Want to make the switch to solar energy but not sure whether it’s worth it?
Fossil energy is rapidly dwindling and the rise of sustainable initiatives to stop and reverse global warming inexorably calls for the use of efficient renewable energies. The great news is, Australia has one of the highest solar radiation levels in the world. In Victoria alone, homes receive about 4.8 kilowatt-hours of sunshine per square meter each day, uncovering the tremendous potential for the solar industry. In fact, 20% of Australian homeowners have already made the decision to go solar and harness the power of the sun’s energy. As of June 2020, the country counted over 2.4 million rooftop solar panel systems.
The appeal for solar energy is partly due to sustainability concerns and a shift in society’s mindset. However, it’s also majorly driven by the significant cost reduction that has happened over the past decade making it one of the cheapest ways to power your house.
In this article, we’ll explain how solar energy works before diving into its powerful benefits. We’ll also highlight some government incentives to encourage homeowners to make the switch.
How does solar energy work?
Solar energy can be used to heat your water and/or to create electricity.
- Heating your water: To heat up your water, you’ll need to install thermal panels. Thermal panels absorb sun rays which, in turn, heats the water contained in your tank.
- Creating electricity: To create electricity for your home, you’ll need to install solar panels. Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells which capture the sun’s rays throughout the day and release photons. As photons move around the solar cell, they produce energy which is then turned into electricity.
The benefits of solar energy
Solar energy is one of the least expensive ways to power your home if you live in Australia. Indeed, once you’ve installed your solar panels, the energy stemming from your installation is completely free, meaning you’ll save thousands on your electricity bills.
Even better, if you don’t use all your electricity, you can feed it back to the grid and be paid for doing so. You can compare the feed-in-tariffs (FITs) by retailers based on your state here. To make the most out of your solar panels, you’ll need to ensure you’re using your appliances mostly during the day (solar window). This way, you’ll be able to use your own electricity rather than paying for access to electricity from the grid.
Electricity purchased from the grid costs a minimum of 21c per kilowatt-hour in Victoria. Consuming your own solar energy can save you up to $2190 a year with a 5kW system and up to $4380 with a 10kW system.
Further, as technology evolves and helps to improve the efficiency of solar cells, the World Economic Forum estimates solar panel costs will be halved by 2030. This will make this sustainable alternative even more affordable to implement.
- Inexhaustive and clean energy:
Solar power is one of the most sustainable energy sources as it comes directly from the sun, is widely available, inexhaustive and doesn’t emit CO2. The sun should keep shining for about 5 billion more years which means this free source of power is unlimited. To produce energy, solar panels don’t require any water and best of all, they don’t emit any greenhouse or toxic gases. By installing solar panels on your roof, not only do you offset your carbon footprint, but you also contribute to helping Australia reach its Renewable Energy Target (RET).