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Solar Panels

With Australian power bills set to go only one way, perhaps it is time to follow the lead of Malcolm Turnbull and install solar panels on the roof.

Only a few weeks ago, in February 2017, high temperatures sent electricity consumption rocketing causing power outages in South Australia and coming very close to it in NSW.

Domestic Installation

Prime Minister Turnbull last year upgraded the solar panels on his roof to a 14.5 kilowatt hour system, and also added a 14 kilowatt hour battery at a total cost of around $25,000. This may be out of the reach of the average Australian citizen, but then the average Australian home doesn’t need the capacity that the Prime Minister’s home obviously requires.

Commercial Installation

For example, because solar panels only provide you with electricity when the sun is shining, you won’t be using much electricity if you are at work all day, and you will use more when you get home at night when the sun has gone down. If you install a battery, then that alters because the battery will charge while you are at work and then provide electricity when you get home.

Solar Panel Installation

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Turn The Power Of The Sun Into Electricity

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Installing a solar power system can give you a warm glow as you know that you are helping the environment, but it has the added benefit of cutting down the cost of your electricity bills and likely protecting you from any power cuts. You also stand to gain from the feed-in tariffs (FiTs), most of which today are net FiTs. This means that the power that your system produces and feeds into the grid is paid for at the same rate as that which the electricity company sells it for. (Until recently, the ACT and NSW operated gross FiTs which saw household producers better off than net FiTs, but these gross FiTs have now been discontinued).

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Domestic, Commercial & Industrial

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Another major factor when considering the cost of a domestic solar power system is whether you plan on including a battery. If you want to add battery storage this can double or even treble the total bill. An entry level battery will cost you around $2,000, while the latest all-singing, all-dancing Tesla Powerwall 2.0, which has twice the capacity of the earlier version, costs an eye-watering $11,000. However, you may think it worth the price because the 14 kwh Powerwall will last you for almost a full day even if it is cloudy, if your consumption is the Australian national average of 16 kwh per day.So how much money can you save by installing a domestic solar power system? The answer to that question is that there is no precise answer. There are a lot of variables which will affect how much money you will save, including, once again, where you live. For example, if you live in Adelaide you will save more money than someone living in Melbourne because the cost of electricity in Adelaide is almost double that of Melbourne.

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What About The Cost Of Solar Panel Installation?

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So what is the initial solar power installation cost? This will vary according to the size of your home, the amount of electricity that you use, and also where you live. In February 2017 the cost of an average 3 kwh system ranged from $4,000 in Perth to over double that at $8,600 in Darwin. Overall, across Australia, according to Solar Choice which is a solar panel installation comparison and brokerage business, the average was $5,250. Certainly, the cost of installing solar power has decreased since 2016 by somewhere around 10%, so now is a good time to consider home solar installation since it is unlikely that prices will drop any further.

Solar Choice also says that it is important to get the right size of solar power system for your home. You should be using at least half of the total amount of power that the solar power home system produces.

Get Ready For The Future

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However, your city is not the only factor affecting the savings made by installing solar panels. Other key points to consider are how much electricity you use, the size of your solar system, the direction in which your roof faces, whether your home gets full sun or is partly shaded, whether or not you install a battery, whether or not you install intelligent software to maximise savings, and even the time of day that you use your electricity.

For example, because solar panels only provide you with electricity when the sun is shining, you won’t be using much electricity if you are at work all day, and you will use more when you get home at night when the sun has gone down. If you install a battery, then that alters because the battery will charge while you are at work and then provide electricity when you get home.

Of course, the reverse is true, because if you are at home all day you will use more electricity in the day time, so your savings will be greater. Some people who go to work all day and don’t have a battery installed tend to do things like have the washing machine running while they are out thus using energy during the day. If not, you may only be running the fridge and the freezer in the day time. In addition, if you are at home during the day you may also be running water heating, and space heating or cooling in the day time. In general, water heating and space heating add up to between 50% and 70% of the electricity used by an average home. For this reason the Alternative Technology Association has stated that if you want to get the best value for money from solar you should switch away from gas water and space heating.

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Obviously, if your home is in full sunlight and the roof faces the sun for most of the day you will receive more benefit than if the sun goes behind another building or perhaps a row of trees for half the day, unless you have a battery. Interestingly, the very first Australian who had a Tesla installed, Nick Pfitzner of Kellyville Ridge, stated that his quarterly electricity bill dropped from $660 to just $50 for the same quarter.

Some power companies also offer add-ons such as intelligent power monitoring where they analyse the amount of energy your home needs and then use weather forecasting to decide whether to use solar or battery power, or to draw energy from the grid. By doing this, one company, Evergen, claims to be saving customers as much as $2,000 a year.

So you can see that there are indeed a considerable number of variables that affect the savings that you can make, all of which leads us onto the payback time. In other words, how long it takes before you have covered the cost of the installation of solar panels.

How Long Does It Take To Payoff Your Solar Panel?

Solar Choice has drawn up a table based on a 3kwh system and assuming that the home uses 50% of the electricity produced. This gives a pay-back time of as little as 3.2 years in Perth, where installation costs are lowest, to as much as 8.2 years in Darwin. Sydney shows in at 5.3 years, Adelaide and Brisbane at 4.3 years, Melbourne at 7.0 years, Hobart 7.2 years, and Canberra 7.9 years.

Testimonials

Customer Reviews*

Take a look at what others are saying about these great products and services.

“The system is performing so far as predicted by Alex, who is the owner of Advanced Solar Technology. The whole process of providing and installation of the system has been completely trouble free and very professional. I would recommend this company to anyone who is in the market for a PV system.”
– Greg Miles: Sydney


“I would recommend Clean NRG if you’re considering installing solar on your home. Tony from Clean NRG took the time to understand my energy usage first by working through 12 months of old power bills. From this information Tony then suggested a 3KW system based on my current power usage around the home.Initially I was thinking of a 5KW system, so this advice saved me around $1200. I would recommend Tony and the CleanNRG team for honest advice when purchasing your Solar. Thanks Finn for your help in guiding me to Clean NRG, it certainly cleared up some of the confusion that occurs when you first set out to purchase solar. ”
– Jasmine Tyler: Sydney


“The service from Tony and the team was excellent from start to finish. Everything went smoothly, it was installed on time on the day they said and the installers were very good even cleaned up afterwards. I would recommend NRG without hesitation to anyone. Thanks for a job well done.”
– Calvin Stone: Sydney

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