Cherrypecker

Solar ! Is it a no brainer ?

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    Hi all,

     

    We have bought a property and are moving in a few weeks. We have been looking into having solar panels on the roof, with a view to reducing the escalating electricity bills. Having spoken to a couple of homeowners who have them, it sounds like a no-brainer to have them? Is this really the case, or are we missing some catch ?

     

    We were thinking of going with an established well known company (haven't decided which one yet), with an initial cost to us of about $5000 - $6000, and hopefully halving the $700 quarterley electric bill.

     

    Any advise, tips, information or warnings would be greatly appreciated.

     

    Thanks in advance

    Paul & Sarah

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    We used SA Quality Home Improvements and have had no problems and would recommend them. We had a few companies quote us (2 have since gone bust) but we felt SAQHI would do a good job and not cut corners and it wasn't their only source of income as we suspected when the boom was over companies would be going under, at the end of the day you get what you pay for. We have had a 3kw system in for 1.5 years and in that time we have not paid any electricity bills or gas bills (we transfer the credit from the solar to pay our gas bill) and still usually have a bit left over. Obviously there is the initial outlay but we are very happy, it suits our circumstances. Our house is also in a great position for solar, so we love it when the sun shines ha ha!!!

     

    http://www.qualityroofing.com.au/solar/

     

    I would recommend people do their research though as the tariffs and rates have changed since we had ours fitted.

    Edited by Jessica Berry

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    We used SA Quality Home Improvements and have had no problems and would recommend them. We had a few companies quote us (2 have since gone bust) but we felt SAQHI would do a good job and not cut corners and it wasn't their only source of income as we suspected when the boom was over companies would be going under, at the end of the day you get what you pay for. We have had a 3kw system in for 1.5 years and in that time we have not paid any electricity bills or gas bills (we transfer the credit from the solar to pay our gas bill) and still usually have a bit left over. We are very happy. Our house is also in a great position for solar, so we love it when the sun shines ha ha!!!

     

    http://www.qualityroofing.com.au/solar/

     

    I would recommend people do their research though as the tariffs and rates have changed since we had ours fitted.

     

    Hi Jessica,

     

    Thank you for your great reply :notworthy:. Do you mind me asking how much you paid to have your 3kw system installed?

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    Yes its a no brainer. We had it fitted over 2 years ago not paid an electricity bill since. Although the tarif has changed since then its still a good deal. you do need research the companys that do installations, thats easy to do online. We used True Value Solar and I would rate them. The only thing I regret his not installing a bigger system.

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    We have just had our fist quarters bill since having a 3.5 kw system installed, its cleared our bill and left us $70 in credit so quite happy over all.

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    We don't live in a particularly leafy area but we do seem to have shade from one direction or another, all day.

     

    The guy that came round told us that was enough to make a solar system pretty pointless :frown:.

     

    So, if you do have solar and are finding you are saving money and also have trees, could you let me know.

     

    Otherwise, to Cherrypecker, if you do have trees, maybe ask the salesperson what impact they might have on your system?

     

    Also, I know at least one of the power companies install solar, then you pay off the system as oart of your bill. I think you might need to put a couple of hundred up front, but that seems cost-effective and presumably the company is less likely to fold.

     

    :cool:LC

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    I'm surprised that you would be told solar is pointless - perhaps you could see if photo-voltaic panels would be better; these don't need the sunshine but work on just light and if they can be useful in the UK where the actual sunshine is minimal I'm sure they work here.

     

    I also wonder (as I've wondered previously) at a country that has so much sunshine that is actually playing solar energy catch-up with other less sunny areas of the world....

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    Guest Guest75

    We are in the first quarter of our new system.

     

    We moved late last year and really wanted a good system for our house.

     

    The criteria we used in choosing was as follows...........

     

    Do loads and loads of online research.

     

    Talk to those who have systems already.

     

    ​Get lots of quotes - I say more than 3 as the company's differ wildly in both equipment and in the way they sell

     

    You WILL pay somehow for those big feed in tariffs..!!

     

    We looked for a long established and local company using old fashioned sales techniques (Not "I'll have to ring my boss for a special price today only" crap)

     

    Biggest system we could afford.

     

    A system that produced enough so that we did not have to worry if we switched on aircon / heating.

     

    ​A system that would make us "neutral" and have no bills.

     

    A decent Inverter!!

     

    Medium price but high quality.

     

     

    After all this pondering ,several quotes (some were ludicrous!).,we settled upon a 5KW system, Sunny Boy (SMA) inverter,20 x 250 Watt panels upon the roof.

     

    This system would give an average of 18 to 23 KW on sunny days according to online research and speaking to a lot of salespeople.

     

    We chose a local company called Sola Edwards, based in the Lonsdale trading estate ( you can just see them off the Dyson Road.

    They have been going for years, local to us if I needed to get hold of anyone and a relaxed sales technique.

     

    http://www.solaedwards.com.au/

     

    The full system cost us $8600 , $500 of that was for the hire of a scaffolding tower as our place is 2 storey.

     

    It was a middle price from the quotes.

     

    Fitting day was amazing, we had that many people here it looked like the house was covered in ants!

    The system was fitted easily in one day.

     

    But then we had to wait for our meter to be changed - the older ones do not run backwards or account for the feed in.

    As we are on 3 phase this meant an extra cost (to SA Power Networks) of $630ish .

    It took 3 MONTHS for the meter to be changed!!!

    Just backlog as so many were going solar just before last Christmas.

     

    So March 10th saw our meter changed and the big switch on.

    The new meter shows what you are using and what you feed into the system.

     

    To be honest we were a little disappointed as on the best ,cloudless day we only saw 14KW produced.

    After a couple of weeks I called into Sola Edwards and mentioned this.

    Rich, the salesman did say that output was low for that system and he would get the technicians out to have a look.

    ​The technicians rang the same day and were onsite the next day.

    After some investigation it turned out to be a loose connection ! Which can happen to anyone.

     

    NOW we are talking!!

    Best day so far has produced 28KKW and even on a very cloudy day we have seen 9KW produced.

    It does look as if we are hitting above average with recent days averaging 25/26KW produced per day.

     

    Our usage is fairly low at 5 /6KW per day unless we turn on a power muncher such as the reverse cycle air con.

     

    Our water heating is gas and also the cook top.

     

    Looking at our meter now we are now only powering ourselves but putting an awful lot back into the system.

    We need 12 months to be able to really say how successful the system is but I am sure we will have no electric bills again!!

    If I am greedy , I'd say we could be well in credit !!

     

    Our site is North facing - no shade.

     

    Unsure of the payback time yet but feeling pretty confident it will only be a few years.

     

    Tips.............

     

    ​Watch out for the TV aerial - it may have to be moved. The shade from them can cause production loss. Some panels will totally shut down if in partial shade - check this!!

     

    Ensure you have panels that will no shut down in partial shade.

     

     

     

     

    Watch out for the breather pipes from toilets / bathrooms casting shadows........ although not meeting building regs I've know people reduce the length to shorten shadowing.

     

    Phew!! Knackered after typing this.

     

    But happy looking at that sun shining today:biggrin:

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    I'm surprised that you would be told solar is pointless - perhaps you could see if photo-voltaic panels would be better; these don't need the sunshine but work on just light .

     

    Sounds good, flossybeth, thank you. :wubclub:

     

    However, I think that's the problem...the shade provided by the trees means that we don't get sunshine OR light on our roof.

     

    I agree with you though; I was surprised too...so much so, I'm still looking for someone to tell me it IS worthwhile. Problem then is that I'm not sure I'd believe them lol!

     

    Be good to know if anyone else has been given the same info as me.

     

    ​LC

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    Guest Guest75
    Sounds good, flossybeth, thank you. :wubclub:

     

    However, I think that's the problem...the shade provided by the trees means that we don't get sunshine OR light on our roof.

     

    I agree with you though; I was surprised too...so much so, I'm still looking for someone to tell me it IS worthwhile. Problem then is that I'm not sure I'd believe them lol!

     

    Be good to know if anyone else has been given the same info as me.

     

    ​LC

     

    Your situation is a no brainer.............

     

    I have a chainsaw...... remove that big thing in front of your house - Bingo!!

     

    ​I'll even save you some pieces to hug:biglaugh::tongue:

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    I had solar installed almost 2 years and for me it was a great investment that will hopefully be paid off in a few years.

     

    A couple of things to be aware of. Because the generous feed in tariff is no longer available the game has changed somewhat. Before the feed in tariff ended, the best way to approach buying a new system was to install the biggest and best system that was within your budget because you could feed any excess power back into the grid and be paid a good price for it. The more you feed to the grid, the quicker the pay back time. Now, it is maybe better to install a system that will just cover your power bills if possible. And remember, you can only feed power back into the grid during daylight hours, so if you have a family at home all day every day this might not be possible.

     

    Secondly, as Tyke mentioned, get lots of quotes, prices vary massively. Do lots of research, the best forum is http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum/143 Ask away on here and you can't go wrong. When I was researching, the best panels were Suntech and the best Inverters were SMA. You also need a North facing roof for any system to work to its optimum. Next best is West facing which I have which runs at about 80%. Somebody mentioned earlier that they were told it wasn't worth getting a system because of shading. This is good. There are lots of dodgy unscrupulous salesmen that will happily sell you a system knowing full well it won't work properly.

     

    Good luck

     

    Mick

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    When I was researching, the best panels were Suntech and the best Inverters were SMA. You also need a North facing roof for any system to work to its optimum

     

    We had ours fitted 1.5 years ago and when we did our research came up with the same and went with Suntech panels and a SMA inverter. We also have a north facing roof with no shading. The system has exceeded our expectations. Happy Days!

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    Somebody mentioned earlier that they were told it wasn't worth getting a system because of shading. This is good.

     

    Mick

     

    I feel better reading that, Mick. Thank you.

     

    Do you think that there's any system that would work on a roof that is in shade, from one side or another, all day?

     

    I just want solar SO BADLY!!!

     

    :) LC

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    Your situation is a no brainer.............

     

    I have a chainsaw...... remove that big thing in front of your house - Bingo!!

     

    ​I'll even save you some pieces to hug:biglaugh::tongue:

     

    Noooooooo!

    You've obviously forgotten the rest of them, including the other significant one at the back!

     

    I love my trees and have one word for you - photosynthesis! I might not have solar but at least my trees are using that carbon dioxide!

     

    Apart from that, an arborist that came round one day, told me it was the second biggest one of that variety (whatever it is lol!) he'd seen in SA...then went off to phone his mate to tell him. Very odd :err:!

     

    LC

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    Guest Guest75
    I feel better reading that, Mick. Thank you.

     

    Do you think that there's any system that would work on a roof that is in shade, from one side or another, all day?

     

    I just want solar SO BADLY!!!

     

    :) LC

     

    ​I am trying to work out the orientation of your house - it's the front that is north facing??

     

    There is no current system that works in shade,kind of defeats the object.

     

    If North facing, you seriously may have to take down the tree to your front elevation.

    BUT going solar you will save so much more than that tree can carbon footprint wise'

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    Guest Guest75

    1KW produced saves one KILO of carbon produced - in the long run that is more than a tree or two can save??

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    1KW produced saves one KILO of carbon produced - in the long run that is more than a tree or two can save??

     

    Hahaha!

     

    Well, it seems that one tree can absorb 22 kilos of carbon dioxide each year - 1 ton by the time the tree is forty years old.

     

    Plus, one, average sized tree will produce 113 kilos of oxygen. A large tree can provide a day's supply of oxygen for four people.*

     

    Does that answer your taunt?

    :tongue: (I think!) LC

     

    * sources ncsu.edu and Environment Canada. :)

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    Hahaha!

     

    Well, it seems that one tree can absorb 22 kilos of carbon dioxide each year - 1 ton by the time the tree is forty years old.

     

    Plus, one, average sized tree will produce 113 kilos of oxygen. A large tree can provide a day's supply of oxygen for four people.*

     

    Does that answer your taunt?

    :tongue: (I think!) LC

     

    * sources ncsu.edu and Environment Canada. :)

     

    Gee, you two must be good at Chess! Your closing in on the "checkmate" LC :notworthy:

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    I feel better reading that, Mick. Thank you.

     

    Do you think that there's any system that would work on a roof that is in shade, from one side or another, all day?

     

    I just want solar SO BADLY!!!

     

     

    :) LC

    Depends. You've got two chances really, a north facing roof or a west facing roof. Do you have either of those without shading? I've also heard of some people splitting a system across two roof surfaces

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    Guest Guest75
    Gee, you two must be good at Chess! Your closing in on the "checkmate" LC :notworthy:

     

    Nah! - it goes all Tartan....................mate.

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    Solars a funny one it all depends on two things -

     

    1 how much your system produces and what your feed in tariff is.

     

    2 how much if your generation you use compared to how much you take from the grid at a higher price.

     

    If your at home using when generating then its cost effective but if all you generate gets fed in at 26c per kilowatt hour and you then come home and buy at 36c it's not so great. The feed in and buy back rates are the key and the feed in tariff is only going down, as low as 4c in Victoria at the moment.

     

    Shading is an issue as a small amount of shade can drop the string out while the shade is present and solar PV panels will drop out as soon as shade hits any part of the array.

     

    Quality is important two. A good inverter and more importantly good panels should last but the cheaper inverters and cheap panels start failing after 1-2 years. Don't think your warranty covers this as if you read the small print you have to carry out annual maintenance of a system for the warranty to stand.

     

    Our quarterly bills are $350 so 1400 a year. 5 years is $7k and lets say annual maintenance at $150 a year so all in $7.75k which is the cost of a average system. Would the system last 5 years well that depends vastly on what you installed. Sunny boy inverters will be ok but delta or worse a Chinese cheap one I don't think do. Panels even more hit and miss as the cheap ones are failing after 12 months in some cases.

     

    If your getting a good feed in then yes but at 18c or a soon to be even lower tarrif I'm not sure.

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