Saturday, 19 May 2012
Sneaky solar scoundrels
This flyer landed on our front lawn recently - "carbon tax is designed to increase electricity bills". Regardless of where they got that quote from, this solar installation company is clearly trying to scare people into buying a solar power system.
The price is quite incredible - but you have to read the fine print.
For $1991, you get in (big print) and 5KW (and then in small print) Growatt inverter, along with 8 x 190W panels. That gives you a nominal 1.52KW.
I bet a lot of people get suckered into thinking they are getting a 5KW system for that price. And as we know, due to things like night time and cloudy days and winter, you'll be lucky to average 20% of 1.52KW over the course of a year. 20% of 1.52KW - that's about enough to run all the lightbulbs in our house.
Why is it that you can get a solar system for this price?
Simple - the government subsidises the installation via Solar Credits using "small-scale technology certificates", or STCs. Notice they never use the word "subsidy" or "cash handout" or "transfer from one taxpayer to another". You can read lots about this scheme at the Department of Climate Change. At the moment, a multiplier applies to the handout of these certificates - the Department deems an STC to be worth $40, and at present, the multiplier is 4. So for the installation of a 1.5KW system, you get 124 STCs, worth $4960. The installation contract requires you to hand over your STCs to the installer, who cashes them in.
So let's look at the total cost of this 1.5KW system.
The householder pays $1991.
The installer collects a subsidy of $4960 from other tax payers, courtesy of the government.
Total cost - $6951. Which works out at $4634 per installed MW.
The average household uses around 8000 kwh per year. This system will generate about 2600kwh - about 32% of total household requirements. For the householder, this might work out to be a pretty good deal - but would they buy it if they had to pay the full cost of $6951?
I doubt it. If it wasn't for a 71% subsidy, these things would never be installed in the metro area.
Here's a cracker from our local rag - "Beat the carbon tax". Apparently pergola prices are going to rise on 1 July because of the carbon tax. I wonder if the compensation we're getting from Wayne Swan will cover that increase?
Badly proofread by Boy on a bike at Saturday, May 19, 2012