Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
goughy

Solar power, cost, installation etc etc

Recommended Posts

The thread I found was getting old, so thought a new one could be in order.

My wife wants us to look more seriously at getting solar.  We'd been saving for a car for our daughter, but between grandparents and her saving they covered half the cost so she still has about 3k in savings aside. 

I did query some site, I think it was like an iselect thing what 3 local solar companies would get in touch with me.  To 3 weeks for one to get back to me, then a few more weeks for him to email us stuff and he's been hassling me ever since. But of course, no pricing was included!  Just lots of stuff that just made me dizzy.

I don't really care about money back for supplying to the grid. This is just about us. I work from a shed at home and my wife is home full time.  At least one of the air-conditioners seems to be going all the time, if not both (summer and winter). Plus of course my stuff in the shed.  Currently our bills seem to fall about 800 to 900 a quarter.  My well off mate didn't have it, but he and his wife are never home during the day to take advantage of it.  But I do think we could be perfect candidates for it.

The best positioning for panels on our roof would be more so the West facing side.  You'd only get about 6 panels facing north, which is the road side and my wife hates the look of them so she'd prefer not to have any there.  Me, I don't really care.  

But in the end I have no idea what it could cost, if there are payment options, who are the more reliable companies.  And just how many panels to get etc etc.

Anyone got any real info, or a good straight up non confusing site I can go have a look at?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know not much about solar but i love it....we put a 5 kw system on our house in Townsville back in 2012, we paid 11.5k for our system, we have 250 watt sun tech panels and a SMA Sunny-boy inverter.  system has worked flawlessly and never ever had an issue, we dont live there anymore, but when we did we saw an immediate impact on our power bills, we have the 44c rebate, where as others i know only have the 9c which i believe has changed to about 8c or something like that.  with us being on the bigger rebate we liked to sell back to the grid, but if we were on the lower rebate we would have just utilized the solar to run our home appliances more effectively.

I believe when the rebate went to 9c the cost of solar install dropped significantly as the suppliers and installers saw a huge decrease in people wanting solar, i know someone who got a 5 kw system supplied and installed for about 5k.

We paid for ours cash but i heard Queensland country credit union have a green loan, that a lot of people were using for solar

With the SMA inverter i can log in remotely and see how my panels are performing, but i couldn't care less as im no longer living there.  I charge more for rent though..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Few hints:

I'd be looking for at least 5kw unit.  We have 2.8Kw and it doesn't seem like enough, most reputable ones for family homes seem to start at 5kw

From a mate who gets lots of business fixing the systems, don't go any Chinese made panels or units - lots of cheap plastic bits that stop working not long after installation and keeps his business going.  Most people don't realise a small part stops the power feeding in until they get their next bill, and then he gets a call to locate and fix the problem.  Doesn't hurt to have a brief look at the inverter to see how much power is flowing in during the day to ensure everything is ticking over from time to time.

As for companies, ask neighbours who got them done is probably the best.  In our area we have a local only installer that does customised jobs based on your budget and requirements.  The national chains advertising on the tv with this rebate and that special don't seem to get many calls - pretty much bad reps down our area.  iSelect and the like only recommend companies that give them kickbacks - our local installer while rated highly would not be on their list

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not that I would be thinking of a battery system, but just saw this

https://www.qld.gov.au/community/cost-of-living-support/solar-battery-rebate

I haven't looked at a power bill in ages (the boss takes care of that), but do they breakdown your average usage based on hour of the day?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a 3kw system installed 2.5 yrs ago for 3.5k.  I chose a sunny coast firm named Halcol, they service SEQ and were easy to deal with. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Goughy,

Based in Melbourne, we had Solar installed in Aug. We have  a 5kw system of 17 x 300w LG Panels and Fronius Primo inverter. Cost was just under $7k after rebates. We have 6 panels facing North and 11 panels facing West. Like you, basically someone is always in the house so consuming during daylight hours.

Our power bill was $455 for May, June, July (our Gas bill is a different story!). For the period of Aug, Sept, Oct we dropped to $60. Actual numbers compared to the same quarter last year are: last year we purchased 26.11kw per day. The quarter with Solar was 3.52kw's so a saving of 86.5% less purchased usage. 

In terms of energy: on a sunny day, we seem to make 30-32kw's a day so we are in surplus which we sell back at 12cents and then at night, we buy at 26cents.  So far in Jan we have created 600kw's so about $160 in value. In Dec 745kw, Nov 720kw. For the quarter that dropped our bill from $455 to $60 we created 1504kwh which would likely be our lowest totals (darkest month of the year).

We were told payoff period for us would be 3.5 - 4years. This seems, so far, to be accurate.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your situation sounds like ours - both of us are home based and use aircon a lot plus we have pool/spa pumps and I have my new large shed as well I plan to be using a lot more this year once health improves.

This seems like a reasonable read to me:

https://www.solarquotes.com.au/solar101.html

I wouldn't be dealing with anyone that didn't come to visit and do a proper assessment of energy use and usage patterns, as well as the physical layout of the home and what panel layout is feasible, what the unique installation issues are etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wrote an article for our newsletter about this after being told a heap of BS by a Byron Bay based company about how much we'd save. We've not put solar on yet, quarterly bills are $350 in summer, up to $540 in winter (higher due to reverse cycle a/c heating).

http://www.rdani.org.au/news-events/july-2017-newsletter-31-07-2017.php#HomeSolar

 If you are using most of your electricity during the day at peak rates, it is likely to save you a lot.  But as CE says, get good quality stuff - and not just the panels.  The inverter quality is also very important - make sure it is also battery-ready.  Here is a little calculation you can do from the spec sheets on the panels to determine their quality:

http://www.rdani.org.au/projects/northern-inland-business-energy-assessment.php 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How so?  We had some on ours already, we signed on with a supplier after the purchase was complete and it's in the contract the amount we get back for feeding into the grid.  We're responsible for the panels, looking to upgrade and possibly add a battery in the near future

Believe some of the early adopters can transfer the more lucrative buy back rates as part of the sale, have seen a few houses advertised with this as part of the advertising

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Cottoneyes said:

How so?  We had some on ours already, we signed on with a supplier after the purchase was complete and it's in the contract the amount we get back for feeding into the grid.  We're responsible for the panels, looking to upgrade and possibly add a battery in the near future

Believe some of the early adopters can transfer the more lucrative buy back rates as part of the sale, have seen a few houses advertised with this as part of the advertising

Not in Queensland, the higher feed in tariff is lost if you sell/buy the house. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, pieman said:

Not in Queensland, the higher feed in tariff is lost if you sell/buy the house. 

They're trying everything they can to get out of it. Insane that it is still going really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Ex-Hasbeen said:

They're trying everything they can to get out of it. Insane that it ever happened really.

fixed for you...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Cottoneyes said:

Believe some of the early adopters can transfer the more lucrative buy back rates as part of the sale, have seen a few houses advertised with this as part of the advertising

yep this is what I was chasing. No matter what happens we will be saving electricity. Going from a house with a large swimming pool will always be cheaper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I found the price of some of the batteries.... :o ....... Even with a rebate and govt loan we won't be doing that.  Not for what little you get back from them atm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Batteries still don't make much financial sense ATM. Over the life of the battery, the cost per kWh is still multiples of grid power cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Alex Simmons said:

Batteries still don't make much financial sense ATM. Over the life of the battery, the cost per kWh is still multiples of grid power cost.

I agree, however not sure with the dilydallying of the governments and lack of infrustructure in place to ensure things keep working,  and the every increasing cost of power, $6K for one might seem a bargain in the next decade.  If I had a small business, it would be a no brainer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Cottoneyes said:

I agree, however not sure with the dilydallying of the governments and lack of infrustructure in place to ensure things keep working,  and the every increasing cost of power, $6K for one might seem a bargain in the next decade.  If I had a small business, it would be a no brainer

Only that generally for business batteries make less sense, as most business takes place during business (aka daylight) hours. 

My wife is thinking of getting solar panels on the roof of the pre-school she runs. 99.99% of their power usage is during daylight hours, and when they are vacant during 12 weeks of the year any feed in tarriff will be a bonus. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, roxii said:

Only that generally for business batteries make less sense, as most business takes place during business (aka daylight) hours. 

 

 

Solar panels feed into the network first and then back to your house / business - unless you have a battery.   So in a blackout the panels don't keep your lights on by themselves

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aaaah ok.

bkackouts aren’t really an issue for us.....YET!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that true Ceyes, I didn't know that?  So basically solar power is an offset against the electricity you use, not an "instead of"?  

Was reading about the batteries and efficiency.  So say the Tesla 10kw battery, which is what $16k?  They run at about 92% efficiency.  Then they lose more in the converter.  So in the end you may actually have 6 to 7kw to use.  Then take a household usage like ours, that might give us about 3 hours a night.  And you've gotta use say a third to half your daily generation to charge it up (or a cheaper night rate of you can get one).  I couldn't even attempt the math without my head blowing up but it doesn't seem like good economics to me?  Sure, if I had plenty of coin of do it in a heartbeat just for the environment and so I can feel all hippie.....

Edited by goughy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, goughy said:

Is that true Ceyes, I didn't know that?  So basically solar power is an offset against the electricity you use, not an "instead of"?  

 

I don't think the tech is there to do it otherwise.  My SIL has had solar panels for a while, and during blackouts they are "black'dout" even during the day.  Looking at ours the wiring is fed back into the grid and then back into our box.  Maybe others can confirm who have had it longer but that's just the 2 cases I know of

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your "normal" solar installation will go off in a black-out. To have anything else, you have to either get another inverter & panel set, and wire it to a different circuit which is just your "emergency stuff", or you go off grid. You could possibly have some type of cut-over circuit put in, but I'm not sure of the legalities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't thought about batteries yet. If I get some time I'll do an assessment on putting them in.  Purchase price, maintenance, sparing, MTBF, LORA and disposal costs. Then report back to you.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Cottoneyes said:

Solar panels feed into the network first and then back to your house / business - unless you have a battery.   So in a blackout the panels don't keep your lights on by themselves

My understanding is that not even a battery system will keep you immune from blackouts. The system shuts down along with the blackout. But I could be wrong, I'll defer to experts but that is how I understand it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×