With weekend temperatures in Canberra set to reach 39 degrees celsius this weekend demand for electricity is likely to be high as many A.C.T. home owners and businesses turn the air conditioning on to gain some relief from the sweltering weather.
We noted with interest comments, reported in the Canberra Times, from the C.S.I.R.O. that they see solar panels installations on large commercial buildings as a way of catering for high electricity peak demand days – such as those encountered on exceptionally hot days in the A.C.T. when air conditioning usage is at its maximum usage. This could be a way to meet these peaks in demand for electricity without investing significantly in further electricity infrastructure.
We have long advocated the merits of commercial solar installation in the A.C.T. as it can be a very worthwhile financial investment for businesses with significant electricity demand during daylight hours – when the solar panels are producing their power. As the costs of solar installation have decreased over the last 5 years, the cost of electricity has increased to a point where many businesses looking to improve their financial efficiency are installing solar power systems.
The same argument, of course applies to home owners with solar systems installed. A nice ‘match’ occurs when households are running their air conditioning units on hot, sunny summer days. This is the time when the solar panels are producing maximum solar electricity, which can offset the electricity that the air conditioning would otherwise need to draw from a grid. Certainly the larger domestic solar systems like the popular 5 Kwatt and 4 Kwatt system can often meet the total electrical consumption of a mid range air conditioning system – meaning that the cost of running that system is largely covered by the solar system. This means significantly lower cooling bills during hot A.C.T. summers.
Correct Solar System Selection Is Important
The above example of meeting your electricity usage by replacing the need to draw it from the electrical grid and instead generating your own power from the solar panels installed on your roof highlights an important point when looking at solar power for your home. The system size (as in how many solar panels are installed along with the matching size solar inverter) is an area that you need to carefully consider – and we can assist you in the selection process. There are many factors to think about when calculating the correct size of system you require and ensuring sensible ‘financials’ like return on investment of your system. Some of these considerations include:
- Your electricity usage. this is not just a matter of looking at your electricity bill, but carefully understanding your ‘pattern’ of power usage – eg. do you use a lot of power during daylight hours or more so at night. What differences in seasonal electricity use is exhibited in you power profile?
- What available roof space do you have to install solar panels. generally we consider north facing roof space but there can be a case for panels placed in an easterly or westerly direction in some instances.
- Return on Investment. If it is apparent that your electricity usage is relatively small during the daytime it make make sense to install a small to medium sized system. The available feed in tariff and is an issue here. We need to look at the financial return you will get if you send back onto the electricity grid and solar electricity you generate that is not used in your home.
Solar really has become a ‘mainstream’ way for home owners to cut power bills and reduce carbon emissions. We have seen how solar can play a part in becoming a serious ‘adjunct’ to electricity grid and can see some nice matches for peak demand from the grid matching the times when solar systems produce peak power. We continue to see a strong future for solar panels systems for many years to come.