One of the logical things to do when living in a country like Australia is to install solar panels and get your power from the sun.
We have talked about this before, when I was talking about Making your home more energy efficient and I said I would do a post about solar. So, here is my post. There is a lot to talk about, the process wasn’t smooth, but here I have just talked about the panels and not the problems we had connecting them to the grid. Let me know if you want to hear about that.
Why did we do it?
The obvious reason was so we wouldn’t have to pay for our electricity. Though, you still have to pay for some here and there, however, compared to what we were paying, we are doing really well.
A few years ago our electricity bills were around $2500 to $3000 a year, whereas this year so far we have paid somewhere around $150. For us that is great.
The other reason is Australia’s insistence that coal-powered power stations. No idea why they are, though plenty of theories, corruption being the top of the list.
We believe that coal is bad for the environment so since our government won’t do anything to stop it, then we feel it is up to us individuals to do something. Hence the solar panels on our roof.
Choosing our solar system
When you decide you want to get solar panels you can be overwhelmed with all the choices out there. The prices are also very varied. Need to be aware that there are a lot of cheap Chinese panels.
We got a few quotes, some not that expensive, but in the end, we went with a company where we knew we would have more choices. We went with a local company, EnviroGroup. They had a very good reputation and were recommended to us by others who had used them.
What we wanted and why
There were a few things that we wanted.
One was that we wanted to choose our panels. There are a lot of panels from difficult companies available and they have a long warranty. My husband wanted to choose them from a company that seemed like it would still be around in 15 years.
We choose panels by LG. We have a magazine here, Choice, and they rated panels from them as among the best. So we choose them. They weren’t the cheapest, but also not the most expensive. We were happy with our choice there.
Most solar panels are done with string inverters. So when you put a row of panels they are all connected together.
There is nothing wrong with them, though I have heard that this type does have problems. Not sure how true that is.
My husband was adamant that he wanted micro-inverters. Part of the reason was so we could see exactly how each panel was doing, but also if one stopped working they all wouldn’t stop. We would be able to tell if one wasn’t working.
What we got
We installed a 5 kW micro-inverter system. It consisted of 17 panels on our roof. Then almost 12 months later we installed another system so now we have a 10 kW micro-inverter system.
We have a flat roof, so we had a lot of choices about where they went. Initially, we went with 10 panels facing north and 7 facing west. When we got the second lot we saw what the panels had produced. The ones facing west produced less, not much, but we decided with the second lot we would put 12 facing north and 5 west. So now we have 22 panels facing north and 12 going to the west.
We don’t have any facing east because there are a lot of trees to the east and by the time the sun gets over them it is on the north-facing ones.
The above image shows you an aerial of what our roof looks like. It is indeed white.
Some of the good things
One of the things that I really like is how it is connected to the internet and we can see how much we generate and how much we use.
Yesterday it was quite sunny and here is what got. You can see how much each panel produced as well.
Our switchboard also got a facelift.
The next logical step is to get a battery. My husband can’t make up his mind exactly what he wants there. We don’t want a Tesla because they can catch on fire, but we are keen on the Redflow batteries. A new one is coming out soon, so we might be getting it.
Getting a battery means that when we have power outages we will still have power. It would seem that this summer that could happen a bit with so many people still working from home.
Also, it would reduce how much power we need to import from the grid. That would mean we could pay even less a year.
The first reason is a big incentive.
Have you considered putting solar panels on your roof? If yes, did you, and if no why not?