People have been asking this question since solar panels became available for general use. At first glance, solar panels might seem like a good idea, but after the initial investment, maintenance costs, and varying efficiency levels, it’s easy to get swept up in the hype and make a questionable investment.
Thankfully, over the years solar panels have become much more efficient as the technology behind them has become more reliable and affordable. While this doesn’t make them a good investment for you on its own, these things have made solar panels more accessible for a lot of Australians. And for most properties, solar is a great investment, and it’s only getting better.
However, with all the different options, factors and benefits in mind, are solar panels worth it for you? Read on to find out!
When determining if solar panels are going to benefit you enough to be worth it, there are a few things to look at first.
- Your current electricity usage and bills.
- The location of your property and the amount of light you get.
- What you can expect to get back from the system.
- How much you can invest, and how to pay.
- Which installer will give you the best results.
Each of these things can play a huge part in the effectiveness of your system, especially when you start calculating costs with batteries, more powerful inverters and tariffs in mind.
- Electricity Use
The average Australian household uses 19KWh per day, or about $2500 worth of electricity a day. However this isn’t consistent throughout the year, and many homes double this number throughout the coldest and hottest months of the year. How much you pay also depends on where you live and who your energy provider is, so looking at your power bill will usually give you the most accurate info.
All of this is important to know because your average power use will give you a better idea of how big a solar system you’ll need. If you’re just trying to reduce your power bills, a smaller system will do the job. But if you’re looking to erase your power bills completely, or even make money from your solar power system, a larger system might be necessary, or even a system with a battery.
A good place to start is an online solar calculator. Our solar calculator can tell you how much you could save based on your energy use and the size of the system you choose.
- Solar Energy Generation
Contrary to what you might think, solar panels work depending on how much light there is overall, not how bright the light is. What this means is, you don’t have to live in a sunny area to make the most of solar panels! If you’re installing solar panels, you’ll want them installed where they can get the most light throughout the day based on hours of sunlight, not intensity. For most people, this is the North-facing side of their roof, as the sun shines on this area for the longest time. This is followed by West, East and then South in order. For the best results, you want to place your solar panels in a place where they’ll have complete access to light between 10 am and 4 pm.
If you’re away from home throughout the day and only use power at specific times, a solar battery can help you maximise the effectiveness of your system. With one installed you’ll have access to solar energy at night and at times where your solar panels aren’t generating power. This way, you can charge the battery throughout the day, use that energy at night, and still have excess energy fed back into the power grid for additional savings. Batteries are quite situational, however, so discuss your needs with a qualified installer for a better idea of your returns with a battery.
- Return On Investment
If you’ve planned out your system properly and have good access to sunlight, you’re almost guaranteed a return on your investment over time. This could look like money you save on your electricity bills, or money you’ve received from tariffs, grid feedback and other incentives. Investing in high-quality equipment will often see your initial investment returned in as little as 2 years, and continue to give you value for up to 25 years. Most panel systems come with a 12-15 years product warranty that guarantees their effectiveness for that length of time, but it’s important to check this when you buy your panels.
- Investment Costs and Affordability
The initial investment for solar panels is what stops a lot of people from making that leap to solar power. Thankfully, if you’re struggling to justify that upfront expense there are several things you can do. If you’ve done the maths and you’re 100% certain you can make your money back on your investment, many companies and installers offer financing options to help you foot the bill. You can also lease solar panels, which will give you savings and returns, just to a lesser degree as you’re still paying for the lease.
If you’re in a position to pay with cash, either through a cash loan or with your hard-earned money, you’ll make far greater returns on your investment. Additionally, depending on where you live there are solar rebates and tariffs offered by the Australian government that can give you instant returns, with savings around the $4000 mark for most systems. While some of these will vary state by state, you may be able to take advantage of things like the small-scale renewable energy scheme, schemes to specifically help low-income earners, or state-based rebates. You can view current schemes that are running on the Department of Energy website, or talk to a reputable solar panel installer and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
- Choosing the Right Solar Installer
Solar energy is incredibly popular these days, and with that has come a huge amount of solar panel installers looking to take a piece of the pie. So how do you choose the right one for your needs?
The first thing you should look for is if the installer is accredited by the Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC). All solar retailers and installers in Australia must comply with the regulations set out by the CEC to be able to offer installation services. If you can’t find evidence of CEC accreditation on an installer’s website, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Most installers will offer free quotes for solar installation, warranties, and other guarantees. Depending on the details, these can be good for you or just included as a way to get you to do business with them. A detailed quote is usually a good indicator of a good installer. Prices shouldn’t be too expensive or too cheap, as both will cost you more either now, or in the long run as your system breaks down and requires repairs.
When it comes to warranties, good installers will offer warranties on the complete system, covering both installation and workmanship. A warranty that has your needs placed first is always a good sign, as long as there are no strange exceptions to the warranty laid out in fine print.
Finally, a good installer will have good customer service, and will keep your needs at the core of their services. You shouldn’t feel pressured to buy a solar panel system, and if you do it’s a solid sign to get out of there before you’re pulled in. We also recommend reading our popular articles: How to clean solar panels? and How do Solar Panels work?
Time to Decide!
Now that you know what to look for, you’re well on your way to getting a good solar system for your home. If you still have questions or you’re looking for more information specific to your needs, talk to the experts at Solar Galaxy today. We’re here to help you get the most from your solar panel system and put you on the path to a greener, brighter future.
You can reach us online or call to speak to a solar expert.