How Much Solar Power Do I Need To Run My Home?

Let’s face it, Australia’s electrical power woes are well documented. In fact, with household utilities increasing by 20% on average in 2017 alone, I challenge you to tell me a person who hasn’t complained about the sky-high cost of their utility bills.

To put this into perspective, the average household electricity prices in Queensland (a little over 27 cents per kw at the time of writing) are:

  • 28% higher than Japan
  • 156% higher than Canada and a staggering…
  • 168% higher than the US.

It’s little wonder then that more and more Australian homeowners are considering turning to solar energy. With this in mind, one of the most frequent questions we get asked is “How much solar power do I really need for my home?” Let’s dive in and take a look closer look.

Solar energy – Explaining the basics

Typically, the relevant size of a solar power system is known by its Peak Volume (PV) amount. This is the amount of electricity your system is likely to produce on a gloriously sunny day. So, a 5kw system, for example, will produce roughly 5000w at peak sunshine. 1kw equals 1000 watts – Got it? Great!

So, if your system was made up of 250w panels you would need 20 x 250w panels in order to collectively generate 5000 watts or 5kw.

So, what can you expect to run with 1kw (1000 watts) of power?

Well, believe it or not, 1000w is sufficient to power:

  • 60 low energy bulbs
  • 2 x 32” plasma screen TV’s
  • 1 small pool pump, and around…
  • One half of a small A/C unit

While that seems pretty good, there’s a catch – I know, there always is!

A 1kw solar system will only give you 1000 watts of power for a few hours a day – Remember peak volume? So your 60 low energy bulbs, for example, will only be working for a short period of time.

So how do you overcome these peaks and troughs?

The answer…by connecting to the electricity grid. Okay, so it may seem counterintuitive to connect to the very thing you’re trying to escape from, but while the grid absorbs any excess energy you don’t use in your home (e.g, when the sun is strong and you aren’t running the A/C) it also works in reverse and can be used to top up your electrical needs when you’re using more power than your solar panels can output.

The question now is…how many solar panels do you need in order to offset your electricity usage?

Here’s how to work it out…

Step 1 – Look at your most recent utility bill and note the amount of KWH’s you’ve used in the previous four quarters. This gives you a better overall representation taking into account the seasons. Let’s imagine you use the national average of 5840 kwh’s per year.

Step 2 – Now divide your annual KWH output by 365 – This gives you a daily figure – For this example that’s 16kwh’s per day!

Step 3 – Now divide your daily figure by the average number of KW hours generated in your city. This will be something like…

  • 2 for Brisbane
  • 6 for Melbourne or
  • 9 for Sydney

 

Let’s take Brisbane for example as this is where our offices are. So that’s…

16kwh’s divided by 4.2 which gives us a final figure of 3.8

Therefore you would need a 3.8kw solar energy system to generate the same amount of electricity that you currently use.

So there you have it…That’s how you can quickly work out how much solar power you need to run your home.

However…there’s always a ‘but’ right? You need to consider that from an economic perspective, it mightn’t always be the optimal system size you need. So, here’s what we suggest…

Talk to an experienced company who can design a system to suit your exacting needs. This way, not only will you get good advice, but also you’ll get all your questions answered, leaving you with the ability to make a better-informed decision.

Why Your Business Should Consider Going Solar

As a business owner, installing a solar energy system might seem like a risky move. Okay, so you’ve probably heard about large corporations turning to solar power, and maybe it’s something you’re considering in the distant future when your company has grown sufficiently enough to afford the major investment needed to be environmentally ‘good’. But for now, it isn’t a strategic financial decision you really need to think about. Or, so you thought!

Instead, it may be time to join the throng of savvy small business owners that have discovered the real benefits of solar energy for their businesses. Smaller businesses are also capitalising on the financial savings that an ‘all singing all dancing‘ solar energy system provides.

With this in mind, let’s crunch some numbers…This is a financial decision after all, right?

According to Energy Consumer Australia’s preliminary ‘Small to Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) Report’, the average annual electricity bill paid in 2017 by Queensland businesses was approximately $12,000. That’s $1000 per month. In addition, Finder.com, Australia’s largest online comparison site, suggests that even installing a 5kw solar energy system generating between 18 and 25Kw of power will cut your energy bill by around 21% per year. That’s an average saving of $2520 per year or $210 per month.

Please note that figures are rough estimates and don’t take into account particular business needs

The good news for you is that the cost of buying solar panels has dropped considerably here in Australia and with electricity prices continuing to fluctuate unpredictably, it makes the financials of going solar even more attractive.

Let’s not forget that financial incentive isn’t the only reason to ‘buy into’ solar energy- although it’s a pretty good start 🙂 Instead small and medium-sized businesses are finding that there are other compelling reasons for making the switch. These include:

Gaining more customers

Let’s face it, we live in a world where global issues are important. A world where buzzwords like ‘sustainability’ are being rolled out with extraordinary frequency. So, who’s not going to love a company that proves their commitment to sustainability. Buyers love products and businesses that care about their environment– enough said!

Improving employee satisfaction

Following on from above, 21st-century employees love working for ethically responsible companies. And, it doesn’t come much more responsible than harnessing power from nature. Employees of sustainable companies tend to be happier, more productive, and ‘on-side‘ with the company mission.

Helping the local economy

When a business contracts their solar energy installation to a local company, invariably, workers in the local market carry out the installation. As they get to know you and your company, they’ll develop trust and at some time in the future when they’re in the market for your (insert product or service here) you’ll be the first name on their list.

As you can see, the numbers certainly do stack up. Solar panel systems really are the smart investment for businesses! If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your business, contact Positronic Solar today on 07 3103 6018 and talk to our friendly team of experts.