Australian households pay some of the highest electricity rates in the world, with the price jumping by more than 63% in the past decade. So it’s no surprise that more than 2.6 million Australians have turned to solar for their energy needs. Most of them will see significant reductions in their energy bills.  

But is it possible to achieve the dream of a $0 electricity bill – or, even better, a credit – when you install solar without batteries?  

The answer is yes. Here’s how you do it. 

1. Buy good quality components

A solar system without batteries consists of panels and an inverter. While all components technically do the same thing, not all are created equal. In fact, the quality varies widely and, as a general rule, you get what you pay for.  

High-performance panels produce around 20-25% more electricity over their lifetime than cheaper ones. And because they’re more efficient, you need less roof space to power your home. By not covering your roof with inefficient panels, it gives you the space to grow (think about being able to fill a battery or charge an electric vehicle in the not-too-distant future). 

A solar inverter converts the power from your panels into a format you can use in your homeIt’s one of the most important elements of your system. High-quality inverters are more efficient and reliable – not to mention the most expensive (so you don’t want to have to replace it within a few years)

2. Oversize your system a little

The size of the system you need depends on several factors including your household’s energy consumption. But to get your bill down to zero, you want your system generating surplus energy – so install more panels than you need. By doing this, you’re not only covering off your daytime usage, but sending excess energy into the grid which you get paid for – these credits can go towards covering off your night time electricity usage costs and even your daily supply charge.

3. Power your home when the sun is shining

All the solar power you generate during the day is free. So make the most of it by using your power-hungry appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, air-conditioning and pool pumps when the sun is shining. 

4. Negotiate a decent solar feed-in tariff 

A Solar Feed-ITariff is the amount you get paid per kWh for any excess energy you export back to the grid. Different energy providers offer different rates so shop around and get a decent deal. At the moment, you can get paid as much as 16c/kWh. 

Crunching the numbers 

To see how this works, let’s assume you live in NSW where the average electricity bill is $1,627.  

You:  

  • Install a premium 6.5kW LG/Fronius system which produces on average 26kWh a day
  • By using just 50% of what your panels produce each day equals 13kWh. Over a year that works out to 4,745 kWh of free energy.  
  • Export the remaining 50% or 13kWh/day back to the grid and get paid handsomely for this. 

The cost of electricity depends on your provider and tariff, but the average charge per kWh in NSW was 26.3 cents + GST in June 2020.  

A number of energy providers currently pay 16c/kWh for surplus solar power exported back to the grid.  

Over a year:  

  • By using your free power during the day, your potential savings are 4,745kWh x 26.3 cents =  $1,248 + GST = $1372/year 
  • Your potential credits are: 13kWh x 16c x 365 days = $760 
  • Total potential saved/credit = $2130/year  

If your LG/Fronius system costs you $8,600, this gives you a conservative payback of 4 years.  

Looking to save money on your electricity bill? Get a free quote to install a high-performance solar power system here