October 26 2014
When it comes to the renewable energy market, solar panels are among the most popular technology because they’re widely available and practical to use.
There is no doubt that solar energy offers some excellent benefits for the consumer in terms of money as well as the environment (it does not produce any fumes, except during the production of solar panels). However, there are some myths circulating around that cause confusion for many people.
In this blog, we will clear up some common myths and will also reveal some interesting facts about solar power. Read on to learn more about this fascinating technology!
Myth 1: You Have to Invest a Lot Of Money to Get Started
Some people believe that it takes around $10,000 to have solar panels installed. This figure is misleading as it does not include the subsidies offered by the government. The Australian Government is highly supportive of solar technology, and it encourages people to install solar panels as well as placing emphasis on using renewable energy sources in general.
Search the market and you’ll come to know that you can have solar panels installed for a reduced cost. To learn more about Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target, visit http://ret.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/solar-panels.
Myth 2: Solar Panels Will Damage Your Roof
This is yet another common myth that keeps many people from installing solar panels. Some say that these panels will lead to leaks and weaken the roof to such an extent that it may collapse. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Solar panels actually protect the roof from severe weather, and they are not directly attached to the roof itself. Instead, they are only attached to metal rails, which are installed on the roof. Any gaps that may have appeared are filled completely with sealants to enhance protection. Therefore, if your roof needs to be repaired, you can easily have the panels removed with no problems at all.
Myth 3: You Have to Have Batteries to Store Power From Solar Panels
In the majority of installations, the solar panel system is connected to your main electricity grid. This means that during the day when your panels are generating electricity, you use it. At night, you use the electricity from your conventional power grid. As for any excess electricity during the day – it will automatically be fed into the power grid and your power company will credit you for this; there’s nothing sweeter than seeing your electricity meter run backwards!
A battery is only required if you wish to completely isolate yourself from the power grid, which may be the case for those who live in rural areas, but it’s unusual for city and suburban residences.
Myth 4: Solar Panels Require Lots of Maintenance
Due to the fact that solar panels do not have any moving parts, they require very little maintenance. You may want to rinse your panels every year or so – but even this is not a necessity. If you live somewhere where it rains, you can let nature do the cleaning for you.
The only major cause of concern would be if something big falls on your panels and damages them physically. Any loss of efficiency can be noted using the monitoring software that comes with solar panels, so you don’t have to get onto your roof to visually inspect them.
Myth 5: To Use Solar Panels, You Have to Live in a Sunny, Hot Climate
Solar panels work quite well in different types of climates. While it is true that solar panels will generate the maximum amount of electricity in sunny areas, they will continue to work even if it’s foggy or cloudy outside. In fact, they are often more efficient in cooler environments!
October 26 2014
We all look forward to a holiday when we can relax and stop worrying about the daily issues of life. A holiday allows us to spend quality time with our dear ones. It often happens that with all the excitement and the rush to get away, people forget to prepare their home in a way that effectively brings down the electricity consumption for as long as they are away.
You may be wondering, if there is no one home using energy-intensive appliances, what could be using energy? What you don’t know is that there are a few hidden energy traps that can catch you off guard.
Here are a few tips to help you conserve energy while you’re away enjoying your days off with your family.
Cooling and Heating
With everyone on vacation, there is really no point to keeping the central air conditioning or heating running, unless you’re leaving pets behind. In extreme heat you want to ensure that your pet will be comfortable. However, it would be better for you to send them to a boarding facility or to stay with friends, rather than keep your air conditioner running.
If you have your heating or cooling system on a timer, remember to turn this off before you go away.
A water heater falls among the category of appliances that people do not think about a lot. This is mainly due to its location – sitting in a place completely out of the way of sight. To keep hot water available, the water heater is constantly using power at all times.
So if you’re away for more than a couple of days, it is best to turn off the heater, as it is simply wasting energy. Just remember to turn it back on as soon as you return home, and you’ll have hot water again in a few hours.
Electronic Devices and Appliances
Even when you turn off the television and other similar devices, they continue to consume electricity. They are often called energy vampires for this reason. A simple mobile phone charger continues to use up electricity, even if it is not charging a mobile phone!
Just before you head out of your home, make sure you unplug all of the electronic devices and appliances, and turn off the power points to save electricity.
In order to discourage burglars, people often leave some lights on to make it look as if their home is occupied. A light or two in the living room or the kitchen can do the job fairly well. However, it is undoubtedly a waste of energy.
To solve this, you can use automatic light devices that come with a timer that can be programmed to turn the lights on or off at a certain time.
An average automatic timer unit ranges between $6 and $30 – consider this a one-time investment which will save you a lot of money in the long run, not to mention save the environment from unnecessary pollution and your house from break-ins!
You know it, we know it – everyone knows it: refrigerators are energy monsters. Depending on the duration of your holiday, you should clean out the refrigerator of any food, clean it, and switch it off.
There’s no point of leaving it running when there’s no one at home to enjoy a cold drink.
Holidays are a well-deserved time out for you and your family. Don’t ruin the enjoyment by coming home to an unnecessarily large power bill – take these easy steps to save power and money, and keep the holiday relaxation going!
October 13 2014
It’s not a hidden fact that electricity prices have been on the rise over the last few years and people have been looking for ways to bring down their electricity bills. In order to be able to effectively control the electricity that you use in your home or office, you need to first understand where that electricity is being used.
There are certain appliances that are famous for guzzling up electricity – once you get to know which ones, you’ll be able to better control your soaring electricity bills.
A home’s heating system is the worst in terms of consuming electricity. This is particularly true during winters. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to minimise your heating bill by insulating and sealing all ducts as well as plugging any leaks.
Double-glazed windows can prevent heat loss; thereby helping to bring down the electricity bill significantly.
The same applies for your cooling system. You should ensure that your house is properly insulated and all ducts and cracks are sealed properly. A programmable thermostat can be installed to increase the efficiency of the cooling system.
Yet again, windows play a crucial role here; if you are planning to replace windows, make sure you get Energy Star approved models which can shave off quite a bit from your electricity bills.
Nothing is better than a warm bath after a long, tiring day. However, this comfort comes at a cost. An average water heater accounts for 14 percent of a home’s total electricity consumption. By using an energy efficient heater, you can cut your water heating bill in half.
Lighting accounts for almost 12 percent of the energy bill. Standard incandescent light bulbs are a big culprit; you can save a significant amount on your bill by opting for compact fluorescent light bulbs instead. Not only do they consume less electricity, but they also last up to ten times longer!
Clothes Washer and Dryer
Large appliances such as clothes washer and dryers account for a major chunk of your overall electricity consumption. It’s obvious that you cannot simply do away with your washer – can you?
What you can do is to use cold water when washing a full load of laundry as this will save you some energy which would otherwise be used in heating up the water.
As for the dryer, it uses more energy than a washer; the less you use it, the more you can save.
At 4 percent of your household’s annual energy expenses, it may not sound much, but the money is leaving your bank account and there are ways to reduce the energy consumption here. Due to the fact that refrigerators operate round the clock – what you CAN do is choose an energy efficient model that can save you quite a lot over time.
Also, keep the thermostat at around 1.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius while allowing sufficient circulation of air behind the refrigerator to keep it functioning efficiently.
If you use your electric oven on a regular basis, you will surely be getting a higher bill than usual. If possible, choose a gas oven instead and you’ll save a decent amount of electricity, as well as keeping your wallet from drying up.
You can cut down the number of cycles your dishwasher goes through by ensuring that you load it up to the maximum each and every time, rather than using it to wash only a few dishes at a time.
No matter how many dishes are present, the dishwasher will use the same amount of energy.
By understanding which appliances consume the most energy in your household, you can take action to save energy and money.
October 06 2014
Electricity is one of the greatest inventions of modern society. It helps us extend our days, and makes our lives so much easier.
But as with all modern conveniences, we have to pay for our power
use. So how do we save money on our electricity bill without losing the benefits of power? Here are a few simple tips for cutting back onyour costs.
1. Wash Clothes in Cold Water Instead of Hot
By using cold water instead of hot, you don’t need to use power to heat the water. Most energy used during a washing cycle is for heating the water.
It is often better for your clothes, too. Most of the time, a cold water wash is more than sufficient for clothes, can help to maintain colours, is better for removing some types of stains, and can prevent shrinking of some types of materials. If you have any particularly dirty or odorous laundry, that’s when you should do a hot water wash.
2. Install a Solar Hot Water System
While washing your clothes in cold water is easy, it’s not so easy to avoid using hot water for showering, or washing dishes, among other things. Save money in these areas by heating your water with a solar power system, which once installed, is free to use.
3. Use a Clothesline Instead of an Electric Dryer
Simply line drying rather than tumble drying just once a week can make for substantial savings. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard and a clothesline, take advantage of it! If the weather is bad, set up a clotheshorse inside.
If you do use your dryer, cleaning out the lint will make it work more efficiently and can save you $25 a year.
4. Switch Appliances Off at the Wall
It’s such a simple trick to save yourself a fair amount of money. It’s just a matter of getting into the habit of switching off your power points when you’re not using appliances. Obviously this doesn’t apply to the fridge, but things like the kettle, TV, and computers can easily be switched off at the wall. You’ll find that all these little things have been adding us to cost you quite a bit!
5. Insulate Your House
If you own your own home or building, seriously consider getting insulation if you don’t already have it. It helps to keep the house warm during winter, and cool during summer, which will help to reduce your heating and cooling costs year round.
6. Use a Fan Instead of an Air Conditioner
A fan uses substantially less power than an air conditioning unit. If your house isn’t over-heated, a fan may be enough to keep you cool. If you have insulation, you’ll probably only need a fan to give you a cool breeze in summer, rather than air conditioning.
7. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
This is an easy way to save money! Energy efficient bulbs use less energy, therefore reducing your electricity usage. Simply change your light bulbs to energy efficient ones, and you’ll see a decrease in your bill.
8. Use a Microwave Instead of an Oven
An oven requires a lot of extra heating, and consequently power, to heat up the entire space. If you can use your microwave instead, you’ll save money and energy.
When you do use your oven, only open the door when necessary. Every time you open up the oven door while cooking, the temperature drops 14-20 degrees. If you cook regularly, cutting the habit will save you money.
9. Switch to Solar Panels
You’ll reduce bills significantly by creating your own energy. Once the panels are installed, the power is free.
10. Turn Off the Heating While You Sleep
It is almost unnecessary to have heating on at night when you already have blankets and doonas. No one wants to be cold, but once you’re snug in bed, you won’t need to have the heater on. In fact, it’ll probably cause you to be uncomfortably hot.
11. Only Run Your Dryer, Washing Machine and Dishwasher When They’re Full
Use these appliances more efficiently and save money on the loads you don’t run. You’ll use less electricity, less water, and less energy to heat up the water. The more loads you run, the more power you use. So simply wait until the machine is full before starting a wash or dry cycle.
12. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
By choosing efficient appliances, you’ll limit the amount of electricity used that eventually goes on the electricity bill. This way, you don’t even have to think about saving money, your appliances are doing it for you already.
These are easy ways to save money on your electricity bill that you can start implementing straight away. Imagine what you could do with the money you’ll save!
September 29 2014
Solar energy is fast becoming popular all around the world as a growing number of people turn towards renewable energy generation to combat carbon emission problems.
Burning fossil fuels takes a toll on the environment, leading to an increased use of power generated from renewable sources. Among the many renewable sources of energy in Australia, solar power has established itself as a preferred choice of consumers due to a number of advantages.
So what’s all the solar fuss about? Let’s have a look.
No Greenhouse Gases
The foremost advantage of switching to solar power is that it does not produce any greenhouse gases at all, apart from the stage of solar panel production itself, and even then it is minimal.
Solar power is produced when the sun’s radiation hits the solar panels, and heat is transmitted through conduction – a process that does not involve any gas, smoke, or any type of chemical by-products.
This is without doubt the most powerful driving force behind green energy technology, as Australia attempts to meet it’s climate change responsibilities in order to curb carbon emissions.
Never-ending Free Energy
Beyond the initial expenses incurred during installation and maintenance, solar power is completely free. It is not dependent on raw materials such as oil or coal, and it requires considerably less labour as compared to fossil fuel power plants. The majority of solar panels constructed today have a life expectancy of around 40 years.
Decentralisation of Water
Solar power offers decentralisation of water at sunny locations. Instead of relying on clean water to be supplied by a large company, local water can be treated and made drinkable using a solar powered treatment unit.
This results in self-reliant societies, particularly where transportation of water across the country adds to the costs, including pollution costs of transporting, monetary costs, and costs incurred as a result of the wear and tear of roads. All of these additional expenses can be avoided through installation and use of solar power systems.
Solar energy can be easily produced both on and off the power grid. On grid means when a particular house remains connected to the state’s electricity grid. Off-grid, on the other hand, means that it has no connection whatsoever to the state electricity grid and is self-sustaining.
For those people who live in isolated and rural areas, producing energy off grid is a major plus point. Quite often, installation of power lines is extremely expensive in these areas, while some others have frequent power outages.
Today, even some city dwellers are opting to go off the grid in an attempt to lead a self-reliant lifestyle.
One excellent advantage of solar energy production is that it creates lots of jobs. These jobs come in a number of forms, including manufacturing; monitoring, installing and maintaining solar power systems; while research, development, cultural integration and policy jobs are also created.
Solar Power Avoids Price Volatility and Politics
Solar energy is able to avoid price volatility and politics that usually daunt the fossil fuel market. Due to the fact that the sun is an unlimited commodity, and that sunlight can be sourced from a number of locations, solar energy is far less vulnerable to the manipulation of price and politics.
A glance at the numbers shows that the price of fossil fuels has increased over the past few years, while per watt price of solar power has almost halved over the past ten years.
There’s no denying the fact that solar energy technology is being improved in leaps and bounds. These developments have led to a significant drop in the prices of solar panels, and have made it affordable for the masses. A technology that was expensive and bulky yester-year, has become extremely efficient and more accessible, and continues to do so.
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