Topics:  dollars and sense, solar power

Solar power still cents-ible

Look to the sun for savings on your power bill.
Look to the sun for savings on your power bill. John Gass

GOVERNMENT rebates on installing solar panels might have reduced but solar power is still one of the best ways to reduce electricity bills.

Infinity Solar Tweed sales manager Brad Wilkinson said a glut in solar panel supplies and the strong Australian dollar prices were making up for the drop in the rebate.

"The rebates have been watered down but product prices have gone down a lot in the past three to four years," Mr Wilkinson said.

"It's come down about two thirds in the past four to five years.

"Europe was the solar epicentre of the world but that's come back because of the problems over there."

Mr Wilkinson said the key to getting the best return on investment was to choose the right system and bigger was not always better.

"Past advice was to install the largest system a roof could take," he said.

Mr Wilkinson said it would take some people 10 to 15 years to recover the money they spent on solar systems.

He said the best advice came from solar retailers who took that extra step to understand the customer's electrical use.

"Solar power can reduce the power bills by half.

"There are not too many (electrical) systems you can put in place saving that sort of money."

The best advice Mr Wilkinson had was that people should seek out quality.

"Unfortunately there has been a lot of cheap gear out there," he said.

"It's almost been like a race to the bottom. Because it's cheap it begins to fail and that will cost the customer.

"Many of those companies are not around anymore but there are a few keeping their heads above water."

Mr Wilkinson said some electricians refused to work on cheaper systems because the last electrician to work of any system was responsible if it failed.

The Australian Energy Markets Commission said the price of residential electricity was forecast to increase by 42% in 2013-14 from the 2010-11 levels.



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