Living on solar: Is ditching the grid realistic?

How Practical Is Living On Solar?

Installing a practical solar energy system onto your own home can benefit both yourself and the environment.

Most people today know at least a little bit about solar panels. In fact, if you’ve never seen them installed on a house, odds are you’ve at least noticed some smaller black solar panels on a calculator or on your neighbor’s sidewalk lights. Most people consider solar technology nothing more than a neat invention with minimal, large-scale applications.

In reality, today’s solar power technology makes up a $100 billion industry with no signs of going away in the near future. Some of the largest companies in the world use solar panels at their various facilities across the country. Such businesses include Google, Walmart, Apple, and General Motors. They can utilize these power systems to generate millions of dollars worth of electricity each year.

So, the utilization of solar energy by large corporations seems to benefit both the companies as well as the environment. Nonetheless, how practical would it be to install a similar system on a smaller scale onto your residential home?

  • 1. Your system may be smaller than you think. Most people assume that converting a home to solar energy means cutting down trees. After all, you need to fill up the entire front yard with sun-thirsty solar panels, right? Not true. Solar systems can be rather modest installations, depending on your energy consumption.
  • 2. You may have some help going solar. That’s because most states have several tax incentives that help reduce some of the costs associated with converting your home into a solar-powered residence. If you would like to learn more about some of the tax incentives for going solar in your particular state, then check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
  • 3. You don’t have to fully commit right away. One of the best parts about living on solar today is the fact that you don’t have to ditch the grid completely yet. This is especially true if you’re already hard-wired into the grid. Many utilities can rig your home with a special meter. It’s a device that measures the amount of energy coming in and going out. This means that if you produce more than you use, then the power company will be paying you for the electricity that you are feeding back into the grid. However, if you do have a grid-tied unit, be aware of the following possibility. When there’s a blackout, you won’t have power despite having solar panels (that’s a requirement of utility companies). To get around this, you’d need a stand-alone solar generator that is not tied to the grid.

So is ditching the grid for a solar-powered system a realistic proposition? The answer is absolutely, and for lots of reasons.

Going solar will also take another necessity that your family depends on out of the hands of the power company. Consequently, you will find it directly in your own control.

Ditching the grid and living on solar isn’t just a realistic choice – it’s also a responsible one.


New tax incentives for businesses announced

It’s good news for businesses of all sizes across Australia, with recent measures unveiled in the federal budget to provide what they’re calling the “largest set of investment incentives” ever offered.

Immediate Expensing

Businesses with a turnover of less than $5 billion will be able to immediately deduct the full cost of new, eligible assets of any value in the first year it is used or installed, before June 30, 2022.

With the hope to encourage businesses to spend more now, the Immediate Expensing incentive allows businesses to claim the full amount of an asset as a tax deduction up front, reducing the amount of tax a business will pay.

In the past, a portion of the asset would have been tax deductable in the first year, with the resulting to be depreciated over future years.

Instant Asset Write-off Extension

The Government is also extending the instant asset write-off, which had already been increased as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses with turnover of up to $500 million can instantly write-off multiple assets worth up to $150,000 each. The extension will now provide businesses with an extra 6 months until June 30, 2021 to first use or install assets purchased by the end of this year.

Loss Carry-back

Previously, if a business makes a loss it must wait until it returns to profitability to claim them as an offset on its tax bills. However, the temporary “carry-back” incentive will allow businesses to receive a cash refund of taxes paid on previous profits if they post a loss.

The incentive means businesses with a turnover of less than $5 billion won’t have to wait until they next post a profit to receive a tax benefit.

Install solar to take advantage of the new tax benefits
With the new tax incentives announced combined with many businesses needing to reduce costs as much as possible, now is the perfect opportunity to install a commercial solar system. Electricity costs are an ongoing expense your business will always need to account for. Installing a commercial solar system represents a solution which can significantly reduce electricity costs from day one. The new tax incentives presented offer a financial benefit that can make the business case for installing a commercial solar system even more attractive.

Benefits of Solar

High Return on Investment
Just like any major purchase, solar is a significant financial investment. To ensure your business makes the right financial decision, our commercial energy consultants will provide your business with a customised proposal, addressing all factors to consider including capital outlay, investment yields, payback periods, NPV and more.

Reduce Business Risk
Business owners face ongoing uncertainty with their electricity costs due to rising electricity prices. Installing a commercial solar system allows your business to produce a portion of its own electricity requirements on site, allowing your business to keep one of your largest expenses under control.

Reduce Carbon Emissions
Installing a commercial solar PV system will help your business significantly reduce its carbon emissions. Plus, because your solar electricity is generated on-site with no transmission losses, it offsets even more than it generates. Being seen as a green company is a great PR and marketing tool, making your business more attractive to both staff and customers.


What size solar PV system should I install


This is the first step to take when determining if solar is a viable investment. This process should be completed by your accredited designer during the design and specification stage as part of their load analysis. As a home owner, you can sell your excess electricity generated back to the grid. However, it’s important to weigh up the financial incentives on offer, which maybe quite low. The most benefit is gained by ‘self-consumption’, which means offsetting the higher retail tariff that you would pay by using power generated by your system instead of drawing power from the grid. Accordingly, you should match your system size to your household consumption. The designer of your system will help you choose a Brisbane solar system that suits your needs. The rate for any power exported will depend on your electricity retailer and which state or territory you are in.


When comparing Brisbane solar quotes, the difference in prices between products can be overwhelming. When making the decision that best suits your budget, there are a few important things to consider:

  • What are the product warranties? Your Brisbane solar retailer will provide a manufacturer’s warranty on the products. The warranty period will often vary between the panels, inverter and other system components. Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailers have committed to provide a five-year whole of-system warranty.
  • Will the solar retailer be able to honour these warranties? If the solar PV retailer goes out of business, your warranties could become invalid. In this case, you will need to contact the importer or manufacturer directly to arrange repair or replacement. Make sure you have their details too.
  • Does the manufacturer have a service office in Australia? Manufacturers that have support offices in Australia, or dedicated importers/registered agents of the products may offer better backup support if a component fails.
  • Are the PV modules and inverter Clean Energy Council-approved? All PV modules and inverters must meet Australian Standards and be on the Clean Energy Council-approved list in order to be eligible for any government rebates.
  • Are the PV modules imported through an approved channel? Be wary of PV modules that may not have been imported through channels approved by the PV module manufacturer. The manufacturer may not honour the warranty in this case. Check with your retailer who the importer was and whether they are approved by the manufacturer.

Solar panels and inverters on the Clean Energy Council approved list meet all relevant Australian Standards. This is a minimum requirement. A range of independent PV module rating systems exist that set quality and performance standards above the minimum. These can provide more information when you are choosing which modules to buy. For more details on these independent tests.