Our solar system is now an income stream

Last month we had 6.5kW of solar installed on our roof. After having the installation (by KDEC Electrical) checked and signed off, we then switched to a new solar plan with Energy Australia, and our system started saving us money.

Our solar system includes:

  • 20 x SunPower 325W P-series All Black Mono Crystalline modules (SPR-P19-325) with 25 year product warranty and 25 year lineal performance guarantee
  • 1 x SolarEdge HD Wave 5kW solar inverter (SE5000H)
  • 20 x SolarEdge P370 DC Optimisers with: 12 year product warranty on inverter + 25 year product warranty on DC optimisers
  • Optional “Black Pack” – All associated mounting hardware and isolator shrouds to be supplied in a black finish for added aesthetic appeal.

To monitor the amount of energy generated vs consumed, I use the mobile app and website from our inverter manufacturer, SolarEdge.

Our best day of generation seen more than 40kWh produced, with our average hovering around 25-30kWh. Our consumption is typically around the 10kWh mark, but with a decent part of that energy used in the house, coming directly from solar panels, we’re only drawing 3-5kWh from the grid.

It is important to keep in mind that these numbers are without any real change to our behaviour, like time-shifting the dishwasher or washing machine which could further optimise things.

When I reviewed the Energy Australia graphs of our usage, they unfortunately don’t provide data on the amount of power fed back into the grid, so I enquired via Twitter, to get that data.

During the period 05-03-2020 to 24-03-2020, our usage was just 86.96kwh, while we generated and sent back 483.88kwh.

In terms of dollars that translates to the following:

  • Usage: 86.96kwh = $26.714
  • Supply: 19 days = $21.675
  • Fed back to the grid: 483.886kwh ($0.12c per kW) = $58.066

This means we are now making money, with a total of $9.677 in credit for just 19 days.

As the days, weeks and months of sunshine roll-on, this number will grow. Sure, there’s likely to be more cloudy days during winter than summer, and working from home will increase out usage, but we’re still likely to be making money, rather than spending it on electricity.

While there was one off-spend for the installation of our solar systems, our energy panels are rated for a life of 25 years.

The payback period is likely to be 3-4 years but to be honest, it almost doesn’t matter, it has significantly reduced our quarterly bills and in a time where cashflow is kind, that’s worth a bunch.

If you have a solar story, leave it in the comments.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwrighthttp://techau.com.au/author/jason/
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


  1. People with Solar panels, bludging off people who can’t afford them and renters. Passing the true cost of poles and wires and being connected to the grid onto other consumers. I spose that the Wuhan virus has shown that it really is every man for himself in society.

    • Ok Elvis that’s a bit of a stretch. There’s more than 2 million Australian homes with solar panels. I chose to build and live in a regional area so my house cost less than half of what people pay in the city. My wife and I live modest lifestyles so we can afford things like solar.

      These are hard times, but if you aspire to have solar, then please use this story as a source of inspiration, not resentment.

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