The ‘typical’ solar system has changed dramatically with technology advancement and development. Efficient solar panels, bigger, more affordable batteries and software monitoring have all contributed to a wider range of options when you are considering a solar system.
The reduction of feed-in tariffs in most states of Australia means that the options stated above are an important consideration when looking to maximise your cost savings and benefits.
Whilst the ‘typical’ solar system no longer exists, the case study outlined below will give you some insight into the journey toward becoming a more independent and intelligent energy consumer.
Case Study 1
In January 2011, a 3 kW (Kilowatt) panel system was installed on a residential property in southern Sydney.
The benefit at the time included a feed-in tariff of $0.66 per kW/hr, which generated around $700 worth of electricity credits per quarter. This equated to $200 cash-back on each electricity bill throughout the year.
The system paid for itself within 5 years. The owners commented “what else could you do to your own home that would give you this level of monetary return?”
Initial 3 kW system
In December 2016, the feed-in tariff was reduced to a negligible amount, so the owners looked for a new way to maximise the benefits of the system. Battery technology was generating great interest in the media at the time; the decreasing cost of the technology, combined with the increased capacity, meant that batteries were fast becoming a viable way to lower electricity bills.
An additional 1.5 kW of panels and a 10 kW battery was added to the existing system. This was chosen after careful consideration of the electricity usage of the home. The factors that determined the system included:
- Both home occupants worked during the day. This meant power consumption was low between 8:30am-5:30pm. The battery could store power generated by the panels during this time to be used by the owners at night.
- Power bills showed that usage averaged at 25 kW/hr per day.
- The north-facing aspect of the home meant that power could be generated from 8am to 6pm in summer.
- Water was heated during off-peak times (1am-4am). The pool filter ran during peak times (10am-3pm). The panels could provide charge to the battery and run the pool filter during the day.
The size of the system was balanced against the above usage and cost of installation.
Additional 1.5 kW of solar panels
10 kW battery and upgraded inverter
Intelligent management software gave the owners the ability to store power when it is cheap, and use the battery when peak pricing hits. Reposit was recommended to monitor and track energy usage and generation effortlessly from a mobile device.
Data on how and when electricity was being used enabled the owners to make informed decisions and identify how to use their energy more efficiently. The added benefit of ‘energy trading’ enabled the owners to sell their stored energy when it was not being used at a higher-than-market price.
The final system has resulted in a 75% reduction in quarterly power bills for the owners. The payback period for the 2016 additional installation is approximately 4-5 years. The home owners are very happy with the results and the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They also signed up for a Time-Of-Use power provider with 100% green energy sources.