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Memo Energex: Battery storage plus 44c FIT is a bonus, not a rip-off

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One Step Off The Grid

News reports claim that Energex has applied to the Queensland Productivity Commission for new laws allowing distributors to strip customers of the 44 cent feed-in tariff if they put storage on their solar PV systems.

The problem is that the only way storage can be utilized by incumbents is to discharge in the evening peak, which Energex should be championing.

There are already laws in place which prohibit the enlargement of a system above the registered rating of the inverter. These inverters can be loaded with up to 20 per cent input over the registered rating, however the “nominal rating of the inverter” is what Energex and Ergon are focused on.

In order for a customer to create power and abuse the FIT scheme, he or she would have to install an additional array (with no STC support), buy batteries and then consume or feed this stored power into the grid at night via the existing inverter.

Regulations already prohibit this, so essentially Energex want to make sure that people DON’T self-consume the power that they otherwise would generate and export during the day, which seems counter-productive. At the end of the day there is no possibility of a loss, only a gain for Energex.

There is no way that Energex or Ergon can prevent however, a customer stumping up the cost of an off-grid system to run swimming pools and other non-essential loads, thus allowing for maximum exports from the rooftop PV system.

Because these are not grid interactive, they fall out of the distributor’s jurisdiction and any law that prevented a customer from doing this would be fraught with danger as this is tampering with a non-network activity.

Due to the huge timeframe, out to 2028 and the sheer size of this ill-conceived tariff, it is now a genuine option for people to invest the eight or none thousand to install an off-grid system for pools and non-essential loads and see returns of up to 52 cents per KWh sent to the grid, though more likely half that as they would displace imported energy only.

For example: a 3KW off-grid system with 20KWh of storage would power most swimming pools, a heat pump hot water (which would have to have a grid connected supplement heater connected only by the plumbing) for most days of the year, plus air-conditioning in the summer months.

Let’s say we used 10KWh every day on average, this would represent a saving of $2.60 per day or $950 per annum. At a return of 13% is is a viable investment, one that is likely to improve over time, the reality is however, not many people will consider this investment worthwhile.

What continues to annoy the writer is that the government’s 44 cent FIT is being constantly quoted as a distributor cost, when it is in fact a collection of a tax via utility bills to recover the costs of a straight out government subsidy.

The reality is that it could be the old ambulance levy, because it has not one thing to do with electricity production nor distribution. Distributors should be championing storage into non-solar households and be offering true cost reflective time of use pricing.

This will enhance the uptake of solar, benefit non-solar customers and shrink the distributors network by half, sure there is still a profit in that for our desperate governments isn’t there?

Rob Campbell is head of Vulcan Energy. This article was first published at our sister site, One Step Off The Grid  

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  • Paul Lemming

    Rob , Consumer do and can install additional panels and will get an STC incentive, not sure why you think they can’t and won’t receive an STC benefit ?
    I also understand that the utilites do not want the consumer buying power on an Economy tariff or even the general tariff storing it in their battery system and then selling it straight back to them at a profit.
    The FIT was promoted to encourage Solar uptake, not buying power from the utility and selling it straight back at a profit.
    The only problem with the $0.44c FIT , was the accelerated closure and the window that created an inflated uptake of solar in a short 18 month period. If it had been let run it’s course , Solar would have just ticked along , rather than the boom and bust with the slow recovery we are seeing now , with commercial uptake , and Battery market emerging

    • Humanitarian Solar

      I imagine this makes Queensland unique in the country. I had no idea this generous FIT is so inequitable to Queenslanders, by being offered for such a small window of time and extending to 2028. Fantastic the Queensland Government was interested in investing in renewables, even if through the private homes or businesses of a minority of people, being effectively subsidised by the rest of the community… if I understand Queensland right..

      • Ian

        Round about the time of the Kyoto protocol, Australia, especially Queensland , started to develop coal seam gas and coal on a massive scale, to appease ( hoodwink) the electorate and international peers, the government threw a few pennies( not theirs but the utilities) at roof top solar. At that time a 5 KW system cost close to $20 000. Also at that time they encouraged electricity retail competition, supposedly to create ‘competition’ to drive down prices for consumers. The cynical plan worked extremely well. Gas and coal expansion in the face of Al Gore’s climate change hardly raised an eye brow. People were amazed at the generosity of the 44c/KWH tariff but did not seem to notice the countless billions of dollars in investment in fossil fuel exports.Over the space of a year or so electricity prices started to rise and the price of solar panels started to rapidly fall. Queenslands labour government under Anna Bligh handed the reins over to Newman (of Clem7 fame) and within a short time he realised that the 44c/ KWH was getting his utilities rattled. What to do? Well what would any forward thinking government official do? React of course. Shut the bl–dy tariff down. Now he had his voters annoyed. As the famous pet detective said” alrighty then” give them a grace period. Ozzies love a freebie, and over two hundred thousand households saw their opportunity slipping away and signed up for rooftop solar quick-smart. A deals an deal, right. We’re not Spain, our government can do silly things but they don’t renege on their promises.

        And that, Dear Watson, is the history of the 44c/ KWH tariff in Queensland.

        • Humanitarian Solar

          Fantastic summary Ian, thanks. The present problem I see is on one hand we have utilities upset with export tariffs like the extreme 44cKWH one in Queensland and on the other hand we have a part of the community wanting a smart grid. The intelligent, happy and cooperative grid seems a long way away to me.

    • trackdaze

      The one issue with the 44c tarrif was it wasnt deflated over the years to reflect a reduction in system cost. Ie 44c then 40c then 3?…………

      I recall somewhere that the 44c tarrif now only accounts for a little more than halve the installed capacity. So the average cost of solar is somewhere around what the retail price is.

      • Paul Lemming

        Well it does deflate when compared to the cost of electricity going forward ?

  • Sharon Ellis

    This is a shameful display of power over the people. I for one am going to go off the grid this year. I am so disgusted with these greedy power companies, that I am prepared to forfeit my feed-in tariff and go it alone. I choose to be empowered and manage my own power. I will not be dictated to, intimidated by or basically f….d over by these energy corporations or any corporations for that matter. I SAY NO!

    • Humanitarian Solar

      Yes trying to get a feed in tariff is like asking for rights to hunt or fish on someone else’s land. It depends entirely upon their cooperation as the grids are moving towards being privately controlled assets, for the purpose of making a profit out of us. Our position is the sun shines equally for all of us. When I designed the solar system here, I didn’t even take the 4cKWH feed in tariff into account because it needed fancy changes in the meter box. We’re just in the process of putting the system up. It’s designed in two stages. The first is a stand alone solar system, where the inverter can use the grid to top its batteries up in winter and add to its peak power for high power appliances. The second stage will involve a solar system for each building on the property. So for us its become a strategy of how to unfold a series of small solar systems, based around the properties unique roof spaces, to achieve our high goal of accessing the sun directly, rather than needing someone else to mediate our relationship with the sun.

      • Sharon Ellis

        I have no intention of using the grid in any way shape or form. I am tired of being used and I am tired of supplying electricity companies with power that I generate and then have to pay for the privilege of doing so. I will supplement my solar with small wind turbines on the roof of my house which are approximately the size of a TV aerial. These will work when there is no sun and the energy will be stored for my use.

        • Humanitarian Solar

          Be great if you could let us know how the wind turbines go on the forum of the sister site, One Step Off the Grid. Be interesting to hear how much it costs and KWHs they produce and even what storage you choose.

          • Sharon Ellis

            Go to http://www.australianwindandsolar.com/wind-turbines
            http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/eco-whisper-turbine-small-scale-wind-power/

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/363f4d08ae173bfc1c8be02510aa99aa65f9ede5f0644425ec009a35df1949ba.jpg

            I will use small wind turbines to supplement my solar power when there is no sun.
            When I buy them, and I intend to buy 2, I will let you know. Can you post web details of the sister site?
            Cheers

          • Humanitarian Solar

            It’s http://www.onestepoffthegrid.com.au
            I checked out the links for the wind turbines and they look really good with heaps of power and the one on youtube sounded quite. Didn’t know they had evolved to that degree. Thanks. We’re also doing an integrated wholistic approach here too. Solar systems, converting dwellings towards passive solar principles, permaculture, meditation. Like yourself, it is our purpose to live close to the earth and develop different forms of resource management than those used last century relying upon cheap fossil fuel energy sources. We’re also aware the present town sewerage and water systems deplete the natural environment, as much as fossil fuel sourced electricity. We’re fortunate to have an ecologist PhD onsite. We’re learning an integrated approach from many professions is necessary, as well as solar power. The One Step Off The Grid website is a bit more grounded with more focus on home/property systems.

          • Sharon Ellis

            The technology is evolving all the time, even though hindered by lack of government funding or encouragement. It’s the way of the future for us all and the closer we are to getting off the grid the better off we will be in the long term. An integrated approach is the way to go for now.
            cheers

          • Humanitarian Solar

            Authors on this website have had a theme of advocating the intelligent, happy and cooperative grid. I think its BS as solar panels, solar controllers and batteries all work on DC and DC is happiest being local. Electrons like being local. Many of these same authors of the articles are probably on the generous feed in tariffs. Once those tariffs end, I hope our best minds are applied to making real world solar systems work, not those subsidised by the rest of the community. It will be great when we’re all in the same boat.

          • Paul Lemming

            It’s been proven time and time again that the fit has actually reduced the cost of electricity to the entire consumer base , it adds about 3% to the cost , while offsetting , the cost of additional gas peaking plants, coal fired stations and the like , I would rather subsidise renewables than fossil fuels , but it seems the minority of people -actually 18% of Australians homes invested their own money with some government assistance Which is actually the people’s money anyway , on renewables, Rather than funding fossil fuels , you seem to have issue with this ? Strange

          • Humanitarian Solar

            Regardless of the positive environmental outcome, if I were a Queenslander I would not want Queensland’s public funds diverted into building a minority of people’s solar systems. Once the outrageous feed in tarrifs end, a new era of real world solar systems will begin, not systems that can’t stand on their own merits.

          • Sharon Ellis

            Yes, I agree. Solar systems should not be subsidised by the rest of the community. That is one of the reasons I am going off the grid. No-one will be subsidising me. When the community get over the initial cost and just do it, life will be better for us all. We have to all go down this path eventually, so why not do it with clean energy and start now.

          • Humanitarian Solar

            I see you’re in the healing arts, complimentary therapy and such. Yes here we are overcoming our addictions and so don’t have alcohol or pharmaceutical abuse, or any other drugs, or comfort eating with sugar or fat, hence we have enough money to fund a solar system. We support your wholistic lifestyle and values. It is a great privilege to have some spare finances to put into renewable energy and rehabilitating the land here.

          • Sharon Ellis

            Your answer reflects a stereotype in mind for those who are in complementary therapies. Although I have a healthy diet I certainly haven’t had spare finances to put into renewable energy or the rehabilitation of land. My finances have been accumulated over several years of hard work, yet I am not rich. Denying oneself of the pleasures of life is not part of my personal agenda and doesn’t need to be to fund my lifestyle. If enough people become aware of the world around them and not just what affects them personally, they may decide to make changes that are beneficial not only to them but collectively to the world we all live in. Every tiny thing each of us does affects the whole. I chose to live what people refer to as a wholistic lifestyle. I did this because I want to eat vegetables and fruit that have just been picked, that are fresh and free of chemicals and not covered in a product called ‘smart fresh’. I also eat meat with the fat on it and some sugar. With all that I am healthy, happy and reasonably content. If I get sick, and I rarely do, I heal myself from medicinal plants in my garden. I am not a hippie…..I am a smart human being.
            Our lifestyles are or can be that of our choosing. One just has to put it into action. Until you take action on your desires, the life you wish you had will stay as wishful thinking. One doesn’t need a lot of money to do it, but one does need perseverance.

          • Humanitarian Solar

            Theres a difference between the sense gratification of lust for speed in a Tesla sports car and that of connecting to the subtle sense of aliveness inherent in everything. It’s really where and with what a person attempts to derive their happiness. Getting a grip on the senses is important if people will stop squandering the earths resources. With desire it is ultimately seeking love and self esteem from the outside in. Wanting love or striving for love as a goal, yet love is not an object. When the love doesn’t happen for people, that’s when they would call me at Lifeline. So how to escape this? Finding someone or something to genuinely love, and in that way we are being loving and hence feeling love. Loving nature is one example. So both these, the senses and desires can be misused or rather get worn out as limited. Downsizing in solar system would necessarily and chiefly, involve this process of letting go, grieving and moving into whats more authentic.

          • Sharon Ellis

            What is your perception of authentic?

          • Humanitarian Solar

            Authentic is grieving and letting go of all the addictions, gross and subtle, which place a great strain on the earth and its ecosystem, to instead move into a realised and felt connection with nature and a sense of being connecting all. The structure of this unfolding happens slowly at first, peak experiences happen and more and more enduring and more deeply felt experience of that connection occur. It’s the reason meditation exists throughout most experiential paradigms of self development and awareness.

    • Ian

      Sharon, don’t be so hasty, if you have a legacy system with a tariff of 44c/KWH leave that in place . Just disconnect the rest of your house and go off-grid with a brand new system with batteries &c. That will more than get Energex’s or Origin’s goat! generating power day after day without importing an electron!

      • Sharon Ellis

        Ian, I think I basically want to embrace my own autonomy. I am so over these power companies and don’t want to have anything to do with them. It’s not about getting their goat or leaving the tariff system in place, for me it’s about not being controlled by those who are totally committed to themselves. It’s not about saving any money, it’s about freedom. So I will go off the grid and I will be just that bit closer to complete independance. All I will have to do is pay my rates. I have solar, a bio sewerage system, free water and free food.

        • Ian

          Like the Jolly Miller on the river Dee , ay . ” I care for nobody, no not I, and nobody cares for me” 😉

          • Sharon Ellis

            As far as corporations go, yes, they care for nobody. They are a business after all.

  • trackdaze

    At the risk of a brick wall sustaining blunt force truama injury from my head. The 44cent tarrif came about as a confluence of queenland facing a generation squeeze it was seen a way to increase generation without having to spend a billion or 3 on a new fossil fuel generation, the consumer would stump up large amounts of their own capital rather than a inefficient psuedo govt generator and It kick started an industry and wont stuff the environment or kill those that work and live near the stuff nearly as fast.

    Remember many of those that bit the bullet stumped up for a system under the scheme paid 2-3 times the current cost and recieved halve the power of whats available today. It cant be that good a deal because many that did have sold their house since which extinguishs the 44c tarrif. Safe to say then its not like their “sitting on a beach earning 20%”

    We have to remember that energex is for all intents and purposes the government of the day. Their job is to ensure dividends are maintained to the governement. That dividend if I recall was inexcess of a billion dollars last year.

    • Humanitarian Solar

      Astute summary of the background context. If it were your decision, would you allow those on the 44c tariff to further leverage their tariff by using batteries to buy at off peak rates so they can have more power to export at 44cKWH? Also if you had some political power in decision making, what would you do with the rest of Australians who are currently working with 4cents, NIL or rent?

      • trackdaze

        They allready do or should leverage this by diverting usage from solar generation hours.

        Theyre fit ought to be capped at the registered system capacity.This capacity mind you is typically half current standard install and wont fully support the households total energy requirements.

        economics of offpeak (which is only marginally below peak these days, no prizes for guessing where its heading) and costs of storage at 44cents isnt there.

        To all others. You have options and in some respects you are better placed than the early adopters. Even renters.

        The only option for the network is to allow the freeflow of energy from all sources on its network at reduced unit cost. Instead it treats itself as a fixed cost plus outrageous salary increases, bonuses and dividends to be met by those whether they use or are economically forced to partially leave it.

      • Rob Campbell

        In the immortal words of Mal Colston, it’s only a rort if you are not in on it. Your question is a philosophical, if not moral one. Whilst I am enjoying a maximised 44c FIT, I fail to feel guilty about my advantage. Primarily this is because I use this windfall to balance my dis pare at being robbed by other crap government policies. I would gladly forsake my rort in exchange for a suitable change to policy, for the benefit of all, of my choosing.
        Likely that would government assistance for storage to non solar household, who can by excess solar during the day and share the benefits.

        • Humanitarian Solar

          If I were a Queenslander I would not want to be paying your electricity bill. Especially if I didn’t even own a house and rented.

      • Ian

        Can I answer here, the arbitrage you talk of is at best 24c/KWH , the cost of storage using a grid connected battery system is closer to 30c/ KWH. Whoopie, who’s going to bother with that.

  • John Corney

    It only shows that Energex management still have no idea how solar works. Most people who installed solar under 44c feedin scheme had to install a system as big as was allowed or as big as they could afford to make it pay back in a reasonable time.

    A large percentage of these people now own their system or soon will.
    To think that these people would invest up to $10,000.00 or more on batteries to store their surplus power at a cost to them of 44c/kWh and use it at night saving themselves 26c/kWh (a loss of 18c/kWh) is sheer stupidity.

    Swimming pool pumps or any other big usage item can be powered by stand alone panels with purpose built inverters with a payback period of around 3 years.(daytime use only) These systems can and do have a changeover switch connect to the grid for backup purposes and are not designed to be and cannot be connected to the grid.

    The top echelon of Energex is in for a big shake up or better still replaced with people who are prepared to learn new technologies

    • Pedro

      A cheaper way of doing the pool pumping would be to switch to a DC pool pump operating off a pumping optimizer. Pump would only work during the day which would probably be enough. The smart cookies with an existing system would probably grab 8 or so panels from their existing system install 8 brand new more efficient and perhaps cheaper panels and collect the STC’s. Pretty much only paying for labour, pump, pump controller, mounting system and the gap for discounted new panels. Could all go the same way for other discretionary loads like heating, cooling, washing, dish washing.

      • John Corney

        Pedro We are talking about people with 44 cent feed in here, They should leave their current system alone and add an Inverter and panels to run their pool pump and any other appliances that they want to use during the day. By doing this they will put more power into the grid at 44 cents and and pay the pool pump system back quicker as my calculation of payback was based on 26 cents power cost. You can also do this with a DC pump but you would have to buy a DC pump which is more expensive than buying the AC Pump Inverter. STC Rebates still apply.

        • Ian

          John, I’m curious, have you actually done this. That is Set up a stand alone solar system with panels and inverter onto an induction motor driven pump. I thought the initial current spike to get over the pump and motor inertia on startup was a problem. Good to know if it’s not. As you say, AC pumps are way cheaper than the permanent magnet DC ones. Poolrite has a Eco pump which is AC, an induction motor with two windings. The one at full power pushing out about 300l/minute at 15 m head and the other winding easing out a leisurely 120l/min at 2.7 m head. It looks like it sips power at the lower setting. Would one bother at all rigging up a separate solar system for this ? Perhaps with a little tinkering the full power winding can be powered by the grid – bless them, and the economy windings by a smaller solar setup.

          • John Corney

            Ian, I am a fully accredited solar designer Installer with battery backup, but I am also in my twilight years as a worker. I spend a lot of time researching these projects and last year I was asked by a friend could he run a submersible bore pump on solar panels a long way from a grid connection. I know that it is possible to do that with a DC pump as I have a couple of submersible bore pumps running on my property that keep a 5000 gallon tank full for irrigation and house supply. I have a DC pressure pump sitting here that I haven’t used yet. I bought seven pumps of various sizes from a company in china for $3000.00 and so far have only used two of them and they have been in service for nearly two years without a problem . My bores are low flow bores for around 150 gallons per hour which creates a problem with AC pumps. Nobody that I aware of makes an AC pump that small so I had to choke back my Grundfos pump that I had to one quarter of a turn open to restrict the flow to that of the bore and even then it still cuts out on no flow when the bore runs dry. With the DC pumps I have speed control and low water cutout control and I can fit a pressure or level switch to turn the pump off when the tank is full. As the bores are remote from the tank I have gone with the pressure switch option. The controller is of MPPT type and can be used with grid connect panels.
            With the AC option I had another friend ask me if they could run their pool pump on solar panels as they can’t put their off peak because who ever built the house never ran the extra cables from the meter box that is bout 150 metres from the house and would be a very expensive job. I researched a way to do it but kept coming up with 3 phase inverters that would run 3 phase pumps.
            I eventually found two companies in China that supply single phase pump inverters. ( I found more but they were very hard to get information out of) The two companies that I found were very good with their information and how their systems work and over a couple of weeks of toing and frowing gathered the information that I needed. These inverters work as a variable speed drive, as the sun comes up to full brightness the pumps ramp up to full speed and in the evening ramp down to Zero. For submersible pump level control one brand required level switches down the bore which is not practical so that inverter is only good for a surface pump The other one uses level probes which suitable for down the hole use. Both inverters come with a changeover switch so that grid power can be used in low light conditions. These inverters appear to be made to run AC Motors but could also be used for heating but it might not be possible to run both on the same inverter. That is one more question that I would have to ask. I priced a system for a 1500 Watt pool pump motor for six hours a day. On Tariff 11 payback was 2.96 years and Tariff 33 (off Peak) 3.44 Years. I am in the Ergon area. That was based on system supply only, installation would be an additional cost.
            Ergon allow you to have a home solar system over 5kW and up to 30 kW provided that you don’t export to the grid which is relatively easy these days.
            You can also setup and size a battery system to supply specific loads from the battery and leave the big stuff for the grid at night. These specific loads can also by supplied during a blackout with the right inverter.

          • Ian

            Thank you so much for the insights. You might check out the specs of the poolrite gemini twin pool pump from directpoolsupplies its $620 , on the power setting it produces 1.25 HP output and on the lower setting much less. It’s an induction motor with two windings. It plonks straight in the spot of the older SQI pool pump, no different electrics and no different plumbing . On the Eco setting it produces about 200W vs the power setting of a 1000W. Not bad for an induction motor design. One might live with that.

        • Pedro

          Thanks John. Aware that the conversation was around the FIT. Batteries and stand alone inverter are a significant cost and can be dispensed with in the case of pool pumping. Not exactly sure on the cost differential of a DC pump over an AC pump. Have actually seen a 48VDC high flow rate low head pump working off a pumping optimiser about 12 years ago, so the technology is out there. Any body with a generous FIT should have the pool pump on at night to maximize their FIT.

  • Chris Fraser

    I didn’t know the Queensland FiT was an overt strategy to get the public’s hard earned behind daytime generation because of an emergency situation, and the Government was caught flat-footed organising the energy themselves.Considering successive governments are out to simply shaft those generators using any sneaky, mean, overhanded and arrogant method available disappoints egregiously.

  • Wayne Kirby

    Energex are now charging a Solar Meter charge of 6c a day and mandating that new solar be installed with a 0.9 power factor effectively reducing real power feed in by 10%. There seems to be an ongoing anti-solar policy at Energex.

  • Humanitarian Solar

    If a government policy supports the more wealthy at the expense of the poorest of the poor, then that policy is an injustice. Im looking forward to a new era of solar that doesn’t trample on the poor. If a person owns their own home, they do not need a leg up from taxpayer funds to build their solar system. It’s time solar systems stood on their own merits.

    • Sharon Ellis

      I think we all need to get over the government. We all need to become as self sufficient as humanly possible. We must realise that if a major crisis occurs that the government cannot and will not help us…..they can’t. It’s up to each individual to make their lives secure and self sufficient. This takes time, so begin now.

      • Humanitarian Solar

        Allot of the people who write on this website do so like they’re in the unlimited physical wealth paradigm, where renewable energy will save humanity from disaster, yet copper and other precious metals are finite resources and mines are often dangerous places. Australia is two thirds the size of the USA and one eighth the population density. Abstract intellectuals also speak in terms of universal solutions and yet the grid of the future may be viable only in metro areas and the grid in sparcely populated areas may need a planned retreat to make the grid as a whole financially viable. Perhaps the cities may get a smart grid and rural folk may evolve a smart grid on their own property or with anyone close by. The grids are going to need to make some hard decisions about what is truly cost reflective, at least thats looking at it as an electronics technician aware of the loses and limitations of transmission and all the complexity of infrastructure needed.

  • Humanitarian Solar

    It’s difficult tolerating the author of this articles views. The people here have simple feelings and enjoy a feeling of connection to nature. It’s hard to imagine using the kind of power that rolls off the authors tongue. Our bill that just arrived was 4.1kWhr/day. There was no focus, effort or sacrifice. We used whatever we felt we needed. We have energy efficient gear and LED lights from Coles etc. We don’t have a TV. We don’t have gas as it’s mostly fracked these days. All in all, for simple folk like us, solar isn’t that expensive. It will be so great once I finish the solar install of our 1.5kW system with storage and see how far after summer it takes us.

    • Sharon Ellis

      1.5kW system is not enough if you use 4.1kW per day. However it’s a start and will help reduce your bill. Good luck and keep going. cheers

      • Humanitarian Solar

        1.5kW of solar panels means that is its maximum rating at any given time of the day. In the area I live, the sun will shine the equivalent of 6.5 hours a day in summer and 3.5 hours a day in winter, called Peak Sun Hours, which is the measure installers use to calculate the size of the array for each house. So 1.5kW of solar panels produces 9.75kWhrs/day in summer and 5.25kWhrs/day in winter, minus electrical loses in the system as a whole. The kWh/day rating is what is on the electricity bill and so what is budgeted for.

        • Sharon Ellis

          Wow, I have a 3.5kW system and now with the energy suppliers raising their fees, we pay about $20.00 per bill, whereas before we paid nothing. This includes at the old tariff price. You are doing well.

  • Humanitarian Solar

    Why don’t we just let go of all the complexity on this website and get to the point. The problem is materialism isn’t it? I used to work on the phones for lifeline. People are codependent with people and things and so use allot of energy and money keeping those people and things. Really, once we let go there’s not really a vacuum inside. It may seem the addictions help deal with feelings, though the most basic feeling is a connection with nature as alive and feeling ones own aliveness by merely being attentive. For the vast majority of us 2016 is the year of feed in tarrifs ending, so what if we just let go and not fight it and see what solar systems unfold from here.