The process of converting sunlight into electricity using PV systems produces zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Excess electricity can be directed into the grid, delivering a feed-in payment, or it can be stored in a rechargeable battery for later use. Batteries can also provide back-up power in the event of blackouts.
A solar PV and battery system offers the potential of off-grid energy self-sufficiency. It’s also a major step in the transition away from fossil fuels.
The cost of a home solar PV system starts at around $3500 for a basic installation. Prices are steadily coming down, as demand and mass-production increase.
Solar PV is intended to be an investment that, once paid for, will save its owner money by generating free electricity during daylight hours.
A system without batteries typically has a payback period of 3 to 4 years. Adding batteries extends the payback period.
To get a good idea of the potential benefit, use your electricity bills to estimate the amount of energy consumed annually by a typical household of your size in your area.
Feed-in tariff is the rate you are paid by your energy retailer for electricity that you export to the grid.
Feed-in tariffs differ among retailers as well as the states and territories, and are subject to change.
Small-scale technology certificates
Small-scale renewable energy systems may be entitled to small-scale technology certificates (STCs) which can be sold to recoup a portion of the cost of purchasing and installing the system.
Choosing the right panel
Solar panels capture the energy of sunlight which is converted into electricity. This is known as a photovoltaic system, usually called solar PV.
Panels come in a range of different wattages and power levels.
Numerous brands are available, with new technologies and efficiencies frequently emerging. Although solar panels look similar, levels of power, quality and reliability vary greatly.
A fully exposed rooftop is ideal for solar. Where that’s not available, make sure the panels are installed in the sunniest location.