It’s a big step… going solar. I mean you start to become conscious of your energy use and everything changes. The way you feel about using energy changes. I mean not only does it give you a good feeling for not having to pay those blasted tyrant power companies wads of cash every quarter, but you also feel a little warm fuzzy feeling for doing something right for the environment.
You don’t have to be a “greeny” to know that using coal is not the way of the future (sorry Mr. Abbott). So anyway, if you’re reading this, you’re probably considering going solar. Which is a step in the right direction? So let’s get right into it. What are these 5 things you need to know before installing solar?
1. Is your house suitable for solar?
This is clearly the first thing you will need to know before installing solar panels. So how do you know if your house is suitable for solar? Well here is a list of “indicators” on what to look for to check that your house is well-suited for solar:
2. How Much Will Solar Save You?
This is a tough one to answer accurately. How much your solar panels will save you depend on a bunch of things. Here is a very basic formula for calculating how much solar will save you:
Your electricity rate ($/kWh) x your solar system size x 1,168
Your electricity rate ($/kWh) is the rate you pay for power (shown on your power bill). You should include GST in this calculation
Your solar system size is the size of the solar system you might get (in kilo-Watts or kW)
The number 1,168 comes from an educated guesstimate of solar production. This number varies depending where in Australia (or in the world) you live.
Here is an example:
If you pay 28c/kWh for power and you might get a 5kW solar system then you will save around:
0.28 x 5 x 1,168 = $1,635.20 per year!
3. Which Panels / Inverter Should You Buy?
There are loads of different solar panels and inverter brands. Here are some useful rules to follow when choosing a solar panel or inverter:
4. What Warranties Should You Get?
Typical panel warranties
Typical inverter warranties
An inverter typically has between 5 and 10 years as a standard warranty and can be upgraded to up to 25 years.
5. What Price Should You Pay?
You should have some idea of the solar power systems prices you will pay for solar panels before you buy them. But beware, there are some very high and very low prices to be avoided. Generally a mid-range price is a good choice. Pay too little and you risk a dodgy product and no after-sales service. Pay too much and you’ll end up waiting 10 years just to recoup your cost! As a very general guide, a good 5kW solar power system will cost between $6,000 and $8,000 in today’s market (Mid 2015). Pay any less than $5,000 and the risks start becoming too great.
Chris Haynes is a founder of solar panels Brisbane, providing services, resources and news for solar energy.
You might be interested in in Solar PV system calculator. Calculate your solar system size and other details from here .
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