September 2008 saw the new roof on the house and the days slowly getting longer as Spring slowly started to come around the corner. We looked at the expanse of North facing new Colorbond roofing and started to think about solar panels for generating electricity.
A reasonable explanation of how solar panels work can be found by clicking here.
We have had solar panels on our motorhome for many years and have quite alot of knowledge of how they work, their efficiency, what other technology is needed to make them work, and what to expect out of them.
As we already have electricity connected to our house it made sense to investigate grid connect systems where the electricity made by the solar panels is fed into the electricity grid system and the electricity company meter how much electricity you make and how much you use and then either bill you or credit you for the difference depending on wether you produce more than you use or vice versa.
The Federal government is offering at the moment up to $8000.00 as a rebate if you have a Grid Connect system fitted and you meet their criteria.
There were basically three suppliers of Grid Connect systems in the area; Tasman Energy, Apollo Energy (now Energy Matters), and Jessups Retravision. We chose Jessups Retravision because they had fitted our Sddons heat pump hot water system and found them to be very helpful and reliable.
Rob Sharman of Tasman Energy was also very helpful and came and looked at our situation and gave us a quote. His website is a fantastic source of information about all things solar as well as bio diesel and windpower.
The system is a Conergy 1Kilowatt system but we are installing a larger inverter so we can add more panels later on, it will cost us about $4500 after the $8000 Federal rebate and Renewable Energy Certificates (REC’s). We also had to update our electricity meter and have it moved from just outside the back door to the front corner of the house to comply with current regulations. This would have had to be done at some point as it was in a very poor state. Cost $1900.
We are awaiting the approval for the $8000 rebate from the Federal Government and we will update as we go forwards.