Is PV Solar Power Cost Effective? Can I Save Money? What Does It Mean By Free Electricity?

Driven by various ad hoc State and Federal government schemes, PV solar power has come from nowhere a couple of years ago to become a major supplier of electrical energy to over 120,000 Australian households, although the general public still don’t fully understand how solar and in particular, grid connect solar works. It can be very confusing and hard to work out whether grid connect solar power is really worth it.

Government rebate changes are confusing and the cost of electricity is continuing to rise rapidly and predicted to double in 5 years.


Local Upper Hunter solar specialist Michael Valantine, from MV Solar explains some of the basics:


Solar energy is derived from Photovoltaic solar cells (solar panels) that convert light to DC Power, The amount of power (Kw) depends on the power of the individual panels and how many make up a system. DC power is then converted to AC 230V 50Hz power by a device called an inverter. The inverter Kw rating must be at least as big as the solar panel rating. For example a 2Kw PV solar array must be connected to an inverter no smaller than 2Kw. The inverter size may be larger, say 4Kw and this would allow the system to be expanded at a later stage for minimal cost. The inverter is then connected to your existing house electrical system on the load side of your electrical meter. This is then called a Net connected grid solar system.


While the sun shines, energy is delivered directly to your home via the solar panels for free. Solar energy is used first and if your loads require more than what your solar system supplies then only the extra energy needed will be supplied from the electricity grid through the meter. Likewise if you generate more power than what you use, the extra energy goes back through the Energy meter to the grid and you should receive a credit for the amount of energy fed back into the grid. The rate of buyback will depend on your energy supplier, they are all different and it is well worth shopping around for the best deal.


Put simply, your energy consumption and your electricity bill is reduced by the amount of electricity you generate from solar. Plus you will also receive a credit onto your electricity account for any excess solar you generate. Depending on your usage pattern and the size of the system you install, you could reduce, eliminate or even obtain a credit on your electricity account from your electricity company. (Now wouldn’t that be nice?)


To work out how much Grid connected PV solar power is worth. Consider the value of the following:

  • There are 2 identical, neighbouring properties for sale but one has a solar system. (Adding solar power to your home immediately increases your property appeal and resale value.)
  • Every KwH of solar power generated reduces the amount of carbon gas produced by the power stations which saves fossil fuel and helps reduce global warming.
  • Solar panels are generally mounted on the roof of your home thereby putting that part of the roof in shade and blocking the sun’s heating effect on your roof, decreasing the heat load in your home.   (Making your home cooler in summer, so air conditioners will work more efficiently)
  • Solar power is generated during the day, when the cost of energy is the highest, so saving you more. A typical 2kW solar system installed in the upper hunter will produce approximately 5KwH of energy per day and can save you over $1000 per year in energy costs, depending on your circumstances. Your savings increase every time electricity prices go up.


With solar panel performance warranties of 25 years expect your solar panels to still be producing energy well into the future. I have tested panels that are 40 years old and are still producing over 80% of their rated power.


At current electricity prices, the savings made in electricity will pay for the cost of a solar installation in about 7 years. Your savings and payback period is shorter with every increase in electricity prices and that does not count all the other additional benefits mentioned above.


 Is solar power worth it? Free electricity after payback, we think so!


One word of caution: There has been numerous instances of faulty and unsafe solar installations. To ensure your system is safe and performing at its best for the full life of the system you need to find a properly accredited Clean Energy Council solar specialist.


Michael Valantine solar specialist from MV Solar is Clean Energy Council Accredited. MV Solar is a local company based in the Upper Hunter at Denman. MV Solar specialises in the design and installation of Photo Voltaic Solar Power for domestic, commercial and rural properties.


MV Solar has won numerous industry awards including the BEC Australia Awards for Performance. MV Solar can provide all your solar needs including off grid, solar hot water, caravan and motor home systems, solar pumping and LV and ELV Systems. Customer service and satisfaction is guaranteed.


MV Solar has over 20 year’s experience in the solar industry and is regarded as one of the leading solar installation companies.


If you want to know more please contact Michael or any of the other friendly staff at MV Solar who are more than willing to help.

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