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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 237 - May 21st (Day 93)

This week we had the solar panels installed by FreeSolar. When we purchased the unit in April it cost $6995 for the 3kW unit. Today it costs $9550. I'm sure glad we did it back then!

They came by last Wednesday, and installed the panels on the roof. Our home faces the wrong direction, and I didn't really want 16 solar panels sitting on the front of the house, so I opted to put them on either side of the main roof. It sort of  keeps them hidden. I really didn't realise however, just how many panels we could get on this roof. I reckon we could have 4-5 times the number of panels that we have now, and still have space.

They added the inverter to the side of the wall with the powerbox, and added two switches so you are able to turn off one of the solar banks if needed. This then goes onto the inverter, where the voltage is converted up to 240V. This then comes out and travels to the mains, where it is then fed into the power on the street.

The lady at FreeSolar pointed out, that with the way things are set up, it is best if you try not to run any powered devices during the day, but instead run them at night. You see, your solar panels generate power (obviously) during the day and export this power to the grid at a cost to the grid of 44 - 52 cents per kilowatt hour of power. The difference is that you may be paying 16 -20 cents for your power, hence it makes sense not to use your power during the day, otherwise you won't have any power to export out to the grid during the day as you will be using it and won't make any money from your system.....  Not sure how the clothes will manage though being wet at night ? :->

Using a 3KW system, you could hope to have it generate 12.6kWh per day. Using the minimum feed in tarriff of 44 cents, your system would generate $5.54 per day ($6.55 if you managed to get 52 cents!). this would generate an annual savings of $2022.10 per year on the 44cent feed in tarriff ($2390.75 on the 42 cent tarriff) meaning it should take around 3 and a half years minimum before it pays itself off. Over 20 years it would generate $40,442 (assuming that the feed in tarriff stays the same? I have know idea whether this might happen though..!)

Another way to look at it is that it also would increase the value of a house. I mean, if you had the same house, side by side, one with and another without solar panels, I'd pay a little extra for the one with the panels knowing the long term savings I'll make.

We are now waiting for Energex to get back to us, to arrange a module they have to add to the power box, which counts the power exported to the grid. Then the system will be switched on.

Off to the photos...


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 223 - May 7th (Day 79)

Ok...So I haven't updated the blog in a little while. Main reason is that almost everything is complete. We still have some speakers to mount in the ceiling for the surround sound...We have wired all the points from the TV, to the Amp, DVD and speakers. All that needs to be completed is the subwoofer and the ceiling speakers. Hopefully this should be too much of a big job.. ?

We still haven't had our house warming party. Partially due to everyone being away over the easter period, then others being away on the long weekend etc. So I'm hoping to have it really soon.

Today I finally got the garage cleaned out. Most of the stuff is sitting on top of the trailer! I mowed the lawn today and mounted the clothes line on the wall. We weren't to sure where we were going to be putting it as the wall space down the side of the house where the laundry door is doesn't have much wall space. In the end I added it to the rear of the house. Just had the right amount of wall space!!

The grass has settled in now, and is starting to take shape which is good to see. I added an edge to the garden at the front of the house. I am going to purchase some white stones and add them to this after putting some weed mat down. We had this at our last home and it looked good, and didn't encourage the termites.

Our neighbours have both been busy. One side is selling. I think they want a little more than they paid for it, but not much, so I think it is a really good bargain for anyone wanting a 700 sq m block (35 long x 20 wide). On the other side, they have started to build. They are also building in timber. Personally (and this is just me) I don't like the worry of termites after having them hit my last home...and I was prudent in working to keep them out.

These neighbours are actually owners of Coral homes in QLD. They are really nice people and are easy to get along with. It is good to see some more upmarket homes appearing in the estate, as some of them are just builder owned and are being sold after being built. The result is a smaller home, with simplistic fittings.

To the rear of us, we had a builder who went broke. Partially becasue he was given the land to build on and didn't start on it until it was a couple of weeks before they should be selling it (to recoup their money). The house went for auction last week and sold at $412k! Not bad for a 700 sq m block with house! The owners still have to do somethings to fix the house up. I reckon there is another $80K - $90K to spend before it is complete.

Now to our solar installation. Got a phone call on Friday saying  they would like to install it on Wednesday next week. This will be good. I have been talking with Jay, and he mentioned that the price of solar had increased something like 200%!  I way! Anyway, I went to Free Sloars web site (Where we are getting our install through) and the price had jumped from $6995 for a 3KW system, to $9995! Well thats a 43% where near the reported 200% but still a lot of extra money.

I have been looking into it...wondering if the installer might try to ask for more money after the install... and have found this information on the Department of Climate change and Energy Efficiency's website. The date we paid for the install was on the 7th of April, 2011.

Transitional Arrangements

The Government intends to put in place transitional arrangements in regulations to recognise written contracts entered into prior to 5 May 2011, for system installation from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, where the contract was made on the basis of the previous multiplier of four, but only where a number of conditions have been met.

It is the Government’s intention that regulations to give effect to the reduction in the Solar Credits multiplier, including the transitional arrangements, will be made prior to the end of June 2011.

It is anticipated that the transitional arrangements would specify that, as a minimum, for a person to be entitled to create STCs for the small generation unit (SGU) such as a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system under the proposed transitional arrangements, he or she must:

  •  ensure the system complies with all existing Solar Credits eligibility criteria;
  • possess a copy of the written contract executed before 5 May 2011 made on the basis of the previous multiplier of four for the installation of the system, which would include as a minimum the:
  • name and address of the supplier;
  • address at which the system was installed;
  • name of system owner; and
  • brand, model number and total capacity of the solar photovoltaic panels and the inverter to be installed;
  •  possess documentary evidence that a monetary deposit had been paid by the owner of the system prior to 5 May 2011; and
  • provide a signed Statutory Declaration to the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator, stating that he or she has the required evidentiary documentation in their possession and will maintain these records in accordance with relevant provisions in the RET legislation.

Where a person is seeking to make an application to create STCs for a number of different installations under these transitional arrangements at one time, only one Statutory Declaration will be required, but the Declaration must clearly identify all installations relevant to the application.
The Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator undertakes investigative audits based on a risk management approach to verify applicants have met specified requirements for creation of STCs.

The problem seems to be popping up as the installers have so much work, the price of the STC's has come down, meaning the installer needs to charge more upfront to make money on the install. The other problem is that the Solar Credits multiplier (provided by the Goverment, will be dropping from x4 to x3, meaning the credits they get from installing the solar system is less.

Others say that as the demand increases, the prices should again fall. I think this will be true, but I don't believe the effect will be until it gets closer to the time that the credits multiplier changes again...?

I think the other thing you need to consider is the money you are going to be paid from your electricity retailer. This might change as well, so I guess it might still be worth while to go ahead with an install....

Now for some pictures of the house today....