Creating a home that is both sustainable and cost-effective to run is an important priority for many Australian homeowners. The increased awareness of how a home's energy needs impact the natural environment, as well as the continually cost of gas and electricity, mean that more people than ever are investing in solar energy systems for their homes.
The solar energy sector has grown rapidly in recent years and there are many new products and technologies available to choose from. This can make finding the right solar energy system for your home a little confusing and daunting. Here are three important factors to consider when you're deciding on which system will be the best option for your home.
1. Connection to the grid
Although the primary purpose of installing a solar energy system is to generate your own electricity, many people still choose to have their home connected to the municipal electricity supply grid. This isn't essential and if you're in a remote or rural area, it might not even be possible without paying for extensive and expensive connection infrastructure.
Staying connected to the grid does have its benefits. It might be reassuring to know that you can access municipal power if your solar energy breaks down or your energy needs can't be met by solar alone. In many regions, you can also direct your surplus solar energy back into the grid and get paid for it, which is an attractive prospect.
2. The size of the system
Solar systems come in a range of sizes all of which have different energy production capacities. The best size for you will be dictated by the size of your home, the number of occupants and the type and number of electrical appliances you to need to generate power for.
Generally speaking, it's better to overestimate your power needs. This means that you'll have adequate energy even if your household increases or your energy needs increase in the future. Ideally, you should have a home energy audit performed by your solar power company to establish the right size for your system before making a final decision.
3. Storage batteries
Storage batteries are an increasingly common choice for people with existing or new solar energy systems. Modern storage batteries are streamlined and incredibly efficient at storing the energy created during daylight hours for use at night or during periods with little sunshine. They do increase the initial cost of your solar system but in most cases, the expense is warranted.
If your system is off-grid, then a battery should be considered essential because you don't have the backup of municipal energy. If your home is mainly empty through the day and most of your energy is used in the dark hours, then a battery lets you use the stored energy from the day at night when you need it.