Home to some of Australia’s lowest solar PV system prices, Sydney is a great place to install solar panels–even without a state-backed solar feed-in tariff. Falling solar PV system prices and high electricity prices mean that a solar power system in Sydney offers a great return on investment–especially for those who use a good portion of their electricity during daylight hours.
This article takes a look at the benefits of going solar in Sydney, NSW as well as some of the options available to those who are in the market for a solar system.
The benefits of owning a solar power system in Sydney
Harvesting the power of Sydney’s sun
Finding the best deal on solar PV in Sydney, or anywhere in NSW, depends first on understanding what a solar PV system potentially offers a home or business. Solar panels produce electricity only when the sun is shining, and how much electricity is generated depends on the intensity and duration of the sunshine.
Averaged across the year, a rooftop in Sydney receives around 3.9 ‘peak sun hours’ per day. This number will be higher in summer and lower in winter, and accordingly so will the electricity output of a solar power system.
With a 1.5kW solar array, 3.9 hours of peak sun will result in approximately 5.85kWh of electricity. A 2kW system in Sydney will generate approximately 7.8kWh of electricity, a 3kW system in Sydney will produce around 11.7kWh per day, and a 5kW system will generate around 19.5kWh per day. (N.B. These days, 3kW-5kW system sizes tend to be the most popular.)
Home electricity use vs solar PV system electricity generation in Sydney
Household and business electricity demand varies by the number of occupants and use patterns through the day. However, as a ‘base case’, we can assume that the average 3-person home uses an annual average of about 20kWh per day. A 5kW system in Sydney, for example, would produce enough power to just about cover a home or business’s electricity consumption (provided all electricity is consumed during the day).
Since Sydney residents do not have access to a Solar Feed-in Tariff, it makes the most economic sense for a home or business to 1) install a solar system that will not generate more electricity than the occupants require, and 2) endeavour to use as much solar energy as possible while it is being generated–i.e. during sunshine hours.
Although some electricity retailers do credit customers 6-8c/kWh (check out the federal government’s EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au to compare offerings) of solar electricity exported to the grid, this is a nominal offering. The real solar savings are to be had by consuming solar power as it is generated. By doing so, building occupants can avoid purchasing electricity from the grid in the first place–effectively making each kWh of solar power worth as much as each kWh of power bought from the grid.
Federal Government Solar Rebates for Sydney, NSW
Under the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target, homes and businesses can receive what is in effect an up-front discount on the cost of their solar system (provided it is no larger than 100kW). The amount that will be taken off the price of the system varies mainly by location (sunnier regions get larger discounts), but also by installer and the market rate for the certificates (called RECs or STCs) that comprise this discount.
This may sound complicated, but what it means in effect is that a solar PV system in Sydney will be discounted by around $0.71 per watt of installed capacity. This means, for example, that the price of a 5kW solar system in Sydney would be reduced by around ($0.71 * 5000 watts =) ~$3550. Instead of paying (for example) $11,350, the person who purchases the system would only pay $7800.
Installers in the Solar Choice network disclose the amount that this federal incentive will save system purchasers in Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparison sheets, along with final system cost.
Electricity bill savings through solar PV systems in Sydney
Grid-connected NSW residents can benefit financially from having a solar PV system installed by reducing their electricity bills. Since the Solar Buyback schemes in NSW are available only through certain electricity retailers, and even then only at a nominal 6-8c/kWh rate, it is only economical to install a solar PV system in NSW if occupants can somehow ensure that electricity can be used while the solar panels are generating power. This means, in essence, that solar is a great option for residences where the occupants are home during the day, or for businesses that operate during daylight hours. This is because power is automatically drawn first from the solar system; only when electricity generated by the solar panels has been exhausted or exceeded is electricity imported and purchased from the grid.
Finding the best solar deals in Sydney: Ask Solar Choice
Good return on investment and short payback periods on solar PV systems depend first on finding a good deal on a system. A reasonable price for reasonable quality components is what anyone interested in going solar should look for. Brokering the best deal on solar power installations is what Solar Choice does best, with a network of over 120 installers Australia-wide.
Solar Choice’s head office is located in Manly, NSW. However, as Australia’s free Solar Energy Brokering and advice service, Solar Choice matches up potential solar PV customers with installers who service their area–anywhere in Australia, including Sydney. Solar Choice is uniquely positioned to identify the best deals on offer and help our customers to find the solar system that best suits their needs and budget.
Request a Solar Quote Comparison today by filling out the form to the right of this page, or call us on 1300 78 72 73.
© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
(Top image: James Martin)