Solar power, is it worth it? 39



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It is ironic that as an incredibly mineral rich country like Australia has one of the highest prices of energy in the developed world. Reports just released are saying that our prices are set to increase again, even with the removal of the carbon tax. So what to do? Our energy prices are crippling to many, particularly the over 60s who may still be living in the large family home.

Solar power is an alternative considered as a way to reduce power bills, so is it worth it, or is it an expensive load of hot (greenhouse-free) air?


solar panel


Now that government rebates have been removed, the average solar power system can cost between $8,000 to $24,000, which is incredibly expensive. And although solar power is free and can supply power back to the grid, EnergyAustralia says it can take a decade or more to pay back the system.

Experts are also divided on the environmental benefits of solar and some say that just by saving electricity rather than generating your own power can be a much better idea.

It is interesting to consider that turning off an old second fridge will save as much greenhouse gas as installing solar PV, and it has no cost at all!

So imagine how much you could save it you really watched your usage. Some things you can do include switching to more energy efficient appliances, switching to LED lightbulbs, using energy within off peak times, washing in cold water, even turning the temperature down on your hot water system can make a big difference to your powerbill

Also, the power of a solar hot water system should not be overlooked. Experts say that they are more affordable that PV solar panels, will pay themselves back within approximately three years and can dramatically reduce power bills.

Another option is to consider switching from electric hot water to gas to save on energy usage.

When considering reducing power bills many quickly jump on the solar bandwagon, but as you can see sometimes it is not the best option. Now I’m not totally against solar, in fact I have a system in my own home which was installed 6 months ago. I have seen a small reduction in my power bill but nothing that has amazed me. But, I do intend to be in my home for the next 20 years so know it will be worth it in the long run.

What has been your experience? Do you have solar? How have you found it has worked for you? Or what things to do you do to reduce your energy bill?

Kate Chaundy

Kate Chaundy is a writer on the Starts at Sixty Editorial Team. "I spend my time seeking out, researching and writing on the topics our over 60 community ask about". Kate has more than 13 years in marketing and communications and a lifetime of experience as the daughter of baby boomers.

  1. i have had solar power and hot water panels for some years-and although it reduces my bills-i still have to pay a medium size bill. the problem with NSW is that we can not upgrade the number of panels (i only have 6) because we will lose our rebate. i would like to see the government really foster the use of solar power like many european countries .eg germany. i feel we are really lagging in this area!

  2. Whether or not they are efficient in saving money on power bills, the government has talked about a tax on solar energy. I believe it is only a matter of time until this government or a successive government introduce this tax. Then the investment that people have put into solar, and the savings made, will mean nothing.

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