Preparing for Solar

Joni zeh zeh said, "两公婆白天不在家,no need solar lah!"

You know, they've got a point. That is the dilemma for everyone who wants to chase the solar. Most families, especially dual income families with vacant houses in the day will find it difficult to capitalize on the benefits on a home solar system. A solar system works during the day. On a good day, it is able to produce enough power to provide the electricity for all the household needs. The problem is, most households consume the most electricity after the sun set, when the solar panels stop producing thereby forcing the household to rely on the grid yet again. Many believe installing solar panels yield a poorer ROI than leaving the money in the bank.

However, it isn't wise to leave things as that.

It is dangerous to cast a conclusion in stone because variables are changing rapidly. Just two decades ago, installing solar panels are a game for the upper class. Average families will find it hard to part with $10k - $20k, which was approximately the cost of installation back then. Back then, the richies' motivation was to go green rather than ROI but since then, cheap China-made panels have entered the market. The much lower cost of panels and inverter makes it possible to get a full ROI in just 3-5 years. We are looking at a 45% dependency on solar energy.

At this point of time, we are back to the a similar situation 2 decades ago when it isn't feasible for households to install batteries, if the core motivation is ROI instead of going green. However, this is a fast changing fact. The cost of batteries are coming down fast as we speak. We may be looking an affordable panels+battery system with a favourable ROI in a few years from now, increasing dependency on solar energy close to 90%.

There are a few critical areas to consider.

Perth's weather

Perth enjoys more than 300 days of full sunshine every year. The feasibility of running a solar energy system in the household makes Perth the state with the highest % of household (20%) with solar PV panels on the roof.

Increasingly increasing electricity tariff

Moving away from Singapore Powers, the new enemy is Synergy, the sole retailer that holds the monopoly of power generation and distribution in WA. Electricity prices have risen around 85% since 2008 and is set to double in 10 years by 2026 to about $0.50 per kwh. This is projected with almost certainty, thereby a home solar energy system will be a defense mechanism to mitigate extortion by energy companies. Using a projected electricity cost will also reduced the number of years required to make a full return on investment on the installation of a solar energy system.


For Perth's infamous non-existent nightlife, residents tend to turn in early, a lifestyle that synergises with a panel only system. When batteries are affordable enough for the mass market, an early night lifestyle will still complement the energy arrangement of the household.

source: Curtin Uni


We have to plan for the long term. When we do that, things begin to make perfect sense. By the time electricity bills double for the same usage, there is no telling if installation a solar energy system will be significantly cheaper. If you trust the graph compiled by some university nerds, you'll see we are approaching to the saturation of cheapo panels in the market. Prices will not move down much by then. However, if one is to install a system 10 years later as compared to another who did it today, the latter will have already reap the benefits for a few years after paying off the system with savings.

It is time to seriously consider going solar.

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