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Can Residential Solar Systems Help Families Make Ends Meet?

Author: Arise Solar
by Arise Solar
Posted: Jan 25, 2019

Research shows that residential solar systems have grown by leaps and bounds all over Australia. Since 2008, Murdoch University researcher Adam McHugh has tracked the nation’s home solar system purchases, finding the rate of growth "nothing short of breathtaking," as he puts it in an article he wrote for The Conversation.

But his research also showed another factor: households that invested in solar power for their homes tended to be mostly from the middle class. How about struggling families, though? Can Residential Solar Systems help struggling families, too, reduce their expenses?

The answer is yes. Yes, that is, if those households take advantage of all the benefits a solar installation can offer at the right time.

For Renters, Renting a Solar-Powered Home is a No-BrainerSolar power reduces a family’s reliance on the "grid," the nation’s network of power companies that seem to raise their rate by the minute. If renters look for rental homes that already have solar power systems installed, they can save up the money they would have paid for electricity towards a home of their own—preferably itself with solar power.

For Struggling Homeowners, Financing May Provide the Way to Invest in SolarMany homeowners don’t want to add to their debt with another large purchase in addition to their mortgage. Yet if the amount they would save monthly on their electric bills could break even—or even surpass—that which they must repay to the lender, they are home free.

  1. Long-term benefits often outweigh the risks: In other words, payments that equaled their existing electricity payments would be like getting the system for free—with no additional payments. Once the payments end, the homeowners would have boosted their property value—in case they want to sell their home and move on to a higher-end home.
  2. Government perks can help homeowners afford a solar power system: Government incentives, too, can help struggling homeowners stretch every dollar to go solar. Homeowners do, however, need to make sure that their installer has the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) approval before they sign the paperwork to buy. Like any other high-dollar construction projects or purchases, buyers need to do their own homework to make sure the installer has the proper credentials. Otherwise, the Government won’t provide them with financial assistance.

3. Rising power costs can spur the solar buying decision: In their day-to-day challenge to pay the bills, struggling households sometimes can’t see the big picture. It is, however, important to do so if they want to go from struggling to settled. That big picture, says McHugh, is the near-certainty of rising power prices for fossil-fuelled systems. Whether it’s a coal- or gas-powered generator station or propane heat for their homes, prices are bound to rise as fossil fuels become scarcer. To lift themselves out of the struggle to pay rising bills, a Solar System

  • even bought with financing—may be the key to financial freedom.

Count the Cost of Solar—and the Cost of Going Without, Say ExpertsIn a article, Charis Chang reports that a complete system for a standard home (a five-kilowatt system) costs around $5,000.

Looking at that cost, a struggling homeowner considering solar could certainly economies elsewhere to make up the cost. For instance, one could easily buy an automobile (not as long-term an investment as a value-building home improvement) that costs $5,000 less. Economizing on other relatively short-term purchases can certainly help as well.

Recouping all the money a homeowner puts into a solar home power system, Ms Chang writes, takes only about five years, on average—depending on the home’s location. In some locations, residential solar systems take as little as 3.2 years or as many as 8.2. Still, she points out, that time seems relatively short, given that systems from CEC-approved installers usually offer a 25-year warranty.

Given all these numbers, it would indicate that even for struggling households, a home Solar Power System makes good financial sense—both for now and in the future.

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About the Author

Arise Solar installs residential solar systems in homes across Australia. With their residential solar applications, they offer financing so households in diverse economic circumstances can afford to go solar.

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Author: Arise Solar

Arise Solar

Member since: Dec 12, 2018
Published articles: 6

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