Solar Savings Must Read

Always compare 3 quotes! Here's why.

If you are thinking about installing solar panels soon, or if you've already received your first solar quote, this article is a must-read.

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Stuart McConaghy

Jan 14, 2021 • 5 min read

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Top 5 Solar Traps To Avoid (AT ALL COSTS)

If you are thinking about installing solar panels soon, or if you've already received your first solar quote, this article is a must-read. It will save you a lot of money (and heartache) in the long run!

At this point, you're probably already aware of the 6 key benefits of installing solar panels on your home. If you haven't read the article, here are the 6 key benefits of installing solar in a nutshell:

  • Protecting yourself from rising power prices
  • Securing your solar rebate (and how to take advantage of them)
  • Taking advantage of the solar's great return on investment!
  • Making huge savings on your power bills
  • Increasing the value of your home
  • Doing the right thing for the environment

Regardless of why you've decided to look into solar, here are the 5 common solar traps you should avoid at all costs!

Solar Trap 1 - Only getting one quote!

Whenever you make an important purchase, it is essential to always compare multiple quotes where possible. This should be common sense, but we've spoken to so many customers over the years who have paid WAY too much for their solar system because they only obtained one quote (some dodgy installers are charging $25k+ for 5kW systems!!!)

Getting your 3 quotes for reputable, CEC accredited solar installers will ensure that you have a good understanding of how solar works, a breakdown of the costs and solar rebate/s that you are entitled to, and you'll be able to compare apples for apples (and be able to spot any bad ones in the mix).

Solar Trap 2 - Waiting for battery prices to drop before going solar

Solar batteries are at the forefront of people's minds due to powerful marketing by the biggest brands in the energy storage market. However, battery storage for your home is still quite expensive and will add an additional $8,000 to $12,000 to the total system cost (minimum). Many people fall into the trap of 'waiting for battery prices to come down' and are literally burning money by continuing to pay their power bills in the meantime.

The payback period for a hybrid solar system (with batteries) is 10+ years. So any solar installer worth their salt would recommend installing a ‘battery ready’ system that will pay for itself in energy savings within 3-5 years, and allow you to install batteries to your system at a later date once they become cheaper.

A well-designed 6.6kW system can save you up to $2400 per year on your power bills, so every day that you don't have solar on your roof is costing you money!

Solar Trap 3 - Buying a system that is too small

We receive many enquiries from homeowners who would like to add panels to an existing solar system they installed a few years ago (which can be a costly exercise). These small systems usually exist due to the following reasons:

  • Solar power used to be (really) expensive - about 5X as much as it costs now!!! Hence, most systems that 8 - 10 years old are in the 1.5kW - 3kW range.
  • Customers have bought a system from their energy retailer (who definitely does not have the customer's best interests at heart). In these cases, the customer ends up with a small system that won't completely wipe out their power bill (and the energy companies' profits at the same time).

As a general rule, we recommend installing as many panels as your budget and roof space allows. This ‘future proofs’ you against continually rising electricity prices and will enable you to take full advantage of the generous government solar rebate as it stands. The 6.6kW system is a perfect system size for the family home as it allows you to take full advantage of the 'solar rebate' while complying with your network service provider's limits.

Solar Trap 4 - Thinking the 'rebate' has ended

First thing's first, the 'rebate' is not the solar 'feed in tariff'. Both are great incentives to get solar, and both are still alive and kicking! Where a lot of people get confused is that the solar 'feed-in-tariff' used to be up to 60c per kW back in 2012 and now this has dropped to a more manageable (for energy companies) 20c per kW rate for the energy you put back into the grid. During this time solar has become about 5X cheaper than it used to be making solar power an incredible investment.

You are entitled to the Federal Government’s hugely popular ‘solar rebate’ when installing solar power at your home! The ‘rebate’ or Small-Scale Technology Certificate (STC) Scheme is extremely generous, and you can claim $3400+ on a 6.6kW system depending on where you live! Your chosen solar company will handle the application for the rebate on your behalf and apply the value of this rebate as a discount at the point of sale.

Things to know about the rebate:

  • The more power your solar system generates, the greater the size of your rebate. So if you are located in sunny Queensland, you’ll receive a more substantial rebate than your Tasmanian counterparts.
  • The more solar panels you install, the greater the size of your rebate.
  • The rebate is being phased out over the next 10 years. By December 2030 this rebate will no longer exist!
  • The advertised prices you see and quotes you receive will already have the rebate factored in.

Solar Trap 5 - Not going solar because your roof isn't North-facing

In Australia, a north-facing solar system will produce the most energy - with peak production during the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest point. However, solar systems installed on the North-East or North-West aspects of the roof will produce only slightly less power than North facing installations (see image below for the difference in energy production).

As solar technology has improved, and solar feed-in-tariff rates have fallen, East-West facing installations are becoming increasingly popular. East-West facing arrays start generating power earlier in the day and finish later in the afternoon - which follows most families’ energy usage patterns. This means that even though the system produces slightly less energy overall, more of the energy is being self-consumed making East-West installations an excellent investment.

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