Home › Forums › SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION, ENERGY and WATER CONSERVATION › Sustainable Energy & Energy Conservation › Solar – is it worth it?
May 28, 2007 at 2:34 am #240091
We have been thinking about solar power for a little while. We use a lot of electricity but a 1.5kWh system should cover about half to 2/3 our annual needs.
The cost after rebate is $8,766 through a local company which seems to be the best price (except Origin which might be cheaper but they said they can’t even call back for a phone quote for 2-3 weeks :tdown: ). That is the amount after rebate because the company automatically deducts the $8,000.
We don’t have the money lying around, nor are we ever likely to. Is it worth borrowing the money for the savings (EV savings and financial savings)? Esp with electricity prices going up? Despite it being a lower interest rate I don’t want to redraw on the house because we want to get rid of the mortgage :@
Apparently you also get some RECs. Does anyone know what they are worth in real terms and how they work?
We are looking at getting solar hot water too … Does it make a big difference to a power bill?
Electricity is one of our biggest bills. We use a lot of it which I hope to slowly reduce.
Thanks for the advice.May 28, 2007 at 2:36 am #302709
Should I see the repayments on the solar power outlay as a cost of greening our electricity?May 28, 2007 at 2:45 am #302710osakasuzMember
Go for solar hot water first, I reckon. My folks have it (in Stafford) and they have disconnected the electric booster. Their hot water costs nothing now. They have had their Solarhart for about 25 years with no maintenance issues save the odd minor thing. They used the boosters when we were all teenagers and water wastage wasn’t an issue, but now there are only 2 people and short showers, they don’t need it, unless you get a week of rainy days (gee, wouldn’t that be nice!).
We changed from electric to instant gas about 7 years ago and noticed a huge decline in the power bills. Wish we had gone solar now, but it is on the wish list!
Lots of technological change in the pipeline for solar power, so I am waiting… In the meantime we have signed up for Jackgreen to supply our power.May 28, 2007 at 2:48 am #302711
Who is JackGreen?May 28, 2007 at 2:50 am #302712bazmanMember
I would wait a year or two, all the solar tech is still older styled panels, sliver cells should only be a few years off. Getting your house onto a solar hot water system should put a dent in your power costs and is a good green start. That’s going to be one of our next home upgrades after the shed goes in.May 28, 2007 at 2:57 am #302713osakasuzMember
Jackgreen is a green power supplier. We should be able to access them from July in Queensland when the electricity industry is deregulated.May 28, 2007 at 3:47 am #302714
Thanks for the advice. A solar hot water guy just came out (I only called this morning) and gave the same advice. Our roof doesn’t have enough trusses so we need a split system but price seemed reasonable (same as phone quotes from other coys).
The dude gave the same advice as Bazman about waiting because there is new technology out there but the oil companies own much of it and won’t release it (wonder why…:rip: )
Apparently the electricity companies also cap the amount they will pay you for electricity you sell back to them so that it’s not worth having. The solar only works during the day so if you are only home at night you still pay for power and the supplier gets the cheap power off you. So economically it’s gone back off the list … but we are going to get solar hot water. That should make a difference and we’ll feel a bit more ‘green’.
There we go – all procrastinated and researched for a day. 😉May 28, 2007 at 4:25 am #302715PollyMember
Well done Herbman. Enjoy the rest of the day:lol:May 28, 2007 at 4:39 am #302716SproutMember
Interesting thread, had wondered many of the same questions myself.
I have been really keen on solar for around six months. We already have solar hot water (just had to replace the old shw). I’ve done really well in stage one of my solar plan ie reduce usage. I have become really well acquainted with our meter and know how much power nearly everything in our house uses and have kept working at reducing usage…very successfully. Part of my motivation was to reduce our usage to the point where a 1kw solar unit would cover most of our needs.
Interesting what you say about electricity companies buy back set up. Makes it hard to win under those circumstances. However, I have managed to reduce our usage by more than the amount of power a solar panel would have given us. We are using less than a half of what we use to (so I call that a win). Plus, as Hollyhock said elsewhere today, it’s fun (a challenge).
Another green investment thought…instead of spending on solar, think of upgrading to more efficient appliances (which are yours to take with you), better insulation/curtains etc. A grid connected solar still won’t protect from shortages/blackouts, so thinking “more efficient” gives you the same benefits without the capital outlay/maintenance.May 28, 2007 at 4:54 am #302717WazzaMember
Herbman, Your solar hot water system will be a good investment. You’ll probably notice at least a 30% reduction in electricity use. Procrastination on going the full monty with solar panels might be wise. As you’ve discovered, Australia hasn’t quite got it right yet, but we will. See the news item further down the page entitled “Solar Cells: Best Emission Solution Under the Aussie Sun”. See what they’re doing overseas – Germany in particular. This philosophy will get here eventually. Expect a price fall in solar panels of around 50% within four years, plus more efficiency to boot.May 28, 2007 at 4:59 am #302718mauziMember
Another option to add to solar is the possibility of a small wind generator. My friend Graham has one (small, just to tick over I think – during in the night particularly), they are not that expensive either, so when he returns from overseas I will get him to put something up about it on our website (www.sarariver.com) if anyone is interested – it was in the next batches of articles to put up anyway.May 28, 2007 at 6:08 am #302719purrsikatMember
I have some friends who are completely off the grid (not what you’re asking for, I know) & they only have the generator kick in when there’re more than 2 days of cloud.. They use a lot of computer power (4 kids with games consoles & 1 computer using adult) & hardly use their generator at all… But they would like to put in a couple of wind generators to avoid the use of the generator at all.. Anyway, a solar setup can supply more elec than you need, or less, or make it so that you just ‘break even’..
& that’s where the power company buying the power back off you comes into play… Some people look at it & say ‘oh not worth it as they don’t buy it back off you for high enough cost’, but the stuff that i’ve read from people who are/have been hooked up to it, is that they love it. the initial outlay is high, but after that, they like that they get credit back for ‘making’ electricity, while having enough for themselves & have so cut their bills down immensely, because they’re getting money back as well as saving a lot.
The mag ‘ReNew’ has had some very good articles on solar power & what people might be able to expect back from various different power companies. Also a few good run downs (articles) on the pros & cons of going solar.
There’s another one that I can’t think of at the moment, but that also has regular articles on houses, building, appliances/products (incl going solar, solar hot water etc)… I think it starts with an R too.
The good ol ‘Living the Good Life’ – Linda Cockburn gives some ok outlines re: solar power as well.
I think that this technology is & will stay a lot like computer technology.. always getting ‘better’, & that there might likely never be a ‘better time to buy’ than ‘now’. What does need to change is the gov’t & industry (eg. power companies) behaviour towards solar power. Perhaps that won’t happen until there are enough people with their own solar power seeking better competition out there..??May 28, 2007 at 7:34 am #302720Simply_BelindaMember
I am guessing here but I think you are refering to Renew magazine they do a lot of comparisons on lots of things in the market place solar hot water systems to washing machines with a focus on efficency.
BelindaMay 28, 2007 at 9:06 am #302721LeeMember
Actually talking to my solar power guy today. And i am interested in solar power. I have the solar hot water sytem on the house. If i go for the solar panels it will convert 1kw of power per hour maxium of 5 hrs at nearly 20c per hour so that is a $1 a day. equals to $365 per year i won’t see the amount repayed in 20 years. but if i reduce the amount of $90 per quater and the 30% reducation from solar hot water. That will make a big difference. And i can only see power and water being our biggest expenses in the next couple of years. Gotta start somewhere and if i wait the rebated may go.May 28, 2007 at 9:27 am #302722SproutMember
So Lee, does that mean you’re going to go solar? Would love to hear how you find it working out if you do.
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