Solar power for home and business
Solar power is a viable renewable energy source for consumers looking for a sustainable way to reduce power costs.It’s the process of converting sunlight into power Photovoltaic solar panels harness the suns energy and turn it into electricity that can be used directly, or stored in batteries, by consumers. Our Solar power for home and business guide will help you evaluate the viability of using solar energy in your home or business. We cover government rebates and feed-in tariffs, system types, and the factors that impact on the ability to generate solar power at your property.
Is solar energyfinancially rightfor you?
Use our solar calculatorYou can use our solar power calculator to understand if solar is financially worth it for your home or business. To get started all you need is the amount you pay for electricity and an estimate of your electricity consumption habits. It’ll provide an accurate assessment of the cost, expected payback, ROI, electricity savings and environmental benefits of a solar power system for your property.
use our solar calculator
Solar payback and savingsIt’s not uncommon for solar panel systems to payback within 4 – 7 years, however, the payback period varies according to several solar power and property variables including system cost, electricity cost and when you use your power. The image below shows solar power and financial cost and savings results from our calculator for a typical 5kW solar panel system in NSW.
Rebates and incentives
- Federal solar rebate
- Any state government rebate schemes
- Feed-in tariffs
Solar rebatesThe good news is if you purchase solar panels, you’ll receive a solar rebate from the Australian government. Although the incentive is slowly being phased out over the next 12 years, it’s still a generous incentive that can reduce the cost of solar panels significantly. The rebate varies depending on how much solar power your system generates. The table below shows the solar rebates for different size systems.
|3kW||$1,500 – $1,850|
|5kW||$2,600 – $3,100|
|6.6kW||$3,400 – $4,100|
|10kW||$5,200 – $6,200|
Solar feed-in tariffsOnce your system starts generating solar power, you’ll receive financial credit from your retailer for any excess energy not used directly by your property. This financial credit is called a feed-in tariff and is separate to the solar rebate. The feed-in tariff is credited for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity exported back to the grid. The credit amount varies by state and the retailer. We list the average feed-in tariff by state below:
Ready for your quotes?
Is your property right for solar power?
What impacts solar power outputSome factors affect the power output of a solar panel on a daily basis. These include geographic location, panel orientation, panel angle, panel temperature, panel efficiency and sunlight obstruction from shading.
- Panel orientation
- Panel angle
- Panel temperature
- Shading or obstruction
1. Panel orientationA northern orientation is best in the southern hemisphere for maximising solar panel output. However, a rooftop will still likely be suitable for solar panels even if it doesn’t face north. Consider your roof’s orientation in conjunction with your consumption habits. An east/west orientation may suit your household if you use power at either end of the day, as the east facing panels generate electricity in the morning while the west facing panels do so in the late afternoon.
2. Panel angleThe pitch or angle of your rooftop is also a factor that affects panel output. Year round, the optimum panel angle is at the same latitude as your location, e.g. Sydney 33.87°. If you have a flat roof, you can mount the panels on an incline to achieve better output.
3. Panel temperatureThe hotter your panels get, the less efficient they become. Higher quality panels are more effective at dealing with the effects of temperature.
4. Shading or obstructionIf your panels are subject to shading or obstruction throughout the day, this will affect their output. If only some of your modules are obstructed from sunlight, the use of microinverters or power optimisers will allow your panels to perform better under shading conditions.
Electricity consumptionOnce you know your property’s suitability for solar power, you then need to analyse your electricity consumption. Knowing how much you us and pay for electricity is necessary to determine your potential solar savings. Your consumption also sets the basis for the system size that you need. This system size calculator will help you select the right system size for your property.
Electricity habits changeMost solar owners change their usage habits after they install solar power, as they are far more aware of when they consume their electricity. Using your electricity at times when your system is generating solar power will increase your savings and further reduce your electricity bill.
The different types of solar power systems
- A solar panel system
- A hybrid system (panel and battery system)
- A battery ready system
- A stand-alone system
How to select the best solar energy system for youFor most people, choosing a system type is based on consumption and usage habits, savings goals and of course, budget. We review each of the solar power systems:
1. Solar panelsA solar panel system is still the most suitable and viable system for most consumers. It comprises of solar panels and an inverter or microinverters. It only produces electricity during daylight hours, and generally offers the fastest payback of any system type.
2. Panel and battery systems (hybrid systems)Hybrid systems are more and more appealing to consumers as the price of solar batteries decreases. It consists of solar panels, a solar battery and an inverter. Hybrid systems can be engineered to facilitate battery backup.
3. Battery ready systemsBattery ready systems are for consumers that intend to install solar battery storage within 2-3 years. It’s slightly more expensive than a straight solar panel system as a hybrid inverter is needed to accommodate a solar battery at a future date.
4. Off-grid solar systemsIf you live in an area not connected to the grid, you may consider an off-grid system (a stand-alone system). This type of system operates independently of the grid. While typically far more expensive than grid-connect systems, it’s only recommended to opt for an off-grid when the cost to connect a property to the electricity grid is prohibitive.
Solar power systems: Batteries and components
Is it worth getting a battery?One of the key decisions to make when purchasing a solar power system is whether to go for solar panels, or a solar panel and battery system. Due to the current high cost of solar batteries, for most consumers, it makes economic sense to opt only for solar panels. However, for households that use a lot of power in the morning and evening peak periods, and can afford the upfront cost, a hybrid system can generate good financial savings, paying off within ten years. The 10-year payback period is key to hybrid systems, as unlike the panels, the batteries aren’t likely to last beyond ten years.
Panel and battery systems are suitable for:
- High evening and morning peak energy users
- Users that are prepared to pay more than $15,000 for a system
- Users motivated to minimise reliance on grid power
Other system componentsWe take a look at other system components that you may select when purchasing a system:
- Solar batteries