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Triggerhappy

Solar Panels

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Just asking, how many of you people have solar panels on your roof, to save your electricity bill ?

What size should you get ?

 

Been thinking about getting a 2.2Kw system, just wondering how it will effect the bill...

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Have 1.5K on the roof. Not bad. They were bought as an economic investment, and any possible (Depends on POV) environmental benefit = bonus.

 

We got all the rebates in ACT before they were axed. So.. YAY!.. 1 yr later, we have produced about 2MW electricity. That's nearly enough to pay off initial investment.

 

In summer they more than meet the need for electricity requirements. Winter is a bit meh. So you definitely ride the waves.

 

We also have solar hotwater (A better investment if you are just after saving money). Barely ever turn on the booster.

 

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it depends on how much sun your property gets, where you are in australia (different states are better for solar) this also effects what sort of rebates you get, also how your meter is setup can be a big factor.

 

Some people do well with solar systems, some people waste alot of money (like setting them up facing the wrong way).

 

Don't expect the solar panels to have an immediate benifit.

 

Be prepared to wait a while for them to be set up.

They need to be installed (with an inverter) you will need a new electricity meeter (that gets installed seperatly) and even after all that the first electricity bill you recieve might not have your solar on it if the distribution companies have been slow giving the paper work to your retailer.

 

Once its all up and running though, and if you are aware of your electricity usage it can be quite benificial.

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Have 1.5K on the roof. Not bad. They were bought as an economic investment, and any possible (Depends on POV) environmental benefit = bonus.

 

We got all the rebates in ACT before they were axed. So.. YAY!.. 1 yr later, we have produced about 2MW electricity. That's nearly enough to pay off initial investment.

 

In summer they more than meet the need for electricity requirements. Winter is a bit meh. So you definitely ride the waves.

 

We also have solar hotwater (A better investment if you are just after saving money). Barely ever turn on the booster.

 

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Do you know how the financial feasibility compares with now?

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I think the companies should look at your usage by looking at your past bills over a 12 to 24 month period, then they should be able to give you a good idea on the size system you should have to get a benefit.

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How much a solar system affects the bill depends to some degree on the feed in tarrif you get- what is on offer for you? We put up 1k7w of panels and it looks like it will be a cost neutral (or 'profit' if the company pays up- we havent seen a bill in 10 months but thats another story) owing to the pleasant 66cent feed in tarrif.

Having said that, the company put our peak rate up to 31cents /kwh last january, as a result of the panels. That sux.

 

I'm south of Melbourne latitude wise & 1k7 kw was giving about 12kwh on a good day (I havent checked the logs since December).

You also need to balance this outtput against what you are using in the house during the time the sun is on the panels- whatever is switched on in the house is powered by the panels instead of going back into the grid.

 

So I guess get as many panels as you can afford, and switch everything off during the solar generation times!!

 

Edit: what Drago666 said about position is really important too - a shadow on part of the panel will kill off the whole array, so make sure you have a spot in full sun, or you might not be getting the money's worth. We had to prune one tree to get a couple of late arvo hours- the winter sun will still be weak for us though.

Edited by Mr Dump

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looked at it in a LOT of detail and decided against it, which was wise at the time considering what's happened to the feed-in tariff. We also had some shading which would have cut our production to close to zero for 5 months of the year. You MUST get pics of your roof over the year to make sure you do generate power - nearmap is good for this.

 

Anyway, from an econmic perspective it's better to get the biggest system you can (just under 5Kw) to recoup the initial investment at a faster rate.

 

It's all a con, but if it works financially go for it :)

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I also heard that one should get the Aus made panels and not the Chinese made ones But how to tell the difference? And if you ask an installer they will of course say they fit the Aus ones, but how can you verify that is what you got?

 

Brisbane still has the highest feed in tariff, so am thinking of this myself, before the rebate ends.

Edited by Antraman

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I hit NearMap to check my roof shading at various times of the year. Then wasted 2 months thinking the whole deal was too good to be true.

That generous feed in tariff is the kicker though. Went with a 1.5 Kw system as that was all that fitted.

No regrets. Got a $600 rebate after 18 months and have not paid a power bill for a year.

Summary is that after 3 to 4 years (4 if we have more summers like this one) will have recovered all the cost and from then on no matter what the maths

every sunny day will make some money. Even if later it only lessens the bill some. Might even add to the house value, who knows.

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I also heard that one should get the Aus made panels and not the Chinese made ones

didn't you hear? they don't make solar panels in Australia any more.

 

Best you can do is to buy high-quality chinese ones. I got some friends who work for a solar electrical company on the northside of brisbane, they make a point to go with reliable panel manufacturers with verifiable quality assurance processes, same goes for the inverters, they aren't meant to be cheap AND last more than 5 years...

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I thought the choice was between shit Chinese panels and good German ones.

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some of the Chinese manufacturers are up to spec, but there may be other manufacturers around the world that produce quality panels too.

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With a 2.2 system I'm getting 200-250 bucks per quarter up here in Bris. That's with a nonperfect afternoon orientation, seasonal, weather and crud in the air variables. I kid you not on that last one. :{(

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1.8kW system on ours, got a cheque for 350 for the quarter to november. this summer will not be as good as expected thanks to the weather.

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Only thing i have against Solar Panels is the RFI they generate. Our Next door Neighbor has about 16 panels and at night regular as clockwork just after the Sun goes down my TV goes berserk with RFI noise ,so far computer seems ok.

 

Did you know that Solar Panels can cause problems with your electricity supply ? Normally Power is not meant to be fed back into the system ,so this puts a strain on your Electricity provider. You can zap transformers and such.

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Only thing i have against Solar Panels is the RFI they generate. Our Next door Neighbor has about 16 panels and at night regular as clockwork just after the Sun goes down my TV goes berserk with RFI noise ,so far computer seems ok.

 

Did you know that Solar Panels can cause problems with your electricity supply ? Normally Power is not meant to be fed back into the system ,so this puts a strain on your Electricity provider. You can zap transformers and such.

Any idea how common those two issues are or whether it's just certain brands?

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Feeding power in should be no problem so long as the invertor is generating proper sine waves, in sync with the mains and not with any sudden current surges up/down.

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I also heard that one should get the Aus made panels and not the Chinese made ones

didn't you hear? they don't make solar panels in Australia any more.

 

Best you can do is to buy high-quality chinese ones. I got some friends who work for a solar electrical company on the northside of brisbane, they make a point to go with reliable panel manufacturers with verifiable quality assurance processes, same goes for the inverters, they aren't meant to be cheap AND last more than 5 years...

 

http://www.silexsolar.com/

 

There is still one Australian manufacture on the market. I only know because one of my mates is an engineer there.

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