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[SA] Solar Feed in Tariff bonus ending?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by jimmym, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. Anyone? I'm suprised no one has an opinion on this.:(

    Maybe I should have made the title 'I put my right glove on first and my left boot goes on before the right' to get a few people interested to provide an opinion :)
  2. #3 cjvfr, Sep 25, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
    The situation is so complex. Change of federal gov, dropping of feed in tariffs etc. from what I have read smaller systems with short payback periods are the go at the moment. On phone I will post up more soon. What is SA"s feed in tariff going to 8c/kwh ???

    Added Later:

    Ok I have read your link now. In Vic the Feed in Tariff (FIT) has been dropped to 8c/kwh. It looks like SA will drop to 11.2c/kwh once the additional 16c/kwh drops off. If you can get in before the incentive ends it is probably worthwhile. Payback times are a complex calculation payments are generally based on NET figures and payback times should be calculated on installation cost, end of life cycle, current electricity bill, size of array and export levels.

    Choice has a breakdown of Payback periods HERE

    Although it seems counter intuitive an array that exports more will take longer to payback. That's where the extra price incentive helps. This is because of a number of reasons your calculated bill (in most states) is on NET so create 2kwh and use 3kwh in your house and you pay for the balance of 1kwh at the retail rate (25c/kwh or abouts). Create 2kwh and use 1.5kwh and the balance is 0.5kwh in your favour for which they pay you (in SA) 11.2c/kwh. The extra 16c/kwh that is about to run out means you are getting around the price that you buy power for. This makes a large array worthwhile. Large arrays cost more so you have more cost to recover.

    If you don't get the 16c extra then a smaller array has a shorter payback period.

    Hope that helps, check your current bill and crunch the numbers. And don't consider the array to have an infinite life, 10 - 15 years would be the limit. Don't buy a system without at least a 5 year guarantee.
  3. Uh, panels worth having are warranted to about 20+ years (albiet with a reduction in output somewhere around the 20% mark). Can't remember the lifespan on inverters, but I think it'd reasonable to assume 10-15 for that (but it'll probably be a few hundred to maybe a thousand to replace it if it does go).

    Batteries are the Achilles heel, if you have them (which is unlikely outside of remote systems), as they do have a relatively short lifespan and can be expensive to replace.

    The rest kinda comes down to the quality of the installer.
  4. These figures are based on Grid connection. For a true off grid system with batteries the economics are quite different. 20% reduction in output over 15 years is the general calculation. I agree on quality of the installer, don't go for Mr Cheap Solar man you will pay in the long term.
  5. That is quite different to lifespan, though. It will last much longer -he won't have to chuck the lot out- just at a (still usable) lower level of performance. Given that panels keep getting cheaper and more efficient, he could probably even make up the difference for a minimal expense if he wants to (or outright plan for an expansion down the line).
  6. #7 cjvfr, Sep 27, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
    True you are correct, my mis-wording. What I was trying to get across is that you need to calculate degradation of the panels and possible failure of the inverter as part of the financial payback plan. And also with the low FIT now days large arrays don't make a lot of sense. Also don't assume you can replace some panels, generally they need to be matched on the DC side otherwise you don't get the most efficient power transfer. To get around this, plus to reduce DC high current losses Micro inverters are starting to make an appearance where the DC to AC conversion is done near the panel.

    Of course if you are in NT where Men are real men and Crocodiles roam the street :) they pay on Gross at 27.8c/kwh then a larger array makes financial sense.
  7. Which is good advice :).

    Note that I meant adding to the array, not replacing parts of it (as the latter would be kinda wasteful and not bring you back up to 100% of the original output).
  8. You have a technical problem with piecemeal replacement of panels. They have different source impedances which means they end up sharing the load unequally. This leads to inefficiencies in delivery. I think the idea of micro inverters is a great one thats time has come. You can avoid losses in high current DC circuits, add to arrays in sections easily and deal with differences in panels. Coupled with a recent report that a German/French team have succeeded in solar panel efficiencies of 44.7% leads you to have optimism for this technology in general.

    The low FIT is a problem, it makes the payback periods longer than they should be but lower costs and higher efficiencies should improve that. We also need to look at Solar panels built in to roofing materials for new construction. Sharing the cost on roofing between the stuff to keep the rain out and the generation stuff should amortize this further.

    Do you work in the industry KOHHOP or just have an interest like me? :)
  9. Grew up with it, studied it for a little while (before health problems got in the way) and continue to have a passive interest.
  10. #11 robsalvv, Sep 27, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
    I can't see how low FIT's can make a system attractive.

    I have a set up and am getting the transitional FIT and with that, my mid range system has an economic return. 33c/kWH

    I have the typical set up with the house taking solar gen first then exporting what's left over - so I can't see it being a lot of value when the TFIT period runs out and it drops to the industry standard.

    Is there an option where the generated power winds the power meter back? A 1:1 if you will?

  11. Yes low FITS are a disincentive to larger arrays. I suspect there may be some engineering pushing here. Already in some areas take up of large arrays has been so high that voltage regulation in these areas are becoming difficult on sunny days. Commuter suburbs, low load during the day and high numbers of panels mean voltages are pushing higher outside of spec.

    What size is your array Rob?

    Tassie and ACT have a 1:1 system. ACT is on Gross Tassie on Net. Not available in Victoria.
  12. Name plate value is 4.8kW, but when the panels are cold and the morning sun comes out, BAM! It will bump up to 5.1kW.

    I've stopped recording how many kWh's it can generate in a summers day - must be up to 40kWh some days.
  13. Wow! with your 33c FIT you should be well on the way for a ROI. I can't imagine you as an energy junkie so you would have a high export rate.
  14. My old man brought me up to have some modicum of energy conservation - he wasn't a greenie, he was a "wallet"-ey. But my partner wasn't brought up that way. lol The solar panels have been earning their keep.