Solar power provides clean, cheap energy but that’s only once it’s installed. Installing a solar system requires you to make several important considerations – not least the price tag! In this article we take you through a few key things to be mindful of before you make your big purchase.
How expensive is installing solar power?
The first issue, and most confronting, is the cost of having your solar system installed. The price you pay will depend on the size of the system you buy as well as the availability of installers at the time.
The average solar system will cost you anywhere from $2,000 – for a small 1.5kW system, up to $12,000 for a powerful 8kW system.
Those prices are after you factor in rebates from solar incentives.
What are other things I need to consider?
Not all solar panels are the same – fact. Trina Solar, CanadianSolar and Pansonic are some of the brands known for producing quality panels with high efficiency rates – that is the percentage of photovoltaic energy its panels successfully convert to useable electricity. If you’re purchasing your panels from a reseller, enquire and investigate as to the brand of panels you’re buying. It could pay off long term to invest in better quality, higher-efficiency panels.
Finally, consider whether or not you will be home to make the most of your solar system. Solar panels only work when the sun is shining and as such, they only make energy during the day. This means that if everyone in your household is away for the majority of the day, you can’t use the power generated.
If this sounds like you, it’s probably better to get a smaller solar system, or (if you’re able to) set things like pool pumps and hot water systems to operate through the day.
Alternatively there are two other options. You could install a battery bank, or alternatively, have your energy fed off to the greed in exchange for a feed in tariff.
A battery bank will allow you to store the energy your system produces during the day, drawing on it at night. The downside is that these storage systems are a little pricey, with the popular Tesla Powerwall coming in around $7,000 – $8,000. At the time of writing, the savings a solar battery can provide won’t quite be able to justify its expense for most of us.
Another option is to ensure you’re signed up to receive feed-in-tariffs. This is a payment of a few cents per kWh of electricity your solar panels export back to the grid.
Feed in tariff rates are often state mandated, however a select few retailers offer a higher rate.
Finally consider if you plan to own your home for years to come. Solar systems are a long term investment, and will take several years before you’ve made your money back. If you’re considering solar on an investment property, there are ways you can still be rewarded for it.
With all this said, a solar panel will probably work out to be a good investment on your end, so long as you know what you’re doing. A solar system is a big purchasing decision, so be careful not to rush in to it and seek advice where you can.