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Going solar in melbourne - wdyt and with who?


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#1 PB2

Posted 24 November 2012 - 04:03 PM

Help please

Anyone in melbourne who has installed solar pannels, can you share who you used, how much it cost and how much electicity you got ( and has it been worth it) unsure.gif

I am seriously starting to consider it but dont know where to start my investigation. have heard there are shonky cheap pannels and get conflicting inforamtion about if I should do it - so please tell me your story and any hints and tips most welcome tthumbs.gif
thansk
pb

#2 Ruby Victoria

Posted 24 November 2012 - 04:06 PM

Will be watcing this thread with intereste as we are wanting to get solar panels on our new house

#3 PB2

Posted 20 October 2013 - 12:22 PM

Starting tis thread again - still confused lol and would appreciate any feedback
Thanks heaps
PBS

#4 Chocolate Addict

Posted 20 October 2013 - 12:42 PM

We used Green Engineering, have no complaints about them. A friend recommended them.

I have no idea how much it cost (it was a few years ago), around $6000? maybe. We got 12 panels and a 3.2 (?)kw inverter.

We got a bill the other day and got $160 solar discount thingy which was about 1/2 the cost of the bill.

#5 Lyra

Posted 20 October 2013 - 03:05 PM

I'll be watching this thread with interest too

#6 laridae

Posted 20 October 2013 - 03:20 PM

Not in Melb.  In Hobart, so probably do slightly worse at generating power, but we used Energy Matters.  It was a 5kW system and cost about $10.5k, but that was over a year ago and you should be able to knock a few grand off that price now for decent gear.  We got REC panels and a Aurora inverter.  It outperforms a 5.6kW system not far away from us most days, so its pretty good!  Its saved us around $2k so far (in one year).

Feel free to ask questions as I did a lot of research last year, and again this year as my mum wanted to get a system too.

#7 Indi

Posted 20 October 2013 - 06:33 PM

I will go against the grain and say dont bother. We rented a house for 18 months with solar panels.  The feed in rate we were getting was 60 cents, now it is what, 8 cents?  We would get roughly $30 a quarter off our bill...big deal.  I just cant see how it is viable with such a poor feed in rate.

#8 pinkpineapple

Posted 20 October 2013 - 07:58 PM

I bought a house with a 2kw system in Melb. I'm lucky because the previous owner got in early on a great tariff. In the past 9 months it has coved all electricity usage and they owe me $300. I got a winter bill because it didn't make enough to cover but that's expected.

I'd def do it because the cost of electricity is only going to increase.

Think they were put on by True Solar but as I said the previous owner did it. Even if it just covers your usage it's good. Also a bonus if selling.

#9 charlottesmum04

Posted 20 October 2013 - 08:15 PM

The latest thing to think about is stand alone solar.  No feed in you literally go off grid.  you store the extra power during the day and use at night.  That's my dream....

#10 Sammzz

Posted 20 October 2013 - 08:17 PM

In Melb's west, got a 1.9kW system 2 yrs ago, Conergy panels and Eaton inverter.  Have not had to pay any bills yet, recently switched electric retailer and got a cheque for $400+. Credits from summer cover winter usuage, winter bill is usually about $70. Got the premium tariff rates.

Got it from Neco, they have since closed but another company has taken on their customers for the warranty issues so it's all good.

Go for panels and inverter brands that are well known and hopefully have a presence within the country. Do a seach/forums/reviews on the company you might be thinking of buying from and the panels/inverters that are offered.

#11 babygirl03

Posted 20 October 2013 - 08:59 PM

We had just put one in less than a month ago and been very happy so far with our investment. I'm in Adelaide though so probably get slightly better performance than where you are.

We had a 5.2kW system put in and for this month, we're roughly averaging 30kWh/day. We got Q-Cells panels and an Aurora inverter. You are right about needing to be careful about the different panels and we did do a bit of research before biting the bullet.

In terms of whether it's still worthwhile putting them in given the low feed-in rate, I would yes for the reason that if you size your system correctly to your daytime electricity usage, then the electricity you import in would just be for your night time use. So, the idea is to maximise your electricity usage during the day as much as is possible and minimise what is exported out. Thus, at current tariff rates, you need to move away from thinking that the panels is meant to make money for you, if that make sense ie. pp saying that "$30 a quarter off our bill...big deal." should instead be looked at $120 less we had to pay the electricity company because we were using power generated by our solar panels instead of importing it in. Panels are also not as expensive as previously, even 12mths ago.

#12 PB2

Posted 20 October 2013 - 09:12 PM

thanks - it is such a confusing world.  We just want our power bill to reduce as much as possible - dont need to make money off the system ( that went out a while ago with all the changes in the system)

arghh - such a muddle.

#13 libbylu

Posted 20 October 2013 - 09:21 PM

Energy Matters are a well respected group who have been doing solar for many years....they use good stuff.  Easy Being Green is also a company that's been around for ages.
We spent $3000 on our 1.6KW system. We also pay no bills and get about $500 cash back each year, but this is with the 60c feed in tariff.  I believe the cost has come down since then, but you only get 8c feed in now.

#14 Chocolate Addict

Posted 20 October 2013 - 10:09 PM

We are on 33cents feed in.

Our panels were the lastest available at the time, German, I think, not too sure.
The independent inspector said they were both of high quality and installed well. :) Which was a relief, cos there was a bit of communication problem with the installers as their English was not so good.

#15 laridae

Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:26 PM

 Indi, on 20 October 2013 - 06:33 PM, said:

I will go against the grain and say dont bother. We rented a house for 18 months with solar panels.  The feed in rate we were getting was 60 cents, now it is what, 8 cents?  We would get roughly $30 a quarter off our bill...big deal.  I just cant see how it is viable with such a poor feed in rate.
If you think of it like that, yes, you won't see the benefit.  You will never make money from your solar power system (these days).  If you size your system so that it correct for your daytime usage, and use power during the day, with the intention that you are using what you generate, then you save whatever the power would cost you to import,  Which is much higher than the 8c,  If you do this, it shouldn't actually matter what the FIT is as you won't be exporting much at all.

 charlottesmum04, on 20 October 2013 - 08:15 PM, said:

The latest thing to think about is stand alone solar.  No feed in you literally go off grid.  you store the extra power during the day and use at night.  That's my dream....

Its a nice dream - in reality however, the cost to generate and store the power from solar ends up costing far more than being grid connected with solar (at this point in time).  Batteries end up being very expensive, you would need enough for a few days worth of power usage in case of periods of low generation, you would need a larger system to generate enough power, you would need a petrol generator backup, batteries need replacing every 5-10 years, may need to replace appliance with ones that use less power etc... it all adds up.

#16 Indi

Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:53 PM

OK, maybe our experience was not reflective of the wider community (slab heating and electric hot water).  I'm still struggling to understand how people can end up in credit??

Looking at my last power bill (admitedly over winter) and don't count the off peak meter which runs both heating and hot water, we used 15.65 kW/day.  During this same period our solar contribution was 1.30 kW/day.  Not sure the size of the system as it was a rental but we had 12 panels on the roof.

This is where I just don't get solar - I hear people saying how their bill is virtually nothing since installation but really don't get how.  Can anyone explain?  It is all just so difficult to work out.

#17 laridae

Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:41 PM

 Indi, on 21 October 2013 - 12:53 PM, said:

OK, maybe our experience was not reflective of the wider community (slab heating and electric hot water).  I'm still struggling to understand how people can end up in credit??

Looking at my last power bill (admitedly over winter) and don't count the off peak meter which runs both heating and hot water, we used 15.65 kW/day.  During this same period our solar contribution was 1.30 kW/day.  Not sure the size of the system as it was a rental but we had 12 panels on the roof.

This is where I just don't get solar - I hear people saying how their bill is virtually nothing since installation but really don't get how.  Can anyone explain?  It is all just so difficult to work out.

Ok. Mine is a similar setup, one tarrif for lights/power and another for heating/hotwater.

I have a 4.9kW solar power system.

Last quarter I averaged 22.4 kWh import a day for light/power.
I exported about 6.9 kWh per day.  

However, what doesn't show on the bill (but I know as I monitor my system), is that it generated 11.7 kWh a day - so I've saved 4.8kWh a day that got used in my house rather than exported.

That was winter.  In summer I get much better values.
eg over summer I imported 11.3 kWh per day (lights/power), I exported 17.4 kWh per day, and I generated 26.4 kh per day.  So I saved myself 9kWh per day by using it in my house.
Currently I have a 1:1 FIT, so my exports can cancel out my imports - so in that situation I did get some credit.   Sort of anyway - I also used 8kWh a day on heating/cooling/hotwater (which is a cheaper tarrif), so it worked out about even.  If I had a 60c FIT I would have been in credit.

12 panels is going to be a fairly small system (probably a 2kW-3kW), without monitoring how much its generating (does it have a screen on it so you can look?, you can't really tell how much its offsetting what you are using.

#18 Lyra

Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:46 PM

I am not looking into doing this to get paid by the electricity company. If I do get something like that it will be a bonus. I am trying to get myself off the grid as much as possible. Electricity from a provider comes from fossil fuels. We are going to run out of these sooner rather than later. So for me it's more about the greater good than the individual good IYKWIM

#19 Breast in Show

Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:52 PM

I am an engineer and am married to an engineer and we live in Melbourne.  The maths doesn't stack up.  Do it if you're doing it for the environmental benefits but if you're doing it to save/make money forget it.    Also be aware of what storey of your house you put them on. To get best performance you need to keep them clean (ie get dust and bird droppings off them routinely because it'll decrease your return).  Also point them north.  I still get a laugh at a few houses around here with them south facing because it's make's the north facing house appear better.  Might as well give your money to a Nigerian lottery benefactor for all the good south facing panels will get you.

#20 laridae

Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:21 AM

 Lyra, on 21 October 2013 - 07:46 PM, said:

Electricity from a provider comes from fossil fuels. We are going to run out of these sooner rather than later. So for me it's more about the greater good than the individual good IYKWIM

Or hydro power... I'm in Tas, so I guess I don't consider the fossil fuel burning as much as our power is mostly hydro.

 Breast in Show, on 21 October 2013 - 07:52 PM, said:


Also point them north.  I still get a laugh at a few houses around here with them south facing because it's make's the north facing house appear better.  

Yes, south is silly, but east-west  is a viable option.  You don't generate as much, but you do over a longer period during the day.

#21 JaneDoe2010

Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:53 AM

Look around. Get quotes from different companies. Make sure the company is based locally as there are many companies operating from other states that are basically just sales companies. Make sure they actually visit your house, climb on your roof and measure up. Get good quality panels and inverter as they have to last.

I recommend looking at the Whirlpool Green Tech forums to see what other people have experienced, there is a lot of information in there. http://forums.whirlp...et.au/forum/143

Good luck. We're in the industry, we install solar power systems, but are a bit far from Melbourne to help (in Gippsland).

#22 Phascogale

Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:56 AM

Quote

I will go against the grain and say dont bother. We rented a house for 18 months with solar panels.  The feed in rate we were getting was 60 cents, now it is what, 8 cents?
  Systems that were put in at the time of the 60c FIT were also a lot more expensive.  So in the end it's probably similar.

We've just put a system in and are just waiting for the distributor to reconfigure our meter so we can start using it.

The system we put in was enough to cover most of our day time usage.  We ended up with a 3 kW system (we also have 2 phase power so we've put 1.5kW on each phase - forseeing changes in legislations that may make it more expensive to have solar if you have more than one phase).  The plan is to use as much of our power during the day ie if one of us is home that's when we iron, vacuum and use power tools so we aren't feeding into the grid (and getting a crappy 8c FIT).  This will save us 30c per kWh because we don't have to draw it out of the grid.

There is no way we'll be able to use all our produced electricity (I've heard figures of about half gets imported anyway) so that will give us electricity of around 24c kWh instead of 32c (32-8) when taking into account the FIT.

The company we'll be doing through don't have discounts but their daily service charge is 0.88c day (80c + GST).  I've noticed a lot of the other retailers offer 20-30% off the usage fees and then slug you $1.30/day for service with no discount on the service fee.

Also the funny thing is that although when you go to solar your electricity gets more expensive to take from the grid but the way our electricity has been set up (moved in to a new home at the beginning of the year) we are already paying those rates (yes I have argued them but got nowhere).  So this won't cost me extra.

Quote

I recommend looking at the Whirlpool Green Tech forums to see what other people have experienced, there is a lot of information in there. http://forums.whirlp...et.au/forum/143
I agree with this.  Sometimes you need to look at your components.  Don't go with the cheapest because chances are they'll have cheaper components that will either fail faster or not work at their full capacity for long.  Unless you can get better components at a cheaper price.

I'd probably start with some online research and then start getting quotes from a few companies.  Whirlpool is a great place to start. If you know what you need and what likely components you want then it's easier to negotiate because you'll know what you're talking about.  You don't want to get caught out with someone saying they'll drop the price by $1000 and get you an inferior inverter compared to the one that you would've gotten if you'd paid a bit more.

I would've also said to go with a local installer but that's more if you're regional or rural.  If something goes wrong you don't want to wait for someone to come out from a capital city because you live 5 hours away.

We feel getting solar is worth it but we'll be in this house for the next 20 years.  And the payback for us will be somewhere between 3-5 years.




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