Solar panels in Brisbane: worth it or not?

Introduction  

Green energy is the future. Switching to solar power is now being actively supported by the Australian government. They are providing rebates like STC and incentives like the Victorian Rebate Scheme to promote green energy. 

The idea is to incentivize the entire process and provide people with the means of switching to solar power for the long run. There are various benefits of switching to solar power, both monetary and environmental. Let’s have a look at what the incentives look like.

Perks that are given by the Australian Government for solar system installation

1) Did you know you can get paid for the excess energy produced by your solar panels in Brisbane?

This is known as feed-in traffic or FiT and is a great way of benefitting from your solar panels in the long run. The rates for the same are decided either by your retailer or the government. The rates are paid in cents per kilowatts, per hour of electricity generation by your solar panel system. The payment is made in 2 ways. You can send all the electricity produced by your system to the grid and then get paid for it. You will then have to pay for the electricity you use. This system is known as Gross FiT.

Another way is to feed the extra energy generated by the system to the grid and then get paid for it. This is known as Net Feed-in traffic and helps to reduce your overall electricity bill.

2) The federal government is also offering small-scale technology certificates (STCs) to small business owners and homeowners who are keen on switching to solar power. This can be towards the instalment of solar panels or hot water systems. They are also available for eligible wind turbines, hydro systems and air source heat pumps.

To be eligible for STCs, you need to use approved solar panels with a system that is less than 100kW in size. The set-up needs to be done by a professional with all the papers in check. If you sell your STC via a clearinghouse, you will get about $40 for every megawatt-hour of electricity sold by your system. On the open market, you might get a higher or lower price for the STCs depending on the demand.

Cost of installation of solar panels in Brisbane

The most common models installed in the past year were the 6.6kW models. The system can cost you anywhere between $6k and $8.5k. Helps you save about $1200 to $2000 annually and have a payback period of 4 to 7 years. A lot of factors come into place when determining the cost of purchase and installation. You get subsidies and rebates to help with the sizeable down payment given that you are following all the necessary guidelines.

Investing in a solar battery is a personal choice where you are looking for power backup in case there’s prolonged poor weather. The payback period for a solar battery is about a decade and so is its life span. The final decision lies in your hand depending on the available budget and what type of solar system installation you are looking at.

What does the maintenance cost of solar panels in Brisbane look like?

1) The average cost of maintenance for your panels ranges between $300 and $700. For instance, the cleaning and maintenance of a 2 kW system cost about $400 annually.

2) A broken glass panel would take anywhere between $20 and $400 to get fixed while loose wiring might cost you about $100.

3) Cracked panels and corrosion costs you somewhere around $150 to $300 each. While if your panels are underperforming because of obstruction like shade and whatnot, it will take about $200 for consultation and maintenance.

4) Make sure that you take good care of your inverters and ensure that they do not overheat. The cost of repair for damaged inverters is between $1000 and $2000. It is an important component of the system and needs to function dynamically.

5) Your rooftop tiles need to be in top-notch condition at the time of installation. They will keep the panels in place and hence need to be secure. In case the tiles loosen or get damaged, it will cost you between $2000 and $3000 to remove the panels, get the roof retiled and then the system setup in place again.

6) While the cost of repair for a solar panel is between $150 and $2000, the cost of replacement is around $1400 to $6000. You need to ensure that the panels are mounted strongly, are adequately protected from the elements and protected against overheating.  

7) Multiple factors will influence the maintenance cost of solar panels and your entire solar system. It includes size, location of set-up, roof pitch, maintenance agreement, type of panel, size of the inverter, among other things. It is advised that you get a professional opinion before setting up your solar system so that you avoid making rookie mistakes.

There are definite benefits of cleaning your solar panels regularly. Some of them are as listed below:

Ø  Solar panels are quite sensitive and require proper handling. When cleaning your panels use a soft sponge and water to remove dirt and debris. Avoid using harsh abrasives. If you’re unsure about something, get professional advice.

Ø  The cleaning cost is on the lower side but is important. The cost is very low as compared to panel repair or replacement. So you need to keep an eye on the rooftop.

Ø  It is suggested that you turn off the power before using water and a sponge for cleaning the panels. Make sure that there is adequate space between the panels and the rooftop to allow circulation of air around the system. An overheated system will not function optimally and will require higher maintenance.

Ø  Last but not least, regular cleaning of your system gives you an insight into its functioning. Helps your monitor better and ensures that you are well aware of the level of energy production happening. Get a professional cleaning done once in a while and you are good to go.

Let’s look at some benefits of opting for solar energy and what the future looks like for you.

Long-term benefits of solar system installation

1) Solar panels add value to your home in the property market. So, in the future, if you plan on putting your house on sale, then be assured to recover your installation costs and then some more. Solar panels are a tangible asset that directly affects the valuation of your homes and are worth it.

2) Green energy is sustainable. The carbon footprint left behind is quite low and there is no residue/waste to take care of after the energy is generated. If you are a business owner, you get some good PR by showing support for sustainability and eco-friendly means. As homeowners, you leave behind a legacy for your children and grandchildren and set the right examples at an early age.

3) You get monetary benefits like feed-in traffic and rebates provided by the government. You not only recover the costs early but also stand a chance of gaining some energy credits from the federal government. You can also get loans for getting your solar system installed at attractive rates. 2021 does seem like the year of switching to solar!

4) Solar panels are a secure investment that lasts for 20+ years and gives you a payback within the decade. The initial investment might be a little steep and this is where the incentives and rebates come in. Also, the maintenance costs are on the lower side which helps sweeten the deal.

5) Your dependence on the grid is low which means that blackouts and power cuts will not affect you as severely as they would have done otherwise. A solar battery can store the energy generated and give a 24/7 supply to your household or workplace. An off-grid system is independent and allows you to live in remote locations without worrying about basic amenities.

6) An estimate by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) tells us that using solar power for 20 years helps save about 320,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emission into the environment. These numbers help us in the fight against global warming in the long run.

Solar power helps you cut down on your electricity costs and increases the valuation of your property at the same time. Now that you have a better overview of the costs and benefits, let’s learn some hacks to make the most of your solar power installation.

Some practical hacks to help you gain maximum output from solar panels

1) Make sure that you install the solar panels correctly

A lot goes into the installation of solar panels apart from the manual setup. You need to ensure that each panel gets sufficient sunlight to perform optimally. Now, the orientation of the panels should be towards the north if you are in Australia (which lies in the Southern hemisphere). As the sun moves from east to west, your panels get sufficient sunlight during the daytime. Use a solar array for mounting the panels and make sure that there are no obstructions around.

One thing to keep in mind would be that the panels work well at normal temperatures. As the temperature of the solar panel increases its efficiency drops. Maintain a sufficient gap between the root-top and the solar panels. The free flow of air in and around the panels will make sure that the solar system does not get overheated.

2) Invest in high-quality solar inverters for your solar system

The main function of an inverter is to convert the DC power generated by the panels into AC power that we use at home. Certain Australian standards need to be met such as AS4777. Invest in expandable, high efficiency and weatherproof inverters. Your inverters need to be protected against the elements if you want them to last longer than 10 years. An MPPT Inverter (Maximum Power Point Tracking Inverter) will be a good choice in case you are planning on expanding your solar system in the future. This will allow you to add additional solar panels to the system without additional cost. You can also use micro-inverters which are small MPPT inverters attached to the rear of the module.

3) Monitor the input and the output

This will help you, in the long run, to identify and meet your energy goals. You can monitor the performance of your solar system with the help of inverters. Information like energy produced daily in kilowatt-hours and consumption done is recorded. The amount of power being produced and what you have in excess too. You can keep a note of the same and see what this means monetarily for you depending on where you live in Australia.

4) Clean solar panels work more efficiently

Use mild liquid and water to clean your panels twice a week and increase efficiency by 3-5%. Make sure that elements like rain and snow do not cause permanent damage and you are good to go.

The efficiency of your solar system depends on its maintenance. For long term benefits, you need to invest some time and effort towards cleaning, annual wiring check-ups and professional maintenance whenever necessary. 

Conclusion

We can say that solar panels are worth it in 2021 in Brisbane or any other place in Australia for that matter. You just need to carry out a little research and ensure that you get the best deals in town. Go green. Go solar. To know more about solar power systems, or solar panels, contact us 1800 789 470 

Author: Harsh Patel

Date: September 28, 2021

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