More and more Australian homes are harnessing the power of the sun to generate their electricity. If you are thinking of joining them, here are a few things to think about.
Is my property suited?
To get the maximum amount of power from your solar panels, you will need to have a north-facing roof with enough space—any windows will reduce your capacity. You also need to ensure that there is nothing that will get in the way—trees or other nearby buildings can throw shade onto your roof and reduce the amount of power you could generate.
Do I need permission?
Nowadays councils tend to look favourably upon applications for solar panels, and they usually have staff on hand who know about the various issues involved. Make sure you enquire beforehand to check that you will not run afoul of any local planning regulations before buying.
How many panels will I need?
How many panels you need will depend upon the power output of the panels themselves. By and large, the cheaper panels will have a lower power output. But if you have a lot of roof space, you can get around this by installing more of them. If space is at a premium, you may want to get panels that have a higher output and will generate more electricity for the area concerned. Remember also that the fewer panels you buy, the quicker—and cheaper—the installation will be.
What kind of inverter will I need?
The inverter is a device that converts the solar panels' DC output into the AC that you need to power your home. You will need to discuss your requirements with your supplier to make sure that you are getting the right one for your home.
When will they pay for themselves?
Solar panels can take up to seven years before the money you save pays for the cost of buying and installing them, but they can also pay back much sooner. The exact time will depend largely on where you are located, as well as the power output you settle for. Talk to your supplier for a good idea of how much money you will save in your area.
Solar panels are a green option that can save you money in the long term. Just make sure to talk about your requirements with your solar panel supplier. You can also talk to your electrician about how to access solar power.