Would this make you switch to solar? 69



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Solar panels may save money over time, but with a steep up-front cost, they’re simply too expensive for many of us to realistically consider. Thankfully, this could soon change.

And strangely, we may have traditional power companies to thank for it.

According to the ABC, energy providers are considering renting clean energy systems to homeowners, knocking down one of our biggest obstacles to cleaner, cheaper living.

“This is going to happen”, said John Grimes of the Energy Storage Association. “It’s going to be a big phenomenon”.

Ergon energy will lead the charge by trialling a hybrid solar/battery system in 33 homes. If the trial succeeds, it could soon be a win-win situation for customers and companies alike.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), also backing the trial, believes power companies will need to consider changing their business to stay relevant.

Until recently, energy providers have strongly resisted renewable energy as a threat, driving people away from the grid. Now they’re beginning to see it as an opportunity – with the right research and support – to keep us as customers by saving us money.

With batteries getting cheaper, this could happen sooner rather than later. According to Ergon Energy chief executive Ian McLeod, “this is all about getting ready for that price point where it makes sense”.

Mr. McLeod believes that if electricity companies changed their business model, the traditional grid could actually help clean energy users save money, trading their own electricity and accessing the cheapest power.

“Our network is the only thing that connects all customers and resources together”, he said.

“So whether the cheapest resource is from the sun, or from the local tip or the sugar mill or down the road from a centralised generator or over at your neighbour’s place, it’s the grid that connects it all”.

Do you plan to switch to solar power? Would you sign up for a program like this? Or would you rather go off the grid entirely?

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The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Still won’t work out cheaper. The exchange rate for what you get paid for feeding back into the frid is very small. By the time you add a rental cost of the panels onto your account you will be paying the same if not more than you are paying now. There is no way the power companies will do something that will mean less income for them.

    2 REPLY
    • We went into so that we could afford to use power when we retired. We weren’t looking for money back. It’s great not to have bills. And I use my clothes dryer for towels! Lovely and fluffy.

    • Never rent from the power companies, borrow if needed , but pay upfront, the savings on the power account will pay it off over the first five years and most systems have an 18-25 year guarantee on the panels and 5 on the inverter

  2. I would change solar tomorrow if i had my own home, with solar you save power by putting into the main grid,, and in 12 months youu have saved a lot money wise ,,yes great invention …

    1 REPLY
    • Great theory but reality is the payback in NZ is so pitiful it negates the purpose of solar. I will wait unti8l systems that store excess power are available.

  3. We took the decision to install a 5KVa system almost 5 years ago. Although the cost to us was some 3.5 times what a similar system costs today, this current reduction in price thanks largely to those of us the joined the pioneers that were willing to pay the then high capital outlay which has assisted the growth in these systems. Because these pioneers were willing to risk their large capital outlay the power companies recognised that this was a way of assisting with their ability to reduce Brown-outs and Blackouts that were regular occurrences at the time, they entered into contracts to purchase excess power generated. That fact combined with use of our own power has assisted to almost recoup the capital cost over this time. The power companies have progressively increased costs over this time to the point where purchase return almost matches supply cost especially with the rapid escalation of the ‘service cost’, but as long as we monitor usage, we should be able to limit our cost of supply for the immediate future. Our next cost will be to incorporate a power storage and go off grid if costs continue to increase as they have been under the direction of the owners, the Queensland Government

  4. We had solar panels installed two years ago and it was money well spent. Our electricity bills have dropped dramatically.

  5. origin energy offered a connection of face book today for solar energy 1# you have to pay them for the solar energy you collect 2#you have to sign a contract for 2-5 – 7 -12 years is this agreeable by over sixtys or is it a ripoff

  6. The power companies buy electricity for like 5-6 cents a unit and sell for around 23 cents a unit… Under gvt regulation they must pay the house holder like around 8cents a unit so no they really don’t like it but that’s too bad… The return rate in winter here is bad but summer is good… A 5 klw system will cost around 5k so it will take approx 5 yrs to pay it off… But they come with a 25 yr warranty… And increase the selling ability of your home.

    Can look at it a different way… If one had 5k in the bank at say 2% PA that’s $100 a year interest…

    If one has solar panels your saving is most likely $1100 each year unless power goes up in which cost the saving is more!

    4 REPLY
    • Thanks, that makes it clearer. I’m thinking about it. Installed it in my last (new) home and it saved me a lot, but I only stayed there for 3.5 years so didn’t use the whole 5K. Now in a different home and finding my new power bills horrendous. I have to weigh up if I’ll be here for 5years, in order to recoup it. NB I’m retired.

    • Hey Anne Anne what state you live in… I’m in WA…

      I’ve noticed that say Queensland for instance who got there’s a while back get 43 cents a unit… (They paid thousands more for their units) but get more back…

      This means they DONT use it during daylight hours and use it at night to get maximum benefit! and it makes it simple to work out much more return

      Where as me I’m trying to use mine during daylight hours and NOT at night and the bills are confusing as I really don’t know what we’ve used…

      Unlike you my two monthly bills the max I’ve had in a rebate say in summer is $110 last bill $18.00 and my bills are 130 – 150 where they varied befor around $300-450 I’m thinking between 5 – 8 years before I recoup my money…

      I feel the consultants lied to me as they said we would not get a bill judging by my previous bills…

      They all say the same thing… I have had them check the unit and they claim it’s working ok… Although they didn’t come out to look at it…

      They will come out under warranty but if they claim it’s working ok then they charge for the privilege

      Although our bills have reduced they haven’t reduced a lot….

    • It’s an interesting discussion but confusing as the rules have kept changing. I’m in Vic and I have friends who got in early, paid big dollars for their system but were guaranteed 60c per kw buy back from the government and a 10c buy back from the power companies. Their systems have been paid off and they are getting enough to also pay their rates annually.This was locked in until 2024. It then changed to 25c from the government and zero from the power companies locked in until the end of 2016 when it will be dropped further to 8c. Personally having paid $6.5 k for a 3kw system three years ago we have been saving about $1000 per year. This consists of the power used directly from the panels which saves buying in and the feed-back amounts. I believe that when the buy back drops back to 8c the systems will need to be very cheap to justify the outlay.

    • Thanks for sharing Anne that’s interesting… My some is having some fitted just now in Busselton.. Yes everything went smooth and research etc done…

  7. I’m occasionally on radio, etc. talking about solar. The FACTS are that solar PV is today self -funding. ie. Costs less than the power cost it replaces. The same applies to large scale 100+kw systems ….but private homes get an even better deal – leastwise thise and businesses up to 30kw. Here’s an easy example. A 5kw system today costs about $5000 for a quality system and installation. If you qtrly bill is $500, that is $2000 a year. Using the methods I teach, anyone can save 60%-80% (or more with batteries). let’s say it is 60% worst case. That is $1200 a year – forget about feed-in tarriffs….use your power. $1200 per year is the equivalent of a $12,000 cash investment retruning 10% NET per annum (after tax if you’re paying it) . Hence, in this case the ROI (return on investment is about 25% per annum….and that’s before the lovely people at your power suppliuer put up prices….Oh? You don’t think prices will ever increase again? Can I show you a flying pink elephant?go welll people. Get Big solar (5kw minimum) from quality suppliers/installers. enjoy your evening.

    2 REPLY
    • We are on a retirement village so you are saying we can’t do it we are not big consumers so we don’t count , we had a house and we put on solar Paid $4’000 and our electricity bill went down to $6 00 dollars each quarter

    • Not sure whether you mean $6 or $600. Depends on when you put your system on. People who have the 44 cents plus, paid a lot more for their systems. People who bought 1kw or 1.5kw systems should look at their options now. One thing that is never (almost) mentioned in Qld where I am is the supply or service fee increased from $25/qtr to $80/qtr – ripoff. PM me if you have specific questions. Happy to advise your best options. Cheers Keith Munro

  8. I’m still not sure about solar panels. Have someone visiting tomorrow to quote, will think very carefully about it also.

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