The gift that keeps on giving

Think about investing in solar this Christmas as a long-term gift to the household that lowers your bills and helps the environment for many years to come.

The Christmas and the summer holiday period is a time when household expenses can get out of control. It’s also a time when home improvements with big out-of-pocket expenses are in full swing.

Investing in solar this Christmas could help lower your bills and help the environment for many years to come.

Here are a few reasons why solar should be at the top of your Christmas list this year.

1. You will make the most of the peak solar months

A solar photovoltaic (PV) system can generate much more electricity in summer than winter, with the sun positioned higher and out for many more hours during the warmer months.

Your household appliances have first go at using any electricity generated, and excess electricity is exported to the grid.

Many solar households receive a credit on their energy bills during these peak solar months for electricity exported to the grid. The credit sits in your electricity account and contributes to future energy bills, say in winter, when your system is generating less electricity and your electricity use might be higher due to heating needs.

Don’t underestimate the potential of solar to generate enough electricity to meet your winter energy needs, though. Talk to your installer about designing a system that’s sized and positioned to offset your winter energy use as much as possible.

2. You can pre-cool your home with solar-generated electricity

Cooling your house using your rooftop solar system requires a bit of thought and planning, but when you get it right, the savings can be well worth it.

By strategically operating your aircon system during the day when your solar PV system is generating the most electricity, you can cool your house down so that you don’t have to use as much grid electricity to stay cool in the evening. Otherwise, you might be flicking the switch on your aircon just as your system is winding down for the day.

The aim of pre-cooling is to bring down your energy bills, but this won’t happen if your aircon is inefficient and uses more energy than your solar can provide, or the cool air is blowing out to the neighbourhood because your house is uninsulated with air gaps throughout.

Read the Get the most out of your solar PV (Sanctuary magazine) for summer cooling to learn more about the art of pre-cooling, and remember, your aircon is not the only appliance you can set to run during solar hours; you can use a timer on your washing machine, dishwasher or electric hot water system as well.

3. The system could pay for itself

A well-planned solar PV system will significantly reduce your household energy bills to pay back what you pay for the system well within the warranty period. A typical household saves more than $1,000 every year after switching to solar (based on 6.6kW system).

With the Victorian Government’s Solar Homes Program rebates and interest-free loan option, plus the Federal Government's STC's, upfront installation costs are also reduced, leaving you to enjoy the full financial benefit of solar ownership much earlier.

4. Installing grid-interactive solar will help the environment

Your solar PV system will add more renewable, emissions-free energy to the grid this summer which is great for the environment. All the solar energy you use, along with all of the extra exported to the grid, adds up to a whole lot of electricity that no longer has to be generated by the large power stations that feed the grid – many of which are fuelled by coal or gas.

5. Solar is for the long term

Stuart McQuire and Wendy Orams have enjoyed the benefits of solar for nearly 25 years now, installing Victoria’s first solar PV system to be connected to the electricity grid on their house in Brunswick in 1996. With the best energy efficiency measures in place at home (low energy use appliances, thermal efficiency measures such as insulation in the walls, floor and ceiling) they’ve barely clocked any grid electricity use in that time.

“For us the whole journey’s been a really good example of how thinking and investing in the long term is generally beneficial and worthwhile,” says Wendy.


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