Rooftop solar power systems are affordable enough to be a very smart choice specifically for many Australian homes with unshaded roofs and some daytime electricity usage. This is also true even if the state-backed solar feed-in tariffs and up-front incentives for solar are not present. It’s also a known fact that many Australian homes have been installing solar power systems at a steady pace long after generous incentives were already stopped to new applicants. There’s only one reason for this: solar panels are worth it!
To get the most out of a solar PV system at present is to use as much energy as possible within your home. Self-consuming solar energy helps a home to avoid using or purchasing power off the grid, thus saving money between $0.20-$0.30/kWh depending on the location and the home owner’s electricity retailer. On the other hand, to export solar, the price is between $0.06-$0.08/kWh, the price is almost next to nothing because there is no incentive to put solar into the grid.
The installation of solar power systems has been growing steadily for the past couple of years. Industry experts have stated that there will be no sudden increase or reduction seen and the renewable market has stabilized as compared to the uncertainty in the first few years.
Once you have your solar power system installed and turned on, you’ll start generating electricity from the sun, which will obviously lower your on-grid electricity usage. Although there will be many factors that can affect your savings like house location, shade, utility rates, system size, weather, battery storage if you prefer to have one and state policies, one thing is certain – the more solar energy you produce, the less electricity you have to use and buy from the grid.
Buying and installing a solar power system outright is the best way to get long-term savings and return on investment. Depending on the system size, usage, and grid rates, a solar power system may pay for itself within 5 to 10 years. And after breaking even with the electricity bill savings, any solar household will enjoy free renewable electricity for the solar power system’s lifetime which may be 25-40 years.
In case that you have no cash to buy a solar system outright, some retailers and states may offer small grants or solar loan financing is a good way to go. Many households were able to offset their solar loan payment by having a low electric bill, although this may differ depending on the loan duration and the utility rate. Another option is by way of solar lease which can also give immediate savings but will not deliver as much financially compared to an outright purchase and ownership.
What You Need to Know If You Decide to Go Solar
In Australia, there are about 1.4 million residential solar systems installed and all over the world solar energy has gone up at a rate of 20% per year. Solar is becoming a popular choice for obvious reasons. Although solar power systems may not be suited or may not be an efficient choice for every home, there are things to know and consider.
1. Check Your Roof
Take time and check your roof. Some rooves will offer a better return as compared to others. In general, the roof should not be blocked by shade, trees or other buildings. Some rooves may have angles, but all of them will receive sunlight sans the mentioned factors earlier. So if your roof is not angled directly to the sun, you can still install solar PVs and enjoy the benefits, but it just may provide less power.
2. Think of Your Energy Needs
All solar power systems provide power during the daytime, but without a solar battery storage installed, the system will not be able to provide electricity use at night. So considering your energy needs during the daytime and nighttime, you will be able to estimate the size you need to power your home and understand the savings you could make in the future.
3. Know the Available Plans in Your Area or State
According to a survey made by the Alternative Technology Association (ATA), many households invest between $4,000 up to $8,243 after the incentives and rebates, depending on the solar power system size. The good news is that there are offers by many solar energy retailers that remove the system purchase cost, which means that the user will be charged for the solar power generated from the solar PVs on their roof.
There’s also government incentives for solar that can help applicants to minimise the up-front cost of new solar power systems. The size, location and the certificate cost will vary once the system is installed.
4. Go For A Trusted Solar Retailer
Most Solar PVs have an expected lifespan of 25 years, thus you should go for a trusted solar energy retailer and installer that will be around the solar PVs lifespan. Regular maintenance of all the hardware should be looked after by your retailer. Always check the warranty details and make everything clear with your chosen retailer. Always purchase solar power systems that are accredited by the Clean Energy Council. It’s always good to do some research on your chosen retailer.
Download this free brochure from Facebook page ‘Crap Solar‘ and Solar Trust Centre titled ‘Cheap Solar – A Cautionary Tale’. Learn the signs on cheap solar and don’t fall for a less than quality deal when you purchase a solar system.
5. Check The Options Available
If you want to get the full value for your solar power investment, talk to your chosen retailer/provider about your state’s feed-in tariffs (fits) and plans available to you. Every state will have different fits and retailers will have different offers, so go to the trusted one and they will give you the best deal for your energy needs.
Advantages of Solar Power
By this time, you have probably been exposed to solar power marketing through ads or through a salesman. Aside from the factors mentioned above, you also need to know the advantages and disadvantages of solar power systems to know the myths and the facts about solar power.
1. Solar Can Either Reduce or Eliminate Your Electric Bill
This is straightforward. Whenever you install solar power, you will produce your own energy and your household will be less reliant to the grid thus, lowering your electric bill. As mentioned, good solar PVs have 25 years or more lifespan, so you should be able to save money for the entire lifespan of the solar power system.
2. Increases Your Home’s Value
Many Australian homeowners are interested in solar panels but don’t have the time to research and know more about installing solar panels. So, a property’s value can increase once solar is installed because of the obvious benefits to a home.
3. It Can Earn You Money While Earning Your Return on Investment
Any excess solar energy can be sold back to the grid by way of feed-in tariffs. Each state will have their own tariffs so check them out to calculate. Also, there are schemes being developed where you can sell your excess energy to your neighbours or other households.
4. Control Over Your Power Use
The cost of electricity has gone up in the past few years and there is nothing you can do about it, but on the other hand, the cost of solar has gone down and this trend will be expected to continue. Having solar installed on your home gives you full control when it comes to energy generation and usage because the system is yours.
Also, it reduces the carbon emission and helps the country reach the Renewable Energy Target by 2020. Many nations have been searching for the most effective ways of reducing the planet’s carbon footprint and find solutions to the global climate change.
Disadvantages of Solar Power
1. Solar Power System May Not Work on Some Houses
All rooftop solar PVs are installed using a mounting system called “racking” to roofs. Some roofing designs or roofing materials won’t allow for this kind of setup. Also, some apartment buildings have lightings or roof decks that can make the installation costly or difficult.
2. It’s Not Advisable If Your Electricity Bills Are Low
It’s obvious really if you’re consuming less energy then there’s no need for it, but still you have the option to install to make your energy needs totally “free”. You will have to invest some amount of money for a solar power system and the return of investment may take years if you’re consuming low.
3. The Up-front Cost Can Scare Many People
It’s a fact that solar power prices are going down, but the upfront prices of the hardware and service/installation can make some people think twice about having solar PVs on their roof. Prices will also go up if you decide to have rechargeable solar batteries installed with the system. This will be an issue if your chosen retailer doesn’t offer financing.
If you’re in the early stages of looking for a trusted solar retailer, try out these solar calculators to show you the numbers you need and help you decide on installing a solar power system for your home.
Calculators can be used to figure out:
- Electricity price rise impact
- Solar system output
- Solar system based on roof size
- Solar savings & payback
- Solar income & ROI