My last electricity bill was $1,434.56 — yep, you read that right!
In saying that, I do have a lot of computers running all day, I have a sewerage treatment plant which is constantly on the go, and because I’m not on town water, every time we use a drop of water, it has to be pumped up from the tanks. I also do two loads of washing a day, and am constantly using the dishwasher. My husband says I never turn off the lights when I leave a room…
But still, it costs a fortune and it just seems to be getting more and more expensive every quarter.
I’ve considered solar panels in the past, but have heard mixed reviews about them. Of course, solar energy is greener and cleaner and cutting down on carbon emissions is always great for the environment, but as a homeowner, the cost is a huge consideration. I’d love to install a solar system if I knew it would severely reduce my electricity bill, and perhaps even make a few dollars back. I’m reluctant though as there have been numerous articles about dodgy solar installers that are scamming the public.
So are solar panels really worth it? What are the alternatives? I’ve done some investigations into the matter to see!
1. Before you call anyone, know some details.
First things first. Before you pick up the phone to call anyone, you should know the following details:
- What is the roof space of your home?
- What direction does your home face?
- Are you an owner or renter of the property? (if you are renting, you will need to seek permission from the owner)
- Is your home in the shade or sun most of the day?
- Do you live in an area prone to cyclones? (North Queensland residents may have additional installation costs to ensure they don’t fly away in a cyclone!)
- Will your roof support the weight of a solar system? (If you have an old home, you might need to get this checked out!)
Plus, before spending a heap on solar power, can you do anything right now that will reduce the amount of electricity you use?
2. How do you find a non-dodgy solar dealer?
Dodgy Alert! I always think word of mouth is the way to go!
Always ask family and friends if they have had a good experience with their solar installation and ask who they used and recommend! If no family or friends have a system, consider calling a local builder to see whom they recommend. Also, check that the dealer is certified and sells Australian-certified products only! You need Aussie-certified products to be able to claim a rebate.
I always recommend that you get at least three quotes for your property as prices and systems can vary widely between providers. Plus this is a good way to gauge how much an ‘average’ system will cost for your home.
If a sales person contacts you and is applying intense pressure for you to buy buy buy, back right off! It is a big financial investment, so you need to go slow and make sure the job is done right, on time, on budget and you are getting the right system for you. Tell ’em to get nicked!
3. How will you determine if a solar power system is right for you?
If you are home all day and using loads of appliances (like me) – you will likely require a larger, most costly system. Alternatively, if you are only home at night, consider going smaller to save costs.
4. How much does the solar panel system cost?
The cost of installing a solar system will vary significantly based on the solar company you choose to work with and the size of the system you install. While installing cheap solar panels might first feel like the easiest way to make some savings, your long-term savings will be higher if you invest in a high-performance system.
It’s important to take some time and review your equipment options and determine the best price and quality combination for your home. Prices for solar panels in Australia have generally reduced by about 10% in 2017 compared to 2016. A typical solar system for a standard home can cost anything from $2000 to $6000 for a five-kilowatt-hour system of about 15 to 20 panels.