If you have been becoming a tad more eco-conscious as of late or you just want to save on your power bill, you may have considered solar panels. Over 1.9 million Australians own a solar hot water system and/or photovoltaic solar electricity panels, with solar energy this year becoming the greatest net addition to worldwide electricity generation.
For a long time, solar power was too inefficient and expensive to be an appropriate investment for many people. However, the costs of panels (which convert sunlight to DC current) and inverters (which converts the current from DC to AC, allowing it to power your house) have fallen 75% since 2009.
Solar hot water systems start at a cost of around $3000 for an import, or $4000 for Australian-made standard models. On the other hand, a 5kW photovoltaic system will set you back approximately $5000 in Sydney. Water heating accounts for about 21% of household energy use, so the smaller investment of solar hot water is still a good choice. However, a 5kW solar photovoltaic system with exposure to a significant amount of sunlight should be enough to take your energy use off the grid, with the only cost being the maintenance of the product.
The average household consumes between 20c-30c per kilowatt-hour of electricity. By investing in a 5kW photovoltaic system – which will begin to generate a return on the investment within around 5 years – you stand to completely nullify electricity costs. Plus you could have the potential to sell energy to the grid for between $0.08-$0.15 per kilowatt-hour, making it a sound decision for both financial and environmental reasons.