Thinking of adding value to your home with a new solar energy system? We take a look at how solar panels measure up against other home energy saving ideas.
With sunshine in such abundant supply in Australia and power bills rising year after year, installing solar panels might seem like the best energy saving idea for your home. But with the high upfront installation costs of solar energy systems expected to fall sharply in coming years, it may be worth looking at other current options for energy efficient home renovations.
How does solar power work?
The most common type of solar photovoltaic (PV) system is grid-connected. Rooftop panels are installed with an inverter that converts solar power from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current). Your home uses the solar system as its primary power source, relying on the grid as a back-up. Or you can invest in one of the latest battery storage units to stockpile power from your solar PV system to draw on at night, or when there is extra demand for electricity.
As well as saving on household bills, you can actually make money back from your solar PV system. A feed-in tariff is the amount you’ll receive for power that goes back into the grid from your system. Tariffs vary depending on your state government and electricity retailer so it’s worth researching how much you can expect to receive when you’re planning what system to buy.
Does a solar PV system add value to your home?
If you’re thinking of refinancing to pay for solar power, you’ll want to be certain of adding value to your home. The arguments and dollars might seem to be stacked in favour of solar energy as a selling point for future buyers. They could save on bills or may even make money back from energy suppliers without having to pay for the system themselves.
However, if you’re not planning to sell your home for a few years, you may end up overcapitalising on your solar power investment. It takes time to recoup the installation costs through savings on energy bills and solar technology is constantly being updated, so a system you install now may be considered inefficient when you come to sell.
According to recent research, the price of solar energy solutions is expected to keep falling at a steep rate over the next 5-10 years. And that could mean future buyers are unwilling to pay over the odds for a home with solar power when they can add brand new solar technology to an existing property for a fraction of today’s prices.
More ideas for energy efficient home renovations
Before taking on a major upgrade like solar PV installation, it’s worth looking at ways to introduce sustainable design and passive solar features to your home with some budget-friendly renovation projects. Installing shutters or blinds to keep heat out/in, or replacing existing windows with double or even triple glazing can have a significant impact on energy consumption, especially in more extreme climates. Updating your lighting technology and appliances with more energy efficient options should also make a difference to the power you use at home.
Have you invested in solar power or other energy efficient home ideas? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.