solar power

Open for any sort of non-technical discussion regarding EVs
Post Reply
johnfriartuck
Groupie
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu, 06 Jan 2011, 17:21
Real Name: john
Location: Glenwood Qld

solar power

Post by johnfriartuck » Mon, 16 Apr 2012, 16:33

hi all recently i was looking into buying a system to save me money on my power bills i live in Queensland and the subsidy is getting smaller all the time, im a pensioner and its hard to find extra money at any time for anything so a company who is selling solar up here in Gympie gave me a number to ring and a guy came out to assess us in the end he wanted me to extend my mortgage an extra ten years and over ten thousand dollars to cover the $7000 for the system which doesnt seem sensible to me,but what is actually confusing me is the feed in tarrifs ours would be 44 cents per unit now theres an ad on the telly which says the govt is gonna reduce em quoting tarrifs from all the states and they are all less than Qld Nsw being 00.00cents,this is where i get stupid cos to me that means we are giving the electicity provider the electricity we make and then they sell it back to us,so i am holding off on buying a system till i get intelligent again,or someone explains to me where the savings come from(if any)it seems to me we are again being sucked in by the capitalistic pratts in canberra, by the way my provider has a policy where if i cancel my account with them for any reason they put me on a blacklist(the house that is)and no matter what they will not reconnect ever i should point out that we only have the one provider at the moment so it would make it very hard to sell up and move,nobody would want a house that couldnt get power to it

User avatar
woody
Senior Member
Posts: 1715
Joined: Sat, 21 Jun 2008, 02:03
Real Name: Anthony Wood
Location: Mt Colah

solar power

Post by woody » Mon, 16 Apr 2012, 17:09

johnfriartuck wrote: Hi all,

recently I was looking into buying a system to save me money on my power bills. I live in Queensland and the subsidy is getting smaller all the time, I'm a pensioner and its hard to find extra money at any time for anything.
A company who is selling solar up here in Gympie gave me a number to ring and a guy came out to assess us in the end he wanted me to extend my mortgage an extra ten years and over ten thousand dollars to cover the $7000 for the system - which doesn't seem sensible to me.

What is actually confusing me is the feed in tariffs - ours would be 44 cents per unit.

Now there's an ad on the telly which says the govt is gonna reduce em quoting tariffs from all the states and they are all less than Qld - Nsw being 00.00cents.

This is where i get stupid cos to me that means we are giving the electicity provider the electricity we make and then they sell it back to us, so i am holding off on buying a system till i get intelligent again, or someone explains to me where the savings come from(if any)it seems to me we are again being sucked in by the capitalistic pratts in canberra.

By the way my provider has a policy where if i cancel my account with them for any reason they put me on a blacklist(the house that is)and no matter what they will not reconnect ever i should point out that we only have the one provider at the moment so it would make it very hard to sell up and move, nobody would want a house that couldnt get power to it.
Solar System:
(no, not the planets) - there are probably easier + cheaper things you can do to save power around the house - work out what is using your power - heaters, incandescent bulbs, aircon, fridge with bad seals, dryer - and reduce that. Work out how much it costs to run the dryer in dollars, so you might hang more stuff out to dry. Insulation or even door/window seals will help with heating/cooling power use.

Some providers will give you time of day billing, so you get cheap electricity at night, but more expensive rates during the day. If you are not on time of day billing, your rates are the same all day, except your off peak hot water circuit which you can't use for anything else usually. You could save money here if you can run your heavy use things (heaters, dishwasher, dryer) late at night, but it could backfire if you can't. Normally you can't change back to normal billing :-/

If you still want a solar system, you will have to do some sums to justify it. What power will you get from it on average vs how much you will use - work out what your bill will be based on todays prices and how long it will take to pay off, including the extra interest on your loan.

If your house is not ideal (partially shaded or facing the wrong angle) you will get less energy than your solar cells could deliver, but being in QLD you get more sun which will help a bit.

Feed in tariffs:
My understanding is that this is the price that you are paid for any extra electricity supplied back to the grid. I'm not sure how often this is calculated in NSW, if it was by the month and the feed-in was zero, then it wouldn't make sense to buy a system which supplied more than you needed.

Blacklisting:
sounds nasty - call ombudsman or "A Current Affair".

cheers,
Woody
Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack

User avatar
Richo
Senior Member
Posts: 3737
Joined: Mon, 16 Jun 2008, 00:19
Real Name: Richard
Location: Perth, WA

solar power

Post by Richo » Mon, 16 Apr 2012, 20:46

$7k for a system?!?!
Sounds way too big for a pensioner.
I had a 1kW system when they first brought it our in WA and that nearly covered it all.
There are TV specials for ~$1.5k for a 1.5kW system.

I'm with Woody maybe get in a person that does a power audit of your house to get the bills down first.

I esp hate those houses with panels facing Eeast/West - it says to me Hey look at me I have money to throw down the drain with little benefit to the environment...
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
Help prevent road rage - get outta my way!

User avatar
bladecar
Senior Member
Posts: 445
Joined: Tue, 05 Jul 2011, 16:32
Location: Brisbane

solar power

Post by bladecar » Mon, 16 Apr 2012, 22:10

Hi,

We're in Brisbane.   We have a solar system which faces NE, ie. not ideal since it would be better if it faced North. It loses 10% because of the facing.

We have a hill to our left-rear so we lose an hour or so in the afternoon.

The clouds have a big effect on generated power as does the time of year.

Also, a very hot day produces less power than a sunny but cool day since the panels produce more power the cooler they are.

Who is your energy provider anyway? Blacklist if you cancel your account! Call the ABC and ask them to do a report on that. Also, is it the power generator or the power biller that is threatening.

The power providers do deals where they fit the panels, connect them, and you pay more for a certain period for the panels. I don't recommend this only because I know nothing about the schemes. They would be worth looking into.

I would be totally against extending a mortgage in order to buy panels. You could end up on the street watching your ex-house being auctioned, complete with panels.

If you have air-conditioning, getting rid of it might be the equivalent of fitting a small solar system.

As the others are saying, you should put small electrical items which don't have to run continuously, like the tv, on the one power board and switch it off at night.

We're getting 50 cents a KWH sent to the grid. I see where suddenly those people without panels are all victims, paying out for the greedy people who had them installed. Everyone has been free to install panels.

If you take a holiday occasionally, don't go once, and fit a small panel installation. Once you've paid for the small panel installation, every year after that, you'll have a small amount more to spend on your holidays.

Even if the poor suffering victims can avoid being slugged by those who spent their own money to install panels, you will not have to pay for the electricity that your panels produce if you use your electrical items during the day when they are producing power.

I visited some friends with panels and noted that they used their electricals without regard to the time of day. They put the dishwasher on in the middle of the day, stove, etc and I decided to not worry about it either. I have a bigger system and won't have to pay for electricity.

So I say, if you get an electricity provider to fit the system etc, and pay a bit more for 2 years eg, if you can afford the cost, of course, then the panels will continue to work for you and your bills will be greatly reduced. This avoids worrying about the almost certainty that the authorities will abandon the panel owners in the name of "equality".

Bastards. Those who will not pay for anything that doesn't have an immediate reward will always get their way because there are so many more of them.


User avatar
photomac
Groupie
Posts: 306
Joined: Tue, 17 Nov 2009, 21:56
Real Name: Matthew Clifton
Location: South Perth

solar power

Post by photomac » Mon, 16 Apr 2012, 22:26

The blacklisting sounds like monopoly abuse! Straight to the ombudsman and your local MP on that one!

That said - if you are more than 3km from a power line it is now cheaper to be stand-alone, with solar/wind/battery supply instead. So show the big corporations the bird!

The power you generate should be feeding your house and then any excess goes into the grid. If you are out at work during the day and home in the evening then this suits your consumption habits well for a solar PV system. A down-side is that you will be required to install a smart meter, which means your consumption costs are higher during the day. There are cases where pensioners bills have gone up because their PV array is too small for the day consumption.

Feed-in tariff should be par for par. Billing should be flat rate except on peak demand from an individual house. That is, if you maintain a constant energy draw you pay less than if you turn the hot water on, kettle on, cooker on, heater on all at the same time. Because households find it difficult to do flat consumption, a broad based "punish all" smart meter rate exist where we are charged more for peak demand time-periods.

The rebates have dropped as the cost of installations has diminished. Many solar systems have broken parity with the cost of fossil fuel generation, so we are now starting to subsidise the fossil fuel burning generators. Strange that, the governments were right to reduce the rebates and sell off the fossil fuel generators. If you have shares in these companies that use coal/gas/oil or dig it up, I would be very, very worried about there short to mid term life value. Have a look at
http://www.beyondzeroemissions.org/

and for the very latest breakthrough
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 105430.htm
for hydrogen generation, which is appropriate for stationary power use, particularly at home!

We are going through an energy power generation revolution and the big players know it and are trying to play catch-up, failing dismally and throwing it's money away at ridiculing the advances.

Gen' Y is defeating the baby boomers. Oh - by the way - I'm a late baby boomer!


Then there is oil produced synthetically, renewably look at -
http://www.gizmag.com/bioengineers-rebu ... -oil/7723/
(you may wish to read up on abiogenic oil too)

Had the various state governments over the last 20 years maintained appropriate infrastructure funding for the power distributers (having sold them off instead) we wouldn't be playing catch-up for their maintenance now. Because we are playing catch-up the networks have not been prepared for the very rapid take-up of solar PVs - which is fantastic!

Back to the question sorry - sometimes it isn't fair. While you may $7000 up front for solar now, you have paid much more than that in subsidising the old ways through taxes. It was a collective "insurance" for the betterment of society. That is now out-moded, and the early adopters are paying now for a cheaper, cleaner tomorrow.
Yes,   we can.   Image
Hyundai Kona 64 v1 Sept 2019 onward. 00016 up to 3850+
Mitsubishi PHEV v1 Apr 2016 to Aug 2019 14500 to 72000km
Nissan LEAF v1.0 Nov 2013 to Apr 2016 00035 to 36000km

johnfriartuck
Groupie
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu, 06 Jan 2011, 17:21
Real Name: john
Location: Glenwood Qld

solar power

Post by johnfriartuck » Tue, 17 Apr 2012, 01:50

hi all to answer a few of the things that you all brought up the quote we got for $7000 was for a 2kw system they claim you get what you pay for this is a german system we only enquired there to test the water and see what was on offer,we were told that all the power generated goes straight into the grid then we are credited against our bills,so that we get a check at the end of the year if there is any credit left,we only have the one provider in our area and they arent interested in installing any systems and in any case we dont qualify cos we are pensioners,the blacklisting thing would only be relevant if i went totally off the grid,which i would like to but a fully self sufficient system costs around $40,000 which i havent got,my house is L shaped with the longest part of the roof facing north,thats the back of the house and it was my decision to face the house thus,you cant rely on tradesmen they take the easy way everytime i did most of the work on the house myself,the bits i had to let them do(wiring,plumbing and roofing) they all got it wrong

Rattrap
Groupie
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat, 24 May 2008, 15:01
Real Name: John
Location: Tasmania

solar power

Post by Rattrap » Tue, 17 Apr 2012, 13:54

We had a 3kw system installed here about a year ago. In Tassie the feed in tariff is the lowest in the country, its a straight 1 for 1, 21c per kwh i believe. This has reduced our power bill to around $39 for a quarter. I've estimated that it will take us around 9 years at the current power pricing before our system is paid off & we are in the black, that payoff time will only get shorter as power prices continue to rise. To my mind that's a pretty damn fine investment & i have not regretted it once, you should see the size of the grin on our faces every quarter when our power 'bill' arrives! lol.
Frankly its beyond me why anyone who's a home owner who hasn't seriously considered getting solar on, you can't get that good return on the same dollars from the bank or even share market!

User avatar
bladecar
Senior Member
Posts: 445
Joined: Tue, 05 Jul 2011, 16:32
Location: Brisbane

solar power

Post by bladecar » Tue, 17 Apr 2012, 14:26

Hi johnfriartuck,

The north-facing roof sounds good :)

Would it have sun on it all day, ie, no obstructions.

I don't know about the $7000 price, but, as a non-pensioner,
it seems reasonable to me for a 2KW system, especially since,
if it is German, there should be fewer risks quality-wise.

I was told that a battery solar system would cost "at least 2
times the cost of a feed-in system"

I agree with you re tradesmen. There's no such things as optimal
with them. There's the fastest way which will do the job or the way they always do it.

We've had our system for 2 - 3 years. It's annoying only in that
having no electricity bill to pay means nothing after a while :)

The blacklist thing doesn't seem relevant.

I believe, with Energex, that the size of system you start with is the most you can have (up to 10Kw). You cannot call up next year and say "Oi, I've added 1kw of panels".

Also, Energex say, if your particular area has the maximum capacity of solar systems for a particular sub-station, they will refuse the application. (just a bit of info)

I have called the electricity biller a reasonable time after the billing period and asked them to send out a cheque for the credited amount. They do not make it easy, you have to call and ask for the solar section and then ask for your balance, and then ask them to send out the cheque (which is 2 weeks approx). I'm not sure if all billers will do this.
Mine were not happy campers though they now claim that they may send out cheques automatically in the future (and maybe not, too).

If you've got a few years left in you and you   know you could cope   under normal circumstances, I think that panels are a no-brainer. The "electricity to go through the roof" crap in the newspapers will return time and again. It is annoying that when the grid goes down due to a malfunction, your panels simply shut down at the inverter but that's only happened a couple of times in over 2 years and for a very short time.




User avatar
Richo
Senior Member
Posts: 3737
Joined: Mon, 16 Jun 2008, 00:19
Real Name: Richard
Location: Perth, WA

solar power

Post by Richo » Tue, 17 Apr 2012, 20:38

Rattrap wrote:Frankly its beyond me why anyone who's a home owner who hasn't seriously considered getting solar on, you can't get that good return on the same dollars from the bank or even share market!


We had solar in the last house.
We sold the house before it paid for itself.
When were selling it the prospective buyers weren't that interested in it so there was basically no extra return on the house for having it.
Even though we had power bills that had credits.

The current house has no north facing roof - Good on builders for no fore thought.
So I'd be stuck putting it East/West.
The house is only a short term "investment" - ie renovate then sell.
So Solar would not be an option - other than for "green" reasons.

So I guess I seriously considered it - but it's not practical.

So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
Help prevent road rage - get outta my way!

IVI
Groupie
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon, 30 Jan 2012, 21:52

solar power

Post by IVI » Fri, 20 Apr 2012, 04:24

Renewable energy is GOOD, but not all renewable energies are OPTIMAL.

Last time I checked, to make a Solar Panel takes MORE energy than ALL of the energy that Panel can ever generate over its entire usable lifetime.

If that's -still- true, ten Solar Panels are -far- from OPTIMAL, as a renewable energy.

Try some 1 KW Wind-Powered Generators (ie, if your location is windy enough, on a regular basis).

If you haven't invested in improving your home's / office's insulation, etc. (see http://RMI.org - Amory Lovins' Rocky Mountain Institute for lots of ideas on creating a ZERO-energy home / office)

zeva
Senior Member
Posts: 422
Joined: Sat, 15 Dec 2007, 05:09
Real Name: Ian Hooper
Location: Australia
MSN: sigmunky@hotmail.com
Contact:

solar power

Post by zeva » Fri, 20 Apr 2012, 05:01

IVI wrote:Last time I checked, to make a Solar Panel takes MORE energy than ALL of the energy that Panel can ever generate over its entire usable lifetime.

This is definitely an urban myth (perhaps only true during solar's infancy). The embedded energy payback period for PVs is typically a few years, so about a 10:1 payback ratio based on 30yr panel life:

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/17219

And IIRC solar thermal is even shorter. Wind still beats them both by a fair margin though (for payback period).
Ian Hooper
--
"Never doubt that the work of a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world." - Margaret Mead
http://www.zeva.com.au

AMPrentice
Senior Member
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue, 05 Aug 2008, 19:30
Location: down south

solar power

Post by AMPrentice » Sat, 21 Apr 2012, 05:22

Are there any cooking LPG generators out there or gas engines that run on cooking gas? hooked up to batteries might be worthwhile.
http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

No Queen, No Prime Minister, No hierarchical system to break down our communities
Never vote Labour, Liberal or Maggots like them.

antiscab
Senior Member
Posts: 2490
Joined: Mon, 26 Nov 2007, 05:39
Real Name: Matthew Lacey
Location: Perth, WA

solar power

Post by antiscab » Sat, 21 Apr 2012, 17:35

IVI wrote:
Last time I checked, to make a Solar Panel takes MORE energy than ALL of the energy that Panel can ever generate over its entire usable lifetime.
That hasn't been true since the 70's

the pay back period energy wise for solar panels is between 18 months (installed in sunny carnarvon) and 3 years (installed in cloudy germany)
IVI wrote:
If that's -still- true, ten Solar Panels are -far- from OPTIMAL, as a renewable energy.

Try some 1 KW Wind-Powered Generators (ie, if your location is windy enough, on a regular basis).


Wind can give more bang for your buck, but only if you have a significant wind source.

for the vast majority of houses in Australia, this is not possible.
tower height should be 10 metres or more

www.homepower.com gives several good articles on choosing and sizing all kinds of renewable energy systems, including wind.

I've been a subscriber since I was 12 years old (they've been around a while)

Matt
Matt
2017 Renault zoe - 25'000km
2007 vectrix - 156'000km
1998 prius - needs Batt
1999 Prius - needs batt
2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

User avatar
weber
Site Admin
Posts: 2626
Joined: Fri, 23 Jan 2009, 17:27
Real Name: Dave Keenan
Location: Brisbane
Contact:

solar power

Post by weber » Sat, 21 Apr 2012, 18:40

IVI wrote:Last time I checked, to make a Solar Panel takes MORE energy than ALL of the energy that Panel can ever generate over its entire usable lifetime.

So IVI, when _did_ you last check that? And why would you bother? No one knows who you are, so you don't have a real-world reputation to lose, so why bother checking anything before you post it?

It would have been way too much trouble to type say "solar panel energy payback" into Google and find, as the first non-ad that comes up, this document from a US government department
http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy05osti/37322.pdf
with its easy to understand graphs and references to multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers, similar to this one from Alsema et.al.
http://www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2006/rx06016.pdf
Way too much trouble.
Last edited by weber on Sat, 21 Apr 2012, 08:48, edited 1 time in total.
One of the fathers of MeXy the electric MX-5, along with Coulomb and Newton (Jeff Owen).

User avatar
4Springs
Senior Member
Posts: 568
Joined: Thu, 23 Dec 2010, 01:14
Real Name: Christopher Walkden
Location: Selbourne, TAS

solar power

Post by 4Springs » Sun, 22 Apr 2012, 23:59

On the question of feed-in tarrifs:
A feed in tarrif is the price that your electricity company pays you for the electricity you generate. It will be in cents per kW (or units if you like).

A gross feed-in tarrif means that they pay you for every kW you make. So if you make 3kW, and the gross feed-in tarrif is 30c a kW, you get paid 90c. In the meantime, you are still using electricity, and are paying for it separately. So if the amount you pay is 20c a kW, and you use 4kW in the same time period, you would get paid 90c, and charged 80c.
A nett feed-in tarrif means that they only pay you for each kW you make over and above what you use. So in the above situation, you would get paid nothing, and charged 20c.

From those examples, you can see that a gross feed-in tarrif is better! My quick googling told me that there are no states in Australia that have a gross feed-in tarrif any more, but that may be wrong.

The other thing to consider is the price the electricity company pays per kW. In Tasmania this is the same as the price the company charges per kW = 25c. Some states pay more per kW than they charge, as in my example above. I imagine the ad on the telly that johnfriartuck told us about might be talking about this. The 00.00 cents might just be how much more they pay than they charge.

Whether solar "pays" can depend on the climate where you live. You obviously get more power with more sunlight, but it also depends on temperature. Hot solar panels are not as efficient as cool ones. Tasmania is a good place for solar, because we tend to have many sunlit days and a cool ambient temperature.

I found a cool calculator here: Calculator. It looks like it takes local climate into effect.

By the way, if you have an electric hot water cylinder, you can save a heap by putting in a solar hot water system. We halved our electricity bill when we put one in. We were using above 20kW per day average, and now we are back to just over 10kW per day. I imagine this will go up now though with the new EV about to go online!

Post Reply