Down under I reckon solar power has raised its profile quite a bit given generous subsidies and feed-in tariffs which has stimulated uptake of solar arrays being installed in homes while some businesses have bitten the bullet as well. However, as those incentives are scaled back, it is worth considering if simply installing solar by itself makes sense.
Why, I hear you ask?
Well, with reduced incentives your return on investment will be longer when looking at the numbers. You’ll have to recoup a larger amount of your own cash as you’ll have to cover more of the upfront cost while receiving less money for excess power you don’t use which goes back into the grid. You might need to do some number crunching to check out your particular circumstance though.
The next big thing will be energy storage in the home. It may become or make more sense to store all of that solar energy harvested during the day for when you need it most. Batteries are the obvious solution here which would also make a household capable of operating through blackouts and brownouts. Of course, once the batteries were topped up you could then send any excess back to the grid for whatever the electricity company offers.
It just seems like a waste to have all of this energy being sent back into the grid during the day when many people are at work with minimal power draw at home (perhaps further straining the grid when it is particularly sunny and energy demand is high in the area). Strain on the grid could be reduced if battery arrays were installed in households to capture this extra energy. Batteries could also make more financial sense if your energy provider is buying energy for less than you buy it back off them when you need it.
Anyway, while I am keen on solar power solutions I think I may wait a little longer to see how they evolve and see what I can do to minimise power consumption in the meantime.