People from north of the border love to take cheap shots at Melbourne’s weather but those of us who live in Victoria know how good it is.
For one thing, we don’t spend weeks on end sweltering in unbearable heat and humidity, because there’s always a cool change in summer.
Then in winter, we might get more days with rain but generally there’s some respite and the clouds clear.
One way or another, the sun always comes out, even if it’s only in the morning or only in the afternoon or it’s nine degrees with an icy wind coming straight from the Antarctic!
How much sunshine does Melbourne enjoy?
Everyone knows there are fewer hours of sunshine in winter, but did you stop to think that part of the reason for that is that the days are much shorter?
Even in June, in the very depths of a Melbourne winter, there are still three hours of sunlight every day, on average. That means we still have more days that the sun shines all day than days it doesn’t come out at all.
Meanwhile, in February, Melbourne averages more sunshine than Brisbane and Sydney: 8 hours per day compared to 7 hours each in the northern capitals!
Over the course of a year, Melbourne’s 2,200 hours of sunshine averages out at just over six hours per day.
Is that enough to power a home?
Summer’s seven or eight hours of sun is more than enough, and even May and July’s four hours is pretty close, so it’s really only those mid-winter months that are problematic.
According to Solar Choice, the Victorian average across the whole year is 3.7 hours of peak sun, which translates to the following average electricity production:
– A 1.5kW solar array will generate 5.5kWh per day
– A 3kW system will produce around 11.1kWh
– A 5kW solar PV array will generate around 18.5kWh a day
The average three-person household uses an annual average of about 20kWh per day.
How does it balance out?
Every household is different and the weather is, of course, unpredictable, but for at least half of the year, it’s likely that a rooftop solar system will generate more electricity than you need.
On those days that your system is able to generate a surplus, you should feed it back into the grid and take advantage of feed-in tariffs.
If you have air-conditioning, the good news is that on the hottest days of the year, when you want to use it, you’ll be generating enough power to run your household and feed some into the grid.
What are the feed-in tariffs?
The current minimum feed-in tariff in Victoria is five cents per kilowatt hour, so every electricity retailer with more than 5,000 customers must offer at least that rate.
From July 1, 2017, the new minimum set by the Essential Services Commission (ESC), the independent regulator, will rise to 11.3 cents per kWh.
GloBird Energy is already offering more than that, with a 14-cent per kWh feed-in tariff available right now on our Solar Plus plan.
For the 88,000 households, small businesses and community groups who are on the Premium Feed-In Tariff (PFIT) – which was available from late 2009 until the end of 2011 and remains in place until 2024 – the mandated rate is 60 cents/kWh.
GloBird is also offering a significant premium on the PFIT, at 74 cents/kWh.
So, isn’t it time you switched your solar plan to GloBird?
You can find out more about the rules and regulations on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.