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  1. #1
    Novice Yande's Avatar
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    Default Solar Questions? Advice?? Help!!

    Again, as other posters have noted, It's quiet here, so I thought I'd pose a question or three.

    Considering the amount of TV time Solar Energy is getting at the moment, (not to mention Johnny Depp's latest Movie, Transcendence) I'm surprised there is not more traffic here... Perhaps a reflection on the embarrassing amount of CO2 that this country puts into the atmosphere. Guess it is easier to blame the politicians. Yep, that's a No Brainer!! Anyways..

    5 days ago I got Door Knocked by an "appointment maker". I was curious, and trust myself to say no, so I said why not!? Bring the Solar Salesman on. I was told "the expert" would give me a call.

    They (ADS Solar; Business Solar Power PV Panels Systems Solutions Sydney, New Castle Australia ) arrived this morning. The 2 experts and I (wife stayed in bed!) sat down to a cup of coffee, and they started talking and discussing our energy use.
    Over 98 days we use 729 KW Normal Hours?
    465 Off peak.

    They ended up quoting me $8,500 for a 4KW system. Full Install.
    Quote "Panels are German technology, produced in China. 25 year Guarantee."

    I got the feeling that the quote they were working out was cheap considering other companies, and their justification for this was that ADS Solar, was an integrated company, supplying and doing everything themselves, not sub contractors, or other suppliers...

    They were more keen on signing me up on the Install Now "Pay Later" plan, quoting all sorts of figures, notably, $10 a week, more than I am paying now for my Electricity account. And that my Electricity Bill, once installed would be around $40 to $50. They vaguely alluded to the Supply charges, which in my case, last bill was $146.00. 36 months of payments, INTEREST FREE, and from then on, no further payments, system is mine. They made comparisons to Harvey Norman, interest Free loans. (A "catch" trap, from what I have read, if anything else.)

    Our house has enough North Facing Full Sun Roof space. We are not a fan of credit, in any form.

    Confused, imagine how I felt. They had two guys, one who never shut up, and the other, I liked, and could understand, but seemed to be lower down on the pecking order. They both kept cutting each other off, with the garrulous one talking more about himself than his product. I used to sell insurance, many years ago, and I was amazed that they called themselves sales people. I did not hear one closing question, and only one vague assumptive close. One had a suit with sweat stains?? and shoes that had never been cleaned for many a year, the other, jeans and dirty runners...

    I digress, but... First impressions count. They were attempting to convince me to part with $8,500 to complete strangers, going only what I could see, hear, and perceive... Don't get me wrong, I am no professional. I like getting dirty, but, there is a time and a place... They did give a good attempt at selling their house, that is, ADS Solar.

    Q: Any thoughts, any experience with ADS Solar?

    OK, so I get to thinking.. My wife and I travel to China yearly. Have been known to ship the odd cubic meter or two of sea freight from China to Australia. I'm wondering about the feasibility of landing the Panels into Australia ourselves, (from a reputable supplier of course) and having them installed here? Just an off the cuff thought. Always looking for ideas/things to bring back to Australia on our yearly trips there.

    Any experience, advice, anecdotes etc would be greatly appreciated. In the mean time, I'll continue reading other posts here, and try not to think too much about the 3rd State of Origin Score at the moment.. Oh well... Go the Blues!!

    Regards

    Mark

  2. #2
    Resigned SilentButDeadly's Avatar
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    Only get solar when you can consume no less power than is practically possible...not before. Otherwise, you are wasting money...
    Joined RF in 2006...Resigned in 2020.

  3. #3
    1K Club Member Random Username's Avatar
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    I've been seriously thinking about solar for the last few years, BUT I keep getting put off by solar companies that have the roof painting/roller shutter price model ("You're a sucker, and we're making 150% profit after we've paid our tradies").

    You can get panels from around $1/watt from a mob called Low Energy Developments (250 watt/24volt/monocrystaline/15% efficient is $249) in Melbourne.

    The only thing that's been holding me back is some DIY friendly instructions for mounting so I know where I can and can't mount the things on the roof (ie how far from the ridge, how far from the gutter do I have to stay etc). I'd hate to splash the cash and do the work then get the "Ohhh, no, it's got to be 350mm down from the ridgeline" treatment. Once all the boring bits are done, I'm happy to get a sparky round for the grid connect, bit, but I recon I'll do a better job on my roof.

    Note that RECs still apply, so you'd be getting somewhere between $800-$1,100 back depending on where you live.

    Also note that solar power will only be a viable option until Tony Abbot gets around to installing a great big shield to block out the sun, so we can all go back to using coal like god intended! Also, Joe Hockey thinks that coal fired power plants are more aesthetically pleasing than wind turbines.
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  4. #4
    Novice Yande's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentButDeadly View Post
    Only get solar when you can consume no less power than is practically possible...not before. Otherwise, you are wasting money...
    Well, July 9, and no heating running in our house.. 35.7081 degrees S , 150.1744 Degrees E

    Good thermals though...

    Yes, definitely a lights on only if necessary type of house..

    Looking into LED's

  5. #5
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Random Username View Post
    Note that RECs still apply, so you'd be getting somewhere between $800-$1,100 back depending on where you live.

    Also note that solar power will only be a viable option until Tony Abbot gets around to installing a great big shield to block out the sun, so we can all go back to using coal like god intended! Also, Joe Hockey thinks that coal fired power plants are more aesthetically pleasing than wind turbines.
    I am interested in solar if it gets back on the grid efficiently and that it is actually used somewhere else.
    Political comment: Rudd & Co, the greens don't have much of a clue and more destructive if anything.
    I don't mind coal burning, and it too is solar.
    Big fan of nuclear plants, though without the bugs.
    Wish we could do Hydrogen.
    Look forward to any DIY comment for the panels, only if it cancels out my power bill honestly, not deceptively like 60c/kw.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    I don't mind coal burning, and it too is solar.
    Phild01? Sounds like something Joe Hockey would say, especially considering his latest comments about wind turbines..? Yeah, go figure where Joe's head is at?

    I too have had a shift regarding my view towards nuclear. Ideal for a comparative stable country / continent like ours.. But like Finland (?) the cost blow outs here would inevitably be crippling. Not to mention the naysayers, disregarding the positive evidence... Chinas Nuclear plants are going gangbusters. They are doing something about Co2 emissions.

    I have spent some time every year in China, these past 5 years. I have seen more solar systems in that country in my 7 months there, than I have in my 56 years in this country.

    A political system like theirs does have a lot of benefits.. Right or wrong, if change is needed, change can (and will be) endorsed, overnight. They are not stupid. At least they do not have to put up with the embarrassing rhetoric we call a Government. Seriously, have you ever watched those iditos at Question Time. Utterly disgusting and a total embarrassment. Hence my positive views towards the Chinese Communist system. Seriously.

    I think I was quoted $0.06 to $0.10 /kw

    On another note Phil... Bearers are in! Thanks

  7. #7
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yande View Post
    Phild01? Sounds like something Joe Hockey would say, especially considering his latest comments about wind turbines..? Yeah, go figure where Joe's head is at?

    I too have had a shift regarding my view towards nuclear. Ideal for a comparative stable country / continent like ours.. But like Finland (?) the cost blow outs here would inevitably be crippling. Not to mention the naysayers, disregarding the positive evidence... Chinas Nuclear plants are going gangbusters. They are doing something about Co2 emissions.

    I have spent some time every year in China, these past 5 years. I have seen more solar systems in that country in my 7 months there, than I have in my 56 years in this country.

    A political system like theirs does have a lot of benefits.. Right or wrong, if change is needed, change can (and will be) endorsed, overnight. They are not stupid. At least they do not have to put up with the embarrassing rhetoric we call a Government. Seriously, have you ever watched those iditos at Question Time. Utterly disgusting and a total embarrassment. Hence my positive views towards the Chinese Communist system. Seriously.

    I think I was quoted $0.06 to $0.10 /kw

    On another note Phil... Bearers are in! Thanks
    No, didn't hear what Joe said and tend not to take much notice of him. If he said something negative about wind turbines, I might agree with him though.
    Can't watch the ABC anymore because of it's internal political bias and preferences being evident in what it presents.
    Politics in Australia is disgusting and mainly because the minds of our people are so easily manipulated. (I do blame the ability of advertising and marketing numbing the minds of our children amoungst other things)
    China has an industrial ambition to dominate the world and nothing will stop this. Can't agree with their type of government but at least it is more disciplined than ours. I am not so sure it is that communist anymore and probably depends on which province. As for their emissions, let's face it, the nuclear reactor and big hydro dams are the short-cuts in achieving this. Let's hope they can build these better than USB chargers etc.

    Anything around .08 cents is about what the export rate is now, I believe.

    Edit: clarified a comment viewed offensive.

    Good news on the bearer front

  8. #8
    Novice Yande's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    China has an ambition to rule the world and nothing will stop this.
    Honestly, I would not lower myself to reply to such a stupid, racist, ignorant and indoctrinated statement as that you just uttered.

  9. #9
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yande View Post
    Honestly, I would not lower myself to reply to such a stupid, racist, ignorant and indoctrinated statement as that you just uttered.
    That was not a stupid, racist, ignorant nor indoctrinated statement.
    It certainly wasn't meant that way and while it was a very generalised statement, I think your perspective was wrong. China interests me, I have been there and have no issues with Chinese people.
    The comment I made was from an industrial point of view. The most powerful nations are those with wealth and prosperity. America has for a long time been the dominant nation but it's industry has diminished to a point where it makes me wonder why the US$ still holds reign, though diminished.
    China will eventually dominate the world scene in this way simply because the world will depend on it for finished goods. With this comes power.
    It is simple commonsense so sorry my comment was made in such a way that it can be taken as offensive.

  10. #10
    3K Club Member johnc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yande View Post
    Honestly, I would not lower myself to reply to such a stupid, racist, ignorant and indoctrinated statement as that you just uttered.
    +1


    When we first looked at solar the consultant made the same comment as an earlier post to do all your energy saving changes first then decide if solar is worth it for your situation. Best advice we could have got, we changed lighting put in sky lights and made a number of other changes. When we did change we could only fit a 3.2Kw system on the roof and it covers all summer power use and 1/2 to 2/3rds of winter use, as we have the old 66c feed in tariff we actually come out ahead on $ by a few hundred a year.

  11. #11
    Resigned SilentButDeadly's Avatar
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    Had a yarn with a mate from Powercor (the manager of the wires in my area) not long back. He expressed some surprise that we were able to export anything of significance from our panels due to being at the end of a long low capacity double supply line. I suggested that the difference between the inverter data and the smart meter data was fair evidence that he was right to be suspicious. Both figured it wasn't anything either of us could fix...

    ...so if I were to fit any upgrade to our system....it would be a box of batteries. Why waste my production efforts on low capacity wires and the low care factor of the Great Unwashed?
    Joined RF in 2006...Resigned in 2020.

  12. #12
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    HI

    Yes, that is causing problems in the supply system
    Result is that, if in Qld
    The Max feed back for new instals, will now be set/ restricted to 2kW, irrespective of panel output [previously 5kW]


    PeterQ

  13. #13
    1K Club Member Random Username's Avatar
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    Interestingly, Germany produced just over half it's power with solar panels the other week - Germany can now produce half its energy from solar (Science Alert) and the majority of them are on household roofs.

    I like the idea of fusion, but that's probably another 50 years off before it becomes viable; it was only a few years ago that they managed to get to breakeven, albeit briefly.
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    Well, we were in the first wave of solar, back when there was a premium FIT. The solar salesmen (we entertained ourselves with 4 companies, 3 of which actually came and visited us - the other just looked on google and quoted via email, pfft) all wanted to see our bill, and sized the system to cancel out the dollars. I came back to them and said I wanted to cancel out the kWh not just the $ because the $ will change as the price goes up, and that is what we did. We paid a premium for being early adopters but we did pick up the PFIT. The price of power and the static charges are slowly eroding the benefit of the FIT but we should be good for some years before power costs = FIT but probably not as long as we think based on the increases to date.

    Our kWh have been more than cancelled out completely since the install and we're making gains on our usage so there is a growing excess of production over consumption. If I were doing this again today with the much cheaper price for systems I'd do the same thing. I came across a neat and comprehensive solar investment calculator the other day:

    solar PV savings calculator | Sun2Steam

    Worth a look!

    Those who want to ignore the science are increasingly alone. They are on their own shrinking island.


  15. #15
    Resigned SilentButDeadly's Avatar
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    The ATA have got something similar too
    Joined RF in 2006...Resigned in 2020.

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    Which state are you in Yande? I have recently got quotes for a 5KW system in Melbourne @ $6800-9000 for mid range to top end panels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    America has for a long time been the dominant nation but it's industry has diminished to a point where it makes me wonder why the US$ still holds reign, though diminished.
    Russia and China have just made some deals and will be trading in their own currency, not the US dollar. So, not sure that means China or Russia are making a go at topping US dollar but may diminish.

  18. #18
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yande View Post
    Again, as other posters have noted, It's quiet here, so I thought I'd pose a question or three.

    Considering the amount of TV time Solar Energy is getting at the moment, (not to mention Johnny Depp's latest Movie, Transcendence) I'm surprised there is not more traffic here... Perhaps a reflection on the embarrassing amount of CO2 that this country puts into the atmosphere. Guess it is easier to blame the politicians. Yep, that's a No Brainer!! Anyways..

    5 days ago I got Door Knocked by an "appointment maker". I was curious, and trust myself to say no, so I said why not!? Bring the Solar Salesman on. I was told "the expert" would give me a call.

    They (ADS Solar; Business Solar Power PV Panels Systems Solutions Sydney, New Castle Australia ) arrived this morning. The 2 experts and I (wife stayed in bed!) sat down to a cup of coffee, and they started talking and discussing our energy use.
    Over 98 days we use 729 KW Normal Hours?
    465 Off peak.

    They ended up quoting me $8,500 for a 4KW system. Full Install.
    Quote "Panels are German technology, produced in China. 25 year Guarantee."

    I got the feeling that the quote they were working out was cheap considering other companies, and their justification for this was that ADS Solar, was an integrated company, supplying and doing everything themselves, not sub contractors, or other suppliers...

    They were more keen on signing me up on the Install Now "Pay Later" plan, quoting all sorts of figures, notably, $10 a week, more than I am paying now for my Electricity account. And that my Electricity Bill, once installed would be around $40 to $50. They vaguely alluded to the Supply charges, which in my case, last bill was $146.00. 36 months of payments, INTEREST FREE, and from then on, no further payments, system is mine. They made comparisons to Harvey Norman, interest Free loans. (A "catch" trap, from what I have read, if anything else.)

    Our house has enough North Facing Full Sun Roof space. We are not a fan of credit, in any form.

    Confused, imagine how I felt. They had two guys, one who never shut up, and the other, I liked, and could understand, but seemed to be lower down on the pecking order. They both kept cutting each other off, with the garrulous one talking more about himself than his product. I used to sell insurance, many years ago, and I was amazed that they called themselves sales people. I did not hear one closing question, and only one vague assumptive close. One had a suit with sweat stains?? and shoes that had never been cleaned for many a year, the other, jeans and dirty runners...

    I digress, but... First impressions count. They were attempting to convince me to part with $8,500 to complete strangers, going only what I could see, hear, and perceive... Don't get me wrong, I am no professional. I like getting dirty, but, there is a time and a place... They did give a good attempt at selling their house, that is, ADS Solar.

    Q: Any thoughts, any experience with ADS Solar?

    OK, so I get to thinking.. My wife and I travel to China yearly. Have been known to ship the odd cubic meter or two of sea freight from China to Australia. I'm wondering about the feasibility of landing the Panels into Australia ourselves, (from a reputable supplier of course) and having them installed here? Just an off the cuff thought. Always looking for ideas/things to bring back to Australia on our yearly trips there.

    Any experience, advice, anecdotes etc would be greatly appreciated. In the mean time, I'll continue reading other posts here, and try not to think too much about the 3rd State of Origin Score at the moment.. Oh well... Go the Blues!!

    Regards

    Mark
    The question you have to pose yourself is why do you want solar panels.
    If it is to save money in your energy bill, look at the agreement you can get for the energy you produce. Unless you get 3 times what they charge you, you are bound to make no money at all.
    If it is to reduce CO2 pollution, consider the massive pollution the manufacturers of panels make, the miners that mine for the different elements that go in a panel, not to mention the real cost of the installation since you will not pay for all of it, and the subsidy money needs energy to be made, if you add everything up, your balance of pollution (if you actually think that CO2 is pollution) is way out of whack.

    If you want solar in order to promote the solar industry so that eventually one day it may actually be a viable industry that can stand on its own feet rather than relying on massive subsidies, (read taxpayers money that makes the energy dearer), you are on the right track. However installing solar panels for thousands of dollars you will kiss goodbye forever,is perhaps a very inefficient way to fund the industry. Considering the massive markup, the large number of intermediaries and interested parties, your contribution is likely to be almost insignificant.

    Perhaps a better way to fund local industry is to buy Australian made, however since you confess to go to China and buy cubic meters of shopping there, that seems to be far removed from your mind.

    All in all, I don't' really know why anyone would want solar panels with today's feedback tarifs. If you add to that the fact that CO2 is actually a useful and very important gas that has no bearing on the variations we are seeing in climate, the idea of installing the current technology on one's roof to produce some pitiful amount of energy is comparable to a hobby and does not withstand the most basic analysis.

    I do have solar panels on my roof because the business proposal at the time, years ago, was a viable one. As soon as the feedback tariff reverts back to today's tariffs, the solar panels will go to the tip where they belong.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect
    Mark Twain

  19. #19
    1K Club Member Random Username's Avatar
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    Most estimates of life-cycle emissions for photovoltaic systems are between 0.07 and 0.18 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour. (Total life cycle = resource extraction, transformation, installation, maintenance, decommissioning and disposal).

    The Australian mining industry receives about $4.5 billion in annual subsidies (cheap fuel, tax breaks), and Australian coal fired power plants also receive various subsidies (such as coal prices below market value).
    DIY electrical house wiring details suitable for Australia - http://goo.gl/9d33T (PDF file)

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    Marc, probably when you installed your panels, you were put on a NSW Gross metering plan. You get credit for every kWh produced and you get charged for every kWh consumed. Times have changed and most states including NSW now offer nett metering.

    With nett metering, and even if you get no FIT, the panels supply power that would normally be drawn from the grid at retail prices. I don't know about your rates, but here we get charged about 24c per kWh. So we save 24c x daily PV produced and consumed in house. Today is sunny but cold and we haven't drawn power from the grid since about 10AM and it's the weekend so the AC has been on all day running off the PV at zero cost.

    Rather than send your panels to the tip when your FIT runs out, just have them switched to nett metering. If you don't want to do that stick the system up on ebay or your local classifieds for someone else to benefit from. As far as the embedded emissions, there are plenty of studies that show these are recouped within about 5 years of use. Binning them before their end of life doesn't help...

    Those who want to ignore the science are increasingly alone. They are on their own shrinking island.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    As soon as the feedback tariff reverts back to today's tariffs, the solar panels will go to the tip where they belong.
    With all due respect, that is simply not a rational thing to do. Even if the FIT went to zero, you are still better off financially generating power and using some of that yourself rather than generating nothing at all. You've already incurred the cost of the system either way, so you might as well use it.

    I do agree that the financial case for installing a large system is pretty weak these days for a household that is empty during the day. But it still looks reasonable for business or anyone else who can make use of the power they generate rather than feeding into the grid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
    With all due respect, that is simply not a rational thing to do. Even if the FIT went to zero, you are still better off financially generating power and using some of that yourself rather than generating nothing at all. You've already incurred the cost of the system either way, so you might as well use it.

    I do agree that the financial case for installing a large system is pretty weak these days for a household that is empty during the day. But it still looks reasonable for business or anyone else who can make use of the power they generate rather than feeding into the grid.
    I agree, but I also think that Marc has Gross metering. If you had a zero FIT then there would be no benefit in having the system, but that is absolutely not how it works.

    Of course, there is still a FIT even for systems that don't have the Premium FIT and a system on gross metering would still get about 8c/kWh from AGL. That's not as beneficial as the now defunct PFIT that Marc probably still has at around 60c/kWh but his system is probably completely paid for by now so even 8c would be cream on the top, 60c is a bonanza.

    Those who want to ignore the science are increasingly alone. They are on their own shrinking island.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    All in all, I don't' really know why anyone would want solar panels with today's feedback tarifs. If you add to that the fact that CO2 is actually a useful and very important gas that has no bearing on the variations we are seeing in climate, the idea of installing the current technology on one's roof to produce some pitiful amount of energy is comparable to a hobby and does not withstand the most basic analysis.

    I do have solar panels on my roof because the business proposal at the time, years ago, was a viable one. As soon as the feedback tariff reverts back to today's tariffs, the solar panels will go to the tip where they belong.
    I really feel compelled to reply to this with some facts.
    I have a 4 kw solar grid tie sytsem that has been installed for just over 12 months.
    This system cost $8,400.00 and has produced 7220 kwh in the first 12 months, this has supplied approx 75% of my electricity use, ie 3300kwh the remainder has been exported to the grid at about 8cents per unit. The remainder of my consumption, about 1100kwh, has been purchased from the grid at about 24 cents a unit.

    So if I do a few calculations from the above, I come up with some interesting results.
    Without the solar my bill would be about $1060.00 plus supply charges, GST etc, works out to about $1350.00

    The solar saves me $792.00 on power that I don't have to pay for.
    It earns me $313.00 from export.
    Total income from the solar $1105.00.
    This offsets my entire electricity costs (not including supply charges etc)
    My bills for power amounted to $248.00 for the entire year, a saving in round figures of $1100.00, this amounts to over 13% on my solar investment.
    If I look at payback on my original investment it will take 7.6 years at todays rate. So assuming a life of 25 years for the system, and allowing for payback of the investment it still produces a return of over 9%pa at todays electricity prices, which is a pretty good investment in my book.

    All this with very low feed in tariffs and at todays power prices, which are unlikely to stay the same for too long.
    Regards Bradford

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