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Beginner’s guide to solar power

Solar power

Bessie Hassan | Money expert at finder.com.au

Many Aussies believe that solar power is either too difficult or too costly to install, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Not only is solar power becoming a more affordable energy option, it’s also becoming more accessible. Here are three things to consider before taking the big dive into sustainably sourced electricity.

  1. Will you save money?

The primary way you’ll save money with a solar power system is, of course, through generating your own electricity. That means you’ll draw less from the electricity grid and therefore end up with lower bills. But this isn’t the only way you could be saving money. You can claim renewable energy certificates for every megawatt hour of energy you generate thanks to renewable energy incentives. These can then be sold for cash or used as rebates with energy companies.

Not only will you save money, but your solar power system could eventually make you money. If you’re generating more electricity than you need, you can sell your unused energy back to the grid, at a rate decided on by your retailer. 

Also read: 5 ways to cut down on your energy bill

  1. How long will this take?

The initial investment required to install solar power can be a little steep, but the savings you reap from your solar panels will eventually counterbalance this hefty expense. The break-even point or “solar payback time” depends on a number of factors, including how much it costs to install, the size of your solar power system, how much electricity you use and weather conditions where you live.

Setting up solar can seem like a catch 22. The more panels you install the more electricity you’ll be able to generate and the quicker you’ll reach that break-even point and start to save on electricity. However, installing more panels means you have to fork out more money at the outset. It might be more realistic to install a smaller system first off and to try your best in cutting down your energy usage to reach maximum savings.

  1. What can you afford?

You need to have an accurate idea of costs. Not only will you have to pay for the solar panels themselves, you will also need to pay for installation, the fuse boxes and smart meters that interact with the power grid.

Also read: British Airways will power some of its jets with trash

You’ll want to decide how much you’re willing to spend on the overall system from the very outset to make sure you don’t blow your budget. Make sure you do your research and compare different solar panel providers to help keep costs down.

Starting your journey into solar power can be simple for anyone, and for any home. The harsh Aussie sun that we cop most of the year round means generating your own electricity is not hard work in most places, and with the cost of energy continually increasing it might be something we all want to consider in the future.