Should you go solar?

Have you ever found yourself looking at the plethora of residential solar panels dotted throughout rooftops in Australia, and considered doing the same?

You're not alone. A report from the Clean Energy Council stated that the number of homes with solar panels Down Under exceeded 1 million in 2013.

What's more, according to the National Geographic, the global market has been surging upwards at a rate of about 20 per cent year on year since the millennium.

Installing a rooftop solar system is an excellent way of diminishing your home's impact on the environment - not to mention a potential way of making electricity prices irrelevant in the future.

While the benefits are clear, solar isn't for every home. Here are some things to consider before you make your decision.

One of the shortcomings of solar panels is that they only produce energy while the sun shines.One of the shortcomings of solar panels is that they only produce energy while the sun shines.

What's your roof like?

The Choice Solar Panels Buying Guide asserts that panels work best when they're north-facing, unimpeded by shade from trees or neighbouring buildings. If your roof is facing the wrong way, it's not the end of the world - the panels will just not work as effectively.

Unfortunately, some roofs just aren't cut out to bear solar panels. If your roof is not in reasonable condition, repairs or a replacement will have to be made before panels can be installed.

What are your energy needs?

A rooftop solar system is only producing energy while the sun shines - this energy can't be stockpiled for the night, unless the owner has invested in battery storage (which is still in its infancy).

Therefore, what you should consider is whether your household will be able to make use of this electricity that is generated throughout the day. Possible affirmatives to this question could be if you have kids home from school in the afternoons, a member of your family is around for the majority of the day or you have a pool pump running.

Compare electricity suppliers

The Clean Energy Council recommends making an electricity comparison, as it is worth looking around to find out which electricity suppliers offer the best rates for solar customers. Aside from the actual system itself, you should enquire with your provider about what government tariffs, incentives and plans are available to you.

How can we help?

If you're in the market for a solar power system, the team at Make It Cheaper can help. We'll compare the rates across Australia's leading electricity suppliers, before setting you up with the deal that best suits your needs. What's more, it's completely free.

Posted by Nikki Wilson-Everett