Electricity prices are continuously rising in New South Wales so it’s no surprise that more than 450,000 rooftop solar installations have already been installed by NSW homeowners hoping to reduce energy bill costs. However, with a substantial financial commitment for the solar installation, many are questioning if the initial cost of solar panels is worth it.
There are some factors that you should take into consideration when deciding whether or not solar energy is a viable long-term investment for you. Before you make the decision to convert to solar, we recommend you read our guide to help you decide if solar panels are actually worth the cost.
Understanding solar power
To understand if solar panels are worth the cost, you need to first understand how they work.
Simply put, solar energy is generated by the light or heat of the sun. Solar power is produced when that light or heat energy is converted into electrical energy which can be used for your household heating.
The two main types of solar energy technologies on the market are solar photovoltaic, also known as PV, and solar thermal.
Solar PV technology works by converting sunlight directly into electricity using PV cells. The PV cells are then formed into panels, which are installed on the rooftop of your house.
Solar thermal technology uses light from the sun to create heat, which can either be used directly for heating your home or converted into electricity.
Both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies are often combined into one system that generates both electricity and heat.
Solar panels are a long-term cost reducer
One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked by people who are considering switching to solar energy is, “how much do solar panels cost?”
The most popular domestic option in New South Wales is solar photovoltaic panels which cost between $2,800 and $12,500 for a standard solar energy system, depending on the size and model.
Although the initial price may seem high, keep in mind that when you pay for your solar installation, you are not just paying for solar panels. You are also paying for equipment such as mounting hardware, a charge controller, and the battery and power inverter as well as the installation labour.
Despite the initial costs, solar panels are a long-term investment and will save you money over the years. You pay a one-time fee for your solar installation and you are insulated from high utility bills and electricity price hikes for many years to come.
Most residential solar power systems have a lifespan of over 25 years, with research showing that after this time, solar panel systems will continue to generate about 80% of the capacity they started with.
2 million Australian households are already enjoying the benefits of rooftop solar panels and are saving an average of $540 per year on their electricity bills.
Benefits and incentives for switching to solar power in New South Wales
Solar incentives are certainly one of the best ways to recoup some of the money spent on the initial installation fees.
New South Wales residents can avail of two solar energy incentives: Small-scale Technology Certificates and feed-in tariffs, either of which could earn you significant savings over the lifespan of your solar energy system.
Small-scale Technology Certificates
Households in New South Wales that install a small-scale solar energy system may be able to receive a benefit under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme to help with the costs of purchasing the solar panel system.
The two main factors in deciding how many credits you receive are:
- The amount of electricity your solar system produces or the amount of electricity consumption it reduces, and
- The climate region where your solar energy system is installed.
Homeowners have the option of exchanging the certificates for an installation discount or selling the certificates privately.
As well as saving costs on grid electricity, New South Wales residents can earn money from a feed-in tariff, which is a payment from the government for the use of surplus electricity exported to the main grid.
You can find out more information on the scheme and check your eligibility on the government’s Clean Energy Regulator website.
Properties with solar systems have an increased value
If you are thinking of selling your home, the installation of solar power systems could push up the value of your house.
The latest research has shown that properties with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. Going solar can increase your property value significantly with some estimates putting the increased value from a 5kw installation at around $29,000.
You should also keep in mind that if the solar panels are an eyesore or the technology is out-dated, they may have the opposite effect.
Maximising the use of your solar panels
One of the most obvious tips in maximising the use of your solar panels and getting the most out of your investment is to reduce your overall energy usage. An average solar energy system is capable of producing around 75% of your yearly electricity needs. Reducing your energy consumption by 25% means that you will always have enough energy to power your home without having to pay for grid electricity.
Even economical washing machines, dryers and dishwashers can consume high amounts of energy per cycle, so it makes sense to only run them when your solar panels are at their peak time for energy production. Try to schedule your appliances for daylight hours to minimise your need for grid energy to help you get the most for your money.
Need more information?
Our solar installation professionals service Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Port Stephens, Raymond Terrace, and Dungog.
Find out more by talking to one of our solar installation team members today by contacting us on 02 4925 7718 or fill in our contact form with your details and we will be in touch with you to discuss your requirements.