Living on Solar / Wind Power can be a great idea!
Far from my initial perception, it is easier, more reliable, cheaper and better than I imagined using solar power. This needs to be read in context though. The phrase "if you always do what you've always done, don't expect different results" sums it up.
For most of us in Western Countries, energy efficiency doesn't mean a thing and Renewable Energy is for doped up hippies with too much money / time on their hands. We hear about the environment but really - can we make a difference & why should we?
I will put it plainly - if you leave your TV, radio & computer on, use electric for cooking, heating, cooling and everything in between and are not willing to change - solar will probably never be a viable option for you. It would be like saying you "want to loose 10 kgs & get healthy & fit" but live on junk food - drinking soft drinks more than water & don't exercise and don't want to change!
You will have to change your lifestyle & stop wasting electricity. It may be hard as you may have grown up in this western 'abundance' (or wasteful) lifestyle all your life. Suddenly you need to start remembering to turn things off & only use things when needed. Start making choices to be responsible with your energy useage.
- Turn Appliances Off when not Using (TV, Computer etc)
- Change Light Bulbs to Compact Flouros (simple change bulbs!)
- Use Natural Air Con (open house up at night, close windows & curtains during day)
- Don’t leave the fridge open while thinking about what to eat / drink
- Use the clothes line not the dryer!
- Wash Dishes by hand not the dishwasher
- Unplug appliances when not in use
- Watch less TV & get a smaller one
- Turns lights off when not in use & teach kids to do same
You might be surpised at the electricty that is wasted just by lack of planning. For instance - you need to cook a roast - so you take it out of the freezer & microwave it then cook it - if you thawed it out naturally you would save the electricty from the microwave (which uses a LOT in a short time)!
More things that have a larger initial outlay.
- Replace Fridge / Freezer with Energy Efficient model
- Use a Chest Freezer instead of upright
- Use Aircon only when essential & replace with efficient model
- Hot Water System (consider gas or solar)
- Oven (consider gas or even use a Solar Oven)
- Computer (consider latop, uses less)
- Use heat reflective blinds / curtains.
- Consider alterations to your house (ie eaves for natural cooling / heating, patio in the right place, plants etc)
Some of these may seem too expensive but they will save you money. For instance. The 400L fridge we sell is around $1000 - now even if your fridge is old & you can’t sell it for anything...that $1000 will be saved in a few short years from the saved electricity bills. The same is true of a lot of the recommendations - they cost up front but save in the long run.
If you are willing to do some of the above - then you will already be starting to save money by not wasting as much electricty. From here you will be positioned to be able to convert to Solar / Wind power fairly easily.
We went from paying very large bills to $50 bills just by doing some of that list & putting some items on solar (ie freezers) while we tested to see if solar could actually work. Needless to say we then jumped in & were totally supplied with electricity from Solar Panels & Wind Turbines while in rural WA. Now in Suburbia 75% of our power is from our solar panels - and the rest will soon be gone as we are changing the electric cooking & hot water to gas . Even though it is a rental it is worth the effort & $ as it will quickly pay for itself.
There are two ways you can go:
1) Contact a supplier who can advise, design & install you a system that will do what you want. (expensive but easy)
2) Do some research & get involved in setting up yourself - you've already got a cheap supplier of quality bits (BonzaBuy!)
It is easier than you think - and it can be fun too. Whether you are in suburbia or hundreds of kms away from the nearest town - it really is reliable, productive and rewarding.
A main goal of ours is to help you connect with Jesus Christ (the One who Created the Sun, Wind and You!) but don't let that stop you getting a bargain!
-We would also like to help you do the right thing for the planet...and save you money!