These days, most of the Australian energy retailers only permit you to connect solar panels to the grid with a net feed-in tariff.

This means that whilst your solar panels are generating electricity during the day, the solar power must first be used on your household energy guzzlers. These are generally items like TVs, fridges, freezers, hot water systems, pool pumps and toasters.

The overflow of solar power produced by your solar panels gets fed back into the electricity grid and you will be compensated by the energy companies either monthly, quarterly or annually.

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Become more energy efficient

    • Increase your solar investment by adopting energy efficient habits.

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The more energy efficient your home is, the more solar power you’ll feed back into the electricity grid. In some states, the net feed-in tariff rate is as high as 55c per kW. This can equate to over $3000 per year back into your pocket.

The smartest way to adopt more energy efficient habits in the home involves the whole family. It’s not hard work, just a shift in traditional methods.

New household habits that you and your family could adopt include:

  • switching off the TV every time you leave the room
  • having breakfast together and boiling the kettle once, rather than boiling it every time someone wakes up
  • installing smart energy devices
  • cutting back on the long, hot showers

Believe it or not, these simple lifestyle changes can add up to hundreds of dollars a year.

Have a think about what changes you can make around the home and write to us so we can share them with the rest of Australia.

Energy Efficient Devices

    • There are many ways to upgrade the appliances in your home to increase energy efficiency!

Other opportunities to create an energy efficient household include upgrades to your existing fixed and non-fixed appliances such as water heaters, air conditioners, dishwashers and LED lighting.

Check out our energy efficiency page to find out what upgrades are available for you and your home.

It pays to do your homework and maths so that you can become more energy aware and get the best return from your solar investment.

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    • A solar power home improvement is a financial investment so be prepared.

 

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As you are aware, the sun rises from the east and sets in the west. During the regular tracking though, the sun moves towards the north, making north the best face to maximise your solar gain.

Another factor to take into account when optimising your solar gain is the season. As you can see in the diagram, solar gain in summer is higher due to the position of the sun. In winter, the sun is further north, however the angle is not as optimal compared to summer.

This being said, if you have northern facing roof space free from any obstructions such as trees or buildings, then you should opt to install solar panels there, so that you are guaranteed the best solar gain.

Solar Gain and solar panel direct

Solar gain and solar panel directional losses

  • You can also install solar panels on the east and the west facing front

It’s not uncommon to have solar panels installed on the east or west facing sides of your home or business. Although the solar gain is lower, the directional losses are not that great.

  • The solar panel directional losses for north-east and north-west vary from around 3% to 4%.
  • For an east or west facing roof, your solar gain loss will be around 12% to 18%

An experienced solar installer or sales rep will be able to work out the optimum solar panel direction and angle on your property, to will give you the most solar gain and best return on investment. Although not essential, it is advised that you ask for a plan or design for your solar power system, outlining the options for installation and the exact location where the solar panels will be placed.

Solar-Gain

“What if a sales rep or installer recommends that I install the solar panels on the south facing roof?”

“I suggest you get a second opinion. Honestly, it’s a no brainer! Unless of course you live in the northern hemisphere.”

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