Why go solar? Make money and save money

Information verified correct on October 22nd, 2016

Going solar isn’t going to save the world — yet — but it can save you money right now.

More and more Australians are installing PV solar panels to cut down on the rising costs of electricity. Solar technology is becoming more affordable and electricity is getting more expensive. The government has also made it more affordable to install solar panels by the introduction of their small-scale technology emissions trading scheme. Here are some standout reasons why it can make sense to go solar in your home.

Who do homeowners go solar?

Solar makes the most sense for medium to long term homeowners looking to offset their energy expenditure and reduce their carbon footprint. At present, PV solar power becomes cost effective after a period of years. Investors should also consider how a solar PV system can raise the resale price of the property. Solar electricity also has the potential to boost rental yields.

The main benefits of solar power:

  • Reduce your electricity bill.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Make money by selling power to the grid.
  • Small-scale technology certificates can significantly reduce the cost of installing rooftop PV solar modules.
  • Make money by selling small-scale technology certificates on the small-scale renewable scheme market.
  • A rooftop PV system and solar batteries can make your dwelling energy independent.

Average daily electricity production for household solar PV systems in Australian capital cities


Average daily household electricity consumption by capital city

CityPostcodeHousehold ResidentsPoolGas MainAverage Daily Use
  • Figures are based on average yearly PV solar energy generation estimates by the Clean Energy Council, the peak body for the clean energy industry in Australia.
  • Household electricity usage estimate provided by
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Save money on your electricity bill

It’s hard to say how much money solar electricity can save you. Industry research indicates you can reduce your electricity bill by up to half and can pay for itself in as little as 10 years.

According to the Clean Energy Council, the average Australian household consumes about 18kWh of electricity every day. A 1-2 kW solar PV system could potentially reduce your overall energy bill by approximately a third. And that’s a safe estimate. A solar heating system can increase the savings even further.

Household electricity bill savings depend on

  • Your household electricity consumption.
  • How much electricity you use in the day and in the night.
  • The size of your solar electricity system.
  • The location of your home.
  • Your feed-in tariff.
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Make money by selling power to the grid.

Any excess power you don’t use can be sold back to the grid. Solar revenue depends on your feed-in tariff arrangement with the electricity supplier.

Most feed-in tariffs are ‘net’ arrangements. You’re paid for each unit (kWh) of electricity you can provide the grid. You can usually sell a unit of energy for a little more than purchase price; however, feed-in tariff arrangements vary greatly between states and territories and electricity suppliers.

Talk with your solar retailer to find the ‘sweet spot’ between power consumption and export to get the most savings on your electricity bill.

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Earn small-scale technology certificates and reduce your carbon footprint

Case study: Rebates make solar electricity affordable

Luis and Rose have just purchased their first home and want to install a PV solar electricity system. Although they like the idea of saving money on their electricity bill and helping the environment, they can’t afford the upfront costs of the system, which Luis heard could be as much as $10,000.

When Luis and Rose found out about the federal government’s renewable power incentives they decided to go solar.

Small-scale technology certificates

Small-scale technology certificates (STCs) are a government rebate that makes installing a PV solar system more affordable.

By installing a solar electricity system in their home Luis and Rose can earn STCs from the government, which are a type of digital currency. STCs can be sold on the STC market or given to a third party like their solar retail company for a discount on solar system and installation costs. The government lets people like Luis and Rose claim their STCs in advance by calculating expected power generation over the next 5, 10 or 15 years.

Small-scale technology certificates solar discount

Solar system size:2.0kWh PV Solar System.
System cost:$5,000
Location:Sydney (Zone 3)
STCs awarded:41
STC unit price:$40
Total credit:$1,640
Discounted system cost:$3,360

Another option for the couple is to go for solar energy finance. Most solar retailers can arrange finance so a solar system can be installed without upfront capital. If you want to enter into an agreement with a broker to finance the cost of your solar power system be sure to shop around and read the terms and conditions.

Solar is cheaper than ever and electricity is as expensive as ever, save money and save the environment by going solar.

Shirley Liu

Shirley is's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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