If you are thinking about installing a solar power system to your home there are a few things you should know…
2018 saw a record 40% growth in residential solar system installations in Australia…and 2019 looks set to go even further!
As sustainability grows in importance, renewable energy solutions – such as electric cars and solar power systems – are becoming increasingly popular. This is because these new options now represent sound choices on both an environmental and a financial level.
Employing a solar power system in your home will reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and save money on your electricity bill. For those of you thinking about installing a system, here’s a breakdown of everything you should know in advance.
How Much Does Solar Power Installation Cost?
The price you pay will depend on the quality and size of the system that you install. The good news is that solar panel systems have been getting progressively cheaper over the last decade.
This is an approximate price guide for a top-quality solar panel system installation:
- 3kW: $3,500 – $5,000
- 5kW: $4,500 – $8,000
- 6kW: $5,000 – $9,000
- 10kW: $8,000 – $12,000
These prices assume an expertly installed system with a top of the range inverter and panels. In other words, these are top of the range prices. However, cheaper solar panel systems will almost certainly cost you more in the long run.
There are other factors that can affect the price of your installation. For instance, if extra electrical work is required. Likewise, the structure of your home may lead to time-consuming installation difficulties.
For most households, a $7000 budget should suffice
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
The average home requires a 5kW solar system which usually equates to 22-24 panels. However, the solar system’s total output matters more than how many panels you have. This is because panels come with different power ratings, therefore it is possible to generate more power from fewer panels.
Four main questions will determine the kind of installation you eventually opt for:
- How much electricity do you use?
- What is your budget?
- How many panels can Your roof fit?
- How many panels will your network service provider allow you to install?
It is important not to underestimate the number of panels you will need as it’s expensive and complicated to add panels later to an existing system.
A home storage battery allows you to store your solar energy for use at another time.
As storage battery technology develops, they are becoming cheaper and more efficient. Some companies are already making hybrid battery/inverters meaning the battery comes built into the system as standard.
For separate batteries, they can be added onto an existing system with ease and do not need to be installed at the same time as the system. Every grid connect system ever installed in Australia is compatible with solar batteries.
In South Australia, batteries represent better value for money than the rest of the country due to excellent government subsidies. You can now get a battery subsidy of $500 per kWh up to a maximum of $6,000.
An inverter transforms the D.C power absorbed by your solar panels into usable A.C power for your home. It also monitors the performance of your solar panel system.
Inverters work hard, and as such, they are often the first component to fail in a solar power system. Therefore, if you are going to spend big on any part of a system it should be the inverter. A premium-end inverter will help your system stay healthy for longer.
There are several different kinds of inverters: string inverters; microinverters, and power optimizers. A string inverter is installed on a wall and all the solar panels connect to it. A microinverter goes on the back of each individual solar panel. Power optimizers are kind of a hybrid between the two. Usually, a string inverter is less expensive than the other two.
A premium end solar system installation has a typical payback period of around 4-7 years in Australia.
This time period assumes that your system has been expertly installed and calibrated. Everything you make after that initial time period is money in your pocket. When you consider that a good system can last 15 – 25 years without repair, this represents great value for money.
There are several factors that will determine how quickly your system pays itself back in electricity savings. Firstly, it depends on usage, the more you use the more you are likely to save. Second is system size, a bigger system can generate more power and save you more. Another variable is location, certain regions receive better rebates on their electricity than others which will reduce the overall cost of your system.
When you are having your site assessed for an installation quote you can ask the installer for a payback analysis. A payback analysis calculates the amount of time your system will take to pay itself off.
Fitting your home with a solar power system is a great way to save money and help minimize environmental decay. Although the initial installation is costly, a well-managed system will pay itself back in the long run.
Be sure to check out the rest of the blog for a whole host of informative articles on solar power systems.
At Solar Power Pro, we are determined to help the public understand the benefits that come with solar power conversion. Leave your comments and replies below.