solar panels

macbirchMay 17, 2007

We have a house with ideal orientation and these days the Australian government is offering rebates for installing solar panels. I would love to do it but this isn't a very well built house. Award winning builder, good reputation, been around forever, could do it in his sleep - and sometimes I think he did. Brick veneer house with concrete tile roof. On a hillside which sometimes gets strong winds, usually from the other side (ie, not the sunny side). I think we would get an engineer to check things out before we went ahead, or the local people offer the option of having a freestanding structure (designed for houses without the required orientation). All adds to the cost. I'd appreciate it if anyone could tell me what we need to consider, what sorts of questions we should be asking.

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Putting renewable energy onto a less efficient house probably helps more in the long run than putting it on a super efficient house. The utility savings is probably more noticeable with the inefficient house.

Preparing the house for solar should be the first step. Checking for phantom loads, changing to CF, adding insulation if needed, should probably be done first. In my area, the best savings is hot water assist.

Installing a solar hot water system pays for it's self within 8-10 years. Installing radiant heat solar hot water systems are even more cost saving. I estimated that I could convert my 1750 sqft house and have a savings within 5-7 years. (I need heat for 3.5 months of the year) This would be a DIY project; using additional labor ($75 per day per man) Radiant hot water does not require a large boiler. The flow requirements are much lower than forced air systems.

Solar electricity is costly to install. Having a house that is wasteful in energy does not make sense. The cost to add solar panels is much more than the cost to reduce energy needs. Find out what the government will pay for improvements first. The level of involvement can be profitable at one point and costly at a different point.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 10:29AM
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