Going solar: David – one year on

David and Kate, a young professional couple, installed a 1.52 kW solar power system on the roof of their small modern house in the new suburb of Douglas in March 2011, as described here.  Having recently summarised the performance of my own solar power system over its first year, I asked David how their experiences compared. This is what he said:

We’ve had the solar installed for 532 days so far, and generated 3440 kWh in total, so an average of about 6.47 kWh per day.  It’s not quite a fair average since we started counting from a March install [i.e. it includes two winters but only one wet season], but it still gives an idea of the output.

From memory, I believe we’ve sold about 2200 kWh in total, which would make it about 1240 kWh used off the panels in the house, giving us a net benefit of about $1240 for that time – around $2.33 per day.

Those calculations say the panels will have paid for themselves in two more years time – even earlier if (when) the power price goes up again.

David also celebrated the fact that the power supply company has been paying him, instead of vice versa, because the value of his excess power has been greater than the cost of the power he has used from the grid. What next?

Next step is investigating solar hot water to reduce the reliance on gas…

As for the more distant future, he is not impressed with the slashing (and possible abolition) of the feed-in tariff:

It’s pretty disappointing to not even get 1-to-1 for power sold to the grid – and maybe soon to get nothing at all.  So if we were to get solar at a new house, I think we’d just pay the extra and get a battery storage system.

That’s quite a big step to take, and one that probably deserves a post to itself, but the fact that he would even consider it says a fair bit about how positive his solar experience has been.

Going Solar: FAQ’s

Created December 2011, updated September 2012: We spent a lot of time tracking down the facts in mid-2011 before we were confident that going solar was a good thing for us to do. I updated the information in December 2012 in preparation for another installation the family was planning and presented it here on Green Path in the hope that it would be useful to others contemplating the same action. I have now (September 2012) updated it again, mostly because of drastic changes to Queensland incentives. Major changes are in bold.

As of August 2019 the whole post is due for an overhaul because so much has changed at the government level. I have removed broken links here but left the text unaltered, for historical interest as much as anything else.
Continue reading “Going Solar: FAQ’s”