You could begin by asking yourself how much electricity do you use, and when do you use it?
The reason for this is that heavy use during the day gives a quicker payback. Thus if you work from home, or run a large business using a lot of power during the day, solar will suit you.
However if you work 9 - 5 and use little power during the day, you can gain advantage using timers for your appliances. So either way, solar can be an excellent choice.
A regular solar installation with panels and inverter will typically pay back in 4 - 6 years. It will last about 25 years. 20 years of free electricity! Therefore the bottom line is great. Furthermore it's an investment in the future of the Earth and all its residents. People may tell you it's not worth it. However even though you earn less nowadays for what you produce, the rebates are still very good.
Did you know that 50 minutes of energy from the sun can power the whole world's electricity needs? When you install a solar power system, you are catching your share of this free energy. For the most common system, you have 2 parts:
1. A set of solar panels that catch energy from the sun. These can be Photovoltaic which converts the sun directly into electricity. Or they can be Solar Thermal, which employs the heat of the sun to generate power. Panels need the best exposure to sun, therefore they usually go on the roof. Large industrial projects can have them mounted on their own racks on vacant areas of land.
2. An inverter that converts DC electricity from the panels to AC electricity for your use. Inverters are damaged by the sun. Thus we install your inverter in a cool shady location so it lasts much longer. It is more efficient, although more expensive, to have a little inverter on each panel than one big inverter.
Experienced professionals suggest that it's wise to go for a high quality, well known brand of solar panels and inverters. There are many on the Australian market, some cheap and not very long-lived. We can help you sort out which system is right for your budget and needs.
We offer the methods below for getting more energy for your investment. Also ask us for an up-to-date calculation of your proposed solar installation's payback time. We can provide this for you when you obtain quotes from us.
Ask us about 'oversizing your panel array' during your solar installation. This means buying more panels than the inverter is rated for. This is safe, and gives you more energy particularly during winter and shady times. You also get a better rebate!
You may have a roof angle that you imagine might not be the best. However we can optimize the arrangement of panels to provide the most power for your useage times.
Please note that your electricity switchboard may need upgrading to handle the solar power. If this is the case there will be some extra costs. We can discuss that with you in the quotation process.
People ask about battery systems for storing solar power. At present they are prohibitively expensive. Because we want you to have the best value and benefit quickly, we recommend the common panel and inverter system. However if you are keen on a battery system, or if you are off-grid, ask us about it.
We can also design a plan of timers for you to optimize your use of energy. For example, you can set timers on your washing machine, hot water sytem, swimming pool pumps, dishwasher, plant machinery, etc. What this does is shift the energy useage to the day time when there is most power available. Automation with sensors can take some of the manual work out of this process - and we are experts at automation.
Even if you don't have a solar electricity system in mind at this time, there are still a couple of things we can help you with.
Hot water system:
We can install solar for your hot water system, which will save you money. Furthermore we can connect a mains backup so you never go without hot water even in mid winter.
Swimming pool heating:
Yes, you can have your pool heated by a solar thermal (sun's heat) collection system.