Wednesday, 7 August 2013

into The Solar Light

G’day Possums,

shane wombat eith stats
Shane with stats....

Some four months have passed since we had our solar panels installed on  burrow's top and last week the first electricity statement since the fitting, arrived.
It made interesting reading and has brought up other interesting thoughts but first: back to the beginning.

It may be of ironic interest to note that I’m writing this by candle-light on a laptop with a dwindling battery charge. There has been no power for the past hour, an all too common occurrence in this locality.

The reason behind going solar as far as we could afford, was to attempt becoming self-sufficient in electricity. It was not about making money (the ex-premier of the Tardis State [where-all-goes-backward] “Big Bird” Baillieu [genus: Silvertail Incompetens] had well and truly stuffed that by dropping the tariff paid for electricity returning to the grid to $0.08 per kilowatt hour. 

Our burrow is “all electric”, energy prices are escalating, so it seemed to make sense that we look after ourselves.
The first hurdles were acquainting ourselves with as much PV knowledge as we could, making the best decision for our circumstances and having the event as smooth as possible.

 Where to start? 

Well, probably like most I started with the advertisements soon discovering that although attractive, they could be misleading.  E.G. “…buy our 1.5 kw system and get a 5kw inverter … upgrade later.” Up-grade to what… the same panels… are they still made…do the generic equivalents have the same capacity and output… will they be compatible with the existing panels?
Then the real  “tech” things not really touched in the ads concerning panel capacity, efficiency, output, micro-crystalline or silicone, longevity, German, Australian, American, Japanese or Chinese,175W, 200W, 350W, roof slope, one or two storey, tree cover and the BIG one …Do-You-Have-a- Smart-Meter?
Well Smart meters were supposed to be installed in all properties by 2013 and are bi-directional… can receive energy and transmit it and can be remotely monitored..  and what about STC’s….Small-scale Technology Certificates?

Below are some sites that I found very useful and informative…although be a bit wary of the quotes with “solarquotes” they tend to be a bit out of date and the reliability of call-back is questionable.. otherwise it’s a very informative site with lots of info.
“Solar Centre” is a beaut! Clear, concise, informative particularly about efficiency etc and by not “selling” anything  and the State and Federal Govt. sites are recommended for the same reasons.

This site is worth a look NOW as it’s one on the agency’s “Mr Rabbott” in his climate-denial suit has said he will axe if he gains power.

Some questions you may well ask your supplier: Why do they say it will take 40 days from installation to “be linked to the grid” when they really mean 40 “working” days?
Why does it take that time when, because of the smart meter, it’s automated and the chap doing the checking (for $281.00) was the same chap who verified the installer’s work?
Why tell us to turn the system off until it’s been checked as “…you might be charged for the power you supply back to the system”? We didn’t, and they didn’t charge us! When we queried about this odd supposition we couldn’t obtain a clear answer……One can only assume a profit motive.

Another thing to note: this is a privatised system. We as the householders contract with the retailers and suppliers of electricity and pay the agreed price. Why then does the State government set the price at which we can be recompensed with for the Kw H we provide back to the grid?
Propping up foreign profits?
Who knows.

Inverter reading 1:00pm winter's day..

Net results …on the figures so far into this winter we seem to be using about a 1/3 of what we did by modifying our electricity usage patterns plus the stuff we generate and the system on the roof is placing another 1/3 back into the grid… it seems to balance at about ½ of our normal total.
As we will produce more consistently during Spring, Summer and Autumn I think we could well achieve a self sufficient result in another nine months.
I have to admit that six trees were sacrificed for more Winter light.

winter light on solar panels greendale victoria.
Winter light Greendale.

Wombat Droppings is going to become a separate posting on Shane’s blog postings for the election period.….and for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale.


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  1. I like the look of your house mate........ but if you're only getting 8c, did you ever consider disconnecting from the grid altogether...?

    1. Yes, but the economics of the cost of a battery system vs its useful life made it too expensive.