When it comes to solar power in Australia, lots of things have changed in the last few years. If you’re currently shopping around for a solar system, perhaps the most important thing you need to keep in mind is this: You’ll get the most out of your solar panels by consuming the energy they produce while it is being produced. This is usually referred to as ‘solar self-consumption’, and it is the key to ensuring that your solar system delivers to you the best return possible.

(This article was originally published in August 2016.)

The backstory: Ghosts of solar feed-in tariffs past

Once upon a time in Australia there were state-based incentives for solar power generation called solar feed-in tariffs. These incentives rewarded solar homes for sending their solar energy into the grid at generous rates – frequently over 30 cents per unit of energy (kilowatt-hour, kWh). In contrast, these households may have only been paying 20c/kWh for electricity they purchased from the their electricity retailers. In these circumstances, it made sense to send solar into the grid, as this would deliver the biggest savings.

These days, pretty much anywhere you are in Australia the rate you will be paid for excess solar energy is generally very low (unless you are on a legacy feed-in tariff), regardless of whether there is a regulated minimum rate in your state or if the rate is a voluntary one set by your retailer. This means that if you’ve only just come into the solar game, you might be looking at your neighbour’s solar system wondering why they get 44c/kWh (to use a Queensland example), while the highest rates you can find are 4-10c/kWh. Read the full article →


Shay Rahemtulla 14 September, 2017 at 4:23 am

Hi, my name is Shay and I am really impressed by your solar calculator. I was exploring both the:
– Simple Solar PV System Sizing & Payback Estimator and
– Solar Choice Solar Power System Payback Calculator

Is there a way I can see the calculations behind the black box magic that you do? :)

Please let me know,


Solar Choice Staff 25 September, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Hi Shay,

Our calculators are our IP and have to remain the black boxes that they are to prevent them from being used by people who haven’t put in the effort that we have in making them. Happy to try to explain them a bit more if you like – shoot me an email on james@solarchoice.net.au.

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