The solar is on!

So our wonderful new 5KW solar system was turned on Tuesday 19/8.

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In just a week we had already exported more than we had imported

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Two and a half weeks later and we had exported over 110 kw.

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And after a month – 19/9 – we had exported almost 150 kw!

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Not bad for a big house with a pool, a number of appliances that are on all the time, and three occupants who haven’t really changed the way we use electricity since getting the system!

That said, I must confess we were already extremely frugal when it came to electricity use. We only have a light on in the room we are currently occupying. We have a couple of nightlights in high traffic areas so that unnecessary lights do not need to be turned on when walking through them. Every appliance that does not need to stay connected to the electricity is turned off at the power when not in use, this includes small things like the clock radio in the bedroom and the microwave; leaving those items on can add up to 200 kw each to your bill every year. We use heating and cooling only when necessary.

We have adopted a few new practices in the last couple of weeks. We only use the dishwasher and washing machine during the day, that way we can be sure they are using the power we are generating from the sun.  And last week, borrowing a very cool idea from our friends Veronique and Stephen, we bought two solar lights from a hardware store. They were only $5 each and providing we remember to put them out each morning ready to be powered up for the evening, the light works all night. We put one in our bedroom and the other in the en-suite so we don’t need to use those lights during the evening. The bedroom light is moved to the en-suite when we go to bed and they both provide enough light so any night-time visits also don’t require electricity.

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Please ignore the dust, clearly I do 🙂

A great place to start monitoring your own electricity use is by carrying out an electricity audit. You can do it yourself or have a specialist visit your home and walk you through it.

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About A Kailyard in Adelaide

A Kailyard in Adelaide! We are working hard to be domestically sustainable in the foothills of Adelaide. As we both work fulltime this is not an easy task, but we do our best growing much of our own produce in our yard and in our community garden plots. We reduce, recycle and reuse as much as possible and try hard to not consume mindlessly. We have 5000 l of rainwater, a 5 kw solar system, and use a green energy provider for all our excess needs. Rachel: Mother, partner, teacher, writer, reader, crafter, cook, gardener, artist. Jamie: Father, partner, lecturer, therapist, would-be-politician, gardener, photographer, music lover.
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2 Responses to The solar is on!

  1. solarbeez says:

    Nice going. I’ve got a much smaller system situated on the Oregon Coast. It’s a 1.2KW system, but in the summer I’ve got more than enough to recharge the batteries, so I run my printing presses when the sun shines. In the winter, I can run the refrigerator, freezer, and sometimes the well pump, but the sun at 43 degree latitude is low and we live on the rain coast, so we don’t get as much solar. Still, I’ve generated 1016 KWH this year. We collect rainwater too. We’ve got two 3,000 gallon tanks that can fill up fast during a heavy downpour.
    Do you have any solar ovens yet? I use a sun oven. http://www.sunoven.com/
    I ended up buying batteries because my utility was not interested in buying back the power. Also I was told that if the grid goes down, I went down. Part of the reason I got solar was so I would have power even when the grid went down. Batteries are a little more work, but it’s not bad.
    If you’ve already produced 150+ KWh over what you’ve used, you are doing fantastic.

  2. Rachel and Jamie says:

    Thanks 🙂 Sadly, batteries are not yet available here, but we hope they will be in the near future. Therefore, we still need to be connected to the grid. The power companies are obliged to buy back the power; however, they do so at a very reduced rate. Companies charge around the 30 cent mark and buy it back for 8 cents. Not particularly fair. I would love a solar oven, it is certainly something to consider for the future. Thanks for the link.

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