How to get solar panels at your home: And save money, too

Australia is a world-leader in solar uptake, with one-in-four Aussie homes having rooftop solar systems installed as of the end of 2020.

As renewable energy continues to grow as a focus of the government, solar options are becoming more accessible and affordable for Aussie homes to consider. If you’ve ever thought about bringing more green power into your home, rooftop solar may be an idea you’ve considered.

But how do you get rooftop solar in your home, and how does that power help you and the grid?

The installation: upfront cost to save money over time

Installing solar can be expensive upfront. Prices range depending on the types and size of the panels you want to purchase, and you’ll also need to pay a certified solar power system installer to get your system up and running.

The government indicates prices start around $3500 total for a basic installation, however costs are steadily coming down. If you’re not interested in a battery system for your solar, it can take roughly 3-5 years in order to save as much on energy costs as you spent for your installation. Adding a battery can prolong that payback period.

It is important to ensure you’re buying panels from a reputable supplier as there are a number of low-quality versions on the market that will not get you the results you’re looking for. The Clean Energy Council approves solar retailers that meet their requirements and comply with a code of conduct. Check a retailer's available information and feedback from other customers before committing to a solar provider, or you could find yourself a victim to a scam.

The size and slope of your rooftop will also be a factor in the size of the solar panels you’re able to install. An accredited solar installer will of course be able to walk you through all of the steps, but educating yourself on what suits your needs (and your rooftop) can help you save money and time.

Finding an energy plan to use your solar

Unfortunately rooftop solar isn’t quite as simple as installation and getting right to using your new renewable energy. You still need to sign up with an energy plan with a provider that supports your solar generation.

You’ll also want to compare feed-in tariffs between providers: this is the amount you’re paid by the provider (usually in the form of credit off your bill) for solar power you export to the grid.

Depending on the energy provider, they may be able to help you all the way from installation, although for the sake of cost it may be worth shopping around for a number of quotes anyway. You can also check for any solar schemes that your state government may offer, that could provide rebates and savings on the cost of installing your panels.

Once you’ve got your panels installed and you’re signed up to an energy plan, you should be good to go. Your household will be one of the millions of Aussie homes producing their own solar power via rooftop systems, and contributing to a cleaner energy market.

Your energy provider or the manufacturer of your solar panels may be able to present you with a meter that will allow you to track how much solar you’re producing, and what is going into your home and back to the grid. This is a good way to track the money you’re saving on energy bills, as well as the emissions you’re helping reduce by going green.

Check out our renewable energy FAQs for common questions answered about green power. To compare energy plans and providers in your area head over to our energy hub, or make use of our handy tool below.

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