Woohoo! We are now net producers of Electricity!

Finally, only about 2 months after the solar panels were installed on the roof, and 6+ months after we signed the contract, our solar power system is turned on! It’s an 8 kW system, so we will be producing far more than we use. We’re still paying for 100% green energy (to make sure we are effectively buying back our own electricity and not not some from a coal fired power plant!), but we will still make quite a bit of money back, which will then help us pay off the system.

2 rows of solar panels on a tiled roof

Of course, we are also still using gas for heating and our instant gas hot water, which is not a renewable resource, so over time we’ll want to convert more of that over to the solar – well, the heating anyway. Eventually we might get solar hot water, but we certainly won’t be switching back to an electric water heater before then! But for the moment, we need to continue to work on just reducing our electricity consumption so as to pay off these panels as quickly as we can, via the feed-in tarrif.

And of course, even after that, the question remains as to whether we should switch from gas heating to electricity to use “our” solar power, or whether it’s a better option to feed that back into the grid to replace coal based electricity for other people (which is, after all, worse that using gas, though neither is renewable and both do have some level of emissions).

We also got an Effergy wireless electricity monitor with the system (Armada threw it in for free as we are getting such a big system), which will help us easily monitor our electricity usage from moment to moment and day to day. I’m hoping being able to see that – and explaining to the kids how it works too – will help us manage more effective behaviour change as a family, to cut our electricity use right down.

But in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy watching the metre tick over, showing how muchmore¬† electricity we are producing than using. That’s going to be fun.


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