Yep, there they are. Aren't they beautiful. All twenty of them. Our roof is ideally place as the the length of it (or at least half) is North facing. Can't do much better than that. This has been a very long process and there arrival has been much anticipated for over 5 months. That's 5 months of keeping a secret and not blurting it out to all of you that they were coming. OK, so i told a few of you. Well, maybe just a few more than just a few.
I paid my deposit in September and have been waiting for first one installation contractor and then another. Good thing is that these installers were contractors for Simply Energy. I didn't have to deal with them directly. I had a SE Solar team i could harass, loudly and often. Read "very often".
You bet i can. Since i am known for having more front than Myers I'm going to push for every cent of compensation I can. For almost all of spring and summer i could have been earning free energy up there. Tom was home all day running air cons, TVs, gaming consoles, projectors and burning every light in the house (during the day). Yes, i know what you are thinking but you don't live here, with them. Aspie's are very "Switched On" and apparently blind to black balloons. I've negotiated with SE that when the energy provider finally switches over the metering to solar, my last two quarters will be reviewed and another credit WILL arrive. If not, i think they had better get a large supply of oil. I feel more squeaking coming on.
|I'm not very environmentally conscious, am I? I could be personally responsible for the energy and oil crisis, all on my own! (Kick me, this is no laughing matter)|
My SE system warranty is:
Panels (Power Output Warranty) 25 years
Inverter 10 years
Racking 10 years
Workmanship 10 years
For all the tech heads out there this is what i had installed. I have PDF's full of serious writing, scribbly graphs and circuit diagrams but i haven't done Gavin's Blogging Course and i don't know how to import them into a post. I've left all this technical stuff to Rob, he's the electrician.
|CNVP High Performance 60 cell Optimal Premium Poly Crystalline 156×156mm Solar Photovoltaic Module|
These are Tier 1 solar panels which represents only the top 2% of manufactured panels. Tier 1 panels are fully manufactured using robotics (precision and quality control) by a company that has over 5 years experience in the industry (read, not a fly by night operation hoping to make a quick buck). The silicon used by a Tier 1 manufacturer is of a higher grade and will out perform and outlast the majority of cheaper panels on the market which are rated as either 2 or in some cases 3.
My panels are actually much smaller than the ones that were first quoted way back in September. Even in that short time (though it felt like 100 years) there were technological advances that reduced the size of the panels. Smaller size = less materials which is better for the environment.
ABB String Inverter PowerOne PVI-5000 - TL OUTD 5KW
Both Rob and I are pleased that the inverter is an ABB product. We both work in the electrical industry and ABB products (including the switchboards that we build for them) are good quality. Best of all it comes with an RS485 Communications Interface allowing it to be connected to smart phones, laptops or PC's. Rob was especially pleased about this one. The more techy i can make this the more interested he will be in reducing our power usage.
OK, so what's my feed in tariff?? It was a very lowly 8 cent/kW but from 1st Jan 2015 it dropped to 6.2 cents/kW. No one is going to get rich with this kind of rate but what it will do is cover the cost of my system so that in five years, i will own it outright. My calculations are based on an average of 3.7 hours of sunlight per day. We all know that throughout spring, summer and autumn we get more than that in Melbourne so these calculations are quite conservative. The trick is to understand your system and how and when it generates power (solar hours.) The less power you use during these solar hours the more power is returned to the grid. This returned power can be maximised by having the largest system you can afford. As we both work and hopefully (fingers crossed) Tom will soon have at least a part time job, there will be less usage during the day and we will have our only little power station up there on the roof. It was only on for a moment during testing and it generated 3.6kW. Until the inspector passes the installation it cannot be switched on. I think im still looking at mid March before its up and running.
Did i tell you that my "Deal" with Simply Energy includes an INTEREST FREE loan for five years. I've checked the pricing, quality and warranty of my system against other suppliers and it was comparable after the Govt Rebate (SRES) of around $3500 on a 5kW system. Given the success of the rebate scheme it has been recommended that these government incentives be phased out and so it was a good time us to purchase and take advantage of the interest free loan. The reduction in my energy bill will more than offset the monthly payments.
If you are considering getting solar panels, i highly recommend this government site
Installing your Solar Panels
This is all part of my master plan to be prepared for retirement when we will have a lower earning capacity. The government might want me to work till 70, but really, I'm tired already. Part of making our home more affordable, productive and efficient is not only paying off the mortgage (about 8 years) but also retiring some of our very old appliances. My fridge for example was still working. It worked ALL day and ALL night. That compressor never stopped and it was so loud. So, as i have furnished every other item in this house over the last 20 years, the lovely people at GE have once again offered me a 5 year interest free loan. If you couldn't have guessed, I HAVE NEVER PAID A CENT INTEREST IN 20 YEARS. They must hate me. I really don't know why it is so hard for people. Total bill divided by number of payments, set up a direct payment online weekly (or whatever you pay period is) and then let it roll. The weekly amounts are so small i hardly miss them. I usually take off 12 months and pay a little extra than calculated so it is paid well in advance. Emergencies happen in life and you need to be way ahead at all times.
Rob insisted on buying a fridge with an inverter for efficiency and quietness. I was focused on those stars and the Energy Consumption. There were many fridges to choose from that were larger and cheaper but this one was the only one in this class of energy efficiency. You should see how power hungry those ones are that have an ice maker in the door. Rob's eyes were going Ga Ga but i said NO! This one has the fridge up top and the freezer down below. I like the working height of the fridge as i use it more often. Im going to get old, remember! We also updated our oven to one that was more efficient. The old one was leaking heat and took almost 15 min to pre-heat to 200. 20 years was a good innings. My thinking is that while we are both working we should update these items rather than leave it for an emergency purchase. Rob has fixed this fridge several times already.
The next step is to make our house more efficient so it uses less electricity. I know what you are thinking. "Turn a few things off" i hear you shout. Well i'm working on it, OK! The lights are all LED and im planning a few whirly gig thingys on the roof to moderate the roof cavity temperature and also looking at insulation. We purchase some individual room coolers instead of trying to make the big split system cool the whole house. If you want to know anything at all about this topic, then go to the guru Gavin from The Greening of Gavin and check out his ebook on the subject of saving power. I could not possibly compete. All his advice is for normal suburbanites who just want to save money, if not the world.
So, you will be getting future posts on our journey with solar energy. I can't tell you its going to be interesting to anyone but us but perhaps you'll enjoy the ride as Rob makes his way to "Off Grid Power Storage". More about this in next post. See, he's getting interested already!
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