You may have heard good things about solar power, you can save money and save the planet at the same time! But how do you know if it will be suitable for your home? There are definitely some factors that will make solar power more or less effective on a home. Here are some things to consider before you make the change.
Saving money and helping the planet are two things most people are happy to do. Installing a solar panel is a good way to cover both these bases, but how effective will they be for your home.
Living in Australia means that in just about any area of the country, the climate is right for solar panels. Australia clocks in one of the highest amount of sunlight hours in the world and as most Australians will know it’s most effective in summer and springtime when there’s an average of 7-8 hours each day. Plenty of light to power your home.
Roof Size and Shade
It’s ideal to have around 9 square metres of roof space per kW, with most systems sitting between 5-7 kW. Obstructions such as chimneys and skylights can make this difficult, however, most installers will be able to work around obstacles. Shade from trees and neighbours can decrease the efficiency of solar panels. You might not be able to change the position of buildings but tree branches can be trimmed to get the full force of the sun on your roof.
Roof Angle and Aspect
Solar panels work best when they are orientated in the right direction. In Australia solar panels work best when they are facing north, northeast, northwest or west, however, adequate energy can still be harvested on other angles. A slope of 30 degrees is ideal, however anything from 0, (flat) to 45 degrees works, however, a solar installer can mount panels so that they sit at an optimal angle.
Your roof should be relatively new. It isn’t a great idea to put new solar panels on a roof that will need replacing in a couple of years, so if your roofing is towards the end of its life, it might be a good idea to redo it before installing solar panels.
Incentives and Rebates
There are a number of good reasons for switching to solar, one of the main ones being lower electricity bills. Setting up a new system, however, can be costly. Luckily most state governments around the country have incentives for homeowners switching to solar power.
In NSW you can earn Small-scale Technology Certificates, or STC’s, which can be traded for rebates. The number of certificates earned depends on the size of the system installed and the amount of energy generated.
Victorian houses benefit from the $1.24 billion dollars Victorian Solar Homes program, which allows for a 50% rebate and from next year an interest-free loan program for new systems.
Check on your state government website to see if you can benefit from a rebate program.
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