Solar panels and systems
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, or solar panels, are a way of capturing sunlight and converting it into electricity. They reduce the amount of electricity you need from the grid, which lowers your energy costs.
The average Sydney household can save up to $900 a year by installing a 4-kilowatt solar system on their roof. Solar technology is getting better and cheaper – an average 4-kilowatt rooftop solar system could be paid off in less than five years through lower energy bills.
When you get solar, a net meter (or smart meter) will be installed. With this system, energy is sent to your household first. Any electricity you don’t use is then fed back into the main grid.
There are benefits and costs to solar PV and you should research your options.
Solar PV benefits
Solar has a number of environmental and economic benefits, including:
reducing your carbon footprint
lowering electricity bills
potentially attracting financial incentives from your retail energy provider.
Some people install as many solar panels as they can fit on their roof, but the most cost-effective approach is to choose a system whose size suits your needs.
How net meters can reduce your electricity bill
Net meters let you consume the energy your system generates and then draw any remaining energy you need from the grid.
If you generate more electricity than you need, the remainder goes back to the grid. Some retailers may offer to pay you for this surplus energy.
You won’t necessarily see this benefit on your electricity bill as a line item. The real benefit is to the bottom line – in reduced electricity consumption.
Most of the time you probably won’t offset your entire bill with a solar panel system. A number of factors will influence how much you save, including:
the size, quality and site of your system
how much electricity you use, and when you use that electricity
the incentive paid by your retailer.