Saving with solar is a great reason to invest

15 years ago, you’d have hardly seen a panel on rooftops in suburban streets. Yet today, hundreds of thousands of Aussie homes have rooftop solar installed and are enjoying its benefits.

With electricity prices seemingly on the up and up, you have probably pondered the idea of solar. The price of solar panels isn’t exactly cheap, though with this rundown, you will discover there are ways to minimise the dent in your bank account.

How can I afford solar energy installation?

There are several ways to help minimise the budget burden installing solar. While solar can still be expensive to install, below are four ways to manage the costs.

Financing

You may think about financing your car, but did you know you can finance solar installation? Many installers offer financing options for periods of six months to two years. This makes payment manageable, instead of having to fork out thousands at once.

While we’re on the topic of financing and loans, look to your mortgage. It may be possible to extend the mortgage amount to cover the cost of solar panel installation. This can save the hassle of dealing with multiple lenders by keeping your repayments in one place. Of course, check with your institution or financial adviser before taking out extra money on your mortgage!

Leasing Panels

You can lease solar panels from a company instead of owning them yourself. Essentially, a solar installer connects your home with a solar system and you are then charged for the solar energy you use, albeit at a much reduced rate.

It might not produce the most drastic savings, but it’s a great alternative if you can’t afford a solar system.

Putting the power back in your hands

Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme

This is a government initiative which essentially operates as a discount for anyone who installs a renewable energy generator, be it solar, wind or hydro.

Once your solar system is approved by the government, it will begin generating ‘Small-scale Technology Certificates’ (STCs) for you. These certificates are worth money, with price driven by their supply and demand, like any goods in a market.

Similar to how a share market works, STC’s can be sold independently, requiring buyers and sellers to come together. Small scale traders can be found online, and their sites will advertise their buying prices – which fluctuate daily. FormBay is one of the largest STC buyers.

If you aren’t so keen on selling them on the free market, there is also an option to sell them through the STC Clearing House, where they have a set price of $40. Keep in mind there is no guarantee that they will sell immediately.

Tariffs – Selling back to the grid

Feed in tariffs provide a mechanism whereby solar households are able to export unused solar energy back on to the electricity grid in exchange for a small rebate. Feed-in tariffs are government regulated in most states, mandating energy rebate rates operated through your retailer (not the government directly). This is the main difference between the STCs, as you are entering the private market.

The amount paid by the electricity retailers not only varies from state to state, but also from company to company. Being that the feed-in tariff is often paid by the government, not the retailer, many energy companies will only offer the state mandated rate. Keep in mind there are a few energy companies, such as Click Energy that offer a retailer-funded rate, so shop around and see what you can find.

investing in solar roof tops

What value does solar add to my home?

We all know a renovated, fancy kitchen can be a big turn on for potential buyers, but have you thought about the solar panels on your roof?

While you may gasp at how costly solar installation can be – and rightly so, it can massively improve the value of your home.

Eco-Friendly Value-Adders to Your Home

Feature Percentage of Aussies who said it would add value
Solar rooftop panels 85%
Energy Efficient Appliances 79%
Solar Hot Water System 78%
Water Tanks 70%
Water Saving Fixtures 47%

(Source: realestate.com.au)

Take a look at that top feature. 85 per cent of people think solar panels can increase the value of your home! Suddenly, that significant investment doesn’t seem so drastic anymore. While this statistic isn’t so helpful for people who plan on staying in their homes for a lifetime, it can be useful for investors, house ‘flippers’, or people who like to move around every so often.

Realestate.com.au also said that renters would be more likely to pay more in weekly rent if it meant their house had solar panels installed. This is great news for the investor, or for the single home buyer looking to rent out their spare room! This article by Forbes highlighted that those in progressive inner-city suburbs and those in ‘green’ districts are likely to benefit more from selling a home with solar panels installed. So, it may pay off to research the market, and whether installing solar panels can increase your home’s value.

Overall, the cost of installing solar panels is undeniably significant. Hopefully these tips will give insight about how it is possible to reduce the cost burden and even make money off of your solar panels. Going green can prove to be a great investment, and as the world becomes increasingly energy renewable, the value of solar power is likely to skyrocket.

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