Solar panels adorn the roof of over 1000 more homes and businesses in Bendigo than at the same time last year which solar installers believe is due to the rebate introduced in August.
The City of Greater Bendigo has the third highest number of households with solar panels installed in the Powercor network.
Powercor say the number homes and businesses with solar panels has increased by 14 percent in the past year, from 8449 to 9618.
Solar uptake spiked in the 3550 postcode late 2018 according to data from the Australian Photovoltaic Institute. Previous highs were between 2011 and 2013.
Bendigo installers say that uptake of solar systems has increased significantly since the solar rebate which allows households to claim 50 percent of the cost of a system.
Installing solar panels makes up about 40 percent of the business of AE Ashcroft Electrical owner Glenn Ashcroft.
His business averages one to two solar systems each week, generally mid-range of between 12 and 20 panels.
Mr Ashcroft said he was busiest three years ago when tariffs were particularly favourable, but since the rebate was announced his business has picked up.
Rapidly rising power prices drive most people to install the photovoltaic panels. Generally it takes three to four years to make back to cost of the panels.
“It’s all about money,” Mr Ashcroft said.
“If you use your power correctly you can really minimise your bills. Most of them are [installing solar] for that reason because power just keeps going up.”
Calls to install batteries are less common. Mr Ashcroft believes this is because the technology is still quite expensive, meaning it takes about 10 years to make the costs back.
Instead Mr Ashcroft advises his customers to make the most of their solar system by using power intensive devices during the day.
“Use as much power as you can during the day, then at nighttime minimize your power,” Mr Ashcroft said.
“It’s all about consuming the power that you use now. If you can consume the power that the solar provides you, then you’re a long way to paying off your bill.”
Powercor’s head of network planning and development Daniel Garvey said that the company was seeing more customers choice to install rooftop solar panels.
The increase has required the company to develop a flexible grid to accommodate the demand for solar.
Regular assessments allow the company to measure usage. In areas where solar panels are common, the company sometimes needs to adjust voltage setpoints, or create a solution which means more energy can be exported.
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