If you own a Mosman home that gets a lot of sun, you may have considered installing solar panels. The hype tells us that doing so will quickly slash your energy bills and potentially even make you money.
It sounds like an easy win, however it is worth doing some investigating before you go ahead.
The pros and cons of solar panels
A north-facing home without too much overhead tree cover can be ideal for solar panels. Installing them is likely to cost between $3k and $8k and there may be some cash-back style incentives you can investigate to reduce the price. Once your panels are up and running, you should notice a drop in your energy bills.
Before you place your order, it is worth remembering that the energy gathered by these panels is used to power your home during daylight hours. As most of us use the bulk of our electricity in the early morning and after dark, the savings can end up being negligible.
This is not to say installing solar power is not a worthy idea. It can add to the value of your home and of course it is a step in the right direction when it comes to the environment. What’s more, you can adjust your habits, such as setting your appliances to run when the sun is shining, and switching off unwanted lights during the day to feed energy back into the grid and reduce your power bills.
The missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to solar power and the problem of not using the energy you generate is home batteries. These store the power their panels generate from that amazing free resource — the sun.
How home batteries work
The energy from your solar panels can go to waste if you don’t use power during the day. To solve this, your home battery will hold on to the power so when you switch your oven on at dinner time it uses stored energy collected during the day.
These batteries are generally unobtrusive prisms attached to the side of your home. They are simple to install and don’t require a great deal of maintenance. While they have been around for a few years, Tesla’s recently released Powerwall made more people sit up and take notice of a home battery’s potential.
Money well spent?
Tesla’s Powerwall and other batteries increase the ROI of solar power and minimise your home’s reliance on the grid.
The upfront purchase and installation costs are significant (starting from around $10,000) but reports claim you can reduce your energy bill by up to 80 per cent. Households that have installed batteries expect their investment to pay off in less than ten years, which may seem daunting but is still worthwhile if you think long-term.
If you are strategic about the way you use electricity, you may even be able to feed power back into the grid and start making a profit.
Having fully operational solar panels with a battery will involve an outlay of over $15,000 but it may be something to consider if you are planning to sell. Having everything in place could give your home a point of difference and boost its value.
When installing solar power and home batteries, research is critical. Many companies will try to draw you in, claiming you will get a Government rebate, however this not strictly true. Yes, there are Government kickbacks but they don’t always include a cheque that puts money directly back into your pocket.
What’s more, there are a number of operators selling less-than-effective panels. Before you buy, make sure you are doing so from an accredited provider and installer. Invite them over for an inspection and discussion. They should be honest about how much money you will save and can explain NSW Government incentives and refunds in detail.
Before you purchase a battery, examine the warranty and life expectancy along with the return on investment. You may find a battery promises to pay for itself in ten years but will only last that long!
If your home gets a lot of sunshine during the day and you wish to reduce your reliance on 20th century power supplies, solar panels and a sleek Tesla battery could be an excellent decision. It can potentially improve your home’s value and it definitely gives you bragging rights about having the latest home technology! However, don’t jump the gun assuming you’ll dramatically slash your electricity bills, as you may end up disappointed.