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Keeping the Elec$$$ bills down.

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Hey guys,

I've actually been looking at solar power too but from what I read, most electricity providers force you to switch to a time of use meter at your house (which means higher peak rates for electricity). From my understanding most of the electricity providers (other then EA) force you to go to the higher rates if you want to use them for a FIT. Can anyone confirm this? Currently I'm with origin for electricity and my power usage is pretty low (6kwh/day in summer and 17-18kwh/day in winter due to heating). I was planning on buying a 1.5kwh/day system to offset most of my bill but if I have to switch a time of use meter, I think i'll need a bigger system. I called my electrical provider last week and they said when i get my 'meter upgraded' the new meters are all time of use, i'm hoping theirs a way to stay on the current metering system.

Nav

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hi

the company I am using asked for 1/3 deposit & you pay the rest of using GE Finance same as if you went to say harvey norman & for something with a interest free term.

& yep I missed out on the $10k gov option by a couple of weeks

As far AS I know they are putting all solar onto the so called smart meter only thing smart about it they charge you more lol smart for them LOL not for use

Mark

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TOU/smart metering is coming to all of us (even here in the ACT where they haven't worked out a plan for actually doing so yet).

Switching to Solar just provides an opportune time for your energy retailer to do something they've committed to doing anyway. Avoiding Solar might allow you to defer the assimilation for a while but eventually you're gonna form part of the Borg :-)

Always remember that someone has to pay for the interest in an 'interest free' loan and the retailer/GE would be going broke if it was them so they just factor it into the purchase price.

That might very well suit you for a whole bunch of reasons but don't go thinking it's free.

I actually went to the far extreme and paid up front . Whilst this worked perfectly for me I would hardly recommend it as a general way to do business, I just happened to be in a position where I could negotiate directly with someone willing to agree on a high enough value on prepayment that I benefited and I was confident enough with to take the risk.

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I installed a 3.8kw system in July. It made me $360 in 1 month off my last bill that ended start of August. Thats a great result for a winter month.

It turned the $1100 ($900 last year) bill into a $740 bill for winter.

This system should save me $3800 a year which is garanteed for the next 7 years. My yearly bills were approx $3k but they've raised 20% this year.

My system is 20 panels at 190watts each.

I looked into solar 5-6 years ago and a similar system would have been around 40-50k. I paid $9.1k up front which will be paid back to me in savings in under 3 years. The next 4 years are straight proffit and there will be some buy back scheme for the energy made but it won't be as generous.

Generally what ever size KW system you install is what you save in $000's. and it pays for it self in 3 years.

There is a cap on the amount of systems that can be installed in Australia and still receive the feed in tarriffs. This level is quickly being approached so you need to act fast.

I used solar choice website who arrange quotes from many different suppliers and you choose who you use and what brand and type of panel and inverter you use.

I was about to pay $10k for a similar size system when SunSavers offered a package which was 16 panels totalling 2.88kw. for $7.1k I added 4 panels for $2k. Due to demand only the better bigger panels were available which made my 3.6kw system go to 3.8kw. As Mawfish said, Sunsavers are a subsidiary of SolarShop who are the biggest solar name in Oz. I don't recommend them or advise against them either. but they all use very similar parts (panels, inverters etc) and have similar warranties. Also the installers are usually contractors and work for multiple companies anyway.

Be aware there is quite a bit of organising you'll need to do like arranging your electricity provider to change your meter to a 2 way or install a reverse meter along side your original.

My advice is jump in ASAP and get the biggest system you can afford even if you need to borrow for it.

Just make sure that when you order or get quotes that you are going to get the feed in tarrifs from the installer.

thats enough ranting from me but as said previously cutting your usage is still the answer and if you go solar it really is money back in your pocket.

Cheers Couchy :thumbup:

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Couchy,

please explaine further to your comment;

Just make sure that when you order or get quotes that you are going to get the feed in tarrifs from the installer.

Craig

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Usually you get a reverse meter installed that measures the electricity your solar system produces. You get a bill for your usage minus the "feed in tarrif" which is 68c / Kw for each Kw you produce. Generally the feed in tarrif rate is 4 times your off-peak usage rate (17c).

The feed in tarrifs are what you get paid by the elec company for the power you put back into the grid. At the moment they are very generous but the government has set a limit to how many people these need to be paid to. That number is being approached now which means you may not get as much back for the electricity you produce. Eventually you will get a lot less than the current feed in tarrifs for the power you produce. But until that time you have an opportunity to save and even make a lot of money.

When you speak with your seller / installer just ask if you are entitled to the government rebates and feed in tarrifs. Have them explain fully what it will cost you and what you will get back. Also speak with your elec. provider to ensure you will receive the feed in tarrifs.

Also I recomend you upsize your invertor, this will allow you to add more panels in the future without replacing your invertor and other parts etc. Thats if the panels become cheaper which they definitely should.

Cheers Couchy :thumbup:

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Usually you get a reverse meter installed that measures the electricity your solar system produces. You get a bill for your usage minus the "feed in tarrif" which is 68c / Kw for each Kw you produce. Generally the feed in tarrif rate is 4 times your off-peak usage rate (17c).

The feed in tarrifs are what you get paid by the elec company for the power you put back into the grid. At the moment they are very generous but the government has set a limit to how many people these need to be paid to. That number is being approached now which means you may not get as much back for the electricity you produce. Eventually you will get a lot less than the current feed in tarrifs for the power you produce. But until that time you have an opportunity to save and even make a lot of money.

When you speak with your seller / installer just ask if you are entitled to the government rebates and feed in tarrifs. Have them explain fully what it will cost you and what you will get back. Also speak with your elec. provider to ensure you will receive the feed in tarrifs.

Also I recomend you upsize your invertor, this will allow you to add more panels in the future without replacing your invertor and other parts etc. Thats if the panels become cheaper which they definitely should.

Cheers Couchy :thumbup:

Thanks Couchy,

I knew about the second meter, just not up with the correct lingo to go with it. Gold information Couchy, thanks for taking the time to explain it to me.

I've got to say, I think this thread is the most informative and valuable thread I have seen on ACE in all the years I have been posting. Thanks to those who have been so free with their knowledge :thumbup:

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I second that Craig. This thread contains very valuable information that should

not be neglected. It is making me seriously looking into solar, which up until now

has not been very easy to understand

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and her I go again being a know-it-all party pooper :-)

At the moment they are very generous but the government has set a limit to how many people these need to be paid to. That number is being approached now which means you may not get as much back for the electricity you produce.

here I definately don't knowit-all not even being in the same state but I thought

- the NSW Gross FIT scheme was a 7 year program (from a date a year or so ago)

- so if you have managed to or do manage to get locked into it you won't lose it during that period

- there is a review triggered by hitting the 50MW limit (which I presume has already been reached)

- when the review is complete it will most likely recommend a change to the FIT regime that will be less friendly (on the basis that PV costs have come down so they don't "need" to subsidise as much)

- but that such changes will not apply retrospectively to existing systems on FIT contracts (including those entered into during the review process)

so yes in NSW in particular if it makes sense to go into PV then it makes sense to do it quickly.

If I was in NSW and entering into an installation contract with someone I'd be looking to write in some sort of opt-out clause if they fail to install/setup/get-approved prior to a FIT change but I have no idea how palatable that woudl be to the suppliers

Also I recomend you upsize your invertor, this will allow you to add more panels in the future without replacing your invertor and other parts etc. Thats if the panels become cheaper which they definitely should.

be careful here. Inverters have min/max voltage levels within which they operate efficiently and the lower cutoff is a pretty harsh cutoff. In the morning when the voltage is below the bottom level it wil lbe producing effectively zero power even if it's only a tiny bit below the threshhold. ditto for late afternoon and when clouds roll by.

The point is that the voltage is a direct function of the number of panels linked in series. Add another panel and you increase that voltage which in optimal conditions is no big deal but in marginal conditions when the panels are only mustering a percentage of their nominal voltage it might make the difference between producing some power and producing none at all.

From a $ returned for $ outlayed perspective you actually want to be at or over the upper end of the range not anywhere lower (as long as you don't go over the maximum voltage rating of the system, something your PV designer will watch very carefully).

note: my systems are a berenstein bears example of this. I'd like to add more panels to all of my arrays as they woudl operate more efficiently but that would change my FIT contract and reduce my $ return (as it's at the 10Kw limit of the older FIT scheme)

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- there is a review triggered by hitting the 50MW limit (which I presume has already been reached)

according to AGL that limit was "reached months ago".

but that such changes will not apply retrospectively to existing systems on FIT contracts (including those entered into during the review process)

It can take 5-8 weeks to get to the signing time which would "lock" this in (so SolarChoice told me). I think you can put a deposit down, but the people I have spoken with don't know if that will be the same as a signed document at this point in time. Public submissions (not sure what that entails) go to parliament at the end of this month for debate, which could take two minutes or two months to conclude.

As I currently understand it, or perhaps it's more of a feel, to start into the process now and putting down a deposit, which may or may not be refundable, you may have missed the boat already. Which means you don't know what the deposit is paying for (that is - will it do the job for you as planned), and I'm not sure if you can get it back.

If you deal directly with say AGL they are also booked out a month in advance, so they won't even look at you for another month. Going through a solar panel provider may see a faster responce, but some don't even come out to ascertain the property but use Google Earth instead. And that to me is not conducive to spending thousands of dollars, especially as my new roof isn't even built yet.

So if you start the process now, you don't know what feed in tariffs you will be receiving – a HUGE purchasing decision as this will determine what sized system will be needed.

Least wise, that's the best I can understand the whole thing at the moment.

Edited by CThompson

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be careful here. Inverters have min/max voltage levels within which they operate efficiently and the lower cutoff is a pretty harsh cutoff. In the morning when the voltage is below the bottom level it wil lbe producing effectively zero power even if it's only a tiny bit below the threshhold. ditto for late afternoon and when clouds roll by.

Wasn't aware of this, at first I only had half my system connected to the invertor while waiting for other parts and was getting good electricity gains through the invertor. But they wouldn't tell you this sort of info as they're sales men??

according to AGL that limit was "reached months ago".

This is true but some installers / suppliers bought the credits etc. for future installations.

The reason they have set a limit is that elec co's are forced to buy the energy you produce back to the grid by the government. They obviously don't want to pay you money back for the electricity they are there to sell :lol3:

The review will take place and changes will come but they won't effect existing systems only installations that happen after the limit is reached.

Cheers Couchy :thumb

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I forget where I read the article but it spoke about running tanks at a lower temperature to save on electricity. The idea was you started with a room that was 20C. The article explained that if you attempted to run a tank at 28C it would cost 4 times the amount than to run the tanks at 24C.

The idea was simple. It assumed that the heater turned on after the tank lost 2C. At a room temperature of 20C, a tank set at 24C would lose heat slowly to drop to 22C as it is only a 4C gap.

A tank set at 28C would drop to 26C quite quickly, and start the heater again.

I set my tanks at 25C and have seen a good drop in electricity bills.

Hope it helps.

Rob

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Does anyone know anything about Future Wave? I don't know how it works, but supposedly reduces running costs of pumps by 70%.

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This is true but some installers / suppliers bought the credits etc. for future installations.

This is talking about REC's the rest of the discussion have been about FIT.

REC's have effect during the pruchase process as (in effect) they reduce the up front price you have to pay for the system. There have been recent legislative changes to make it easier and quicker to change the REC system but not actual changes at present (other than a floor price of $40 applies from Xmas) but if it does change you can probably expect things like less of an incentive to purchase small systems

The FIT (Feed In Tarrif) contacts are talking about agreed prices at which the energy supplier buy elecriticity from you. The scheme in place in NSW at the moment means they buy it at a price significantly higher than the electricty you buy from them. This is the stuff being reviewed and which you can expect to change.

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after ringing about my rediculous electricity bill previously posted, the electric company stuffed up my bill but it still came in at $1600.

just thought i would share that.

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I forget where I read the article but it spoke about running tanks at a lower temperature to save on electricity. The idea was you started with a room that was 20C. The article explained that if you attempted to run a tank at 28C it would cost 4 times the amount than to run the tanks at 24C.

The idea was simple. It assumed that the heater turned on after the tank lost 2C. At a room temperature of 20C, a tank set at 24C would lose heat slowly to drop to 22C as it is only a 4C gap.

A tank set at 28C would drop to 26C quite quickly, and start the heater again.

I set my tanks at 25C and have seen a good drop in electricity bills.

Hope it helps.

Rob

Try 22 degrees, they live and breed at this.

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I installed a 3.8kw system in July. I paid $9.1k up front

I was about to pay $10k for a similar size system when SunSavers offered a package which was 16 panels totalling 2.88kw. for $7.1k I added 4 panels for $2k. Due to demand only the better bigger panels were available which made my 3.6kw system go to 3.8kw.

very cheap prices; who did you end up going with ? we are going thru this atm and a 3kw system is around $11k. a 3.8kw, (or 4kw basically), is $15k. prices cant have gone up that much in 2 months.

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As i said, I ended up going through sunsavers. I found them on Solar choice website. $15k is about the right price, it was a sale price i was there at the right time right place...

Solar choice will send you a list of quotes from different suppliers. They were very helpful to me and informative.

As for prices going up? They should continue to fall with popularity.

Cheers.

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As i said, I ended up going through sunsavers. I found them on Solar choice website. $15k is about the right price, it was a sale price i was there at the right time right place...

Solar choice will send you a list of quotes from different suppliers. They were very helpful to me and informative.

As for prices going up? They should continue to fall with popularity.

Cheers.

yeah they have been great so far. cant believe how cheap you got it for...right place right time alright !

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Well I get huge bills in the winter from all the heaters running in my tanks, I had a smart meter put on my box the other day and I am now focusing on running everything I can outside of the "peak" time. (pool filter, washing machine, hot water system etc).

So I bought a heap of 24hr timers and have all my heaters set to run from 10pm at night till 2pm.

Will be interesting to see how much money it saves me.

I have an energy usage meter on the powerpoint I run my main rack off it used to average around 1.2KW an hour during the day and about 1.6KW an hour during the evening/early morning before I started the timer method.

It now averages about 400w an hour (just the main pump, air pump and a few powerheads) during the peak times and around 1.6kw during the offpeak.

Now for marine enthusiasts this might not be acceptable solution (corals/anenomes being very sensitive etc) but I don't think a small fluctuation of 2 - 3c over a few hours is going to harm the fish.

Well I received my first bill since having the smart meter installed and using the "heaters off during peak period method". We've also only run things like pool pump, washing machines etc in the off peak/shoulder times.

It was only for 47 days rather 90, after this bill it should go back to the usual 90 day quarter that we usually pay.

The results were very pleasing and our bill was half of what we would usually have gotten. (Taking into account that it was only half a quarter as well).

Our usage has dropped from 110KWh a day to 68KWh a day.

Now it has been warmer then the may/june/july quarter so we would probably use more in the coldest part of the year, but still I'm very happy that its made a difference.

I'm getting a 3KW solar system installed soon which will negate those big bills even more.

HTH

Luke

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I have organised and paid deposit on;

3 string of 8kW HIT panels = 4.92kW 24 x Sanyo 205W (Japanese) on a SMA-SMC-6000 inverter (German). Estimated annual return = $4145.

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I have organised and paid deposit on;

3 string of 8kW HIT panels = 4.92kW 24 x Sanyo 205W (Japanese) on a SMA-SMC-6000 inverter (German). Estimated annual return = $4145.

mind sharing the price of the total system and the company you chose?

im actually in the process of shopping around now, so any info will be helpful.....also lead time?

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Due to the unexpected rate of subscription in the first 10 months of the Solar Bonus

Scheme, NSW Government today announced a major revamp that will:

? Immediately close the current program at midnight, and

? Introduce a new and more sustainable program with a third of the current tariff

rate, or 20 cents/kWh.

Customers already participating in the scheme will not be affected by the changes.

The revamp includes:

• Immediately closing the current program to new applications (as of midnight from

the date the Bill is introduced into Parliament). Customers who have already

purchased/leased a generator will have 21 days to lodge their applications to join

the program;

• Introduce a replacement program with a tariff rate of 20 cents / kWh and the same

program end date (31 December 2016);

• Introduce an overall capacity limit of 300 MW for all generators connected under the

Scheme, far more generous than caps that exist in other states including Victoria

and the ACT;

• Establishing an interagency Commercial Scale Renewable Energy Working Group,

including representatives from the network businesses to investigate opportunities

for installing mid scale solar systems as an alternative to network expansion; and

• Giving responsibility to NSW Fair Trading and Industry and Investment NSW to

determine whether a compliance and safety regime is required and develop a

suitable model.

The new program will be subject to a review on 1 July 2012 and at the end of the program

(31 December 2016).

“There is strong support in the community for this program and that’s why we are continuing

· If you have purchased or leased a system by 27th October 2010 you- or your installer have until 18th November 2010 to apply to connect to the grid.

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Quick update on my 3.8kw system,

Just got my first full quarter bill,

Usage was 3520 kWh for the 87 days - $796

Solar prod. 1424kWh + $968

Result was a credit for $171.

I'm with AGL and they credit your bill, I'm in front for the next one now.

I might put the credit towards a reverse cycle air con for the fish room. I can afford to run it now.. LOL

I installed a 1.44kw system at the mother in laws house and she gets cheques for the solar energy produced and a seperate bill for her usage. If the usage cost is less than the solar credit she is in front with cash...

She's with integral energy up the coast.

Cheers Couchy :thumbup:

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