Going Solar for Our House*

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Next year Roy and I are embarking on our biggest project yet, our home. We have been fiddling with designs, ideas and collecting pictures of our dream house. One thing that we have agreed on so far is that the house is going to have stand-alone solar. Two years ago we lost power for a week in our valley and it was tough going. It really makes you appreciate electricity when you don’t have it.

By putting in our source of electricity (solar) for our house means we won’t ever lose power. We also plan on fitting our existing shed with solar to feed back into the grid. This is our long term plan for supplying power to our property. Roy is an electrical engineer who runs a couple of power stations on the island he works on in Papua New Guinea.  So he knows a thing or two about power.

Roy also grew up in a house with stand-alone solar power, composting toilets, slow combustion water heater and gravity fed spring water. Having had solar for most of his life he is still choosing to put it on our home. Roy’s folks started with a small system and eventually extended their production to cater for a growing household. They also of course have a backup genny for those extremely cloudy rainy weeks.

There are plenty of advantages with using solar like it is a one-time bill, with minimal ongoing cost (replace a battery every  five years). You can store your own power for a rainy day, yes that sounds silly but from my experience when you have heavy cloud on one day usually you have enough stored power. During extended periods of cloudy rainy time a good bank of batteries will come in useful. No more power outages which is something I really am looking forward too. Now with a little bub in the house even more of a reason. Last month I had to feed and bath Isla in the dark and it was not the most brilliant experience trying to find everything with our one little torch and candle. We managed but times like that a light comes in very handy.

My folks have also put up solar panels on their shed which feed back into the grid. My mum reckons that it pays for their electricity bill and then they get the same amount back each year. They received a rebate (read more about that here) to help install their panels and they think it is an investment well made. My mum is all about being thrifty so getting a buck back for suppling power is a win for her. I see it as an advantage too. So I intend to do the same on our shed which is close to the power grid.

Making our home sustainable and green is really important for us. Making sure we have proper insulation, gravity fed water which means we don’t need to run  a pump , solar for our hot water and energy and plenty of ventilation for those hot months during summer in Queensland. We plan on using recycled materials where we can to build our home. Now its just time to finish our plans and get the ball rolling. A scary leap of faith will be needed but I am sure the endeavour of building our home will be worth it.

Is your house green? Do you have solar, insulation, a composting toilet or do you compost your green waste?

*DISCLAIMER: This post is in partnership with Australian Solar Quotes. To get your free quote for installing solar on your property click here. Better yet use this calculator to see the savings you would make by switching to solar.  

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One Comment

  1. When we moved here the idea was always to put in solar. It took us a couple of years, but we finally got it up. Ours is connected to the grid though. There are a lot of financial incentives to connect up so that is really the way to go here. Plus we rarely lose power. Though it is always possible. We thought about a battery backup, but the costs were too high. It is inefficient. I wish there were a way to have power when the grid goes down, but with our current laws we lose all those wonderful financial incentives for putting up solar.