Please help me understand

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Please help me understand

Postby interested_in_solar » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:38 am

Hi all,

Im new to this and paying about $1100 on electricity, using about 4500kwh per quarter.

I'm looking into Solar Electricity and a 5kw system, from my newbie calculations i should get approximately 6667kwh annually from a system like that?

One of the cheaper installed systems i have found in Sydney is $5699 through JTSOLAR.

I have also looked that a 5kw system gets provided 103 STC's over 15years which currently values at $3836.75

So from my understanding am i correct in saying that the install cost will be $5699 PLUS what ever other expenses they have to install then MINUS $3826.75 which amounts to $1872.25?

Thanks for you help in advance
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby zzsstt » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:48 am

Do not rush in to a large system if you do not completely understand how the feed in tariff system works!

Your PV system will produce power when the sun shines, and any power that you use (up to the limit of what the system is producing at that instant in time) will come from your PV system. If you are using more than your PV is producing (at that instant in time) you will still be using some power from the grid, and be charged for it at the prevailing rate. If you use less than your PV system is producing (at that instant in time) then the excess will be exported to the grid.

The reason that I have repeated "at that instant in time" is because the export process is in real time, it does not depend on annual export or monthly, or any period of time other than INSTANTANEOUS. This is important because in NSW there is no mandatory feed in tariff, which means that you are not entitled to be paid for any power you export. Some electricity retailers do pay you, and some will put you on a special contract that increases your other charges. Those retailers that choose to pay for your power will do so at (about) the wholesale price of power, which is around 7c - 10c/kwh. Whilst you probably pay far more than that to buy power from them, much of that cost (about 15c/kwh) is "network charges", which is what your retailer pays to the "grid" to have the power transported by wire to your house. Clearly they don't want to pay that to you when they buy your power, because they will also have to pay it to the grid to deliver that power to someone else. So they will pay you much the same as they will pay any other generator to produce power.

What this means is that you need to check with your electricity supplier to make sure that they will actually pay you for any power you produce, and then check that what they pay is sufficient to justify the expense. It is NOT a 1:1 relationship between what you generate and what you use!! You have calculated that your chosen system will produce x amount of power in a year. But if that power is generated whilst you aren't using it, and therefore exported to the grid, it might (if your electricity retailer does not offer any FIT) make be worth nothing. At most it will be worth perhaps 25% of what you will be paying (assuming 8c FIT and 30c charge) per kwh.

Example:

If you use no power through the day, and everything at night, you will export all your PV to the grid. IF they pay you, you will get perhaps 8c/kwh for it, but you will still pay perhaps >30c/kwh for what you buy from them. So you need to export more than 4 times what you use to pay your power bill (plus extra for standing charges etc.).

On the other hand, if you are at home all day, and use 3kw continuously to run an air conditioner, then your 5kw system will be running that air conditioner for free (when the sun is shining) and will therefore make a far bigger impact on you bill...

As for what you will pay for the system, the only answer is to read the small print. Many companies will quote an "installed" price which is all inclusive of costs AND rebates. Others will quote a price before rebates are applied.

It is unfortunate that many PV resellers are still advertising on the basis of old rules or false claims!
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby interested_in_solar » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:18 pm

To simplify all that i need to know if my provider will give me FIT. Im with AGL so i will find out...
I get charged 24.25c for first 1726kw and then 27.11c for there after (1952kw)
controlled load of 1882kw @ 8.47c (hot water)

If i use more power during the day when the sun is shining at my residence, which i do, it will be more beneficial...

I need to find out if the supplier/installer is charging that before or after taking STC's???

Is this all i need to find out?


Thanks again
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby zzsstt » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:04 pm

That pretty much sums it up! As long as you understand the realities, and don't get sucked in by "never pay another power bill" claims that will inevitably prove untrue, then you're good to go!

From AGL's web site:
AGL wrote:"New solar power customers will receive 8 cents* per kWh from AGL for all excess electricity fed into the electricity grid."

"Certain AGL electricity plans are not available to solar customers. AGL has a number of electricity plans that are available for solar customers."


So, it looks like you'll get paid 8c/kwh for your exports, but you need to establish that you can stay on whatever plan you currently have, and that they're not going to change you to a more expensive plan, higher "metering charges" etc.
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby davidg » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:51 pm

interested_in_solar wrote:One of the cheaper installed systems i have found in Sydney is $5699 through JTSOLAR.

That price will be after STC's have already been factored as discount. If they do it as cheap as you mentioned then you are almost certain to get seriously crappy products & installation on your roof. Then you will very :cry:
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby Smurf1976 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:47 pm

Simplified explanation of how NET metering works.

Suppose that your solar system is producing 1kW (to keep it simple).

Now suppose that you have a 2kW load that is on 50% of the time and off for the other 50% of the time. So an average load of 1kW, made up of half 0kW and half 2kW.

When the load is on, the meter will record 1kW of power coming from the grid and you will be charged for this at the relevant rate. When the load is off the meter will record 1kW of power exported to the grid and you will be paid for this at the relevant rate (less than what you pay for power taken from the grid).

So you are producing 5kWh over a 5 hour period, and also using 5kWh over that same period. But the meter will see that as 2.5kWh exported to the grid when the load is off, and 2.5kWh drawn from the grid when the load is on. Since exports are worth less financially than imports, you will still be incurring a cost for electricity even though your average solar output is equal to your average load.

Make sure you understand this before deciding what size system to install.

From a financial perspective, splitting the panels to have half facing East and half facing West will give you a more consistent power output over the course of the day. Typically, this will result in more of your own power (mornings and later afternoon) being used within the house and less being exported to the grid. At least it will unless you use most of your electricity around the middle of the day for some reason (which is typically not the case). So you can enhance the financial return from your solar system by setting it up this way rather than the more conventional practice of facing all the panels North.
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby interested_in_solar » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:19 pm

After some calls, emails, and research... This is what i have gathered...

I'm looking at a 5KW system installed which will set me back $6400 after STC's. Just trying to see if i can get the money together.

I have worked out that a 5kw system on 5hrs of good sun a day will produce 25kwh then to factor in loss of 30%, it will leave me with 17.5kwh per day.

Since i have in-laws who are retired that live with me in the granny flat and the wife who stays home to look after the little one im sure that all the energy produced will be used immediately.

A rough estimation on my use, i will end up paying back for the system after about 4years and 3 months.

Is my estimation on energy produced too much or too little or is it a fair estimation? I am on the East Coast of Australia in Sydney.

Im also looking into Solar Leasing, has anyone had any experience with this?
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby davidg » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:51 pm

interested_in_solar wrote:I'm looking at a 5KW system installed which will set me back $6400 after STC's.

Quality of the installation? Reputation of the business? Paying a bit more to get it done right really have it backed up should it be required is worth it- typically never go with the cheapest price. If you are put under pressure to pay a deposit straight away it's the wrong business to go with. Paying a deposit is fine just sales tatics like deposit to lock in the price or we can only hold the price with a deposit, etc are just wrong.

I prefer a desposit when doing the job, it obilgates both parties, I don't always do it though. :)

In Vic now more than one distributor requires pre-approval for a Solar installation BEFORE work commences, which can take 2-3weeks sometimes, that is out of our control.

interested_in_solar wrote:I have worked out that a 5kw system on 5hrs of good sun a day will produce 25kwh then to factor in loss of 30%, it will leave me with 17.5kwh per day.

It could be right, but there is no foundation reference for anyone to base it on, like exact location, shading, roof space, orientation, how it's going to installed eg across two roof areas for instance, which equipment distance of the cable runs, I've been able to get losses down lower than that for most installations however it costs a little bit more to do so - like heavier wire, good air movement under panels, the highest string voltage able to be used and any other little tweek that give more watts and earlier startup longer period of daily power production.

interested_in_solar wrote:in-laws who are retired that live with me in the granny flat and the wife who stays home to look after the little one im sure that all the energy produced will be used immediately.

Great then you should a have good daytime impact knowing how much is used and when during the day is also rather handy as well.

interested_in_solar wrote:A rough estimation on my use, i will end up paying back for the system after about 4years and 3 months.

Quite possible as long it's installed properly, such as ensuring the inverter is located in a position where it is will not be subject extremes of radiant heat and direct sun (in proper permanent shade such as on the south side of a building, well ventilated for instance)

interested_in_solar wrote:Is my estimation on energy produced too much or too little or is it a fair estimation? I am on the East Coast of Australia in Sydney.

As above no specific detail on location- so shading unknown, surrouding buildings or trees etc.

interested_in_solar wrote:Im also looking into Solar Leasing, has anyone had any experience with this?

I considered as an offering, I did not like the way it calculated out if you have to get a loan then a get loan before hand it is a better way, will save money compared to "solar leasing"
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby interested_in_solar » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:54 pm

So don't go for the cheapest? I have approached everyone who has given me quotes. No one has pressured me into pricing or deposits. So im still hoping the cheapest will still be very comparable to the most expensive. The Panels are proposed to be installed NNE about 10-15 degrees, and possibly on the NWW about 280 degrees.
The solar inverter will probably be installed on the SE side of the house, only gets sun in the early morning.

The 16 panels which are estimated will be installed tilted on tin flat roof to the NNE and 4 panels on tiled roof to the NWW. There are no trees or shading with the NNE panels how ever there are 2 palm trees next door which do cover the NWW side. I will try and discuss this further after i get some people out to quote and confirm onsite whether the system will work.

I will over the next few weeks observe power usage from the meter between about 9am-3pm to see the consumption to see if i need a bigger system. I hope this is the right thing to do?

If it is better to get a loan for the initial purchase of a system over leasing i will do that after i get a few quotes and go through the figures.

I really appreciate all your advice and guidance.
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Re: Please help me understand

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:37 pm

I'm sensing a problem...

How many strings of panels are they proposing to use? What are the panel and inverter specs?
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