Over 30% of the homes in the Brisbane area have solar panels on their roofs – one of the highest rates of any of Australia’s capital cities. Why have Brisbane residents taken such a shine to solar power? This article take a look and the benefits of going solar for households in Brisbane.
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Why is Brisbane a good place for solar power?
Exhibit A: Ample sunshine
Fitting for the capital of the sunshine state, Brisbane receives lots of sunshine year-round. According to PVWatts, Brisbane gets about 5.5 hours of ‘peak sun’ per square meter on average per day. How much usable solar energy does 5.5 peak sun hours translate into? The answer depends on a few things, including the size (or kilowatt capacity) of your solar system.
|Solar PV system output in Brisbane (Popular system sizes)|
|Solar system size (kilowatts)
||Avg daily system output (kilowatt-hours)|
Great! But what does this mean?
When you look at your electricity bill, you should be able to see your energy usage listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh) – the standard units used in electricity billing. Your kWh consumption will vary by season and month. You should be able to figure out roughly how many kWh you use per day on average by looking at your old electricity bills. Knowing this number will help you choose the right solar system size.
Keep in mind that Queensland no longer has a solar feed-in tariff for new solar installations, which means that you do not get financially rewarded for putting your solar energy into the grid (although some electricity retailers do offer a nominal buyback rate). In short, these days ‘self-consumption’ is the name of the game, and there are two ways to maximise the proportion of solar energy that you consume: 1) Make sure your system is sized appropriately, and 2) Know your electricity consumption pattern and behave accordingly.
We have developed a tool to help you select a solar PV system size based on the amount of energy that you consume and your consumption pattern:
Exhibit B: Strong up-front incentives through the federal Renewable Energy Target
The federal government indirectly provides what are in effect up-front discounts on the cost of installing a solar PV system through Australia’s Renewable Energy Target. The actual value of the incentive depends on a number of factors such as location and system size, but usually works out to be about 30-40% of the total installation cost. This incentive has been key in making Australia home to some of the lowest solar PV system prices in the world.
As an example, when this incentive is applied to a 5kW solar system in Brisbane, it results in a reduction of $3,605 – $4,120.
Exhibit C: Competitive solar PV system prices
As mentioned above, Australian solar system installation prices are among the lowest in the world – we know because we’ve been keeping track for a few years now with our monthly Solar PV Price Index articles. However, to get the freshest possible look at the market, we recommend that you request a Solar Quote Comparison.
Instantly compare current prices for a range of installers & system sizes in Brisbane: Request a Solar Quote Comparison by entering your details into the form to the right of this page.
What about battery storage?
One way to increase solar self-consumption is to have a battery storage system installed. Although batteries can still be quite pricey, they are quickly becoming more affordable. (Battery storage price comparisons are now available with all of Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparisons.)
Exhibit D: Solar PV systems in Brisbane are still a good investment
As the table below illustrates, payback times for solar systems in Brisbane can be quite short and savings quite large. Keep in mind that the results in the table are based on average Brisbane prices – lower system prices will yield even better results. We just urge that you make sure that the system you’re purchasing uses quality components and is installed by a reputable installer. Lower prices don’t always indicate lower quality, but they should be approached with a healthy degree of caution – remember that a solar system should last up to 25 years (with inverter replacements every 7-10 years). Any system downtime will reduce savings and extend the payback period – not to mention costs incurred for any repairs not covered by the system’s warranty.
Indicative returns for solar systems @ average Brisbane prices
(Assuming 85% system efficiency, 20kWh electricity consumption/day, retail electricity @ 25c/kWh, solar feed-in rate @ 8c/kWh)
|@ 50% self-consumption||@ 70% self-consumption||@ 50% self-consumption||@ 70% self-consumption|
|~6.6 year payback||~5.3 year payback||~6.1 year payback||~5 year payback|
|~13% IRR||~17% IRR||~15% IRR||~19% IRR|
|~$450 annual savings||~$550 annual savings||~$600 annual savings||~$734 annual savings|
|@ 50% self-consumption||@ 70% self-consumption||@ 50% self-consumption||70% self-consumption|
|~5 year payback||~4.1 year payback||~4.1 year payback||~3.4 year payback|
|~20% IRR||~25% IRR||~25% IRR||~30% IRR|
|~$900 annual savings||~$1,100 annual savings||~$1,500 annual savings||~$1,800 annual savings|
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