Getting solar: from research to install

north-facing array

Getting solar may be common, but when you’re doing it for the first time it can be a bit of a mystery. Stephen Zuluaga explains his research to get the best system for his house.

UNTIL recently, I’d thought solar wouldn’t work well on our house. With little north-facing roof to speak of, I just assumed that solar wouldn’t be worth it. But then I began to read about some of the good outcomes possible with an east/west array—our roof has lots of east/west space and shading issues only at the extreme ends of the day.

Although an east/west array will produce less overall than a north-facing one, it can extend generation hours, both earlier in the morning with an east-facing array and later in the day with a west-facing system. Long generation hours are important if you don’t have battery storage and the gravy train of premium feed-in tariffs has left the station. It means you can match more of your generation to usage, particularly before and after work usage, and hence increase your ‘self-consumption’ of solar—this will mean lower grid imports and a shorter payback period.

Modelling the economics
Before committing to a solar purchase, I was interested to more fully understand the financials. I found ATA’s free Sunulator tool (www.ata.org.au/ata-research/sunulator) which helped me model a scenario based on my actual electricity consumption and the combined north/east/west PV configuration I was contemplating. Sunulator is a great tool—if you’re planning solar you should use it. [Ed note: ATA also has a simpler tool available to give you an indication of the financials without the full modelling of Sunulator, see www.ata.org.au/ata-solar-advice.] The energy analysts at the ATA helped with understanding the Sunulator results as one of the ATA member benefits.

Read the full article in ReNew 142.

Renew-logo-white-on-blue 534px

The Alternative Technology Association has rebranded as Renew!

Very soon, we will be launching our new Renew organisation website at this address, renew.org.au, full of latest news and useful information on sustainable living.

In the meantime, please choose where you’d like to go:

 Simply close this box for the Renew magazine website

Click here for the Renew/ATA organisation website

×