Solar Power and Your New Home

Many Melbourne home builders are looking for sustainable energy solutions when designing their new houses. If you are thinking about solar panels, read on for an introduction into renewable energy and how it can work for you in your new home.

Solar energy is big business in the residential sector across Australia, with approximately 15% of all homes installing them, partly thanks to government subsidies. In fact, solar power is the fastest growing source of renewable energy across the country, especially in the face steep price increases to electricity in recent years. Besides this, average solar radiation on our continent is the highest globally per square metre, so why not take advantage of this fact! Other people are seeking alternate power sources in order to avoid the impact of outages on days of extreme weather, when they want power the most. If you produce excess power to your requirements, you can also sell this back to the grid, with states across Australia offering varying solar feed-in tariffs, although rates can sometimes be minimal.

Common types of installations include rooftop panels or ground-mount solar systems and many companies will provide you with customised service to get the best configuration for your power needs and aesthetic considerations. It’s good to note that this technology doesn’t require moving parts which means quality panels will be longer lasting with less ongoing maintenance requirements. Related to the generation of solar power is its storage. Larger international companies such as Tesla lead the way in designer home battery storage, with their Powerwall range being the envy of many a new homeowner. However, it is anticipated that the cost of batteries could fall in the coming years as production boosts and other players enter the market, such as Enphase Energy.

Many people feel that they would need to be residing in their property for many years to come to make the investment in solar a positive financial exercise. While this might have been true years ago, Australian experts are anecdotally noting that today’s housing market is willing to pay premiums for this technology, just as a nicely renovated property can fetch more at sale. A recent study of properties in Western Australia note that solar systems add a premium of between 2.3 to 3.2% to sales prices which equates to around 19k more on average for a median-priced dwelling. In this sense, the cost of the solar system can be more accurately capitalised into the house price itself, rather than viewed as a one-off sunk cost.

More recently, the Australia Government committed 1.6 million dollars towards a joint project that will reduce the cost of solar through the development of printed solar panels. Aiming to reach commercial production over the next few years, solar ink is able to be printed onto plastic film, making the solar ‘panels’ thinner, more flexible and lighter. This means they can be placed in areas that traditional cells cannot currently be and will be much cheaper than current models. Watch this space!

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