Cost of Solar Panels
Not Yet 'Cheap' but Certainly More Affordable
Is the increasing financial outlay for your electricity bills leading you to consider solar panels for your home?
There are a few considerations, as well as the obvious financial cost of solar panels to bear in mind.
Governments do provide a range of concessions, rebates and incentives to encourage the use of solar panels for homes, so it is worth looking into them to help you assess what the real cost of installing a photovoltaic array will be, and roughly how long the 'pay back' period is.
Solar panels are certainly not cheap, but the pay back period for them is decreasing, and will continue to do so, as prices come down for installation, and electricity prices continue to rise.
There are ways to build your own solar panels, but the efficiency on homemade solar panels is questionable and you need a certain amount of motivation as well as some technical ability to D.I.Y solar panels.
Solar arrays come in a range of sizes, starting at 1.5 kilowatt systems, and extending to 1.8kW, 2.0kW, 2.2kW and beyond. The system you choose will depend on the size of your home and your energy consumption. A 1.5kW system may cover half of your energy needs or slightly more or less than this, and obviously this is dependent on where you live as well as the orientation of your home.
A house in Queensland with uninterrupted northerly solar aspect for the roof for the system will produce more kiloWatts/hr than the same system in Melbourne, with poor solar aspect, as well as the reduced available solar energy. Your solar energy retailer will help you assess your home as to its suitability for a solar panel array- but do be aware that not all homes will have ideal orientation and access to sunlight.
As a producer of electricity you can sell or 'export' energy to the grid when your system overproduces, just as you will need to import or buy energy when your system does not produce enough to cover your household requirements. A bigger system will cost you more, but also increase you ability to export more energy back into the grid, in essence paying for itself faster. The government also provides the incentive of paying you roughly 60 cents per kW/h your export, while you only pay roughly 19 cents per kW/h for energy that you import. This is known as a 'feed-in tariff' and the rates can be seen at
The cost of installing PV systems has reduced over the last couple of years and electricity retailers are increasingly required to use renewable power.
What does this mean to you?
Energy suppliers need to pay for RECs (Tradeable Renewable Energy Certificates). When you install a photovoltaic array, or a solar hot water system, you will be issued with an REC which you can then 'trade' on to the energy retailers. Competition for RECs is increasing and will continue to do so as Australia pushes to meet its renewable energy targets.
So maybe its time you took a closer look at the cost of solar panels to power your home and cut those electricity bills.
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