On Thursday last week I got to realise a very long-term dream of mine. Since I first heard about them I have wanted solar panels on my house. 🙂
It’s been quite a process to get here, a process that first stepped into the realms of reality back when foodnstuff installed her panels. 🙂
After a long journey obtaining quotes, emailing back and forward and finally sitting down to discuss the finances and which provider to go through, we gave the go ahead to Advance Solar Electrical. ASE has been fantastic from the start, coming out and sitting down with me to run through what everything involved in a quote that took 2 hours! I actually felt like I understood what was happening with the panels after that quote. 🙂 Not bad since I have precious little understanding of anything electrical or electronic.
We gave the go ahead to ASE who kept us well up to date with when we were looking to see the panels installed. I received a call on Tuesday to explain that the weather had delayed their current project and that we were looking to see our panels go up on either Thursday or Friday pending weather.
Well, Thursday I woke at 6am to hear the drumming of rain on the roof. My heart sank as I knew our panels could not go on today. As soon as the time reached a somewhat reasonable time I fired off an sms to advise of the rain. The weather took pity and cleared, then changed its mind again. Talk about Melbourne weather with 4 seasons in 1 day! By the time we headed out at 11:30 I figured they weren’t coming as the weather was really all over the place. No issues. I knew Friday was going to be better. 🙂
Imagine my surprise when we came home around 1:30 to find a ute and trailer in the drive way and 3 wet guys who had just been caught in the latest shower!
Now to back track a little, before installing the panels we had decided to get our roof painted. Burgundy is a dark colour and hence absorbs a lot of heat in summer. We opted for a very light grey which actually looks like unpainted corrugated iron now. It’s VERY light and hence very reflective of the sun’s heat (we hope). You can still see a little of the burgundy on the posts on the deck although these will soon be covered in weatherboard. The house is now cream, light grey and dark grey trims. 🙂
When I got home the guys had the framework up and in place, the inverter and pipes going on and the panels stacked up against the edge of the house, waiting. Within 3 hours I had a knock at the door to say “come and see”. Talk about working fast! We lost the power for all of 10 minutes I think, not even long enough to interrupt anything. 🙂
ASE were most impressive and I would recommend them to anyone around Bendigo and surrounds. No mess was left behind, the guys were all extremely polite and aside from the odd footfall on the roof you wouldn’t even know they were here. If you are looking to install panels and you choose ASE then mention Martin and Jessie. 😉
Now for those who know far more about panels than I do, we have 13 Jinko panels and a Growatt inverter. Our system is a 3.5kw. We are lucky to have such a small system as we have LED lights throughout and either solar or wood heater heated hot water. With an electric hot water system it would need to be a much larger solar system. I will be looking closely at our appliances now to see which ones are causing us to need a system as large as we have. I am sure we can reduce our usage even further. 🙂
As funny as it may seem for someone who has just got panels on the roof, I do not believe panels are the long-term way of the future. Solar panels still use a lot of fossil fuels and rare earth minerals in their construction. They also have a lower Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) than other forms of power and hence I don’t believe we will be able to continue life as we know it just by replacing coal electricity with solar or wind turbines. I watched this video, shared by Damn the Matrix the day after giving approval to go ahead with our solar panel system. Talk about give me the guilts! The video is embedded below.
I recommend watching this if you are considering installing solar panels, so you can make a fully educated decision. I’m not saying panels aren’t a good thing but I wish I’d watched this before we agreed to panels. I wonder how we would have done things differently.
At the end of the day I don’t regret installing solar panels. They will offer my family a large slice of security over the coming years as the “matrix” starts to come apart at the seams. I feel great that we are no longer reliant on ongoing fossil fuel usage (we also changed our electricity provider over to Powershop who provide 100% green power) and I feel like we are one step closer to a truly sustainable lifestyle. 🙂