Putting solar cells on your holiday home – a nice little earner

For those of you luck enough to own a holiday home you no doubt already know that renting it out to friends and the public is a great way to earn some extra money.

Now there’s another way to earn some extra money from your lovely little holiday shack – putting solar cells on it. You may think, what’s the point of putting solar cells on a house I’m hardly ever at? Well, that is precisely why it’s a good idea. All that energy you don’t use will be fed back into the grid and bought off you at a premium rate (see our article on solar feed-in rewards).    

If you have a holiday house in Queensland or South Australia (unfortunately the Victorian scheme has explicitly excluded holiday homes), you’ll really be making the most of the government feed-in tariff. That is because those states have a net feed-in tariff (where you get paid for the surplus electricity you export to the grid). So all those months no-one is in the holiday house (and even those days you’re not in the house but on the beach) you’ll be generating clean, green, renewable energy, feeding it back into the electricity grid and watching the cheques roll in!

If you have a holiday house in NSW or the ACT you’re in an even better situation, because you get paid for ALL of the solar energy you generate – whether you use it or export it (a gross feed-in tariff).  

Lets look at an example:

Lets say that you have a holiday house in South East Queensland that is occupied for 8 weeks in the year (56 days occupied, 309 unoccupied) that has a 1.5kW solar system installed. Lets assume that on the days the house is occupied by you only 25% of the energy you generate is fed back into the grid.

As a guide, a 1kW solar system will generate 4.5kWh of electricity a day (kWh/kW.day)

(309 + 56 x 25%) days x 1.5kW system x 4.5kWh/kW.day =  2180 kWh/year

In Queensland the feed-in tariff rate is 44c per kWh, but some retailers are paying an additional premium (see article on which electricity retailer is giving the best solar feed in tariff?), so you could actually earn 52c/kWh if you are with AGL.


2180kWh/year x 52c/kWh = $1134 a year in feed in tariff income

That’s a whole lot of income you can get for doing virtually nothing! Of course, solar PV systems cost money to install, but in these circumstances where your system is producing a lot of power for export it will pay itself off through feed in tariff earnings and REC credits in 4-5 years. After that, the rest of the income is pure profit. So that means in Queensland for our above example, you would be earning $1134 every year for 15 years (which is when the current feed in tariff runs out). If you install a larger system (of anything up to 10kW) that income gets proportionately bigger.

So installing a solar energy system on your holiday house makes a whole lot of financial sense. And you can do it with the knowledge that you’re a substantial generator of clean, green, renewable solar energy.

Kobad Bhavnagri
Solar Energy Consultant
Solar Choice Pty Ltd

© 2010 Solar Choice Pty Ltd


  1. Hi Kobad, We are thinking of installing a 1.5Kw solar panel system at a rifle club located in Oakleigh, Victoria. The club is 110Yrs old and we are looking at various ways of generating an income. The club uses only 0.61Kw per day so we were wondering if installing a system that produces 1.5Kw would over time provide a regular income to the club. \Regards,
    mike Jarrad.

  2. I have a unit on the coast at Port Stephens NSW. The unit block has a flat roof area of over 100sq.m.
    What are the options for the owners of the units in the block setting up a solar power generaion unit of ~10kw (costs and returns).

    1. Hi Colin … if you sign up on our homepage for a Quote Comparison one or our knowledgeable solar energy brokers will provide you with our free and impartial service, setting out a range of 7 options/installers and helping you arrive at an informed decision.

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