Broken Hill, in outback NSW, is a great place to install a solar PV system, even after the conclusion of the state’s Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff scheme. Solar Choice, as Australia’s free Solar Energy Brokering and advice service, is in a unique position to help customers find the best solar PV power system deals in Broken Hill, NSW, as well as across the rest of Australia.
The benefits of owning a solar power PV system in Broken Hill
Taking advantage of Broken Hill’s sun
Finding the best deal on solar PV in Broken Hill, 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 Broken Hill receives around 3.9 hours of sun per day–although this number will be higher in summer and lower in winter, and accordingly so will the 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 Broken Hill will generate approximately 7.8kWh of electricity, a 3kW system in Broken Hill will produce around 11.7kWh per day, and a 5kW system will generate around 19.5kWh per day.
Home electricity use vs solar PV system electricity generation in Broken Hill
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 Broken Hill, 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 Broken Hill 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 of solar electricity exported to the grid, this is a nominal offering; by consuming solar power as it is generated, building occupants avoid purchasing electricity from the grid–effectively making each kWh of solar power worth as much as each kWh of power bought from the grid.
(Read more about the economics of 1-to-1 Solar Buybacks vs Solar Feed-in Tariffs, who should consider going solar in NSW, and IPART’s recent determination regarding Solar Feed-in Tariff rates for NSW solar system owners.)
Federal Government Solar Rebates for Broken Hill, NSW
Under the Federal Government’s Solar Credit Scheme, solar systems are awarded a greater or smaller number of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs, also known as Small-scale Technology Certificates or STCs), depending on their location, the size of the system that installed, and the REC price agreed on between the customer and solar installer. It is also important to keep in mind that STC prices are not set in stone–rather, they fluctuate with supply and demand. Installation companies will usually tell customers what price they give per STC when initial pricing details are settled on. (STC prices are also clearly listed in Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparison sheets.)
Broken Hill is in REC Zone 2. (REC Zone and applicable certificates can be calculated for free on ORER‘s website.) Systems installed in REC Zone 2 receive a base number of 115 STCs, plus 69 bonus certificates available through the Federal government’s Solar Credit REC Multiplier (3x for systems installed before 1 July 2012). The total numer of STCs is therefore (115 + 69 =) 184. Based on a certificate price of $30, customers would be eligible for a discount of $5,520 off the up-front price of the system. (This is also clearly detailed in Solar Choice quote comparisons.)
Electricity bill savings through solar PV systems in Broken Hill
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.
The future of the NSW Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff Scheme
Since the abrupt conclusion of the NSW Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff scheme, there has been no state government-mandated incentive for small-scale solar power. The Solar Bonus Scheme is currently under review, and a report detailing IPART‘s recommendations as to how electricity from solar PV should be valued is due out in April of 2012. The recommended rate is not expected to be much more than the 6-8c/kWh on offer voluntarily by some of the state’s electricity retailers, however, and it is expected that, should a new scheme be introduced, those with solar systems already installed will be eligible for the new rate. However, this new rate is not expected to have a significant impact on return on investment or payback periods for solar PV systems.
Finding the best solar deals in Broken Hill, NSW
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 70 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 Broken Hill (previously serviced by the Solar Choice Dubbo office). 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.
Download a Solar Power System ROI Calculator for Broken Hill, NSW
How to use the calculator:
1. Download the Solar Choice Broken Hill Solar PV ROI calculator (Excel file)
4. Find out which electricity retailer is offering the best solar Feed-in Tariff rate in NSW,
5. Alter the variables in the light blue boxes in the calculator (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 NSW’s Feed-in Tariff rate, may change over time.
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
(Top image: John O’Neill, via Wikipedia)
He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.
James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
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