Get the facts about solar power

Living Well | RACV | Posted on 06 November 2017

Our experts help you separate the solar power fiction from the solar power facts. 

Solar power only works if I live in a hot, sunny place

False. Solar power is created by sunlight, so while the amount of energy being made on an overcast or rainy day won’t be as much as a clear sunny day, your solar panels will still generate electricity. 

Solar power is only for eco-warriors

False. Many people consider solar power for many different reasons. While it is important for us all to do our bit when it comes to reducing our impact on the environment, many people are turning to solar power to help reduce the soaring cost of energy and to increase the value of their home.

Solar panels on roof

Most of the money you make from solar panels is from sending electricity back to the grid

False. While it is true that when your solar panels produce more electricity than your home requires, it’s sent back to the grid through your electricity meter and you receive a feed-in tariff in the form of a credit on your electricity bill, the amount that will be returned has decreased over time. 

When solar power was first introduced, the government offered significant feed-in tariff incentives to encourage installation. The feed-in tariff is now 11.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) which is less than half the average 28 cents per kWh standard peak hour rate charged for electricity in Victoria. For this reason, you get the most benefit out of your solar by using the generated power within your home so you don’t have to buy as much from the grid.

I can only have solar panels if my roof faces north

False. Solar panels do work best when facing north to ensure maximum exposure to sunlight. However, there are many different types of solar power systems and installation techniques available, making most houses suitable for solar power.

I can store the electricity my solar panels produce

True. To store the energy you produce, you’ll need a special battery. These range in size and price, so it’s best to talk to your installer about the available options.