Friday, 28 September 2012

Solar Power

Here in Queensland and all over Australia the costs of running our homes on electricity has risen by 60% in just the last few years and we've been warned that this is not the end, costs will continue to rise steadily.  This is a huge assault on a household budget when a lot of people are already struggling to make ends meet in the global financial crisis. In reality there are only two options for most of us.  Either find some extra income or cut down on how much electricity you are consuming.

We have chosen to buy a solar power unit for our home and were fortunate enough that we had money from a tax refund that we could use as a deposit.  We also managed to get into the solar market before 1st July when the Queensland government reduced the feed-in tariff of 44 cents to only 9 cents and with a company that signed us up for a 75 cent feed in tariff for the first 3 years.

I know there are a lot of solar companies out there selling old stock that are less effective than the new technologies produced today.  We made the decision to buy the best we could afford which also means that we will reap the best benefits because the efficiency of these new type panels has greatly improved.

Obviously with the government announcement that it was drastically reducing the feed-in tariff, there was a rush on signing up for a solar system so we have had to wait for a few months before the installation and now we are still waiting for the energy company to come and change over our meter. The solar system has been switched off in the meantime as Australian houses are fitted with a simple meter that reads electricity whether it is going into or out from your home.  This means that if we had our system turned on, any power it generates would be read by our current meter as being used by us and we would be charged accordingly.  Therefore it remains switched off until the energy company can change us to a new meter that reads both ways.

Using the system we have had installed we fully expect to be able to not only pay out electricity bills completely each month but also be able to sell excess electricity back into the power grid and thereby earn a small profit from our solar.  Once we have completed repayments that profit will be ours to save and also we won't have any electricity costs.

The idea is to change our habits in how we use electricity inside the home to reap the most benefit. During the day our solar system will be producing power and if we are using it at that time we are using it at a rate of 75 cents per kilowatt (the amount we would be paid if that was going into the grid). However if we use most of our power at night we are only using it at a rate of 21 cents (the current cost per kilowatt charged by power companies).  Looks like that washing, vacuuming, ironing etc will have to be done after the sun sets.  That's going to be different!

Human nature is a funny thing. When people get solar installed there seems to be two trains of thought. There are the people who decide to use more power because now they can afford more so why not. Then there are the people like us who decide to see just how little they can use so that they reap more financial benefits into their savings account.
Which would you be?


1 comment:

  1. Hello Chez
    Thanks for popping over to the blog. Yes keep your sewing machine! Great post here. We have ummed and ahhhed too long about solar. Just last week had two separate lengthy conversations with solar converts reaping the benefits. Should 'just do it'.

    The best


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