23 April 2024

How can solar credits be used to offset your winter power bills?

| Morgan Kenyon
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technician installing solar system

More than 3.6 million Australian roofs sport a solar panel system, with almost 40,000 in the ACT. Photo: Mondiaux Solar.

Australia has the highest solar panel use per capita in the world. It makes sense, given the continent sports the highest solar radiation per square metre of any on Earth.

But for most homeowners, especially those living in Canberra, installing solar on their homes makes sense because it promises long-term savings and independence from the grid.

Although it’s a smart decision for residents with money on hand, there are some nuances to consider when using solar energy to offset your heftiest power bills.

READ MORE Solar’s about more than saving money, it’s freedom from the grid and a better future for our children

Senior renewable energy consultant Archie Zhang started his career with Mondiaux Solar in 2020. He says batteries are best if you want to save on winter bills, especially for people who are away from home most of the day.

“Battery systems store power collected during the day for later use, rather than feeding what you don’t use to the grid and buying it back when you need it,” Archie says.

“You can still export excess like you would without a battery, and the rate is usually a few cents higher than regular feed-in tariffs.

“Battery systems also help you save through virtual power plants (VPP), which let you sell stored power during peak times to reduce pressure on the grid. They are especially useful in frigid Canberra winters.”

Infographic detailing solar export credits generated by system recently installed by Mondiaux Solar.

This Mondiaux customer installed a 6.6kW solar battery system in late 2023. Since then, they have earned $670.85 in solar export credits through retailer Origin Energy. Image: Region.

As supply and demand change throughout the day, VPPs support the grid by supplying to or storing from it. Anyone with an eligible solar battery can participate and be paid to share their excess power.

“I’m part of a VPP, and my provider has taken, on average, about 0.6 kWh a day from my battery since last September at a rate of around a dollar per unit. It’s an easy return on investment,” Archie says.

“VPPs also calculate your household’s energy production and consumption over time to figure out when stored power gives you the most bang for your buck.”

Infographic detailing solar export credits generated by system recently installed by Mondiaux Solar.

Larger setups can save households hundreds of dollars every month – this 13.2 kW Mondiaux battery system (with retailer Actewagl) brought in a monthly average of $290.42 last summer. Image: Region.

Around 40 per cent of ACT homeowners have a solar system on their roof. To the rest of Canberrans, especially those holding out for the ‘right moment’ to install solar, Archie warns delaying any longer could cost them more.

“I’d advise against waiting. Prices are only going up year by year as technology improves and we get closer to our local renewable energy goals.

“There are a number of good incentives out there to take advantage of, including $15,000 in interest-free loans to help with installation costs, but they won’t be around forever.”

Mondiaux Solar is proud to be the largest contributor to renewable energy goals in the ACT and an institution for teaching, learning and renewable growth.

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“I’d advise against waiting. Prices are only going up year by year as technology improves and we get closer to our local renewable energy goals. Shouldn’t the statement be – “advances in solar technologies will see prices come down” Isn’t this what the government tells us – renewables are cheaper!

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