The Solar Rebate: Still Very Much Alive And Kicking And Generous
The famous Australian federal solar rebate, technically known as the STC scheme, acts as a point of sale discount off a solar installations final cost.
All the prices you see advertised will already include this discount. Its worth about $447 per kilowatt of solar panels installed in 2022, but this will vary slightly depending on where you live.
So, for example, 6.6 kW of panels attracts around $2,950 in rebates.
Anyone can claim the rebate, even if youve already bought solar power systems in the past and want to buy a new system.
The only restrictions on claiming the rebate are:
- Your system installation must be less than 100 kW in size .
- You get it installed and designed by a Clean Energy Council accredited professional
- You use panels and solar inverters approved for installation in Australia by the Clean Energy Council .
The federal solar rebate is slowly being phased out. It reduces by one-ninth of todays value every January until it goes to zero in 2031.
For Victorians, the Labor government introduced a state-level rebate that offers eligible recipients an extra $1,400 off the cost of a solar system installation at the time of writing.
Pro-tip: The federal rebate is based on solar panel capacity, not the inverters size. This often makes adding panels over and above the inverter rating very worthwhile.
Do I Need A Solar Battery
Pairing solar panels with solar batteries is becoming increasingly popular, but that doesnt necessarily mean you need to get one. In fact, most homeowners in the U.S. dont need to worry about installing a solar battery with their solar power system. Solar batteries are more of a luxury than a necessity at this point, mainly because they can add upwards of $10,000 to your solar installation costs, without saving you that much more money.
However, there are some cases in which solar batteries might come in handy. For instance, if you live somewhere where the utility grid is unreliable and the power goes out frequently, like California, having a solar battery backup might be a good idea. Solar batteries can also be worthwhile if your utility or state offers big incentives for installing energy storage.
California Is The Us Star In Solar
No state in the U.S. has driven the solar industry forward more than California. Not only is it No. 1 in solar installations by a wide margin with 19.7 GW installed at the end of 2016, it gets 14% of its electricity from solar — a greater percentage than any other state, according the SEIA.
What’s amazing about California’s solar market is that it’s well distributed between small, rooftop systems and some of the largest solar power plants in the world, as you can see below.
Image source: Solar Energy Industries Association.
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Ground Mount Or Roof Mount
So where should you mount your panels?
Our default choice is to put them on your roof if you have room. Rooftop solar is less expensive to install because the support beams act as a foundation for the mounting hardware. You save on materials and labor because you dont need to build a substructure to hold the weight of the array.
The alternative is a ground mounta standalone metal or aluminum framework built somewhere on your property to mount the solar array. Ground mounts cost more because you have to buy the pipe for the frame, but they are easier to access for maintenance and repairs .
For help making the right choice, read our comparison of the pros and cons of ground mount vs. roof mount racking.
Stable Secure And Cheaper Energy
Another advantage of solar energy is that it frees us from a volatile fuel market. Relying on fossil fuels exposes us to wholesale prices that vary according to supply and demand. This leaves us at the mercy of social, economic, and political forces outside of our control.
All EU countries are net importers of energy, so were vulnerable to price rises when something disrupts the supply chain. Conflict, regulations, and leadership changes can all drive up the price of resources bought from that country.
Many energy suppliers hedge against rises by buying wholesale energy in advance . By insuring against rises they hope to protect their market share, but this comes at a premium which is passed on to the customer through their energy bills. If the wholesale price goes down or stays the same, customers also lose out.
Having our own supply of solar energy means we dont need to rely on imported fossil fuels for generation. Nor do we need to import electricity from nearby countries, or pay a hedging premium against rises. Instead, we have a reasonably predictable source of free energy that doesnt swing with market moods resulting in much lower bills.
Average monthly European solar PV module prices by module technology and manufacturer,
The cost to generate solar electricity has fallen substantially in the last few decades. Solar and wind have already achieved grid parity , and by 2020, IRENA predicts theyll be even cheaper.
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Solar Energy Is Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels
According to Lazard’s Levelized Cost Of Energy Analysis–Version 11.0, solar energy costs as little as 4.3 cents per kWh on an unsubsidized basis, cheaper than nearly every option for new fossil-fuel power plants. The cheapest fossil fuel option is natural gas, which costs between 4.2 and 7.8 cents per kWh.
Depending on where you’re looking at producing solar energy, it’s probably already cheaper than coal, diesel, nuclear, and in most cases, natural gas, particularly in the Southern U.S. If the pattern of cost reductions is any indication, it won’t be long before solar blows away every form of fossil fuel on a cost basis.
A Lucrative Sustainable Economy
Solar energy boosts the economy by creating jobs. From panel manufacturers to installation engineers, solar power needs talented minds to fulfill its potential in the UK. Already the solar industry employs almost 126,000 people, growing every year to meet both private and public demand for solar energy. The oil and gas industry, on the other hand, has been cutting jobs every year since 2013.
At present, the Governments support of fossil fuels far outweighs that of renewables. Using figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development , Carbon Brief estimates financial aid of between $5.8bn and $7bn since 2010.
Instead of propping up a failing, destructive, and expensive energy source, the government could allow the market to determine the best source of power. This would free up billions of pounds to spend on more deserving causes like schools, hospitals, and infrastructure.
The Government has already withdrawn much of its subsidy support for solar electricity, yet it continues to grow. The UKs first ever subsidy-free solar farm opened in 2017, and analysts predict solar will thrive independently by 2025.
As the UKs largest investor in solar farms, Octopus has helped develop over a hundred different sites, many of which generate electricity on behalf of Octopus Energy customers.
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How Do Solar Leases / Solar Ppas Work
Under a solar lease agreement, the solar installer builds a system on your property, but they still own the equipment. It is the installer who gets to claim the Federal Tax Credit and any local incentives. The installer rents the equipment to you for a monthly fee, and you get to use 100% of its production regardless of how much power it generates.
Power purchasing agreements are similar to leases. The solar installer builds a system on your property and claims the tax credit. The only difference is that instead of renting the equipment, you pay a flat rate for the power you use.
Both PPAs and leases lag quite a bit behind personal loans in terms of lifetime value. Visit our solar financing page to compare all three options in depth.
Where Can I Buy Solar Panels
Well, right here on this website, of course!
Our solar panel brands include the most respected manufacturers in the solar panel business. These brands include such names as BP Solar, General Electric, and Sharp, among others. We feature only the highest quality solar panels from manufacturers with a proven track record in solar panel technology. With over 30 years in the solar panel business, you can be sure that at MrSolar.com, we know solar panels!
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Things To Know About Solar
Solar is, hands down, the first choice to power a home or business in the Bay Area. It is far cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable than anything else.
Any building with a roof that gets about four to five hours of daily sunshine is a prime candidate for solar. Solar energy costs about 50 to 75% less than the energy you buy from the utility. The cost of solar energy remains constant over time, while utility rates increase by 6.75% on average each year. The cost differential adds up to tens of thousands of dollarsoften hundreds of thousandsin savings over the first twenty years alone.
A house with between 400 and 1,000 square feet of unshaded roof space, oriented somewhere towards the east, south, or west, will accommodate a productive solar PV system. For commercial buildings space requirements vary significantly with the nature of the business activity, and the related energy usage.
The cost benefits of solar are greatest for households with large electricity bills. The more electricity you use, the more you pay per unit for additional electricity. Solar cuts from the top, reducing not only the amount of electricity you need to buy, but also the rates you pay for it.
Ways to purchase energy for your household or business, ranked from best to worst:
Sunpower Solar Modules
Energy Storage Compliance Credit
Another major development in the Title 24 standards approved this month is the option to receive a compliance credit for energy storage technology. Home builders can deploy storage to reduce the amount of solar PV they have to deploy by 25 percent, or to offset some of the efficiency measures the CEC added during the most recent update.
These arent monetary incentives, so energy storage would still have to pencil out based on current market conditions. Its very likely that installing a battery will be more expensive than building out a full-sized solar project that meets the code requirement. But impending policy shifts could change that.
From the home builders perspective, the benefit of the energy storage credit is that it will prepare the market for a potential demand spike when mandatory residential time-of-use charges take effect in California next year.
Even though it’s still sort of an emerging technology and still relatively expensive, I think the consumer preference is going to start skyrocketing for the battery technology, said Raymer at the CBIA. I suspect by the time we hit the 2023 and 2026 standards, you’re going to see this integrated into the regs.
Pennington acknowledged the CEC included a credit for storage to help customers cope with new time-of-use rates. Storage is also expected help to protect the grid.
Kelly Knutsen at CALSSA noted that theres still more work to be done around energy storage integration under the Title 24 standards.
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Solar Power Availability And Growth Facts
Do You Have The Right Insurance
Having the right insurance to cover both yourself and any damage to your home during installation is something you absolutely need to consider. Many problems can arise during the installation of your solar panels that you might not even think about until it happens. In addition, before the work can even begin many building codes, requirements for rebates, legal regulations and certifications require insurance. These rules and regulations vary by state, so it is important to contact the correct resources for your state before your project starts.
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Hire The Right Installers
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is hiring someone incompetent for your installation. Even if you think you know everything about installing solar panels, you need experienced professionals for the job.
Additionally, installers often provide their clients with excellent advice. You will need this expert guidance if you do not know anything about panels.
Things You Should Know About Solar Panels Before Installing Them In Your Home
Solar panels are an energy saving home power solution that can help dramatically reduce both your power bill and your carbon footprint.
Installing them is relatively simple and although their one-time installation cost may be high, long term prices for these panels are remarkably reasonable.
Many commercial and residential dwellings use solar panels as part of their energy plan and use is only growing in popularity. This applies particularly to areas of the world where at least 6 hours of peak sunshine are available on a daily basis for large parts of the year.
However, even in less sun soaked places, panels can be installed and will still help reduce your power bill to some extent.
That said lets look over some important factors that you need to consider before installing a solar panel system in your own home or business. This is a fairly big decision and you need to have at least your basic facts straight if you want to go ahead with it.
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What Is String Sizing
A panel string is a group of panels wired into a single input on your inverter. Because the inverter has a voltage input limit, part of the system design process is calculating the ideal string size to maximize production without overloading the inverter.
String sizing depends on factors like local temperature and the specs of the products you use. Check out our string sizing walkthrough to learn how to calculate the ideal string size for your system.
Not a big math fan? Dont worry, our system packages are designed with ideal string sizing in mind. If you need a custom system, you can always request a free consultation with our design team.
% Of New Electricity Production Capacity Installed In 2016 Was Solar
Not only is solar cost effective, it’s a big part of our new power plant mix. As illustrated below, last year, 39% of all new electric capacity was from solar energy, up from just 4% in 2010. As costs come down and more utilities look for solar assets, this percentage of new additions will likely go up.
Image source: Solar Energy Industries Association.
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Do Solar Panels Save Money
In the long run, solar panels definitely save money for most homeowners. Like other investments such as Energy Star appliances, the question is how long it takes for the savings to surpass the added initial cost.
Most professionally-installed solar panel systems pay for themselves after about eight years, with DIY systems faster than that.
This timeline will due to a number of factors, including:
- The amount of sunlight in your area.
- The cost of electricity in your area.
- Energy tax or rebate incentives.
- Whether your home was pre-wired for solar.
- The condition of your roof prior to installation.
As youve probably noticed, many of those factors depend on the weather and policies where you live. Net metering isnt available in all areas. An investment in solar will quickly pay off in a region with high electrical costs and net metering, even if its more overcast than other parts of the country.
Types Of Solar Panels
Another thing to consider is what type of panel youd like to have installed. There are three main types:
These are panels that are made up of solar wafers manufactured from a single silicon crystal. These are considered premium panels and have some of the highest efficiencies, usually about 17-22% more than other panel types.
Similar to mono, however, these wafers are made from melting many silicon fragments together to form a single wafer to collect energy. Theyre less efficient than mono but at a lower price point.
A process of applying layers of PV material to a substrate that can produce electricity. They have the lowest efficiency of the three types , but they are lightweight and can be flexible.
The technology is still pretty new and developing on this one. Some of these products are being integrated with common building materials such as roof shingles or windows. Ross sees this trend growing and thinks theres a potential that in 5-10 years, this could be the more standard form of solar.
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