Help me understand how Solar is cheaper at home.

boobook

Well-Known Member
I am looking into getting Solar at home. Either I am doing something wrong, or the whole thing is a complete rip off.

Currently, I pay 24.5 cents per kWh including discounts etc. However, If I get Solar panels, I can't get that rate, and the cheapest tariff I can find is 39 cents per kWh. I live in Melbourne so the panels will really only generate power for part of the year. Also the feed-in tariff is only about 9 -12 cents depending on the time of day.

So the way I figure it, after spending several thousand dollars, I will end up with a higher electricity bill. I keep reading how people save thousands with solar and their bill shows the rebate. But to me, it looks like they save money but on a higher overall so no saving at all.

What gives?

Edit fixed feed in rate
 
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John U

Well-Known Member
The goal posts have been moved a lot over time. A lot of that was due to the decreasing cost of setting a system up.

What you are describing sounds like the rough end of the pineapple. Joe Public should be able to get a similar rate to what the big providers charge. Maybe the difference is the cost of the distribution network.

My parents put a system in quite a few years back. I think a lot of the benefit is about feels for them which isn't necessarily a bad thing. They can exploit it when sun is beating down in summer running the AC all day for no cost. It is a glorious place to be.
 

Toyasaurus

Well-Known Member
Hi BB.
I don`t know about Vic electricity prices, hear in NSW outside of Sydney it`s a ripoff.
I pay on a sliding scale off peak 20.71, shoulder 35.53, peak 38.16c/kw and supply charge is 151.25 per/day.
Thats the bad news, the good news is I have 8.25kw solar system on the roof and 27kw of storage under the house.
And no more blackouts.

So I don`t pay anything for power they pay me 21c/kw, the only reason I`m connected to the grid is to feed in my excess.

If you shop around you will find better deal`s on feed in tariff,
Solar is a good way to go, but remember you get what you pay for.
Buy cheap crap and you will regret it, use a good company and product.

Cheers. Ian.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
It is a total rip off, I look at it this way, you pay for the infrastructure, you maintain the infrastructure, you sell them cheap power that they then sell back to you and your neighbor for 4 times their purchase price.
Its a con and a way the government gets the consumer to put a few drops back in their big bucket of short comings
The only way to beat the system and really be environmentally friendly is to go totally off grid
 

Toyasaurus

Well-Known Member
I agree it`s a ripoff, but you have to make the best of what you can do.
I haven`t had a bill since I put the system on, they have to pay me.
I never looked at the ROI, it should pay for itself in about 13 yrs, it was a case of doing my bit for the envrioment and not having blackouts.
When the fires were here in jan this year we were not affected by the blackouts, 4 days of it.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
I never looked at the ROI, it should pay for itself in about 13 yrs,
No it won't because you will have to replace half if not most of the components in that time or near after
And whether it is envirionmental benifit is also very questionable once you work out the complete carbon footprint of the new solar system
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
It is a total rip off, I look at it this way, you pay for the infrastructure, you maintain the infrastructure, you sell them cheap power that they then sell back to you and your neighbor for 4 times their purchase price.
Its a con and a way the government gets the consumer to put a few drops back in their big bucket of short comings
The only way to beat the system and really be environmentally friendly is to go totally off grid

I don’t think it is a con.
The problem is that there is too much power going back into the grid in non peak times and they don’t want/ need it. The big coal fired stations sell there power off at a loss during the non peak times often for free or at negative cents
And then the load comes back on at peak times which is supplied by coal that cannot be turned up or down so they have to gear for peak and give the power away in non peak .

Because there is no real storage solutions in place this whole home solar gig has made a bit of a mess of the system and is not really saving much like people think so is a bit of a placebo option.

Solar is only really viable if you are using the power you are producing ( not buying power) the sell back is not so flash but is understandable
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
No it won't because you will have to replace half if not most of the components in that time or near after

Same happens with solar hot water, just when you are getting close to payback you are up for new infrastructure so ther is no payback
 

Toyasaurus

Well-Known Member
The reason I don`t pay bills is, I generate far more than I use.
My system works like this, the solar charges the batteries first, then the power goes to the house.
I do all my washing using the dishwasher anything that soaks up power during the day.
Every thing that is generated over that goes to the grid.

I don`t know where you got the info that you have to replace parts every so many years, if you buy good quality it lasts.
The first system I had is still going strong 16yrs later.
My current system has 25 yr warranty on the panels, 10 on the batteries, 5 on the micro inverters.
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
The reason I don`t pay bills is, I generate far more than I use.
My system works like this, the solar charges the batteries first, then the power goes to the house.
I do all my washing using the dishwasher anything that soaks up power during the day.
Every thing that is generated over that goes to the grid.

I don`t know where you got the info that you have to replace parts every so many years, if you buy good quality it lasts.
The first system I had is still going strong 16yrs later.
My current system has 25 yr warranty on the panels, 10 on the batteries, 5 on the micro inverters.

All sounds great and I am sure it is but
-How much did it cost to set up?
-Are the companies that offer these massive warranties going to be around in 25 years? These companies come and go pretty quick and assume it is not a replacement warranty but a pro rata one and has to be a loss of X % before being deemed defective?
-Will your system be obsolete long before then?

Not knocking what you have done , just looking at the big picture. I am undecided whether I will fit a system
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
16 years out of a battery bank ?
Well done on that, its not often you can get that long and still have them hold enough charge to power a house.
My brother is 100% off grid, he has recently replaced his whole battery bank due to the old ones failing, cost about 15k but he can survive several days without sun. Not sure how old the origional set was , he got them second hand, they gave him about 7 years
I guess the whole debate also revolves around where you live and the efficiency of solar, tree cover of the house, pitch and direction of the roof and how much the government will allow you to install
 

Kippie

Well-Known Member
We have installed 6kW panels and 6kW battery system about 8 years ago. Before that we paid around $3000/year on electricity bills. Since we installed the system we pay around $500/year (taking into account the feedback tariff). Based on those numbers I estimate payback time in another 2 years. However, during the last 8 years electricity prices have gone up significantly, so without the PV system we would have paid a lot more than $3000/year and the system probably has paid back already.

It doesn't matter what feedback tariff you get, in the overall scheme it's so little that it would not make much difference in your payback time.

In addition to the economics the most tangible benefit is that you do not suffer blackouts anymore. Important for us because we are in a bushfire prone area. That means all my electric pumps will continue to operate when the grid goes down. I don't have to rely on diesel pumps only. How do you value that?
 

Toyasaurus

Well-Known Member
LG Neon 2 panels x 25 = 8.25kw.
Tesla power wall 2 x 2, 27kw backup.
Enphase micro inverters x 25.

It cost 38k to setup and install.
Just because somethings old doesn`t mean it`s obsolete.
As i said before the last system is still going after 16 yrs, all still original.
I have been told that the next gen Tesla batteries are going to be a big leap forward from the current ones.
A lot of people get suckered by slick advertising, lately I have seen a company selling a 5.5kw system for $2999
I don`t know if that`s installation included, I think it wouldn`t be a system I would consider, end of run panels and alike.
My system cost alot yes, but it`s what I wanted to suit my needs. Not for everybody.
I had this in mind before I moved.
Atm my daily cost according to my supplier is $-4.24 per day.
So far they have paid me $1400 since April last year, the system was installed in may last year.
According to the Gov, the average cost for 2 people in nsw for electricity is $ 1700+.
That means I have saved around 3K +.
Not to mention that the major blackouts we had most people lost everything from there freezers and fridges.

Hope that shed`s some light for you.
Cheers. Ian.
 

Toyasaurus

Well-Known Member
Matt.
The old system was on my place in Syd,
That was a 2.89kw system. No batteries.
With the Tesla`s I Don`t go much below 65%,
The lowest I have run it down is to 20%.
Tesla quotes that the 10yr warranty is for full discharge recharge cycle 1 per day.
I`m hoping that this should give me a lot more yrs from them.

Cheers. Ian.
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
Having backup battery power would be the attraction for me as I am on tank water so everything stops when the power is out, I have wired up my switchboard to my generator for temporary power but batteries would be easier
 

Toyasaurus

Well-Known Member
A gen set is far cheaper for limited use but batteries are probably cheaper in the long run.
My system automaticly islands the house from the grid in a blackout, but will keep charging when the sun is up.
Straight solar won`t do this as it puts the linesmen at risk of shock, if the grid goes down so does the solar.
 

Hoyks

Well-Known Member
From what I've seen the main way the power companies sting you is with the supply charges rather than the low FIT and usage charges. My mum in NSW has a 2.5kW system and a $0.22c FIT, which was pretty good, but the daily 'supply charges', just for being connected to the grid was wiping out any benefit from actually having panels on the roof. She was pretty much paying them for the privilege of supplying power.
I don't think any have a standard billing format either, so it makes it hard comparing them.


I have solar, only a 3.5kW system and no battery. We're at the end of a cable run and a fair way from the nearest transformer, so Energex would only let us fit 3kW, but as it will only go close to 3kW in perfect weather and with brand new panels, we snuck an extra pair of panels on the roof so we hit closer to the limit more often.
It was really good when I first switched it on. Energex lost the paperwork and we had the old rotary meter, with the solar turned on it was spinning backwards and after a couple of months we'd used -450kW. They realised after a while and came and replaced the meter :(.

It cost us about $5k for the system (the good chinese panes, German Fronius inverter), no idea when the payoff date will roll around as they have moved the goal posts so often.
It is (well, was, the power cable to the shed got dug up by the builders:rolleyes:) spitting out around 12kWh/day in the winter, 18-20 in summer) and we were getting a reasonable tariff, low supply charges and using their power wasn't too bad (Red Energy).

For us it cut our power bill in 1/2, the FIT is nothing to write home about, but we adjusted how we do things and run the items with most electrical demand during the day (dishwasher, washing machine and drier on timers). We don't have a pool, but are on tank water most of the time, so run a pump intermittently. Gas for cooking and instant hot water and have a wood stove for heating.

The main reason we went with solar is so that on a stinking hot SE QLD summers day we can fire up the air con during the day and pretty much run it for free.

In the future I'd like batteries and get in on one of the virtual power plants, the retailer takes a % of your storage capacity, sticks it in a pool with a bunch of other battery owners and holds it in reserve until the demand for power goes up, then they draw on the battery pool and pay you a premium for it.
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
my mum in NSW has a 2.5kW system and a $0.22c FIT

This is where I am really confused.

The NSW Government website for feed-in tariffs says the rate is 6.0 to 7.3 cents per kWh.
For Victoria, it is 9.5 to 12.1 cents per kWh
So why do people get 22 cents?
 

Toyasaurus

Well-Known Member
Shopping around, same as you would buying any product, check the company`s website rather than the Govt one.
My system is good for 24kw on a clear day in winter and 63kw in the middle of summer.
I have talked to a lot of people in my street to find out what they get in rebates, most are on shitty rebates.
I always pass along who I`m with and what I get, amazing how many still don`t switch.
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
My system is good for 24kw on a clear day in winter and 63kw in the middle of summer.

63KW???? That's a hell of a lot. That's 262Amps at 240w.

Enough for 10 - 20 houses. Or about 30 split system airconditioners all going at once. o_O

Are you sure?
 
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