In 2017, solar energy export limits on new solar households in SA were reduced from 10kW to 5kW (per phase), and in other states – Queensland, Victoria and NSW, they were reduced even further.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is now funding a new trial of “dynamic” and “flexible” rooftop solar systems in VIC and SA to better manage the export of rooftop solar back into the grid, subject to local conditions and what is happening elsewhere in the grid. In all SA, new solar households already have to abide by enforced inverter standards to maintain the grid’s stability. If the flexible exports trial is successful, we expect it will replace the current rules that are in place for SA households and, in time, will likely be implemented across the grid in VIC, ACT, NSW & QLD. Here is more information on the smarter homes regulations.
Due to the increasing demand for solar (Which now accounts for over two-thirds of the daytime demand in SA), exports from household solar have to change to stabilise the grid. As standards evolve to meet this demand, export is being reduced, and feed-in-tariffs will become less important when considering solar. Feed-in tariffs were very important in the early days of solar as they helped justify the significant expense of moving to renewable energy. But we have seen an enormous decrease in the price of choosing to live sustainably, and the feed-in tariff is becoming less relevant to our customers. See some further information on the Flexible Export trial in the video below from SA Power Networks.
Solar makes sense AND ADDS VALUE TO YOUR HOME.
Before the solar boom in 2008, solar power prices were as high as $15 to $20 per watt and mainly taken up by the early adopters with significant financial means. With over 300,000 installs last year, residential solar is now considered a mass-market product.
Due to module efficiency and the declining cost of module manufacturing, the cost of PV energy in Australia in 2030 is likely to be about two-thirds of today’s price. The Solar Choice Price Index highlights the changes we’ve seen over the last five years as solar prices have continued to decrease as manufacturers have reached economies of scale with production.
A good quality 6.6kW solar system costs $5,000. Once the STC rebates discount, the original price will be fully paid off through electricity cost savings in approximately 3-4 years with a lifetime benefit of the installations spanning 25 years; the total value of the solar system ends up being around $30,000-$35,000. This is because every kW generated and used from your solar system is not drawn from the grid, which saves you between 25-40 cents per kWh consumed, depending on where you’re located in Australia.
Further to the value earned through reducing the amount of electricity you buy from the grid, research indicates that solar panels can improve the value of your home. A study from 2018 indicates that 77% of Australians believe a solar system adds value to a home, with over half saying they would pay an average of $10,000 extra for a home with a solar system.
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