Solar power in Penrith, NSW: Compare systems & prices

Penrith residents have access to some of the most affordable solar power systems in all of Australia, thanks to its proximity to the population center of Sydney. This article investigates the benefits of solar power in Penrith, and takes a look at some of the things a home or business would need to consider before installing a system.

Solar PV system prices in Penrith, NSW

Solar system prices are falling while electricity rates climb

Australia has benefited from the trends that have seen solar PV technology and installation costs fall dramatically in the past few years, and the nation is now home to some of the lowest system installation prices in the world. Penrith is no exception. One of the key factors that has made small-scale solar systems so affordable in Australia in particular is the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), which provides a generous subsidy for grid-connected systems under 100 kilowatts (kW) in capacity. For Penrith residents, these days the RET will generally shave about ¢70 off the cost of every watt (W) of capacity of a system (although this rate can fluctuate). This would translate into about  $3,500 off the up-front cost of having a 5kW solar system installed.

The low cost of solar, coupled with the rising cost of electricity from the grid,  has made it easier for lots of homes and businesses across the country to decide for themselves that solar panels are a worthwhile investment–even without a state-backed ‘feed-in tariff’ incentive in place (such as NSW).

To get a rough idea of how much a solar system would cost in Penrith, it’s helpful to look to what prices are like a bit further east in Sydney. Below are tables showing average, high & low solar system prices for the greater Sydney area. The data comes from the Solar Choice installer network database, and these prices are updated monthly. The most recent Solar PV Price Index article can be found here.

Sydney Solar System Prices Averages March 2014 Sydney Solar system prices per Watt March 2014

Installing a solar system in Penrith can cut your power bills

Electricity prices have been rising across the country; solar systems are one of the most popular solutions to this problem. These days, electricity produced by a solar system on your roof–think of it as your own, private power plant–is less expensive than purchasing power from the grid when you look at it from a 20-year, 10-year or sometimes even a 7-year point of view. For Penrith homes and businesses that can afford a system & use electricity during the daytime, going solar makes a lot of sense.

As an example, take a 3-person home in Penrith that uses 20 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per day and pays around ¢25 per kWh for electricity from the grid. Installing a 3kW system could save them over $1000/year (assuming that the system is north-facing and that the household manages to use all of the power that the system produces). Such a system would pay for itself in around 6 years and have an return on investment of almost 20%.

What size system is best?

Determining which system size is appropriate for you is key in making the most of your solar investment. Any excess electricity exported to the grid is in effect ‘wasted’–while your utility might credit you about 7c/kWh for it, you’d actually save around 25c/kWh by using it yourself. So you want to make sure you’re using as much solar power as possible while the sun is shining–which means selecting a system that will not produce more than you need.

The best first step in determining the right system size is to look at a recent power bill. Your bill will show your monthly usage (in kilowatt-hours, kWh) and average daily usage. It will usually not, however, tell you is how you use that electricity throughout the day. This means you’ll need to make some informed estimates (see below). Typical solar system sizes for a home are 1.5kW, 2kW, 3kW, 4kW, 5kW and sometimes as large as 10kW. Anything larger than this is usually for a business.

Generally speaking, 1kW of solar PV capacity optimally installed in Penrith will generate about 3.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh, the same unit you’ll see on your power bill) on average throughout the year. This number will be higher in the summer and lower in the winter. A 2kW system would therefore produce about (2kW x 3.5kWh =) 7kWh of power a day on average. A 10kW solar system would generate about 35kWh of power per day.

How much power does your home or business need during the daytime? Here’s a quick, back-of-envelope way to calculate this: If your power bill says you used around 20kWh per day during the last billing period, and you think you use about 40% of your power at when the sun is down, you can assume that you use around (20kWh x .4 =) 8kWh per day. A properly-installed, tilted & orientated 2kW solar system would produce just about this much power and could be a good choice.

This situation will change once the cost of energy storage systems comes down, making it easier for solar system owners to use their power whenever they want it. With prices are dropping fast, it’s only a matter of time before an energy storage unit becomes as common as other white goods.

Check out solar system prices from Penrith installers in our network

Find out what sort of solar installation prices are available from installers who operate in Penrith by filling your details into the Solar Quote Comparison chart to the right of this page. You’ll receive an easy-to-understand, side-by-side comparison of installers and their offerings.

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