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Should we get solar power by 30 June 2013?

By FarrerGirl 14 June 2013 24

Hi Canberra,

I have a basic understanding of the changes occurring to the solar power tariff system in the ACT on 1 July 2013, however it would be good to get some advice. Is it worth jumping in now and buying a 4kW system (approx $7000), or should we wait?  We have until 17 June to decide..

Thanks in advance.

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Should we get solar power by 30 June 2013?
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AlexanderWatson 3:36 pm 08 Jul 13

Masquara said :

Speaking of solar power – what happened to that “coldest house in Canberra” competition? Has a winner been announced?

Finalists for Coldest House in Canberra have just been announced… Check them out and vote online at http://alexanderwatson.com.au/newsite/coldest-house-in-canberra-finalists/

dungfungus 8:47 am 18 Jun 13

milkman said :

shauno said :

I’ve got a 6KW system and I think what this will do is encourage more people to go off the grid entirely we just need the battery prices to come down a bit.

Has any one found out why power prices in the ACT are so cheap anyway? Or should I say less expensive then every other state or territory. Queanbeyan has to pay 32c kw/hr we pay 19c or whatever it is.

Queanbeyan pays NSW prices, which includes costs of infrastructure to remote parts of the state. Canberra doesn’t, and so enjoys some of the cheapest power in the country.

Don’t bank on our “cheap” Actew supplied electricity being around forever.

dungfungus 8:30 am 18 Jun 13

sentinel said :

Yes, probably worth doing.
Until the end of June ACTEW provides a gross feed in tariff, where they “buy” all the electricity you generate at a 1:1 rate, regardless of your usage. The rate would be around 17.9 cents per kwh

After 30th June, the scheme changes to a “net” feed in tariff, where ACTEW only buy the power in excess of your usage, and pay you only 7.5c per kwh for this amount.
So under the new scheme, the amount of solar power you generate offsets your usage, so the effective rate is still around 17.9 cents per kwh, up to the point where you generate more power than you use, power generated in excess of this you are a paid only 7.5c per kwh

So what it comes down to is this. If you are going to put on a small solar system, say 2-5 Kw, the amount of power you generate will typically be less than you usage, so the financial benefit will be similar under either scheme. On this basis there doesn’t seem to be much benefit in getting a system before the 30th of June.

If you are going to put in a larger system, say 8kw or larger, where you will generate more power than your usage, then there is a big benefit in getting in before the 30th of June.

As a rule of thumb, a properly sited ( north or northwest facing, non shaded system ) in Canberra will generate around 4 kwh per kw of installed capacity ( annual average ).

So a 5kw system will generate 20kwh per day – compare this with daily your electricity usage ( from your bill ) and see how this compares to your usage.

Under the current (pre June 30th scheme) in simple terms the typical payback period for a system is around 8 years, this equates to a potential 12.5% ROI. That’s a pretty good potential return for a safe investment, provided of course that you remain in the house for that period. The actual number may be less, but it’s still good compared to 3-5% in the bank.

Just make sure that any undertakings that Actew (or their associated entities give you) will be honoured in assignment.
I would be very surprised if Actew as we know it now will exist after the next 12 months.

parle 4:29 am 18 Jun 13

sentinel said :

After 30th June, the scheme changes to a “net” feed in tariff, where ACTEW only buy the power in excess of your usage, and pay you only 7.5c per kwh for this amount.
So under the new scheme, the amount of solar power you generate offsets your usage, so the effective rate is still around 17.9 cents per kwh, up to the point where you generate more power than you use, power generated in excess of this you are a paid only 7.5c per kwh

not really, the ‘net usage’ aspect only offsets 1:1 while the system is generating and the exported will only offset against the dollar value, not the kw total amount as before.

example;

over 24hrs a 5kw system generates 20kw, house consumes 18kw

during daytime – 20kw generated, 3kw consumed = 17kw x 7.5c = 127.5c bill credit
during nighttime – 0kw generated, 15kw consumed = 15kw x 18c = 270c bill charge

so 270c – 127.5c = 142.5c bill, which otherwise would’ve been 324c without solar

the only time you’re effectively paid 18c is when your system is generating, hence the actew advice to time delay your appliances to midday.

In the example that’s still $800 per year off the bill but now for a $7000 5kw system it will take 12 years ($12,700) just to break even.

since most don’t use power in the middle of the day the new ratio is closer to 2:1, if you have a pool or some other big power daytime consumer, like the month long canberra summer when you turn on the aircon and don’t use heaters at night, that ratio can close.

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