Are you thinking about solar power for your new home or renovation?
One of the big conversation topics that comes up when talking about how to create a sustainable home is solar energy … and whether it’s worthwhile to install a solar system on your home.
And so that’s what this episode – and the next – is all about. What you need to know about solar energy, and how to know a solar system will be worthwhile for your renovation or building project.
In this episode, I have the great pleasure of talking with Lucy Best, who is the Community Engagement Lead for the Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd, or MEFL.
Lucy manages community engagement and communications for MEFL including the Positive Charge and Our Energy Future programs, which provide advice on renewable energy and energy efficiency products to community members and councils.
I found Positive Charge when I was looking for a way I could get some independent and impartial advice on solar power and what you need to know. Positive Charge is a programme of the Moreland Energy Foundation, a not-for-profit, independent organisation committed to tackling climate change.
Positive Charge offers advice, regardless of whether or not people request a quote, so you can talk through your ideas and plans whatever stage you are at. Unlike other brokers we only work with suppliers after conducting a thorough procurement process, so you can be confident that we are offering high quality products and services at a good price, through company you can trust. Better still – Positive Charge will be on hand to support you along the way if needed.
Lucy regularly delivers workshops and information sessions to range of communities including SMEs, schools, CALD groups, general interest and environmental groups and council staff. She also plans and coordinates all outreach and promotional activity.
Lucy is one clever bunny when it comes to helping us be more informed about solar energy .. what we need to know, the questions we need to ask. And she taught me a thing or two about motivation for putting solar on you roof too, and how to think about it generally.
Because this was such a meaty interview full of so much great advice and knowledge, I’m releasing it as two parts.
So, in Part 1 (this episode), Lucy and I talk about:
- The components of a solar energy system … what they are, how they work, to physically get power from the sun to the electrical needs of your home
- How to work out how big a system you’ll need
- The difference between panels – Lucy actually shares some key tips to assess their power and potential, and what to know about your roof space and power use overall to inform what you choose
- We talk about the inverter – and from our own personal research for our place, the advice has been that it’s the part of the system where quality really makes a difference – and so Lucy had some great advice about this
- And we talk about batteries – and when going off grid is worthwhile, and surprises you may not be aware of when it comes to choosing a battery system, and that you may not be as ‘off-grid’ as you think
The conversation is packed full of great information, and you might be surprised at how accessible solar is – this is no longer out-there or super expensive technology. It’s more affordable than you think.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:
Moreland Energy Foundation’s website >>> https://www.mefl.com.au/
Positive Charge’s website >>> https://www.positivecharge.com.au/
Your Home website >>> http://www.yourhome.gov.au/energy/photovoltaic-systems
Contact your state, territory or local government for further information on renewable energy: https://www.gov.au
Alternative Technology Association (ATA). 2008. Solar electricity ‘Plan your own solar electricity system’ >>> https://www.ata.org.au
Clean Energy Council. 2011. Consumer guide to buying household solar panels (photovoltaic panels) >>> https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au
Facbook Group suggested by Lucy Best, which is essentially a forum for people wanting to create zero emissions homes >>> https://www.facebook.com/groups/996387660405677/
International Energy Agency. Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme >>> https://www.iea-pvps.org/
NSW Fair Trading. Solar panels — consumer checklist >>> https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
NSW Government – NSW Home Solar Battery Guide >>> https://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au
ReNew >>> http://renew.org.au
DNV GL, a Darwin based organisation that test solar panels on behalf of manufacturers, produced an annual report on their performance >>> https://www.solarchoice.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2018-PV-Module-Reliability-Scorecard_DNV-GL.pdf
What about the look of the solar panels on the roof? What are the most attractive panels are there the solar roof tiles?
The panels are all fairly streamlined these days. It can come down to your personal aesthetics, and often the challenge is that your roof hasn’t been designed to take solar into account, so you may need to pitch the panels at a different angle to what the roof is, and hence build the panels up on a frame. That can mean they’re more visible. There are some companies doing roof tiles as solar panels, however I haven’t personally used them. You can see an example on the Monier website >>> https://www.monier.com.au/solar-roofing/monier-solar-roofing