receive a percentage of revenue to cover the expenses for ongoing management, maintenance and insurance.

SolarCloud’s CEO and Board feel it is important for you to know that your money is safe because of the protections we have put in place.

So whilst there is a risk that the sun stops shining and the panels stop generating money, we think that is a low risk. And let’s face it, if that actually does happen, we’re sure there will be more important things to worry about!

What is SolarCloud?

SolarCloud is solar without the hassle. It enables everyone, living anywhere to have solar to reduce their energy bill without installing panels on their own roof.

How does it work?

The easiest way to explain it is we remotely locate your panel(s) and transfer the return on investment to you via your electricity, bank or paypal account.

A slightly longer explanation is it combines world first technology encompassing hardware and software with a unique renewable energy business model along with an ASIC registered investment scheme designed to benefit both consumers and commercial businesses.

SolarCloud works by individual investors purchasing solar panels that are installed on the roofs of commercial buildings. The electricity generated is purchased by the commercial host business or tenant and a return on investment delivered to the panel owner via monies transferred to their electricity, bank or paypal account.

What are the benefits of SolarCloud over traditional solar panel installation?

Who is SolarCloud for?

SolarCloud is for individuals and businesses who want to lower their electricity bills and do their bit for the environment.

SolarCloud is suitable for everyone including renters, share houses, investors, businesses and also people overseas.

How do you transfer the electricity from my panels to my house?

We are not transferring electricity, we are transferring something much easier - money.

I live in an apartment, so I can’t have solar panels, so what do I do?

Absolutely anyone, living anywhere can have SolarCloud solar panels.

You can live in apartment, flat, unit, retirement home or even a caravan.

You can own it, rent it, live in share accommodation or even at home with mum and dad.

You own the panels, and we bring the roof!

When you buy one or more panels, they are installed together with other investors panels on commercial buildings. We design and manage all the panels as part of one big solar system.

I live overseas, Does this work for me, I am NOT in Australia

It sure does work for you. It doesn’t matter where you live. The panels are always in Australia, one of the best places in the world for solar panels because of the great weather and sunshine.

During our launch phase however SolarCloud can only accept funds from - Australia, Great Britain, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand.

Don't worry we are working with financial regulators across the globe to make SolarCloud available everywhere in the world.

We are happy to notify you when SolarCloud is available in your country. Please use our Contact Us form here.

Currently SolarCloud can only pay returns through Paypal to customers who live in Great Britain, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand.

Do I change my electricity provider?

No, not at all. SolarCloud can work with any Australian electricity provider.

You never have to change unless you want to. If you do, simply update your details on your SolarCloud account on our website.

I’m a business and don’t have a roof. Can I use SolarCloud?

Yes, you can. Anyone can buy SolarCloud solar panels to offset their energy costs. It works the same for a business as it does for everyone else.

What does it cost?

Prices start from as little as $499 for one panel.

People can buy as many solar panels as they want to offset their energy costs.

There is $0 upfront cost to be a SolarCloud commercial solar panel host.

Is it difficult to buy and monitor SolarCloud solar panels?

It is very simple. You can buy SolarCloud solar panels and monitor your returns conveniently from the SolarCloud website on your computer or smart phone.

How many panels should I buy?

SolarCloud has a simple calculator to help you work out how many panels it will take to offset part or all of your energy bill. Here's a link to the calculator.

I want to get rid of my entire electricity bill, how many solar panels will I need?

Use the calculator to work out how many you need with SolarCloud. Click here

By comparison, for most people, to fully offset their electricity bill with traditional solar, the system needs to be bigger than the average roof can hold. This is because you need to produce 5-6 times more power than you use, due to ‘time of use’ and feed in tariffs.

The average household consumes power early in the morning and at night, although your solar panels produce most of their electricity in the middle of the day - when most people are at work.

In this case you sell your solar power to your electricity company during the day for an average of 5-6cent kWh and then buy power at night for around 30cents kWh. You also end up helping the electricity company (a lot).

12 month 100% money back guarantee explained.

If a residential customer has not saved what has been agreed within 12 months we will refund the net amount less any discounts received.

What are the returns?

You can calculate your savings using the calculator on the SolarCloud website solarcloud.com.au

When will I see a credit on my electricity account or return on investment?

Returns start to accumulate immediately and are paid quarterly.

You will most likely see a credit on your next electricity bill, however in some cases, the timing of your next electricity bill may be prior our first disbursement. Don’t worry you definitely will see it on your next bill.

You can monitor your panel(s) and returns easily on the SolarCloud website.

If you choose to receive your returns via your bank or paypal account, you will receive them four months from your purchase.

What is the payback period of solar?

This can be quite complex because it depends on lots of things. Basically, the bigger the system, the longer it takes to payback your original purchase price.

Solar based products traditionally look at it over 25 years.

For traditional solar, a small 1.5kW good quality system where you consume all the power it produces will probably have paid for itself in 5-6 years. Estimating it will save you $400-$500 per year off your power bill and cost around $2,000 to $2,500.

But in addition to the original purchase and installation costs you have ongoing costs for monitoring and replacement inverters every 5-10 years, panel cleaning every 6 months and insurance.

A larger 5kW quality system costs approximately $8,000 and will save you around $800 per year, therefore taking about 10 years to get your money back. Again you will have ongoing costs for monitoring and replacement inverters every 5-10 years, panel cleaning every 6 months and insurance.

Both of these examples do not take into consideration any needed repair costs nor the fact that if you move to a new house before the payback period you will actually lose money on your system, because you can’t take it with you.

Why you can forget about “Time of use” with SolarCloud!

SolarCloud is an investment in solar energy, not panels on your roof. Residential customers are receiving a return on their investment in solar panels and not the actual transfer of energy. So, it doesn’t matter when you use your power.

As we are dealing with the value of energy, we make sure you get the best overall value and return on investment by ensuring the power is used by a business during the day, when solar panels are producing electricity.

SolarCloud makes the best use of the sun in relation to supply and demand.

 

When I move to a new house what do I do?

Simply login to your SolarCloud account on our website to change your electricity account and address details.

We'll ensure your savings follow you wherever you go.

What is the difference between SolarCloud and Community Solar projects?

You might be thinking SolarCloud sounds similar to a Community Solar project however with SolarCloud you own the panel(s) that offset your energy bill.

Consumers and businesses need to protect their investment by choosing a company which offers protection for the end user.

Small solar companies, community projects and solar farms are growing in numbers. Some are doing a great job but not all operate to the same standards. Some business models may be more risky and some do not have the appropriate level of licenses and authorisations in place to protect the end user and investors.

In simple terms the government have put in place layers of protection to protect all types of our investments. For example your superannuation can only use an appropriately registered superannuation fund.

SolarCloud believes you should be able to invest in solar but also have the peace of mind that your investment is safe and has strong layers of protection.

SolarCloud is approved by the Australian Energy Regulator to sell electricity.

SolarCloud is registered by Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Solar cloud scheme ARSN 612098110 to buy and manage solar panels on behalf of investors.

These licences and approvals make SolarCloud legally permitted to operate, reselling electricity and an investment product.

We believe that the more levels of protection you can place around your investment the better.

SolarCloud are happy to work with the community projects and assist them so they don’t need to spend valuable dollars and time on additional legal requirements.

We are not saying all the community solar projects are doing the wrong thing, far from it. In fact, SolarCloud works with a few community solar groups. But unfortunately, a few bad ones can ruin it for all the good ones!

SolarCloud’s CEO and Board feel it is important for you to know that your money is safe because of the protections we have put in place. However, you should be warned that if you trust your investment to a non-registered scheme then your investment is not as protected as it could be.

Why is SolarCloud safer?

SolarCloud has an independent trustee and manager of the invested funds and does not have direct access to your money. We receive only a small percentage of approximately 10 - 20% of electricity sold by the panels to cover all the expenses associated with the ongoing management, maintenance and insurance - e.g. for doing all the work for you. SolarCloud’s CEO and Board feel it is important for you to know that your money is safe because of the protections we have put in place. However, you should be warned that if you trust your investment to a non registered scheme then your investment is not as protected as it could be.

How hard is it to use the SolarCloud system?

It couldn't be simpler. If you can use a phone or the internet, you can use the SolarCloud system.

Some people experience huge savings from traditional solar. Would it be better to put solar panels on my roof?

The short answer is it depends if you are at home all the time, only use power during the day and never use any energy at night, have the upfront capital to invest and intend to stay in that home for 25 years - then it makes some sense to put panels on your roof.

Traditional solar panels on a residential roof, only really work for a small number of people.

A lot of the time we are shown examples of people experiencing the higher end of solar savings. Typically, they might be retirees, people working in a home office environment, families’ home all day. These groups of people see greater overall savings because they use the power during the day when the sun is shining.

These people also usually adjust their power usage according to the time of day, dependant on their panel placement. For example if a solar system is installed on a roof facing east it is best to use the majority of the solar power in the morning. Facing west, is the afternoon, while a northern facing solar system best time of use is mid-morning through to the afternoon.

Additionally they would have changed their consumption habits and need to think about their usage. For example waiting till the dishwasher has completed its cycle before turning on the washing machine.

With SolarCloud the old limitations of up-front installation costs, maintenance, invertor replacement, right roof, roof damage, fire risk, weather damage, time of use, feed in tariff, movability and the list goes on, no longer apply.

Can SolarCloud help people with existing solar save even more money?

Yes. Even if someone has existing solar panels on their roof they can benefit further from SolarCloud.

What about batteries?

SolarCloud believe batteries are great, but right now, they are way too expensive and do not provide a good return on investment for the majority of residential customers.

SolarCloud supports battery technology and sees it as an important part of the sustainability and environmental solution in the future.

Currently batteries are only a solution for a small number of people who:

1. Already paying an extremely high kWh price for example $1

2. Do not mind paying a high capital upfront outlay on entire system

3. Plan to stay in the property for 25 years

4. Live in properties off the grid

5. Accept a shorter warranty life than approx. 16 years payback.

Batteries are there to store the energy because it is not being consumed when it is produced. For optimum efficiency solar panels need to be located where the energy produced is consumed.

Batteries are recommended for SolarCloud commercial hosts located in extremely remote locations or where it makes financial sense.

It sounds too good to be true, is it?

Solar was always meant to be simple, green and affordable; we have simply made it easy for everyone, everywhere to buy and benefit from solar.

Why does one panel not offset a lot of my electricity costs?

That’s because it’s similar to only installing one panel on your roof, which is only capable of generating a small amount of electricity and therefore cannot offset a lot off your bill.

Like all solar based products you need to look at it over 25 years. With SolarCloud you truly can because the returns continue even if you move.

We estimate one SolarCloud panel at $499 will return $1,000 over the contract period and its sustainable power. Yes, that’s only $40 per year, but it's double what you paid for it.

Click here to visit our indicative forecast page for more details

It sounds simple, so why hasn’t someone else done it before?

While it may sound simple, the back-end IT system is complex and to do this correctly there are also lots of regulations to comply with to make sure your money/investment is safe.

What countries is SolarCloud currently available in?

As a startup we cannot take on the world all at once, so during our launch phase SolarCloud can only accept purchases from Australia, Great Britain, Malaysia, HK, Singapore, NZ but don't worry we are working with financial regulators across the globe to make SolarCloud available everywhere in the world.

It's a great idea, how did it come about?

SolarCloud is an Australian company that started as a simple idea five years ago when the now CEO John Kennedy was thinking about solar for his house and discussing it with a mate.

He calculated that an economical system wouldn't fit on his roof and given he planned on moving within the next 10 years, it wouldn't pay for itself in time.

He thought about putting it somewhere else, probably on his mate’s house (well actually his huge shed out the back) across the road - surely it would be easy to just send the power across the road to his house.

John discussed the idea with his good friend and now SolarCloud Co-founder Adrian Butler, who had been recently looking at the “sharing economy”(collaborative consumption) space, to improve asset use to generate better returns and reduce wastage.

After working on it for quite some time, fast forward to where SolarCloud is today - a system that makes sure solar panels are installed at the best location to match the production of electricity during the day, with the usage of a business. Due to the better usage of power and reduced wastage, businesses can save money on their power, and the panel owners get a better return from their panels. It really is win, win, and it’s the smart way to go solar.

How did you come up with this idea?

John Kennedy, our CEO, was thinking about solar for his house and discussing it with a mate.

He calculated that an economical system wouldn't fit on his roof and, given he planned on moving within the next 10 years, wouldn't pay for itself in time.

He thought about putting it somewhere else, probably on his mate’s house (well actually his huge shed out the back) across the road - surely it would be easy to just send the power across the road to his house

Discussed the idea with good mate Adrian, who had been recently looking at “sharing economy” space, where you better use assets to generate better returns and reduce wastage

After working on it for quite some time, fast forward to where SolarCloud is today - a system that makes sure solar panels are installed at the best location to match the production of electricity during the day, with the usage of a business. Due to the better usage of power and reduced wastage, businesses can save money on their power, and the panel owners get a better return from their panels. It really is win, win, and it’s the smart way to go solar.

Where can I find the PDS?

For your convenience we have placed a link to the PDS on the footer of every page plus HERE

What payment methods does SolarCloud accept?

SolarCloud currently accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal.

We are also happy to accept Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). If this is your preferred method of payment please contact us on +61 2 8579 2000.

What if my panel calculation to eliminate my entire bill is greater than I can afford right now?

Don’t panic, you are not alone. Unlike traditional solar, with SolarCloud you can always add more panels anytime and grow your investment over time.

What happens after I make my purchase?

On purchase you receive a confirmation email with the following:

1. Panel detail confirmation and invoice

2. Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)

3. Constitution with Amending Deed

4. Management agreement

Your solar panels are installed along with other investors panels onto the Commercial host customer’s roof – started within 28 days and can take from 3 days to 3 months to complete depending on size.

Your solar panels as part of the Commercial host system start creating energy onsite and the host client is invoiced for the energy use.

Solar Cloud Scheme funds manager Huntley Management Limited distributes disbursement to you, quarterly.

At this time, you will receive an email from them with your statement, as required by ASIC(Australian Securities and Investment Commission).

Additionally, you will receive an email from SolarCloud with your website login Username and Password along with notice of your online statement availability.

What are the ten SolarCloud Application and Power of Attorney check boxes immediately before I purchase?

These are an Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) requirement for all registered financial products.

They confirm you are applying to include your panel/s in the Solar Cloud Scheme to earn a financial return and agree for Huntley Management Limited to manage it for you.

They are much like the terms and conditions you agree to with any company you enter into a financial contract with, for example, the company that manages your Superannuation fund, allowing them to invest your money.

Why are the financial returns described on this web site indicative only?

The return available is affected by many things including weather, climate, orientation, power sale price achieved, and the other risks described in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

The rate of return to an investor is not set to any one site - it is intended that the returns from each site will be pooled to minimise an investor's exposure to any one site. Also, the rate of return will differ from year to year, particularly as the output of panels degrades slightly from year to year.

The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) calculated on our web site pages is based on a 25 year term, 29.76 kW system purchased at $1.82 per Watt, with system output of 134 kWh per day (based on Helioscope yield calculations for Jinko 320 watt panels with a Jinko inverter in Mudgee NSW, oriented north with 15 degrees tilt), 100% of the system output sold at a base price 11.2c/kWh with price escalation of 2% per annum, 95% availability of system, panel degradation of 0.6% per annum, and with management, operation and maintenance costs of 20% gross revenue.

The actual characteristics, costs and returns of each site will differ from this, but SolarCloud believes this is a reasonable indicative forecast of the potential returns from the pool based on currently available information.

This IRR is indicative only, and not a guaranteed or minimum return.

Do I need to get independent legal, financial and taxation advice?

Like any financial product and investment including your superannuation, you should always seek independent legal and financial advice.

Here is a link to information on the indicative returns.

Do I need to declare my SolarCloud return on investment as income?

The returns from your panel/s is currently classed as income in Australia and you will need to seek your own independent financial advice.

SolarCloud is in the process of applying for a tax exemption ruling to bring SolarCloud panel/s returns in line with feed-in tariff (FiT) in Australia which is not classed as income.

We will let you know when this tax status changes. In the meantime, we recommend you seek your own independent financial advice.

Does SolarCloud receive subsidies from the Australian Government?

these subsidies create a NET cost for the installation or cost of the energy produced by the system

The clients (both commercial and residential) receive a NET figure, we claim what we are allowed to

What happens after 25 years?

Most solar products have an end life after 25 years and SolarCloud solar panels are no different in that respect.

What happens at the end of my agreement/contract with SolarCloud?

SolarCloud have several contract lengths being 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years relative to the life length of the solar panels. Your contract length is automatically determined for you according to availability of panels and site installations. This has been predetermined by the individual installation required for a specific site in accordance with the Power Purchase Agreement between SolarCloud and the Commercial Host client.

Regardless of your contract length, your Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 7% does not change and so your return is the same although it will be faster.

Like with all solar products once the end of life is reached the solar panels will need to be replaced and hence you will need to purchase a new panel/s and continue enjoy the same savings off your energy bill.

Is SolarCloud contributing to the weakening or instability of the grid? Or Does SolarCloud feed into the grid?

No, SolarCloud is behind the grid, meaning it does not touch or feed into the grid.

SolarCloud helps the grid by taking the daytime pressure off it, through providing solar energy directly to Commercial Host sites that would otherwise be drawing power.

Are SolarCloud panels all the same size?

No, SolarCloud uses only tier 1 panels and the size of these can and does change. Only two years ago panels where mainly 260w, now most installations are done with 320w panels and we are in fact seeing more and more 435w and 480w panels enter the market.

Can I choose where my panel is remotely located?

No, you can not choose where the panel is located and it makes no difference because the returns are pooled across all locations in the SolarCloud scheme.

The pooling is beneficial as we all share it the benefits I.E should you own one panel and the system is not pooled and your panel has a fault which is replaced under its warranty then you would loose that production for the time it takes us to replace the panel. But with a pooled system you would not see any loss as that one panel being down for a few days is only one panel among millions potentially generating energy for SolarCloud panel owners.

SC vs large commercial solar farms

SolarCloud is more efficient due to placement of panels and no loss of land. behind the grid so no degradation of energy, in the transfer.

SolarCloud is an Australian CleanTech company that has reimagined how solar power is shared by people and businesses around the world.

 

SolarCloud is making solar power easy and accessible to everyone, everywhere. 

SolarCloud operates an Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) registered scheme (ARSN: 612098110) allowing you to invest in solar panels for a financial return. SolarCloud is a member of the Australian Solar Council and all our installers are Clean Energy Council members. All investments must be made on the form of application form included in the Product Disclosure Statement, a copy of which is available here.

All prices shown are in AUD (Australian dollars) unless stated otherwise.