Bright Idea: Slash Your Power Bills by Building With Solar
by Carlisle Homes
Specify solar power in your home and enjoy the benefits for years to come. Here’s everything you need to know about building with solar.
Sick and tired of rising electricity prices? Fortunately, there is an alternative; integrate solar panels when you’re building your home to harness the sun’s energy and you can significantly reduce – or even eliminate – your energy costs.
Here’s everything you need to know about specifying solar power in your home.
How does solar power work?
With a solar-powered system, solar panels on your roof capture sunlight and turn it into electricity, which is used to power your home. The energy you create is clean, free and better for the environment.
During the day, any unused power flows back to the grid. You’ll earn a feed-in tariff credit from any electricity you return to the grid, which can then be used against the cost of any energy you draw from the grid.
At night or at times when you need more power (such as during a week of heavy rain), your power is sourced from the grid.
Can I go completely off-grid?
That depends on how big your solar system is and how much energy your household consumes. According to the Energy Australia blog, most households use more energy than their solar system provides so they still need to rely on the grid for a portion of their electricity. However, your bills will be much lower with a solar system than without one.
Different types of systems
A solar system consists of several photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels secured to your roof with mounting equipment. These panels are connected to an inverter that converts solar-generated DC (Direct Current) electricity to AC (Alternating Current) electricity suitable for household use.
The benefits of a battery
Alternatively, you can choose a solar-plus-storage system that’s compatible with a rechargeable battery.
If you purchase a battery for your solar-plus-storage system it can significantly boost your power production and reduce your reliance on the grid. According to Energy Australia, adding a 4kWh solar battery to a 5kW solar system can increase the amount of self-generated electricity a household consumes from 30% to 60%.
Some types of batteries also allow you to use stored energy to power your home when there is a power outage in your area.
What happens on cloudy days?
On overcast days, your solar system will still produce at least 25% of the energy it normally creates as it uses two different types of light; visible light and infrared light.
During periods of heavy rain or cloud when your home needs more power, net metering automatically kicks in so you draw energy from the grid.
Enjoy savings for years to come
A solar power system is an investment, but that initial outlay quickly pays itself off in lowered power bills. Specify solar at the building stage and you’ll enjoy cut-price power bills the moment you move into your home. And those reduced costs will continue for the life of the system.
Future-proof your home
Fact is, Australia is reducing its reliance on fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy, which means system and installation prices are coming down. By getting in early, you can take advantage of these reduced prices and start saving on electricity straight away.
And by producing clean energy from the sun, you’re reducing your home’s carbon footprint, so you know you’re doing your bit for the environment.
In addition, solar is something buyers value and can be a major selling point if one day you decide to sell your home.
What size do I need?
The best way to work out the right size is to look at past electricity bills and see how much electricity you use on a daily basis.
Your power consumption is measured and billed in kilowatt hours (kWh). According to Choice Australia, a typical home uses 20kWh power per day, which equates to a 5kWh solar system.
Stylish new options
With solar becoming increasingly popular, designers are delivering up innovative new systems to complement homes. One of the most impressive on the market is Monier’s InlineSOLAR system, which is recessed into your roofline rather than bolted on the top to create a sleek and seamless appearance. Note: Inline solar is not available for homes located in bushfire prone areas. Learn how you can boost your savings with InlineSOLAR here.