We are in the midst of a global energy crisis and Australia is no exception. While it’s wonderful that the world is developing at such a rapid rate, our energy sources are failing to keep up with demand and this is a big part of the problem.
Wholesale energy prices began to increase as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, but this isn’t the only reason for the change. A series of generator outages and electrical equipment failures followed from there and it’s well known that Australia has an over-reliance on old coal and gas-fired power plants, which isn’t helping!
According to a report by the Australia Institute, we are already one of the largest exporters of fossil fuels in the world, so continuing to increase gas and oil production will not help this crisis. Instead of ramping up, we should be turning toward renewable energy sources. The new Rewiring the Nation policy brought forward by the newly elected government aims to make Australia a leader in renewable energy by updating the electricity grid.
For this to happen, more Australian homeowners should consider turning to solar power as an essential source of energy. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should think a little more about solar energy for your home.
In an energy crisis, what better reason to choose renewable sources than the cost? Reducing the cost of living isn’t easy when big companies dictate prices, but with solar panels you generate your own electricity, which can drive down your utility costs. The average Australian household uses around 15-20kWh of electricity per day. A typical 5kW solar power system will generally produce 20kWh of power per day (location and weather dependent!).
Big companies cannot create a monopoly on the sun as it’s free and sustainable for everyone, but your current utility company can raise costs as needed – fuel is expensive and time-consuming to source. The sun is a natural source of light and warmth and it’s available anytime and anywhere you go. Sunlight produces energy even when it’s raining outside, and as solar power is renewable, it’ll never run out.
Capturing the sunlight and converting those rays into usable energy with solar panels is the part that costs money – you’ll need to pay for the installation of panels and other solar equipment, but it’s a worthwhile investment. The giant electricity bill you would have faced with the price rises will no longer be a problem. It’s also important to know that solar panels today are more affordable than they ever have been and they’re for everyone – including businesses.
Climate change is a big problem and the reasons behind it make up a long list. There’s no doubt whatsoever about the leading cause, though, and that’s the continuous burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas, which releases CO2 into the air.
According to the United Nations Climate Action, fossil fuels account for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and almost 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions. The excess CO2 causes temperatures to increase, so it makes sense that we should be reducing our use of oil, gas, and coal as energy sources.
Solar energy is unlike other sources of energy as it doesn’t involve burning waste or releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere. Converting solar energy into electricity is straightforward and safe, ensuring the effects on wildlife and the environment are minimal. This means you become a part of the green solution rather than the problem going forward.
We’ve been relying on fossil fuels to power up our homes for many years now and so the introduction of a new way to do things is an adjustment. The problem with burning fossil fuels is that they are an unreliable energy source and will eventually run out – and that’s likely to be sooner rather than later. In Australia, we use coal as our primary energy source, accounting for around 75% of electricity generation compared to wind or water – 2% and 5% respectively.
Solar power, on the other hand, is reliable as the sun isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (maybe in a few billion years!). Climate change can cause power outages and equipment or machinery interruptions, but you won’t have to worry about that with solar power. Those interruptions are less likely because your home will have stored electricity and you can use this as you need it.
When you are relying on solar energy being converted into electricity, you have a back-up plan that you can rely on even in case of emergencies. Winter blackouts aren’t going to be such a worry, either, as you can use your solar panels in every season. The output through the cooler months is lower, however, during the summer months you can effectively ‘bank’ your power in solar batteries for the excess and use this in the interim.
When you have surplus power from your panels left over you can provide this back to the energy grid, which earns you cash via the rebates available.
There Are So Many Uses
Did you know that you can use solar energy for more than running your appliances at home? With the right equipment you can run solar panels from anywhere, including your car, your caravan or trailer.
Recently, Netherlands-based electric-vehicle start-up Lightyear announced the Lightyear One, a direct solar-powered car. The solar panels on the Lightyear One can generate enough energy for up to 70km per day on the road. Although this innovation is still a way off being a reality for the average Australian, it’s already possible to use your solar energy at home to charge electric or hybrid cars that your family use.
It’s not just cars, however. You can use solar to heat pools, cook food, charge batteries and more. Solar panels can be portable and remote and they can be excellent as a backup in an emergency.
The energy crisis has not helped the cost-of-living issue in Australia but if you can afford the astronomical power bills, it might be well worth your while to invest in solar power instead. Not only will this provide cost savings in the long term, but you will be helping the planet while you do it!
At Think Renewable, we’re specialists in solar power in Australia and we’ve got everything you need to know about investing in solar energy for your home on our website. If you’re interested in how harnessing the power of the sun is going to make a big difference to your house – and your wallet – get in touch with us today. Think solar, think efficiency, Think Renewable.