If you’re shopping around for solar panels in Tasmania, it’s important to understand not only how the technology works, but also how it can benefit your home or business. Along with the rest of Australia, the number of solar panel installations in Tasmania has skyrocketed in recent years, with many people looking very differently at their worthiness as an investment option than even just a few years ago. This article takes a look at the trends and influencing factors that caused this to be the case, and gives some advice about how to compare solar panel prices & installers in Tasmania.
Solar panels in Tasmania: Are they worth it?
Although Tasmania does not have the same close association as much of the rest of Australia does with sunshine, it is in fact an excellent place to have solar panels installed, and is blessed with more sunshine than the UK, where solar PV installations have grown enormously in popularity in recent years. Many Tasmanian homes and businesses have already made the switch to solar, and mainly for economic reasons. Solar panels not only increase a home’s energy independence and reduce its carbon footprint–they also save their owners money on their power bills. It is because of these benefits that Australia passed the 1 million solar homes mark earlier this year. The 2 main reasons as to why this is the case are detailed below.
1. Federal subsidies for solar and Tasmania’s solar buyback scheme
Although solar panel price declines have occurred primarily thanks to broader global factors (such as ramped up manufacturing in China and the lower cost of silicon), incentives and support (mainly from the government) for the the technology have also played a key role in bringing it to so many homes and businesses. In Tasmania, federal incentives bring down the upfront cost installing a system, while a generous solar buyback scheme through Aurora Energy supports solar electricity generation in the state.
Federal solar discounts
Federal government rebates for solar panel installations (actually more accurately called ‘discounts’ than ‘rebates’) are available for any system under 100kW in capacity through Australia’s Renewable Energy Target scheme. Without getting too technical, homes and businesses in Tasmania will save around 55c per watt of installed solar capacity through the scheme, (As an example, the discount for a 3kW solar system in Tasmania works out to about $1,650.) Homes and businesses who have a system installed through an accredited solar installer usually do not need to go through the procedural rigamarole in order to get this discount, as it is ordinarily applied directly to the cost of installing a system by the company who does the job.
(You can see current installation prices in Tasmania by checking Solar Choice’s most recent Solar PV Price Index.)
Tasmania’s solar buyback scheme
A 1-for-1 solar buyback (or solar feed-in tariff) is currently available through Aurora Energy. Under this scheme, system owners are paid a rate that matches the retail electricity rate for each unit (or kilowatt-hour, kWh) that their system exports to the electricity grid; e.g. if you pay 27c/kWh for electricity at the moment, you will receive 27c/kWh for each unit of solar energy that your panels send to the electricity network. This means that system owners, in addition to avoiding purchase of power from the grid by generating more of their own power, will actually receive credits on their power bills for solar power that they do not use.
This program is only available to those who apply for it by the 30 August 2013 deadline, after which point the buyback rate will be reduced to around 8c/kWh. The reduction will not mean that solar will suddenly no longer be investment-worthy, but it will mean that households and businesses that install systems will need to be more careful about when they use their electricity, endeavouring wherever possible to consume the solar power while it is being generated.
2. Electricity prices have climbed significantly
On the other end of the cost equation, complementing the fall in solar panel prices, is the fact that electricity rates have risen significantly in the past few years across the country–including Tasmania. The higher the cost of purchasing electricity from the grid is, the more it makes sense for homes and businesses to generate their own, and it has never been more economical to generate your own power with solar panels than now.
Shopping around for solar panels in Tasmania? Compare prices with Solar Choice
Since 2008 Solar Choice has been providing our customers with instant, easy-to-understand comparisons of solar panel quotes all over Australia–including Tasmania. If you want to have an impartial look at the market in your part of the state, whether it be Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, or elsewhere, request a Solar Quote Comparison by filling out the form on the right of this page, or by calling Solar Choice on 1300 78 72 73. Our services are 100% free to our customers.
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