How much will solar save you?

I want to talk to you about how much you could expect to save from solar power. Why this matters?

The price is only half of equation

Normally, when people look at solar power, the first thing they focus on is how much does it cost, which is a useful question, it’s only half of the equation though. So we’ve got the cost of a system, what really matters is what it will save you. And the important bit then is the reason, the return on investment that you are going to achieve, and that’s really what matters. So there’s a range of factors that impact what solar will save you, so I want to give you an overview of what some of those are going to be. First of all, there’s the system that gets designed, and there’s at least three factors that matter here. We have the angle, the orientation, and any shading. These all become the performance of the system, alright?

Other factors: current power spending

The second range of factors that matter are in relation to how you use power. Basically we have when, when you use electricity and how much. These are in your control all the time. The last set of factors are about your energy retailer and how you buy electricity, and they are the rate that you pay per kilowatt hour, the structure, because there’s at least two types of billing arrangements, we’ve got a fairly flat structure and we have time of use, and then we have what you’re paid as the feed-in tariff, that’s for the excess energy. So these are all related to your retailer.


o when we talk to you about solar, we actually look at all of these factors, so that we can give you an intelligent answer about how much solar is going to save you. As an idea, I’ll give you a couple of indicative ranges of what solar would save you. Let’s say you were going for the very common sort of 6 or 6.6 type kilowatt system, what I would expect it to save you is somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500 to $1800, and this is fairly realistic and conservative. You will hear people tell you that you’re going to save $2000 or $2200. In my experience, that’s not the case, and the reason is that if you look at what we call a pattern of consumption. So if we look at a given day, in a 24-hour period, you’ve got a power usage that may look like this. Every house is going to vary, of course, and we have a solar production, which might look like this. So in this scenario, the power under here is consumed by you, this power is exported and is sent back out to the grid, and this power you pay for and this power you pay for, so there’s at least three things going on already. So that is the feed-in tariff for what you’re paid here, the structure of your billing, so how much you pay at different times of day and the rate that you pay.

So even for a normal household, unless you are using a lot of power during the middle of the day, which isn’t common, unless you’ve got a swimming pool or something that’s going to use that power, you’re still exporting power here, which is why you won’t get, in my experience, any more than $1800 or so out of a 6.6 kilowatt system. Let’s say we did a 10 kilowatt system. Also fairly common, we do a lot of 10 kilowatt systems, the amount that we’re looking at on savings, and quite often there’s more of this export in a 10-kilowatt system, is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2300 to $2700. On a larger residential system, sometimes we do 13 kilowatt systems, what I would expect you to save would be in the neighborhood of $2900 up to say $3500.


Now, the cost of the system, what we’re looking at here will vary according to the equipment that we use, whether your house is difficult, double storied, triple storied, terracotta roof and so forth, but what we would typically see with solar is that you’ll get a payback period of, in a really good case, three years or better. In a not so great case, maybe five years, but it’s still a great investment. What that means is that we are really seeing a return on investment on your investment in solar of somewhere between 22%-35% on the money that you invest. It’s coming back to you in three to five years, the longer you stay in the house, the more you keep on saving.

So anyway, the purpose of this video is to give you this overview about what you could expect to save based on some common system sizes and the factors that go into it. When we talk to you about your property and your bill, we will do this analysis for you. We will ask you for your bill, and that lets us get the information we need, and when I come back to you with a quote, the cost side, I also come back to you with the savings side, so you’ve got a complete picture, and that’s our goal is to give you all the information that you need so that you can make an intelligent decision about whether solar is right for you or not.

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