Is it Worth Getting Solar Panels in Winter?

 

Winter in Australia

Yes!

Nearly all of Australia gets high sunshine hours, even in Winter. This means its worth investing in Solar even in the colder months. The main difference between Summer and Winter that affects solar power is that the days in winter are shorter and a little more cloudier.

Let’s compare the average sunshine hours in Australia for Summer and Winter:

• Brisbane gets on average 8 sunshine hours in Summer and 7 in Winter
• Sydney gets around 8 sunshine hours in Summer and as low as 6 in Winter
• Melbourne gets on average 8 sunshine hours in Summer and can get as low as 3 sunshine hours in June, but for the other cooler months the average is 4 hours
• Adelaide can get as much as 10 sunshine hours in January, but the average for Summer is around 8, and gets an average of 4 sunshine hours in Winter
• Perth has an average of 11 sunshine hours in Summer and 5 sunshine hours in Winter

Does Solar Make That Much of a Difference in Winter?

Yep, and for two reasons: solar works better when its cooler and you’re probably using more power.

Solar panels stop being 100% efficient in temperatures higher then 25 degrees Celsius, they don’t love heat. So having solar panels working on a cool, sunny Winters day will still generate a good amount of power.

Heating and cooling your home makes up the largest portion of your power bill. By installing solar, you take the edge off your bill, which will have increased because you (probably) have the heaters on in every room. Even if you only get 3 hours of sunshine per day, that’s 21 hours of sunshine reducing your power bill each week (which is better than nothing).

Does it Make Financial Sense to Install in Winter?

Winter is a good time to get solar panels installed. Solar installers want to stay busy, so they often run great promotions in the cooler months. This means you can probably reduce the upfront costs of installing a solar PV system.

You’ll still be making savings on your power bills, and these savings can go towards paying off your system.

It also means that you start saving as soon as summer comes. Most people forget about solar power until the sun starts shining consistently again, but by then you’re missing out on valuable savings.

If you live in Australia, solar power is a great investment. With the amount of sunshine hours that we have, if you don’t have solar you really are missing out.

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.
 

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