Finding Queensland’s best solar power deals

With a strong Solar Feed-in Tariff, Queensland remains the best state in Australia for solar power. Queenslanders who install an eligible solar PV systems may sign up for the most generous state-based solar incentive scheme in Australia, receiving 44c for every unit of solar electricity that you feed into the power grid. Receiving the most benefit from the Solar Feed-in Tariff requires first finding the best solar power system deal in the state..

Solar power in Queensland: Get the most out of the Sunshine State’s sun

How much solar power will my system produce?

As the nickname ‘the Sunshine State’ suggests, Queensland is blessed with plentiful solar irradiation. Depending on the part of the state in question, Queensland receives an an annual average of around 4.2 hours of full sun per day–more in summer, less in winter. Since the job of solar PV is to capture the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity, the amount of power your system generates will depend on the size of your system. For example, a 1kW system will generate 4.2 kilowatt-hours per day in a typical Queensland location.

What size solar system do I need?

The best way to figure out what system size you need is to start with your power bill.  How many units (kilowatt-hours) of electricity did your home use over the last quarter? Divide this number by 91 days, and you’ll have a rough idea of how much power you use on a daily basis (keeping in mind seasonal fluctuations–e.g. air conditioner or heater usage). As a rule of thumb, however, it’s useful to keep in mind that the average 3-person home uses about 20 kilowatt-hours per day. Generally speaking a 5-kilowatt system will produce enough power to pay for most of a home’s power bill.

However, not everyone aims to completely eliminate their power bill–some might simply want to reduce it. Whether to buy a smaller or larger system is generally depends on the budget that is available for the project. Remember that a solar PV system can afford a household with a better return on investment than most savings accounts, especially considering the fact that solar system prices are lower now than they ever have been before.

What incentives are available?

Solar Credits

All properly-installed PV systems are eligible for rebates through the federal government’s Federal Government’s Solar Credit Scheme. A home or business will usually receive an up-front discount on their system thanks to Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), for which the solar system installer will ordinarily handle the paperwork. Renewable Energy Certificates are a market commodity, so their price fluctuates–they have been as low as $14 each and as high as $40 each. At the time of writing, they hover around $25.

Most of Queensland is in REC Zone 3. A 5kW solar power system installed 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 2x until 1 July 2013), the system would pick up an additional 34 bonus credits, bringing the grand total to 149. With an assumed REC price of $30, this means an up-front discount of $4,470.

Queensland Solar Feed-in Tariff

Queensland’s Solar Feed-in Tariff is the the most generous in the country. Queensland residents with grid-connected systems will receive 44c for every kilowatt-hour that they export to the grid–more than double the average retail electricity rate for the state–although electricity prices are rising in Queensland.

Timing is essential in getting the most financial benefit from your solar system’s performance. Since the Queensland Solar Feed-in Tariff is a net scheme, homes and businesses only get paid for excess electricity exported to the grid, and since the Feed-in Tariff rate is greater than retail electricity rates, it makes more sense to export as much as possible–although ‘self-consumption’ will also save money by making purchasing power from the grid in the first place unnecessary.

Update 10 July 2012: The Queensland Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff rate has been reduced to 8c/kWh, but returns on investment for a solar PV system are still good, especially in light of the rising cost of electricity. What are the economics of solar power in the Sunshine state under the new rate?

How to find the best deals on Solar Power in Queensland

Solar Choice, as Australia’s free Solar Energy Brokering and advice service, connects solar PV customers with installers who service their area. We provide comprehensive quote comparisons of solar power installations throughout the country–including both urban and regional Queensland. With a bird’s eye view of the solar power market, Solar Choice is uniquely poised to identify the best deals on offer and facilitate 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.

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd 

(Top image via KidsMaps)

James Martin II