Experience with Solar Power

Our 24 volt solar power system includes 24 solar panels, 12 large batteries, an inverter to supply 240 volt power to the house, a backup generater and a battery charger.

This system requires us to avoid energy hungry appliances. We bought very efficient fridge and freezer. We have a microwave but it can only be used for short bursts (less 60 seconds). We replaced our four-slice toaster with a two slice toaster (and I don't make toast). We have gas and woodfire heating. The fan on the gas heater is a problem in winter. We built a high tank to provide water pressure for the house to stop the pressure pump being activated so often. We need to keep unnecessary lights turned off. Computers need be turned off when not in use. Our stove is gas and our solar hot water system is gas boosted.

After the initial setup expenditure (about AUD 40,000 but we received a 8000 SEDA rebate), we have had to pay over 2000 additional expenditure to repair the solar regulator which burned out, repair the battery charger, replace one panel which blew off the roof and was smashed, and several repairs to the generator. We also had problems with the gas heater which were power related but seem to be resolved now. However, it seems we will soon need to replace the batteries at about 10,000.

The bottom line is that, solar power is an expensive option. I'm wondering whether to pay the 25000 or whatever it will cost to connect to the grid anyway.

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