Contemplating the Benefits of Rooftop Solar?
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Are you thinking about buying solar panels for your home?
You may have heard your neighbour talking about their new solar system and how much they are saving on the electricity bills.
Or, you might have made the decision to reduce the carbon emissions of your household to become a greener home.
Either way, this article will tell you how to decide if rooftop solar is right for you, and what you need to know before investing in solar for your home.
The main points to consider before buying solar panels are:
- If you’re thinking of installing solar for your home - do it! For most homeowners is the best financial investment you can make right now for your home.
- The bigger the better - install as many solar panels as you can to generate the most amount of electricity and save the most money.
- Get quotes from trusted companies - SolarQuotes is a great place to start.
- Include advanced monitoring like Solar Analytics to give you energy freedom - maximum savings, minimum hassle.
Benefits of installing solar
For most people, there are only benefits when it comes to installing solar, especially now that solar panel installation is becoming much more affordable.
Some of the ways you can benefit from installing solar include:
A great financial investment
The number one benefit of installing rooftop solar on your house is that it is an excellent financial move. Not only will a solar system save you money on electricity bills, having solar panels installed also adds value to your house.
Solar panels have a lifespan of 25+ years and only require basic maintenance to keep them producing energy, so they’re a long term investment that keeps on giving!
The average home rooftop solar system has a financial return of 20% per year, with the return increasing each year that electricity prices rise (and at the rate we’re going, electricity prices won’t be decreasing anytime soon!).
The average size of a residential solar system is now 8.8kW, which according to SolarChoice will cost about $8000 (after government rebates). Depending on your energy consumption, each year this will save you about $1800, or a 25% return on your money every year - much higher than the 3% you can get from the bank.
Reduce your carbon emissions
Switching to renewable energy is the best thing your household can do to have a positive effect on the environment, by reducing carbon emissions.
An average home with 8kW of rooftop solar will reduce their carbon emissions by 9.4 tonnes per year.
That’s the equivalent to saving over 3,900 litres of petrol or 44,318 km driven every year!
Find energy freedom - Maximum savings, minimum hassle
Energy freedom is never having to worry about energy bills again by taking steps towards cheaper, renewable electricity.
With the recent rises in the cost of energy, energy freedom is relevant now more than ever.
What does energy freedom look like?
- Smaller electricity bills - or even cash back
- Freedom from electricity price rises and complexity
- Net zero carbon emissions for your home
- Hassle free peace of mind - automatic advice on the best energy plan or actions to keep your bill low or reduce it even further
Having cheaper, greener, reliable energy for your home is a feeling like no other, once you start you won't want to go back!
Choosing the right solar system
When it comes to choosing the right solar system, there are a few things you will need to keep in mind to ensure you can maximise your savings.
Don’t skimp on quality
Your solar system has a 25 year lifetime, so it is important to get good quality equipment installed by a reputable solar retailer or installer.
The quality of the solar system will determine how much energy your solar system produces, how long it lasts, and how much money you will save you.
Key things to consider when choosing a solar system:
- Quotes - It is important to get quotes from reputable solar retailers. You can use the CEC Accredited Solar Retailer or SolarQuotes to find out more
- Price - you get what you pay for. Be clear on whether you want a premium high end system (eg Enphase, Sunpower for about $1,500/kW) or value for money (eg Jinko, Goodwe for less than $1,000/kW) - SolarChoice offers a good comparison of these here
- Reliable equipment - you not only need to think about the solar panels, but all of the hardware and software necessary to get the most out of your solar system
- Cover your roof - you will need to consider the size of the solar system you will need to install, sometimes the bigger the better
- Solar Monitoring - having advanced monitoring to automate and maximise your savings will ensure you get the most from your solar
It is essential to use a reputable solar installer when fitting out your home. A cheap or unreliable solar installer could mean that you pay more in repairs and upgrades when things start to fail.
A high quality solar inverter is the next thing to ensure you’re getting the most out of your solar system. All the energy captured by your solar panels passes through your inverter as it converts electricity generated by your solar panels (direct current or DC) into electricity that is compatible with your home usage and with the grid (alternating current or AC).
Poor quality solar inverters can lead to significant solar production losses and often become faulty shortly after installation. To avoid this, make sure you purchase a solar inverter that has an Australian based office and technical support, a long history in Australia, and lots of good reviews.
If you want to get into the nitty gritty of choosing solar panels, follow this link.
The more solar panels you can install on your roof, the better.
Larger solar systems produce more electricity over a longer period of the day, even if not all of the solar panels are in full sun or facing North. In fact having solar panels facing East and West (or even South unless you are in Tasmania), can actually increase your savings since you are generating more electricity in the morning and evening.
When it comes to your solar system, think quality and quantity.
Even if your solar panels are producing more electricity that your home can use, nothing is wasted!
It will get exported back to the grid and the solar feed-in tariff will offset your electricity bill even further.
This also means that if you decide to buy an electric vehicle (EV) or switch your hot water from gas to electric, you can use your own solar energy.
The cost of going solar
For many, the choice of solar and final decision may come down to cost.
While solar is becoming much more affordable, there is still the initial cost to factor before you start seeing a return from your investment.
Solar system cost
The cost of a solar system can vary, mostly depending on the desired size of the system and the brand of hardware you choose. But remember, cheaper is not better. Your solar system is going to be with you for a long time and should be of high quality to save you from headaches further down the line.
According to Solar Choice, these are the average prices for good quality solar systems (Nov 2022). These prices are after the government rebates.
Find out how much a solar system might cost to install in your home here.
What government rebates and solar tariffs are available?
Ensuring you make the most from your solar means staying up to date with the financial benefits available for solar owners.
The return on your investment will vary by state, and could take years to add up, but here are some of the current rebates and tariffs available:
Current solar rebate schemes in NSW
Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)
Eligible small-scale renewable energy systems may be entitled to small-scale technology certificates (STCs), which can be sold to recoup a portion of the cost of purchasing and installing the system. You can check your eligibility here.
Solar for low income households
This trial assists eligible low income households in NSW with the installation of a free 3 kilowatt solar system. Applicants must currently be receiving the Low Income Household Rebate. You check your eligibility here.
Current solar rebate schemes in VIC
Solar homes program
Multiple solar rebate schemes are available for homeowners and renters in VIC of up to $1400 for rooftop solar systems. You check your eligibility here.
Solar feed-in tariffs
A solar feed-in tariff is payment for the electricity generated by your solar system which is exported back to the grid. This is a huge incentive to install rooftop solar for your home, as you’ll get money back in your pocket with no extra work on your part.
Solar tariffs vary depending on which Australian state you live in and which energy retailer you’ve chosen. To find out more about tariffs in your state click here.
Long term investment vs initial costs
While the initial cost of a solar system can make some people baulk, the long term savings far outweigh the initial costs. A good quality solar system will last long enough to pay for itself, then go on to make you a profit.
Consider this, a standard 8kW solar system costs approximately $8000 to install. If you live in NSW, the savings from your solar system are just over $1600 per year. That means your solar system will pay for itself after 4 years. After this period, the savings from your solar system will be going straight back to you!
To finance or not not finance
If you have made the decision to install solar, there are many options out there that will allow you to have the solar system of your dreams and get the energy freedom feeling you desire.
The most affordable option, in the long term, will be to use cash or savings. This means that you don’t need to worry about repayments or fees, ever. But realistically, this may not be an option for everyone.
If you have a mortgage, you may be able to consider redrawing from your existing home loan. This will often mean that the interest rate will be much lower and you won’t have to worry about taking out an extra loan on top of your current one.
The other option that many consider is finance. Financing your solar system can be a good option if cash or redraw is not available. It is important to note though, that interest rates can be fairly high on some financial products (even up to 15%), so shopping around for the best one could potentially save you quite a bit.
The last (but not least) thing to consider when buying a solar system, or even if you already have rooftop solar, is an advanced solar monitoring system.
An advanced solar monitoring system will be your key to unlocking the most savings from your solar.
Most new solar systems come with basic built in solar monitoring, however this rudimentary monitoring lacks the key savings features available with advanced monitoring.
An advanced solar monitoring system will give you:
- Advice on the best retail electricity plan for you, so you can maximise your savings (and choose between a high feed-in-tariff versus lower all day grid energy costs)
- Automated alerts if there is a problem with your solar system that needs to be rectified
- Insights into both your electricity generation and electricity consumption
- Accurate savings information so you can see your actual savings
- Advice on when is the right time to get a battery (and what size)
- Help managing when the best time to run your major energy appliances is, eg hot water, Electric Vehicle, pool pump
- A look at your net energy carbon emissions
- Peace of mind that your system is working at peak performance with proactive notifications and impartial advice
The Solar Analytics difference
Solar Analytics takes the guesswork out of managing your solar so you can relax and watch your solar savings grow.
Our dashboard provides everything you need to track your solar system’s performance and maximise your savings in a single, user-friendly dashboard.
Using patented algorithms and live data, runs in the background to look after your system and will alert you if something needs attention.
With smart energy insights and personalised recommendations, you’ll know what to expect with your next electricity bill, how much you could save by switching to a better plan and what battery size is right for your home; giving you more confidence, more control and more savings.
Solar Analytics is an essential element of any rooftop solar system and will help you save an additional $500 per year. It’s pretty simple, really.
- If you own your own home, rooftop solar is a no-brainer for the environment and your pocket
- More solar = more savings
- Invest in a quality solar system with a trusted solar retailer or installer through SolarQuotes
Maximise your savings with advanced solar monitoring