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Rooftop solar – recent experiences in Canberra?

By cranky 29 July 2015 29

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Thinking of installing solar power to our house. Orientation is ideal, and whilst not looking to make money, I would love to escape the clutches of ACTEW (or whatever they’re called this week).

Would appreciate any feedback re: supply and installation of (say) a 4Kw system, and how it has performed.

The majority of advertisers on Google require many personal details which do seem excessive. The one that has put their price out there is in the vicinity of $5600, a reasonable figure I assume.

Appreciate any comments, including thoughts on the whole technology.


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29 Responses to
Rooftop solar – recent experiences in Canberra?
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Dreadnaught1905 11:19 pm 30 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

zllauh said :

Wish the rebate was back and we could have this at our new place !

You mean “subsidy” don’t you?

Oi! Get yer own drum to bang, that one’s mine!

Seriously, though, I’m lucky enough to own an investment property – and the deprecation on the solar panels is probably at least almost as good as any FIT.

Southmouth 6:37 pm 30 Jul 15

TheWolf said :

Southmouth, we run the large power hungry heaters all day (1 split system aircon and 2 x IXL cavity 4+kw wall heaters), as we often have someone at home during the day. All night we run smaller plug in heaters (read uneconomical heaters). We try to run the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher in daylight hours, but not exclusively. We wanted to see how well the solar would benefit us if we did not conform to regimented power usage. Our house is old and poorly insulated, and we don’t have double glazing.

I’m impressed. I would have thought that the low feed in tariff and electric heating would have made net positive bills impossible. Well done.

TheWolf 1:52 pm 30 Jul 15

Southmouth, we run the large power hungry heaters all day (1 split system aircon and 2 x IXL cavity 4+kw wall heaters), as we often have someone at home during the day. All night we run smaller plug in heaters (read uneconomical heaters). We try to run the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher in daylight hours, but not exclusively. We wanted to see how well the solar would benefit us if we did not conform to regimented power usage. Our house is old and poorly insulated, and we don’t have double glazing.

Southmouth 1:19 pm 30 Jul 15

TheWolf said :

I installed a 5kw system that feeds power I don’t use back into the grid (net feed?). It cost me $7200, which includes $1400 to entirely replace the mainboard and cabinet it fits in, as it was not large enough to accommodate the new meters. Our entire house runs on electricity, except for gas hot water. Having all electric heating is crucial in getting the best return on solar. Despite only a 7c feed in tariff, we have power bills that are in credit to us since its install. We would see the system break even in 3 – 4 years.

What time of day do you run your electric heating and for how long?

dungfungus 12:15 pm 30 Jul 15

zllauh said :

Wish the rebate was back and we could have this at our new place !

You mean “subsidy” don’t you?

zllauh 11:56 am 30 Jul 15

Wish the rebate was back and we could have this at our new place !

TheWolf 11:50 am 30 Jul 15

I installed a 5kw system that feeds power I don’t use back into the grid (net feed?). It cost me $7200, which includes $1400 to entirely replace the mainboard and cabinet it fits in, as it was not large enough to accommodate the new meters. Our entire house runs on electricity, except for gas hot water. Having all electric heating is crucial in getting the best return on solar. Despite only a 7c feed in tariff, we have power bills that are in credit to us since its install. We would see the system break even in 3 – 4 years.

justsomeaussie 7:59 pm 29 Jul 15

Just to clarify if you are concerned about not wasting energy then grid connected batteries is a far better solution. the idea being that you can load share across the grid removing the extreme peaks of mornings and evenings. PIf everyone went off grid it would require significant amount of redundancy into everyone’s energy storage.

Grid connected storage is the key focus of companies like Tesla with their Powerwall product and there is already talk of suburbs/communities chipping in for a local level storage solution. This combined with solar is a great win for everyone.

It’s worth remembering too that Canberra company Reposit power is in the final stages of testing a system where you’ll be able to sell your energy through them as a broker on the National Energy Market at much higher rates than the FIT.

Wherearetherealliberals 6:08 pm 29 Jul 15

In the UK, double glazing is about as scam filled as Nigerian emails. Don’t think for a moment that the standards work there.

cranky 5:40 pm 29 Jul 15

Wow,

I have just been educated.

Double glazed (existing) wooden windows may be on the cards. Seems the system now makes the money, not the individual. Has it ever been otherwise.

dungfungus 3:13 pm 29 Jul 15

Southmouth said :

Maya123 said :

BlackIce said :

If you’re interested in going off-grid, ActewAGL have an article on their website about a battery storage trial which is supposed to happen later this year. http://www.actewagl.com.au/Product-and-services/Battery-storage.aspx

Thank you, interesting, but I don’t think this is being developed for people to go off-grid, but rather as a source of extra power for ACTEW, (“for those few days when everyone turns on their air-conditioner”) with some benefit to people who buy into this, such as security if the grid goes down. Please correct my understanding if I am wrong. It does sounds interesting, as security is very attractive.

Yes. It will allow grid companies to turn off your grid supply when wholesale prices go from the $30 per MWh norm to the $12500 per MWh on extreme peak demand times. There is a conspiracy theory that the grid companies may access your stored energy to service other customers but no feasible models for this exist yet. The largest benefit for consumers is that you suddenly get access to all your own solar generation regardless of time of day, well up to the point of a fully charged battery anyway

Jeez, tram travel is going to be expensive when the sun ain’t shining and the wind ain’t blowin’.
Yee hah!

Southmouth 1:51 pm 29 Jul 15

Maya123 said :

BlackIce said :

If you’re interested in going off-grid, ActewAGL have an article on their website about a battery storage trial which is supposed to happen later this year. http://www.actewagl.com.au/Product-and-services/Battery-storage.aspx

Thank you, interesting, but I don’t think this is being developed for people to go off-grid, but rather as a source of extra power for ACTEW, (“for those few days when everyone turns on their air-conditioner”) with some benefit to people who buy into this, such as security if the grid goes down. Please correct my understanding if I am wrong. It does sounds interesting, as security is very attractive.

Yes. It will allow grid companies to turn off your grid supply when wholesale prices go from the $30 per MWh norm to the $12500 per MWh on extreme peak demand times. There is a conspiracy theory that the grid companies may access your stored energy to service other customers but no feasible models for this exist yet. The largest benefit for consumers is that you suddenly get access to all your own solar generation regardless of time of day, well up to the point of a fully charged battery anyway

Maya123 1:27 pm 29 Jul 15

BlackIce said :

If you’re interested in going off-grid, ActewAGL have an article on their website about a battery storage trial which is supposed to happen later this year. http://www.actewagl.com.au/Product-and-services/Battery-storage.aspx

Thank you, interesting, but I don’t think this is being developed for people to go off-grid, but rather as a source of extra power for ACTEW, (“for those few days when everyone turns on their air-conditioner”) with some benefit to people who buy into this, such as security if the grid goes down. Please correct my understanding if I am wrong. It does sounds interesting, as security is very attractive.

arescarti42 1:26 pm 29 Jul 15

Holden Caulfield said :

arescarti42 said :

Where it might be cost effective is if you can shift a large proportion of your electricity consumption to the hours when your panels will be producing the most electricity.

How so? It’s two independent scenarios.

When I had panels connected at a former house all the power generated went straight into the grid, regardless of whether the household was using power or not?

That is, with ACTEW, the panels do not supply power directly to the house at all.

The householder gets paid by ACTEW for the power their panels produce and this income is offset against their electricity bill, hopefully with a surplus.

Unless things have changed over the last year or three???

My understanding was those with solar panels could chose between net and gross metering, whereby with net metering, you only sell excess electricity to the grid, and with gross metering, you sell all electricity produced back to the grid.

(see http://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/energy-consumers/solar/solar-faq#1 for an example)

The old feed in tariff i believe is about 60c a kw/h, which is way higher than the retail cost of electricity, so under that regime it makes financial sense to sell everything back to the grid and just buy it back cheaper.

The current feed in tariff is i think 7c a kw/h, which is lower than even the off peak retail electricity rate, so it makes financial sense to try use the electricity you produce, rather than sell it back to the grid.

Southmouth 1:21 pm 29 Jul 15

BlackIce said :

If you’re interested in going off-grid, ActewAGL have an article on their website about a battery storage trial which is supposed to happen later this year. http://www.actewagl.com.au/Product-and-services/Battery-storage.aspx

Nope. This is grid connected battery storage solar. This is much better than off grid.

BlackIce 12:39 pm 29 Jul 15

If you’re interested in going off-grid, ActewAGL have an article on their website about a battery storage trial which is supposed to happen later this year. http://www.actewagl.com.au/Product-and-services/Battery-storage.aspx

Maya123 12:19 pm 29 Jul 15

bryansworld said :

Maya123 said :

Paul Costigan said :

Double glazing in Canberra should be mandatory on new and renovated houses.

I agree, but there needs to be standards introduced with double glazing, for instance, I have seen figures showing that many aluminium double glazed windows are no better than single glazed wooden framed windows. Double glazed aluminium windows need thermal breaks in the frames to stop the heat flowing through them, and all double glazed windows need enough gap between the glass. When I was shopping for windows I rejected many windows, because they didn’t have enough gap. I looked at windows in Europe recently, and I didn’t see any narrow gaps in the double glazing there, such as I have seen here. We need improved standards for them.

Remember that bigger is not necessarily better with the double-glazing gap. If it is too wide, then there is more convection in the gap, which results in more heat transfer. I think the recommended gap is something like a centimetre?

12mm is what I believe is the best gap, but many windows I looked at only had about 6mm.

bryansworld 12:07 pm 29 Jul 15

Maya123 said :

Paul Costigan said :

Double glazing in Canberra should be mandatory on new and renovated houses.

I agree, but there needs to be standards introduced with double glazing, for instance, I have seen figures showing that many aluminium double glazed windows are no better than single glazed wooden framed windows. Double glazed aluminium windows need thermal breaks in the frames to stop the heat flowing through them, and all double glazed windows need enough gap between the glass. When I was shopping for windows I rejected many windows, because they didn’t have enough gap. I looked at windows in Europe recently, and I didn’t see any narrow gaps in the double glazing there, such as I have seen here. We need improved standards for them.

Remember that bigger is not necessarily better with the double-glazing gap. If it is too wide, then there is more convection in the gap, which results in more heat transfer. I think the recommended gap is something like a centimetre?

chewy14 12:02 pm 29 Jul 15

Holden Caulfield said :

arescarti42 said :

Where it might be cost effective is if you can shift a large proportion of your electricity consumption to the hours when your panels will be producing the most electricity.

How so? It’s two independent scenarios.

When I had panels connected at a former house all the power generated went straight into the grid, regardless of whether the household was using power or not?

That is, with ACTEW, the panels do not supply power directly to the house at all.

The householder gets paid by ACTEW for the power their panels produce and this income is offset against their electricity bill, hopefully with a surplus.

Unless things have changed over the last year or three???

Nope, still the same way my panels are working, they’re metered separately.

Maya123 11:41 am 29 Jul 15

Paul Costigan said :

Double glazing in Canberra should be mandatory on new and renovated houses.

I agree, but there needs to be standards introduced with double glazing, for instance, I have seen figures showing that many aluminium double glazed windows are no better than single glazed wooden framed windows. Double glazed aluminium windows need thermal breaks in the frames to stop the heat flowing through them, and all double glazed windows need enough gap between the glass. When I was shopping for windows I rejected many windows, because they didn’t have enough gap. I looked at windows in Europe recently, and I didn’t see any narrow gaps in the double glazing there, such as I have seen here. We need improved standards for them.

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