Sunday, April 3, 2011

Today I Generated 12.66 kWh... Without Breaking A Sweat.

Well, in recent times it's been a topic of some interest here in Adelaide (and Australia in general) - the cost of electricity. This is in the context of a move to a carbon-based tax reform that the government is trying to bring in. And of course - lets not forget the other energy debate that's currently going on - whether or not nuclear power is a solution. It is interesting to see the Japanese government has announced that there will be a greater emphasis on renewable energy and solar in particular.

Well - this week we started doing our own bit (thanks to the inspiration and support from my parents, whom are strong advocates for solar power since they installed their own system a year ago). So we went with EnergyMatters, to get a 2.1kW system, expandable to 3kW. For us now, 2.1kW should pretty well make us energy self-sufficient (we have gas heating and cooking), but we're expecting energy growth as L-kun gets older. To be honest however, for bang for your buck, a 1.5kW system is definitely the most cost effective way to go with the current rebate system in Australia.

The installation of the systems was in itself a very funny story. With T-chan already in Japan, I had to take a day off work to be here for the installation. Only to lock myself out of my house about 5 mins before the installers arrived. Embarrassing. Thankfully, the installers were fantastic and we had the problem solved in no time (I won't say how). Not only that, they also found that the previous owners had left a live wire up in the roof (they had moved a light, but failed to hook it up). So the guys installed a new light fitting and hooked up the wires for free. Great service that went well and truly beyond the call of duty.

At 6:50pm... only producing 52 W - the end of a good day
So here we are now... energy producers. And it does feel good. Ok -we're coming into winter, so I'm not going to get the most out of the system, but better late than never. Note - the government is reducing the rebate available to people for installing solar power (from July 11) which means it's unlikely you'll have time to get it installed in time with a huge back-order of panels and installations. However, don't despair natural competition will likely continue to bring the price down (they've dropped a lot in the year since my parents installed their system).

The only thing worth considering is however - if Japan does get into Solar in a big way quickly, you can expect to see a huge draw on the global inventory of panels (Japan is a big supplier of panels itself). This increased demand might possibly cause a temporary increase in prices, and a lengthy shortage of panels in the worst case.


  1. Way to go on the solar panels! this looks pretty big, is that the normal size?

    It's been pretty sunny the past few days in Adelaide, so you'll prob get a bit more :-)

    - tork
    Adelaide and South Australia blog

  2. Thanks - these panels are each 235W (so I need 9 of them to get the 2.1kW system). That means that each panel is pretty big, but you need fewer of them. I can't say size-wise if all the panels are big compared to another 2.1 kW system - but don't forget the goal here was to be energy self-sufficient (though that's averaged over the whole year).

  3. That's pretty awesome!! I wish I could do it here too. Except it would be covered in snow half the year. LOL.

    BTW I spoke too soon. It's not warming up in Toronto at all. I just looked outside and there's a rain/snow mix. Sigh. Hope you're getting lots of sun down under.

  4. Hmmm - I had never considered the whole snow issue (a problem as much in large parts of Japan as it is in Canada - but surprisingly little problem here in Australia). However - there are solutions to even this chilly problem (the roof rake).

    Having said that... I'm not entirely sure that I'd like to be standing underneath that foot thick avalanche of snow/ice when it came sliding (guillotine-like) off the roof.

    An interesting conundrum.

  5. PS - to answer your question... it was 12.84 kWh worth of good sunshine today. Even though winter's short days are approaching, I'm quite happy with the output.

    This way I can measure pretty well, just how sunny the day was!