There’s a lot of debate these days about the future of solar power. I want to tell you that solar IS our future. Why? In addition to being an important part of fighting climatic changes; solar makes financial sense, creates jobs, is abundant, and within our green endeavours enjoys widespread popular support.
“Wait,” I hear you say, “Isn’t solar just too expensive?” The perception that solar is too expensive is out-dated.
The current reality: The price of solar alternatives and energy efficient appliances has been plummeting, to the tune of 35% in the past two years. New financing options have brought solar within reach of the average person – another encouragement to go solar. An average decent second hand car will most likely cost you around R100, 000 (and this most definitely does not constitute an investment). Why not fita 3kW grid tie solar system risk free costing 80K and producing 16.50kW per day of your own generated electricity. View an animation of a grid tie solar system working displayed on web site. Conservatively, your breakeven point is some six years. More importantly, fromyearseven to year twenty you will have saved yourselfR410, 000 in electricity costs. Now this is an investment - with excellent returns!
Again in the interests of being conservative, over a period of, say, twenty years you Solar panel’s efficiency could drop by 25% to 30% - then, all you do is fit extra panels funded by your savings earned.
Fact: electricity costs worldwide are only going to increase – solar is your best hedge against this - the sun is free- let’s make use of a fantastic source of clean and renewable power!
It is so, however, that, in order for a smooth transition to solar power,there are some changes you have to make toyour behavioural habits.What I mean by this is; you have to reduce yourdemand. Should you not want to make these changes, you will most likely not be happy with having gone solar.
Fortunately these changes are not that difficult – they include using energy efficient appliances ie heat pumps, solar water heating etc. Should you want to install a grid tie solar system, the sizethe of system becomes smallerand morecost effective. When replacing electrical appliances base your purchasing decision on energy efficiency of appliance. Rome was not built in a day so this is more of a process over time that a once off event and, obviously, depends on one’s financial position.
Solar water heating and heat pumps have had a lot of bad publicity due to systems:
Being sized incorrectly and/or;
Using inferior products that have been supplied and fitted by unscrupulous companies.
This is the old enemy – “Long on promises and short on delivery”
If you have a solar geyser you should only shower at nightto use all hot water generated during daylight hours – this way there is no need for the electrical element in the geyser to be used. Solar geysers are very cost effective (If sized correctly).The same applies to photo voltaic solar electricity generating systems and heat pumps. Should you be making use of a heat pump you will save 68% of present hot water heatingcosts. A150 litre geyser consumes 3 kW of input power with a heating capacity of 3 kW.A heat pumps input power is 1.25 kW with a heating capacity of 5 kW fantastic coefficient of production (COP). Your geyser will last a lot longer due to no electrolyses damage.
Should you be consuming large amounts of hot water,a heat pump is the way to go. A heat pump can also be used to pre feed boilers – and you can also heat other liquids.
You can generate own power during daylight hours using photo voltaic (“PV”) solar electricity generating systems grid tieno batteries required. You consume your own electricity generated during daylight hours. In the very near future grid feed tariffs are going to be a common practice in South Africa at a rate per kWh to be determined.
This is already common practice in Europe, Australia and USA. At this stage of the game Eskom and Councils allow grid feed but do not pay you for generated power. Should you have an analogue meter and you are producing surplus power your meter will reverse allowing you to consume that power at night. Council’s permission is required as aformality. The grid tie system makes perfect sense for any individual or business consuming large amounts of electricity. Should you have the funds/capital available, it is a zero risk investment and a fantastic return on investment@ 10% +.
This out preforms a number of the JSE indices !.
The theory is simple - let’s use Eskom as our battery while the grid is still stable.
Should the gridsupply become erratic you can install batteries and an inverter to supply electricity to dedicated electrical circuits.
But there is a moreinteresting factor at play here with solar—just as you are likely to value anorange you grew yourself a little more dearly, the practice of generating electricity at home creates a sense of ownership.
And ownership encourages stewardship.
It's been said many times before, but from personal experience I can confirm that generating my own electricity has made me very conscious about how much electricity I use. I love my dishwasher, it's great. But when it's consuming electricity at 2 kW and I'm generating at peak times only 1 kW? Suddenly how often and how full or empty I load the dishwasher becomes a consideration.
Of course there are other, cheaper ways to get people to pay closer attention to their consumption. From high-tech energy monitors to community-based efforts to cut energy use, the simple act of monitoring and recording what you use can be powerful in itself.
By looking closely at how you use electricity and taking steps to save power where you can, by controlling the use of your appliances, it is actually quite easy to conserve energy, saving you money at the same time. Below are some saving tips that could help you:
If you’re not using an appliance, switch it off.
A geyser uses 35% of all household electricity in some cases it can be 60% depending on usage.; switch it on and off manually or fit a timer to save electricity and money. Turn thermostat down to 55 deginstead of a long bath rather shower, as showers use less water and energy. Energy and water-saving shower heads use less water and electricity. Use energy saving globes (CFLs) instead of incandescent bulbs. Don’t leave TVs, DVD players and other electrical equipment in stand-by mode – rather switch them off completely. The same can be said for plug points and adaptors that hold cell phone chargers or bed side bulbs. To save money in your kitchen close fridge doors as quickly as possible when taking items out – do not leave the door open for longer than necessary
Keep room temperatures between 18ºC and 23ºC and wear warm clothes and use hot water bottles and avoid using heaters.
Energy saving ideas for the home
You can conserve energy at peak times, but also as a daily practice, by using it wisely. For instance, reducing heat loss means you have to use less energy to keep something warm, such as a room, a body of water or even your body. Insulating your geyser and waterpipes, and roof, will preventwarm air from escaping out of rooms, will go a long way in reducing your overall energy consumption. Not only will you reduce pressure on the grid, will also save money by not wasting energy. Before using a heater, keep warm in-front of the television by covering yourself with a blanket or by snuggling up with a hot water bottle. Or put on an extra jersey. Use your microwave or gas to cook rather than your oven – it’s quicker and lighter on energy. Block spaces underneath doors and around windows – keep that hot air in.Instead of putting a heater on in your bedroom, use an electric blanket as it consumes less energy. Turn it on high for a few minutes just before you get into bed and off once you’re between the covers. But don’t leave it on overnight.
Then why not use the money you have saved by conserving energy to invest in these energy efficient solutions:
Everyone wants to save on electricity costs. It is very simple you must reduce your demand. Thisis obtainable by following the following steps:
1. When purchasing or replacing any electrical white goods base your buying decision on energy efficacy.
2. Switch any electrical appliance of when not in use in standby mode the appliance is still consuming electricity. SWITCH IT OFF
3. When cooking a pot always use a lid.
4. Cooking times – if the recipe states cook for 150 deg c for 30 minutes; once you have the desired temperature, insert you food and switch your oven off after 25 minutes
5. When boiling water for tea or coffee only boil 2 or 3 cups of water and not a full kettle.
6. Us e the shower more than your bath
7. Fit a water efficient roses to all your showers.
8. Switch lights of when not in use. For outside lights fit day/night sensors.
9. Use gas for cooking as this is instant heat.
10. Use a heat pump or solar geyser for your hot water requirements.
11. Make sure you have decent insulation in your roof.
12. Make sure your geyser pipe hot lines are insulated.
13. Set your thermostat at between 50 deg c to 55 deg c.