Colour me green

Warning: This post has nothing to do with writing.

We’ve gone green in our household.

Let me explain. Three days ago we had a series of solar panels installed on our roof. It’s something we talked about for many years, probably as much as 20 years ago. At the time I even did some serious research into the matter. Trouble was, I didn’t have the ready cash to install such a system. Besides that, in those days there were no government rebates available to offset the enormous cost.

Prices of solar panels have plummeted in recent years due to competition and their efficiency has vastly improved. Add to that the very generous Australian government rebates at present and the whole exercise becomes relatively affordable. Under present conditions the panels should pay for themselves in about 5 years. This is due in part to rapidly increasing electricity prices here in Australia, estimated to rise about 60% over the next few years; we’ve already had one big rise recently.

Talking about power costs, one of the motivating factors in getting the panels this time around was the power bill I received last November. It was about 20% higher than anything we’d had ever before. After the initial shock, the motivation to do something about it created its own momentum and we did our research and chose a good company in the forest of companies offering installation. We also changed providers because we discovered we were being ripped off big time.

The day after installation we kept checking the readout on the inverter to see how much energy it was generating. It was like having a new electronic toy to play with. Most of the time it was generating about 90% of capacity which is about as much as one can expect. It did briefly rise to 97% (3.2Kw of a potential 3.3Kw) but that was short lived when cloud came over the house. On our first day we exported a nice amount of energy back into the power grid so we are actually making a little money. Making money on it is not our intention; we just want to break even and save money. Avoiding rapidly rising energy costs is also a reason.

On the down side, yesterday was 100% cloud cover for half the day and today it’s been raining all day. You get that. I guess we’ll have to be content to only make hay while the sun… let me rephrase the old saying: we’ll only make a lot of energy when the sun shines.

Now back to writing.


One Response to “Colour me green”

  1. Frances Kendall says:

    I congratulate you on being able to decide between the various systems and providers: I just get bewildered.
    And, I would like to see panels that would track the sun: that is, turn north-east in winter to catch winter sun.