Why it’s worth making the switch to solar
Technology has been advancing at a rapid pace and the developments in solar panels are no exception. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can be installed on your home’s roof where they can convert that glorious sunshine into electricity for you to use – free of charge! This renewable and sustainable source of energy not only reduces your carbon footprint but also your power bill.
We live in a ‘sunburnt country’ so we should be using this sunlight to make our own energy. Here’s why.
It’s worth the investment
To reap the financial and green rewards of solar panels, you’ll need to pay to have them installed. This can set you back an average of $4,836 – a price tag that is a bit too high for many households. Research from finder.com.au which surveyed 2,010 respondents found that 75% of Australians haven’t even considered making the switch to solar. This is surprising given that 60% of us are concerned that our energy bill will be too expensive.
However, generating your own electricity from the sun means you don’t need to be paying your electricity provider’s big bill every quarter – which over time, will save you money. The government also offers renewable energy incentives for every megawatt hour of energy you generate, which can be sold for cash or used as rebates with energy companies. If your solar panels generate more energy than you need, you can sell it back to the grid at a rate decided by your retailer.
When will I break even?
The time it will take for your solar panels to start saving you more money than what you initially spent on installing them can vary. Generally, the ‘solar payback time’ (as it’s referred to in the industry) for most households will be less than 10 years. This means that you need to be planning on living in your home for at least the next 10 years if you want to enjoy the savings your solar panels will generate. However, this timeframe will also depend on:
- How much you paid to have them installed
- Your household’s energy use
- The size of your solar power system
- The weather
Things to watch out for-
- Budget: While the solar panels themselves will make up most of the cost of installation, you may also need to budget for additional costs such as fuse boxes and grid-interactive electricity metres. Solar panels generally last for around 20 years but may require some minor maintenance costs too.
- Research: It’s important to research and compare solar panel providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
- Plan ahead: Your solar panels will need direct sunlight to work effectively so make sure your neighbour hasn’t planted a tree that’s going to grow and shade your panels in a few years’ time. It might also be worth contacting your local council to make sure there aren’t any new buildings in the works that might be placed in a way that blocks the sunlight on your roof.
- Know your compass: Remember that your solar panels should be facing north to maximise the sunlight that hits them – your solar panel installer should be able to advise you on the best way to position them on your property.
It doesn’t look like energy prices will be decreasing any time soon, so installing solar panels is a great way to proactively protect your finances and be kinder to the environment. With a little research and planning, solar panels can be a worthy investment.
Graham Cooke is the Insights Editor at finder.com.au where he drives consumer-focused research, and appears regularly on Australian TV and radio discussing issues of consumer interest. He is a graduate of Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland and has over ten years of experience in analytics and writing.
We'd like to hear from you!
There is alot of value in adding solar to your home. If its coupled with the correct roofing martial a home owner can not only save money but reduce there overall carbon footprint.
This article was a great read and it has a lot of worthwhile points in it. I look at solar systems all day as im on roofs and homeowners tell me about the savings there getting. Its a shame that the buy back scheme is getting wound back by the power companies such as western power next year.
there are defiantly benefits to solar on your roof. If panels are coupled with the correct tiles/roofing martial then a home own can not only reduce there heating and cooling costs my reduce overall emissions in the long term.