Guest shella_n

Solar panels - should we?

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    Guest shella_n

    We are just buying our first house and the rebate scheme is finishing at end of month so trying to decide whether to sign up for solar panels or not.

     

    To get a 4kw system ( from Origin Energy) will cost about $7.5k. The guy said we should save between $390-540 a quarter. The 16c tarrif is only for 3 years which means we would have saved between $4680-$6480 in those 3 years. The savings would not equal the cost.

     

    We would then move onto the providers tarrif which is currently saving about $120-$190 a quarter so would take a long time to pay off the initial outlay cost.

     

    i must be missing something cause everyone seems to say getting solar is a no brainer - so please tell me where I'm going wrong!

     

    thanks in advance

     

    Michelle

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    Guest Watkinsfamily

    Hi, we have just bought a large house in Aldinga Beach and have had solar installed as our first 3 weeks of electricity was $350. We are waiting for Origin to come and replace our meter box now so we can turn it on. We got a 5KW system for $7500 from an independent company. I hope it will be worth it in the long run. Good luck X

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    With the change in the buy back rate its only worth getting a small system to cover the background / daytime power usage - eg fridges, freezers, modems etc. Buying a large system will take years and years to recoup the costs. I think in the next month or so solar power will either substantially drop in price or suppliers will pull out of the market - remember what happened to the Solar Shop (nationally the largest solar supplier) when the tariff was reduced a while ago.

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    Guest BurgessFamily

    "we should save between $390-540 a quarter"

     

    would mean you'd be earning money I bet! Note that these units degrade at a rate of about 1% / year (assuming they are quality parts).

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    We have just yesterday had a 4 kw Solar System installed.I hope it will all be worthwhile,what with the ever increasing Electricity prices and our need for ample Heating and Cooling etc.Some of the people i work with have it,and pay no bill,and pay their Gas bill with the Credit!!!Others are not not as fortunate,and 'merely' pay less each Quarter!Who knows,it is dependant on several Factors.At least the Sun shines down on those panels a great deal over the Year!!:smile:

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    Guest shella_n
    We have just yesterday had a 4 kw Solar System installed.I hope it will all be worthwhile,what with the ever increasing Electricity prices and our need for ample Heating and Cooling etc.Some of the people i work with have it,and pay no bill,and pay their Gas bill with the Credit!!!Others are not not as fortunate,and 'merely' pay less each Quarter!Who knows,it is dependant on several Factors.At least the Sun shines down on those panels a great deal over the Year!!:smile:

     

    the thing is people say about having no bills etc but they could be on the 50c tariff which is obviously a lot more than we will be getting so I could see that it would be worthwhile..... But at 16c I'm not sure if the cost is worth it. Who did you get yours from?

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    the thing is people say about having no bills etc but they could be on the 50c tariff which is obviously a lot more than we will be getting so I could see that it would be worthwhile..... But at 16c I'm not sure if the cost is worth it. Who did you get yours from?
    You can PM me and i'll give you details Michelle.

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    Guest Guest75

    We had solar fitted earlier this year - going very well on the 25.7c tarriff.

     

    Now producing up to 26KW per day in right conditions.

    Should have at least enough surplus to pay gas bill as well!

     

    Below is what I posted ..................

     

    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:

    Edited by Guest75

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    Guest Flo

    The calculation whether it's worth it depends on three things:

    - savings

    - opportunity costs

    - depreciation

     

    savings is the easy one to understand, it's fairly obvious

    opportunity costs are the money you could have gotten if you had invested the money you paid for the solar panels into something else

    depreciation is the value the solar panels lose

     

    I don't know what the life time for solar panels is so this calculation might be off. I will assume 15 years (if it's longer it's even better for you)

    - savings: let's say 5500 for the first three years and then 550x12= 6600 for the next 12, so in total 12100$

    - opportunity costs: This is the tricky part but a bank account savings rate should be about 3%, so 15x225= 3375$

    - deprecation: I assume the panels are dead at the end, so 7500

     

    Now you compare your benefit 12100$ to your costs 3375+7500 = 10875$ and the positive difference of 1225$ means the investment is worth it (i.e. the panels give you better return on your investment than putting the money into the bank)

     

    Now I just guessed numbers, (and I left out discounting over time which makes it more complicated) but this type of calculation can give you a some idea whether it is worth it.

     

    Adjustments:

    - higher savings obviously better for the investment

    - if you can pay down your mortgage with the money you would otherwise spend on it, then you could take the mortgage rate to calculate opportunity costs (and since this rate is likely higher than 3% it means that this speaks more against solar panels)

    - length of life may be longer than 15 years, if the panels have a worth after that time period it obviously will make the investment more worthwhile.

    - government rebate ? you mentioned one but I assumed that the 7.5k and the savings already include that (otherwise it obviously will make it more worthwhile)

     

    Essentially this is like budgeting, you tally up your income (i.e. the savings) and your outgoings (opportunity costs and depreciation) and compare the difference

    Edited by Flo

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    For me getting solar panels is about my future energy security and not about cost. So much so I'm actually considering the possibility of getting a battery to store excess power created, although I'm not sure the technology really stands up at the moment and I will have to investigate more. Having solar panels reduces the issue of potential power cuts during the day and, if we get a battery, could remove our reliance on grid power entirely.

     

    Whether the cost is worth it depends a lot on how much you spend on electricity at the moment, how much you are likely to spend in future and how important it is to you to use a renewal energy source. What you don't know is though is what will happen to electricity prices in the future. Chances are they will go up but no one really knows by how much so you don't really know how much you would wish you had (or regret getting) solar panels in 5 years time.

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    Yes I reckon you will make money on yours... :-)

    On another note our house has them when we bought it no idea what kind or how much we save from it lol

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    Guest Watkinsfamily

    If I can just avoid electricity bills I will be happy not worried about getting money back. Still waiting for the meter to be replaced and get switched on hope to be solar by the end of spring. X

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    Guest shella_n

    I've just had a good quote from true value solar - anyone used them and got any comments?

     

    thanks for all your replies, they've been very helpful.

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    We had solar fitted earlier this year - going very well on the 25.7c tarriff.

     

    Now producing up to 26KW per day in right conditions.

    Should have at least enough surplus to pay gas bill as well!

     

    Below is what I posted ..................

     

    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:

     

    The feed in tarrifs do make things so complicated!

     

    It all depends upon usage and what tariff you have. If you have a high feed in tariff its best to limit energy use during the day as every kw of electricity is being fed back in to the system at a rate higher than you buy it for. If you have a low feed in tariff then the power generated still runs the house during the day and it's best to do all the high power consumption stuff like dishwasher, cooking, aircons, pool pumps, washing etc as you are using your own power and will pay a higher $kw rate to do the same when the sun goes down.

     

    I had 3 systems installed. All of them were 1.5 kw and my biggest regret was not having larger systems installed. In my own house my electricity bill has dropped considerably. We wish that we could add to the system but it's not allowed as the amount being fed back into the grid has exceeded their expectations...and budget!

     

    If I lived next door to Mr Tyke I could run an extension cable from his house!!!:biglaugh:

     

    Tamara

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