Geelong, located just west of Melbourne, is a good place for installing a solar PV system. Victoria offers Standard and Transitional Solar Feed-in Tariff incentives for solar PV. Additionally, with electricity rates rising, the price of solar PV falling, and up-front rebates available through the Federal Solar Credits scheme, now is a great time to find the best solar power deals in Geelong.
Advantages of having a solar power system in Geelong
Benefitting financially from Geelong’s sun
Geelong rooftops see an annual average around 3.7 hours of sun per day. 3.7 hours of peak sun will generate approximately 5.55kWh for a home or business with a 1.5kW solar PV array (this number will increase in summer, and be lower during the winter). A 3kW system will produce around 11.1kWh per day, and a 5kW system will generate around 18.5kWh per day.
Power consumption vs solar PV generation in Geelong
In order to find the best deals on solar power systems in Geelong, or anywhere in Australia, you must first understand how much power your home or business uses on a daily basis. Energy use depends on the number of occupants and energy usage patterns. However, as a basic example, the average 3-person home uses an annual average of about 20kWh per day. The average home’s electricity consumption will be mostly offset by the output from a 5kW solar power system.
Victorians receiving the state’s 25c/kWh Transitional Solar Feed-in Tariff (for systems of 5kW in capacity or smaller), the wisest financial choice is to attempt to export as much solar power to the electricity grid as possible (as opposed to ‘self-consuming’ the solar power). For those receiving the state’s ‘1-for-1’ Standard Feed-in Tariff (for all types of renewable energy generation, including solar PV systems greater than 5kW in capacity), controlling the timing of electricity use is not imperative; a general strategy of reduced electricity use is best.
Up-front Federal Government Solar Rebates for Geelong
The next step in finding the best solar PV system deals in Geelong is educate yourself about your eligibility for Federal and State incentive schemes. Victorian residents are eligible for both a Federal government ‘rebate’ and Victoria’s Feed-in Tariffs.
The amount of the Solar Rebate available to someone who has a solar PV system installed is based on the number of sun-hours that the installation location can be expected to receive. Under the Federal Government’s Solar Credit Scheme, households are granted Renwable Energy Certificates (RECs, also known as Small-scale Technology Certificates or STCs). How many STCs are granted depends on location, system size, and the certificate price agreed on between the customer and solar installer. STC prices rise and fall with supply and demand, but solar installation companies can set a rate in deals with individual customers during negotiations. (STC prices are disclosed in Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparison sheets.)
Geelong is located in REC Zone 4. A 5kW solar PV system installed in Geelong would generate a base number of 88 STCs. When the Solar Credit REC Multiplier (currently 3x until 1 July 2012) is applied, however, the total number of STCs generated is (88 + 54 =) 142. If the STC price is $30, a discount of $4,260 off the up-front price of the system applies. Solar PV system prices in Australia are currently reaching unprecedented lows due to increased competition and an oversupply of stock globally. These factors, in combination with the Federal discount, have made solar systems attractive investments for homes across the country. Victoria residents also enjoy the additional support of Victoria’s Feed-in Tariffs, which improve system return on investment (ROI) and shorten payback periods.
Saving money on electricity bills in Geelong
All grid-connected Victoria residents may benefit from having a solar PV system installed in two ways:
– Avoiding purchase of electricity from the power grid/electricity retailers by consuming solar power as it is generated (“self-consumption”). For this to work, the premises with the system must be occupied, or the appliances scheduled to run during the daytime hours when the system is producing power. When solar power is self-consumed, its value to the user is effectively equivalent to that of electricity from the grid.
– Under Victoria’s Transitional and Standard Feed-in Tariffs, electricity bills may also be credited for solar electricity ‘exported’ to the power grid. When electricity is exported on the 25c/kWh Transitional Feed-in Tariff, its value is greater than that of electricity bought from the power grid. Through the Standard Feed-in Tariff, the value of exported solar power is equivalent to that of electricity purchased from the grid.
Bear in mind, however, that as the cost of electricity rises, the Standard Feed-in Tariff will become more advantageous than the Transitional tariff. The Standard FiT guarantees that those who export solar to the grid will be paid a rate equivalent to what they pay for electricity from the grid. For the time being, however, the Transitional Feed-in Tariff gives a potentially better return on investment (ROI), given that the home or business that operates the system attempts to export as much solar power as possible. (Read more: The economics of 1-for-1 Solar Buybacks vs Solar Feed-in Tariffs.)
Finding the best solar PV power system deals in Geelong
Solar Choice, as Australia’s free Solar Energy Brokering and advice service, matches up potential solar PV customers with installers who service their area. We provide comparisons of Solar Quotes for solar system installers nation-wide, including Geelong. Solar Choice is uniquely positioned to identify the best solar PV power system deals on offer and facilitate 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.
Download a Solar Power System ROI Calculator for Geelong, Victoria
How to use the calculator*:
1. Download the Solar Choice Geelong Solar PV ROI (Excel file) calculator
2. Request a Solar Quote Comparison of the solar system installers in Geelong to obtain system prices,
3. Visit SwitchWise or a similar site to find the best deal on solar electricity,
4. Find out which electricity retailer is offering the best Solar Feed-in Tariff rate in Victoria,
5. Alter the variables in the light blue boxes (system size, system price, etc) in column B to calculate system Return on Investment (ROI).
(You may also open the file in Google Docs if you have a Google account.)
*Calculator outputs are indicative only–please keep in mind that electricity rates, as well as Victoria’s Feed-in Tariff rate, may change over time.
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
James holds a Master's degree in Environmental Management from the University of New South Wales. and an undergrad degree in philosophy from Bridgewater State University in his native Massachusetts. He has a keen interest in developments in the renewable energy field, with a focus on distributed solar and energy storage.
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