2017 Solar Guide

Source: Solar Electricity Consumer Guide



The benefits are many and varied, not just to you, but to society and future generations. Here are just 10 benefits:

1. It can give a good return on investment. This occurs by income derived from the PV system displacing some of your  current electricity demand, by exporting some excess generation during the day if your PV output exceeds your demand, and by increasing the resale value of your home or business. PV’s potential to do this is improving all the time as PV capital costs reduce and electricity prices increase.

2. It secures your energy costs into the future over the lifetime of the PV system, typically 25 years or more. As your neighbours pay more, your total electricity bill costs stay much the same or increase at a lower rate. Many people are in credit with their electricity retailer due to their PV system and efficiency measures they have implemented.

3. It greatly reduces pollution from fossil fuel use by about 90 percent (IEA, 2001:8). This includes nitrogen and sulphur oxides, arsenic, mercury, lead, fine particulates and greenhouse gas emissions. Every 1kilowatt (kWp) of solar PV electricity installed in Australian coastal cities saves on average about 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year from a typical coal fuelled power station (based on PV system output of 4kWh/day and 1kg CO2per kWh of coal fired electricity – see table 1).

4. It produces energy locally at the point of use. This can potentially defer or avoid construction of new plant and connections and reduce network losses, particularly when PV system generation coincides with peak demand periods such as from air conditioning. However, network upgrades may be necessary in some locations when a high proportion of power is generated from PV systems. This is due to the fact that the network was never designed to have reverse flow of power and voltage/frequency control and protection problems may be experienced.

5. When integrated into the building envelope, it can provide, in addition to electricity generation, weather proofing, shading, structural support and contribute to solar space heating.

6. It reduces energy lost in the transmission of electricity over long distances between power station and homes or businesses.

7. It provides water savings due to reduced demand for water at fossil fuel power stations.

8. By using existing roofs, it avoids the use of land, leaving it available for other important purposes such as food production.

9. It can create jobs in manufacturing, sales and distribution, installation and maintenance. As well, it employs more people per unit of electricity generated compared to fossil fuel generation, and this employment is spread across both urban and rural areas.

10. When combined with short term storage such as batteries and a suitable inverter, it can increase electricity system reliability by continuing to provide power during outages. 

Source: Solar Electricity Consumer Guide