If you’ve decided to go solar, there are a few things you need to know and do before you take that final plunge. Below you will find a list of points to get you started; for more information www.australiansolarquotes.com.au has free and helpful resources.
Know the basicsAs you’ve decided to go solar, the first thing you need to know is that electricity is measured in watts (W). 1000 W equals 1 kilowatt (kW). Now onto the other stuff!
In an average home, cooling and heating use the most energy. With this in mind, decide just how much energy you want to generate from solar. If you rely on it for appliances and lighting, but not for cooling and heating, 50 per cent will be adequate. To come up with a kilowatt-hour figure, look at your bills from the last year and calculate the average kW usage. Divide this number by two.
There are three different types of solar systems in Australia.
Grid connect: The panels will cover your energy requirements before feeding excess power back to the grid. At night, your power will come from the mains.
Stand-alone: The panels will feed power to a bank of batteries and an inverter will convert it into useable energy for your home.
Hybrid grid: Excess power will be stored in a battery bank for future use. When the batteries are fully recharged, surplus power is sent back into the grid.
Decide where to place your solar panelsThere are many factors that affect how much energy will be produced. Temperature, how directly the sun hits the panels and whether or not there’s shade will all determine how many actual watts are produced. Perhaps consider installing an extra panel to compensate for energy loss.
Find out how long it will take to recover the costHow much it costs firstly depends on the size of the system. Next, it depends on the quality of the individual components (the inverter, the frames, the batteries). Cost of labour depends on the installer. Most households will install a 5kW system, which is roughly under $11,000. An approximate saving of $1500 a year, means the costs should be paid off in about seven years.
Consider ongoing costsWhile solar panels don’t require too much maintenance, they still need to be cleaned now and then to remove grime and ensure they’re performing at their best. A mechanical maintenance check will need to be carried out from as little as two years to as long as seven years after installation. These need to be conducted by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) installer.
Do you feel more informed? Will you or have you recently taken the plunge? Share your thoughts by commenting below.