SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS
Although most Australian homes still use energy derived from fossil-fuels (coal) and some from wind energy being fed into the national grid, there is a growing number meeting their home’s entire energy needs (and even feeding excess back into the national electricity grid) with solar electric and solar hot water systems.
What are they?
Residential solar energy systems fall into two categories: solar electric systems and solar hot water systems:
• Solar hot water systems are also known as solar thermal systems because they capture heat, can provide hot water for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry, and other household uses. They can also be used to heat homes (hydronic) and pools.
• Solar electric systems, also called photovoltaic (PV) systems, convert the sun’s energy into electricity that can power your home.
Is solar right for you?
Not every Australian home can benefit financially from a photovoltaic (PV) system that can power your home or building or, from a solar hot water system (a solar thermal system). If your water heating costs are already low e.g. from an installed water jacket heated from your fireplace or wood-burning stove, or if you do not have enough sun on your roof or on your property, it makes no sense to go to the expense of installing a solar energy system.
But for those Australian homes which should go solar, the energy savings from a PV or solar hot water system will eventually save you money, after you’ve recouped the system’s initial cost. Talk to a local solar energy expert and take advantage of any government subsidies for installing a solar energy system in your home. The ability to save on energy costs will also increase the value of your home. An additional bonus is that solar roof panels add another skin to your roof – more protection / insulation from weather, more energy savings.
NBH Staff Member