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Solar Panels and savings in Canberra?

By wooster - 21 November 2011 13

Hi all,

Inspected a rental property recently and became aware during the inspection that the property had a solar panel.

Although the lessor stated that he had been disappointed overall with the investment (something about failing to get the promised amount of kWs), he said that having them still resulted in a ~30% reduction in electricity bills.

I’m happy to admit that I am totally out of depth on this one, but would request the counsel of the community (I note theres been a lot of banter about feed-in tariffs on the RiotAct previously).

Can one expect a 30% reduction in electricity bills?

Thanks.

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
Solar Panels and savings in Canberra?
bitzermaloney 11:19 am 25 Nov 11

Osprey06 said :

Henry82 said :

patrick_keogh said :

In fact right now ACTEW owes us around $800 because the feed in tariff exceeds our electricity charges.

Out of curiosity is that credited to your bill? or do they actually write you out a nice $800 cheque?

They (Actew) are able to transfer payment for electricity generated to you, but last I spoke with them you had to request it each time – i.e. it wasn’t done automatically each quarter.

The can do it automatically, but you have to have your account setup as an automatic direct debit. When the due date of the invoice roles through your account is credited instead of debited. Works a treat.

Osprey06 10:17 am 25 Nov 11

Henry82 said :

patrick_keogh said :

In fact right now ACTEW owes us around $800 because the feed in tariff exceeds our electricity charges.

Out of curiosity is that credited to your bill? or do they actually write you out a nice $800 cheque?

They (Actew) are able to transfer payment for electricity generated to you, but last I spoke with them you had to request it each time – i.e. it wasn’t done automatically each quarter.

Henry82 3:51 pm 21 Nov 11

patrick_keogh said :

In fact right now ACTEW owes us around $800 because the feed in tariff exceeds our electricity charges.

Out of curiosity is that credited to your bill? or do they actually write you out a nice $800 cheque?

Grail 3:39 pm 21 Nov 11

The percentage reduction in bills from installing solar panels is mainly dependent on two variables: one being the average consumption, the other being the average production. This may sound obvious to most people, but some people don’t make the connection between kW capacity of an installation, versus average kWh consumption.

So for example you might have a two-occupant home with off-peak electric hot water, and you both use computers every night more often than you use TV. Your average daily consumption will be somewhere in the order of 12kWh. If you then install a 3kW system, you’ll be looking at a potential of 12kWh production each day. Since your production is equal to your consumption, the balance on your electricity bill will be $0, on average over the long term.

Solar panels get dirty, and they also lose potency over time: most that are installed in Canberra will have a warranty of 80% capacity after 20 years. Contrast that to the rising price of electricity (in fact, the rising price of everything) and you’ll find that you’re making more and more money each year (though probably not as much as if you had taken the value of the solar panels and simply thrown that cash into a rolling term deposit).

If the price of electricity rises faster than inflation, you will end up profiting from the installation of solar panels simply due to the money you’re not spending on electricity bills.

Felix the Cat 12:00 pm 21 Nov 11

Usually in the Sunday edition of The Canberra Times there is article by Graham Downie relating to solar installation misadventures. From memory this week (20/11) the changing goalposts as to what the $ figure consumers are supposed to be getting back per kw of power they produce.

Something else that was mentioned in one of these articles is that the efficency of the panels can be greatly diminished if they are dirty. They need to be periodically cleaned.

Holden Caulfield 11:24 am 21 Nov 11

patrick_keogh said :

I have a 2kW system installed. We are a relatively light user of electricity (two adults, gas heating, solar hot water, evaporative cooling, all flouro or LED lights) but several PCs, a couple of printers, dishwasher, electric oven and cooktop etc. etc. etc. We do not pay electricity bills at all. Ever. In fact right now ACTEW owes us around $800 because the feed in tariff exceeds our electricity charges.

Awesome. We have a 2kW+ system sitting on our roof waiting for ACTPLA to flick the switch and hopefully we’ll enjoy a similar rate of return.

Osprey06 11:19 am 21 Nov 11

patrick_keogh said :

mikal said :

Yeah, if you buy the house the old feed in contract becomes invalid and you have to sign a new one at the much reduced tariffs. What the current owner gets is irrelevant.

mikal, the poster said rent, not buy.

Either way a new needs to be signed (needs to be in the same name as the electricity account). Not sure how the contract works with rentals (the feed-in contracts are for a 20 year period).

Ask the lessor for some old statements to see how mamy kwh the system generates, have a think about how much electricity you’re likely to use and have a read of this:

http://www.actewagl.com.au/Product-and-services/Green-energy/Connecting-green-energy-systems/ActewAGL-Solar-buyback-scheme.aspx

patrick_keogh 10:56 am 21 Nov 11

mikal said :

Yeah, if you buy the house the old feed in contract becomes invalid and you have to sign a new one at the much reduced tariffs. What the current owner gets is irrelevant.

mikal, the poster said rent, not buy.

mikal 10:47 am 21 Nov 11

Yeah, if you buy the house the old feed in contract becomes invalid and you have to sign a new one at the much reduced tariffs. What the current owner gets is irrelevant.

Osprey06 10:37 am 21 Nov 11

“Can one expect a 30% reduction in electricity bills?”

Depends on many things (system size, roof angle, electricity usage), but in short probably not – becuase you can’t get on the feed-in scheme (which pays 50.5 cents per kwh generated) any more. Actews only other offering pays around 14c per kwh iirc.

I’ve got a 1kW system on a good unshaded north facing roof. The panels are a bit too ‘flat’ for winter months, but at a good angle for summer. Over the last 12 months, they’ve generated 1491kwh. My electricity usage was 4976kwh over the same period (1 prsn, elec stove & hotwater, couple of computers etc.). – about 30% of my usage and nearly covers all of my electricity bill because I’m on the feed-in scheme.

patrick_keogh 10:24 am 21 Nov 11

Whether or not a 30% reduction can be achieved is also dependent on:
– how much electricity you use
– how much you produce (the size of the PV system, assuming that the site, pitch etc. are OK)

Neither was provided in the original message, so the best answer that I can give is YMMV.

thatsnotme 10:15 am 21 Nov 11

It’s probably worth mentioning whether savings are with the old, generous feed in tarrif, or the current one where ACTEW only pay you whatever your actual tarrif is. That’s going to make a pretty huge difference – on the old tarrif, you could use more electricity than you produce, but still pay no bills, or earn money. Now, if you use more than you produce, you’ll always have to pay the difference.

patrick_keogh 10:00 am 21 Nov 11

I have a 2kW system installed. We are a relatively light user of electricity (two adults, gas heating, solar hot water, evaporative cooling, all flouro or LED lights) but several PCs, a couple of printers, dishwasher, electric oven and cooktop etc. etc. etc. We do not pay electricity bills at all. Ever. In fact right now ACTEW owes us around $800 because the feed in tariff exceeds our electricity charges.

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