Find the Best Solar PV Power System Deals in Port Augusta, SA

Port Augusta is located in what is arguably Australia’s most ambitious state for renewable energy uptake–South Australia. A number of factors make SA a great place to install a solar PV system. However, the best returns on investment and shortest payback periods on systems are available only to Port Augusta residents who find the best deals on their solar PV system. With the price of systems hitting all-time lows, plus Federal Solar Credits providing significant up-front discounts on the cost of an installation, systems have never been more affordable. South Australia residents also have access to the state’s Transitional Solar Feed-in tariff  of 23c/kWh, which provides an excellent means of guarding against rising electricity rates in SA.

The advantages of installing a solar power PV system in Port Augusta, SA

Find the best solar deals in Port Augusta to harness the power of the sun

Finding the best deal on solar PV in Port Augusta, or anywhere in Australia, 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.

The average Port Augusta rooftop receives 3.7 hours of peak sun per day, averaged across the year. This number will be higher in summer and lower in winter, and the output of a solar system will fluctuate accordingly. With a 1.5kW solar array, 3.7 hours of peak sun will generate approximately 5.5kWh of electricity. A 2kW system in Port Augusta will generate approximately 7.4kWh of electricity, a 3kW system in Port Augusta will produce around 11.1kWh per day, a 4kW system 14.8kWh, and a 5kW system will generate around 18.5kWh per day.

Solar panel electricity production vs energy use in Port Augusta

What capacity of solar power system to select for a home or business depends on a number of factors, including budget and aims. Electricity use patterns differ from house to house and from business to business, but to give a general example, an average 3-person home will use around 20kWh of electricity per day. A 5kW system, therefore, will produce roughly enough electricity to cover the needs of a 3-person household. However, a system of this size may be outside the budget range of certain households or businesses, who may instead opt to install a system with the intention of reducing their electricity bill.

Federal Government Solar Rebates for Port Augusta

Under the Federal Government’s Solar Credit Scheme, solar systems (‘small-scale generation units’) are allotted a number of Renwable Energy Certificates (RECs, also known as Small-scale Technology Certificates or STCs). This number will be higher or lower depending on the location and the size of the system installed. It is important to keep in mind that STC prices change according to supply and demand. Solar installers will usually inform customers as to what price they give per STC when initial pricing details are settled on. (STC prices are also clearly detailed in Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparison sheets.)

More sunshine means more up-front Federal Government Solar Rebates

The amount of the Solar Rebate depends on a number of factors. Under the Federal Government’s Solar Credit Scheme, households are awarded a greater or smaller number of Renwable Energy Certificates (RECs, also known as Small-scale Technology Certificates), depending on their location, the size of the system that they install, and the REC price agreed on between the customer and solar installer. (REC prices fluctuate–although customers do have the option to hold on to the RECs generated upon completion of their installation and wait for the price to rise, most usually opt to have their solar power system installer take on the liability in order to receive upfront discount on the system installation.)

A 5kW solar power system installed in Port Augusta, located in REC Zone 3, would result in eligibility for a base number of 103 RECs/STCs, but when the Solar Credit REC Multiplier is taken into account (currently 3x until 1 July 2012), the system would pick up an additional 62 bonus credits, bringing the grand total to 165. With an assumed REC price of $30, this means an up-front discount of $4,950. With solar PV system prices at unprecedented lows across Australia and the world thanks to increased competition and a glut of stock, solar systems are an extremely attractive investment–especially when the South Australia’s Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff is taken into account.

Electricity bill savings through solar PV systems in Port Augusta: Transitional Feed-in Tariff and Self-consumption

Solar PV system owners in South Australia stand to benefit in two separate ways: 1) from exporting solar power to the grid under the state’s Transitional Solar Feed-in Tariff scheme, or 2) from consuming the solar electricity from their system as it is generated, thereby mitigating the need to purchase electricity from the grid in the first place. Fortunately, with a Feed-in Tariff of 23c/kWh (higher than the retail rate of electricity), Port Augusta residents don’t need to be home and consuming their solar electricity to benefit from having a solar system–for the time being, exporting to the grid is more economical than using the solar electricity directly.

South Australia Feed-in Tariff Premium Rate Draft Determination until 2014.
South Australia Feed-in Tariff Premium Rate Draft Determination until 2014.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that the SA Transitional Solar Feed-in Tariff is composed of 2 separate components–a steady rate of 16c/kWh plus a ‘retailer contribution‘ of 7.1c/kWh for the remainder of 2012. The latter component is expected to continue rising (at a rate of  several cents per year) as time goes on to match the ‘real value’ of solar power to the electricity grid, while the former is scheduled to expire on 30 September 2016. This means that after 30 September 2016, unless the retailer’s contribution has jumped to a rate equal to or nearly equal to the cost of retail electricity, it will make more sense for solar system owners to consume as much of their electricity as possible at home; to favour self-consumption over export to the grid.

Finding the best solar PV system deals in Port Augusta

Good return on investment and short payback periods on solar PV systems are predicated on finding the best deal possible on a solar PV system. Most solar PV customers, knowing that cutting corners by looking only for the cheapest system possible can result in future disappointment, look for high-quality components at reasonable prices. Solar Choice, as Australia’s free Solar Energy Brokering and advice service, is uniquely positioned to identify the best deals on offer anywhere in Australia. Solar Choice can then match customers up with installers to help them 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 Port Augusta, SA

How to use the calculator*:

1. Download the Solar Choice Port Augusta Solar PV ROI calculator (Excel file)

2. Request a Solar Quote Comparison of the solar system installers in Port Augusta 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 SA,

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 SA’s Feed-in Tariff rate, will change over time.

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd 

(Top image by GeorgieSharp, via Wikipedia)

James Martin II