Presented by UPowr
19 Jul 2021
Households powered by solar are set to be hot property in the years to come.
The benefits of having household solar panels are far-reaching, beyond even what you might expect.
We all hope to save a few dollars on energy bills, but you may find more financial value (and beyond!) with the right energy solution.
We quizzed Stu Philpot, CEO of UPowr – Australia’s premiere digital-first, solar design and installation company – on exactly what solar can do for you, from household savings to future pay-offs.
Financial savings on your power bill
Of course, the first thing most people want to know about household solar is if it will shave money off their electricity bill – and, if so, how much?
Precise savings vary according to the size of your solar system and your household’s energy use. However, UPowr reports an average saving of around $1065 per year.
To evaluate the savings though, we first have to calculate the costs:
The costs of solar
“A good yardstick for cost is around $1 per Watt so, a 5kW solar pv system costs around $5000,” says Philpot.
“A solar and battery system, depending on the type of battery, is probably just over $10,000 at the moment.”
Further to that point, there are a range of government incentive programs in the form of grants or subsidies that can contribute to cutting these upfront costs.
The savings of solar
As mentioned, the average savings are just over $1000, but the goal of UPowr is to avoid generalisations and provide concrete data.
UPowr has devised technology that, via a data analysis of various aspects of your home and energy use, can provide a more exact estimate before you get your system.
“We don’t sit there and say ‘you’re going to save $2000 per year’, then you go through the journey and it turns out to only be $400,” Philpot assures.
While previously projected estimates were limited, you can now gauge your savings before you commit.
“We take all available data from the customer to create a personalised quote. We look at the customers physical property, taking into consideration shading, their personal energy consumption and future energy tariffs. We combine this with consideration of the specific assets [panels, batteries etc] we’re looking to install.”
Planning for the future of electric homes
If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of investing in solar, Philpot says it’s vital to think long term. The future of energy sources and consumption is not going to be the same as it is now.
“The electrification of the home is happening,” he begins. “Looking forward, we’re all going to have household solar systems. You’re going to have a battery, an electric vehicle – which means you’ll want to have electric vehicle charging infrastructure – and you’re probably going to have electric hot water too.
“If you’re a home owner, [investing in solar] is the first step towards future-proofing your home.”
Protecting against inflation
Another forward-thinking aspect to consider is the rising price of electricity and gas. According to the government, the cost of electricity increased by more than 100% from 2009 to 2019. This was one of the highest price increases of a consumer good in Australia over that decade, second only to tobacco.
“[By having household solar], you’re hedging against energy price inflation as well,” Philpot says. “The cost of energy typically trends upwards, above inflation and we hope eventually you have a zero dollar energy bill.”
A cash-positive investment
Another way to think about solar as an investment is that it is ‘cash positive’. Unlike other large expenses in your life, solar does offer a reasonable financial return to both cover and exceed the upfront cost.
“When you buy a car for $30,000, at the end of five years, that car might only be worth $10,000,” Philpot explains.
“So if you invest $5000 [in solar], it’s going to be generating revenue for the home for a warranted period of 10 years or more – and [solar systems] typically last more than 10 years. So, it’s going to be cash flow-positive at a point in time.”
Not only is it ‘cash positive’ in terms of bills, but chances are it will add to the value of your home down the track.
With buyers increasingly looking for sustainable features in potential properties, solar has become a notable feature for many sellers and agents.
In fact, in Canberra, there are now energy efficiency minimum standards for new homes and it is compulsory for sellers to disclose a home’s energy efficiency credentials.
Save the environment
Ultimately, the value of a solar system shouldn’t only be measured in dollar savings per annum. The real value is in saving our non-renewable, natural resources, preserving our earth, and protecting people by warding off the ongoing threats of climate change. In keeping with his style, Philpot manages to put an exact figure on this as well.
“On the average solar system, you’re probably looking at about six tonnes of carbon abatement a year, which is pretty significant,” he explains.
“Over 10 years, you can save 60 tonnes of carbon. You’re starting to really position the home in a different way and if your home is becoming more electric, then the benefits are only going to increase from there.
“Ultimately, this is a great way for a family to get involved in a bigger mission for the environment but also do something positive for themselves from a cashflow perspective. It’s the time do something.”