Why upgradeable solar systems are not a good idea

Upgradeable or expandable solar systems

I generally don’t advise of smaller upgradeable solar systems as the payback period after installing more panels on the roof at a later date gets blown out pretty hard. Also at the present time we have the retailers purchasing our excess power, and the Labor Government in QLD now looking seriously at increasing their mandatory purchase price back up from 0c to perhaps 8c or more again – it’s pretty good.

Even someone with a power bill of just $550 per quarter (18kws usage roughly a day) at the present time, was using 50% during the day and 50% at night time, and bought a premium 6kw system (Jinko panels and SMA inverter for $5900. The payback would look like this.

Calculations now upgraded for 2019!

In April 2019 we revisited this website and have updated the calculation from 2015 to what is current in 2019.

6 kw System makes on average 27.6kwh day

50% of day power used (9kw/hrs @ .255c) = $2.30 per day saved (remember this increases by at least 10% every year)

Residual power sold (18.6 kwhrs sold @20c) CLICK ENERGY without Mandatory Energex contribution = $3.72 sold (this figure surely can also only go up and if Labor aren’t telling porky pies, it should)

total $6.02 saved per day by a 6kw solar system

$6.02 X 90 days (billing period) = $541.8

$6.02 X 365 days (over a year) = $2197.3

So that is a premium 6kw system using quality Jinko solar panels and Euoropean 5kw Fronius inverter purchased for $5900 / $2197.3 per year = 2.68 year payback on only a $550 quarterly bill IF the value of the electricity you were to generate remained the same! However we know with inflation, of course that isn’t going to be the case.

This then takes the true payback period of the Premium Quality 6kw solar system to around the 2.2 year period.

Imagine if you bought a 6.6kw solar system for just $4200!

For this very reason we don’t offer or recommend ‘upgrade-able solar’ systems anymore. ‘upgradeable or expandable solar systems’ are so 2012 – even then there were massive F.I.T’s so it still made no sense not to get one. Perhaps only if money was a limiting factor (but then solar companies have always had finance on offer)

 Read this article why bigger systems are always the best choice now

Also, I haven’t even touched on the subject of ‘will there or won’t there be STC’s around when it comes time to ‘upgrade the solar system?’ – This meaning that you may have to pay full price for the second lot of solar panels, as there is talk of phasing out the Small-scale Technology Certificate contribution at a later date. Your extra 2kw of panels could quite possibly cost more than the initial 3kw of panels with the 5kw inverter!

What happens if you attempt to upgrade the system and compatible solar panels are no longer available?

We see this one happen all the time, people calling us up and asking for quotes to ‘upgrade their solar system’ and add additional solar panels to it.

But guess what?

250 watt polycrystalline panels are now the flavour of the season. Our wholesalers and us are no longer stocking 250 watt Monocrystalline solar panels. Trying to source 190 watt Monocrystalline Solar panels is hard work – 190 watt solar panels are now ancient and near extinct.

We just cannot match any panel with any other panel. We wish it was that simple!

Solar install Rules, Regualtions and Guidelines – 2015

Finally, we have also not considered new solar install rules and regulations that could come in and take effect between the time your ‘upgradeable solar system’ was installed and the time that you decide ‘right love, its time to load that expandable system up to its full capacity!’

This is exactly what has happened 16th July 2012. Changes here meant that any upgradeable solar system that was installed prior to July 2012 had to be basically re-installed when it came around to additional panels being added after this date.

Simply put, the initial installation had to be bought up to scratch (satisfying the criteria for the updated guidelines) unexpectedly costing the customer hundreds of dollars more.

The only company offering ‘upgradeable solar systems’ these days that we know of is True Value Solar. TVS always has their ‘lowest price ever’ ad on TV, and always seem to be offering an upgradeable solar system to purchase at the lowest price ever.

The idea of an upgradeable solar system sounds great, but when you closely look into it, it’s really not that good of an idea at all, is it?

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