Solar myths answered

Perth is one of the world’s sunniest cities, so you might not be surprised to learn that WA is one of the fastest states in terms of adopting residential solar systems.

In fact, 1 in every 5 Australian households has solar panels installed on their home, and yet remarkably, 71% of Western Australians consider themselves to have little or no knowledge about solar.

Well, we’re here to help, read on to learn more and bust those myths around solar for the home!

“The more panels I install, the cheaper my energy bill will be”

This is one of the more common solar misconceptions. Solar power systems should be installed based on how much energy you use. It’s easy to compare solar to a mobile phone plan, in that, you wouldn’t sign up for a $200 mobile plan if you only use $50 each month. Likewise, don’t cover every inch of your roof with panels if you only sip power at home.

The best way to figure out how many panels you need is by working to understand your historical energy usage. Then you can talk to a supplier and figure out an appropriate number of panels to bring your bill down.

“The energy I generate using my panels belongs to me. I use this power first, and any left over power is funnelled back into the grid.”

True, as long as your solar panels generate electricity, you can use this power within your home. This means the power beamed down from the sun will power your TV, fridge, laundry appliances and other equipment during the day. If the panels generate more than your home requires while the sun is shining, the spill over power is exported to the electricity grid.

If you’re planning on installing solar panels, it’s most cost-effective to maximise self-consumption. Basically, try and use as much of your solar power as possible instead of sending it off to the grid.

“I can disconnect from the grid if I install solar panels”

This is perhaps the most wide-spread misconception. Solar is an energy type that only works when the sun is out. When the sun is not shining, you’ll have to switch across to grid-based electricity. To combat this shortcoming, try and pair a move across to solar power with changes to your energy consumption behaviour. For example:

  • Do laundry during the day when your panels are receiving maximum sunlight (10am-2pm)
  • Keep energy usage to a minimum at night if possible
  • Use a slow-cooker to cook dinner during the day
  • Charge your tech during the day (smartphones, tablets and laptops)

If you have a solar PV system, a battery solution might be a good fit for your home so your battery can be charged with any excess energy your panels produce, and then you can draw on this charge when the sun isn’t shining, however you will possibly be required to connect to the grid at times.

With the current cost of batteries in the market, the payback timeframe (or return on investment) could be lengthy. However, as battery technology advances and the costs come down, the declining payback periods will make battery systems more cost effective

To learn more about why you may want to consider a solar power installation, as well as some of the other myths surrounding this renewable energy, reach out to Synergy today.