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How to go solar without the set-up costs

– but the cost of installing a solar system tends to create a stumbling block for families on a tight budget.

But a new program from Origin Energy enables residents who live within a 100km radius of Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Townsville to go solar without any upfront cost.

 

Solar as a Service allows households to have solar installed on the roof and enjoy the associated benefits of low solar energy costs and reduce the impact of their energy use on the environment, without the cost of the system or maintenance.

Origin Executive General Manager Phil Craig, says: “With Solar as a Service, customers pay nothing upfront, as Origin owns, installs and maintains the solar system for them. This means customers can relax, go green, and enjoy electricity cost savings from day one.”

 

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Phil says Solar as a Service opens up the market to people who may not have previously considered solar, or who thought it was too expensive.

“Eligible home owners will receive a solar contract rate that is lower than what they are currently paying for energy from the grid, so customers who use a significant amount of electricity during the day can start saving with Origin’s new service from day one. The potential savings customers can make will depend on variables including household location, size of the system, amount of energy consumed during the day and the length of the contract.”

Phil says eligible customers who sign up to Solar as a Service will enjoy a low long-term energy rate, as well as the security of a consistent rate across the duration of the lease term, besides any changes due to CPI increases or the law. Lease terms of 7, 10 and 15 years are available.

Phil said apart from the cost of installation, there were misconceptions that discouraged people from going solar.

 

Myth #1: Solar energy is seasonal

“It is true that there are differences between the electricity generated in winter to that generated in summer; however, what’s untrue is that it is a significant difference,” he says.

“Solar panels are not fully reliant on direct sunlight, rather just being exposed to light for a minimum of six hours per day (9am to 3pm) is plenty.  So, unless you live in the North Pole, the ambient day time sunlight (irrespective of season) is sufficient to generate power. In fact, the biggest misconception between the months is that summer generates the best solar power.

“While it is true that more power is generated during the summer months, it’s not because of the temperature, but due to the days being longer. Too much heat in fact is not ideal for your panels. A solar system will typically generate 20 per cent less energy than their peak on a 40 degree day. That’s why your solar system will hit its peak some time during spring or autumn.”

 

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Myth # 2: Installing solar panels is complicated

“It doesn’t have to be,” Phil says. “Once you have requested a quote, most providers are happy to give you a free consultation to address your doubts. If you choose the right provider, they should help you take care of the necessary paperwork and provide you with a selection of easy financing options. The key is to do your homework and choose a quality installer with a reputation for safe and reliable service. Making this the first step will ensure the panels being installed are equipped to do what you’re paying for and most importantly, are there for the long haul.

 

Myth #3: Solar energy cannot supply electricity 24/7

“There are two ways of getting a constant supply of electricity from solar energy,” Phil says.

“One is to install solar batteries that can store the electricity generated during the day and use it during the night. The other is to use a combination of energy sources. This will ensure a constant supply of energy. In Australia, the biggest benefits customers are seeing are a result of using a combination of traditional and solar energy solutions.

“If installing a smaller solar system to manage a portion of your household energy usage, the combination of traditional energy supplied for daytime activities (where usage is generally lower) and solar for the peak periods, will see customers benefit from significant cost savings.”

 

So what do home owners need to consider when looking to go solar?

“More than one million Australians already have solar panels installed at home,” Phil says. “It is easier than ever for households to go solar with a number of retailers offering a range of different system sizes at competitive prices and flexible payment plans.”

 

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He offers the following tips:

  • QUALITY INSTALLER.

Your investment in a solar system will see you generating your own power for many years and you’ll want your installer to support you along the way.

  • PANEL QUALITY

Ensure the panels being installed are made by one of the world’s leading solar manufacturers with a reputation for quality. The quality of the panels has a direct impact on the amount of solar energy generated.

  • INSTALLER

Installation needs to be safe, with service reliable now and into the future. Consider the professionalism of your installer and their willingness to assist with any issues.

  • INVERTER

For best performance the inverter’s capacity should be matched to the system size. A large inverter capacity can be less efficient if the system is undersized to allow for expansion.

  • VALUE

Consider carefully whether it’s worth compromising on quality to save a little on price. Check the payment options offered by your installer match your needs. Finally, check carefully what is included in the quote.

 

More information: originenergy.com.au/newsolar

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Phyllis Stylianou

Phyllis Stylianou is a journalist with 35 years’ experience as a reporter, sub-editor and editor. Writing is the great love of her life (after her family) – as is renovating old homes and building new ones (which she’s embarking on again!) So writing about everything to do with building, renovating and gardening is her passion.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.