Like most home owners I get nervous when the quarterly Electricity bill arrives – especially during winter! I wonder where does all that power go? I may rant and rave to my kids, turn off the lights in rooms that aren’t being used and try to keep electric heaters to a minimum, but in the end I have to admit that these bills are just a fact of life! There are no alternatives to being connected to the power grid and paying whatever they charge! WRONG!
That is no longer true, it is a myth that power companies continue to peddle to keep their profit margins at max and continue to pollute the air by belching greenhouse gases from their fossil fuel power stations! Here in the 21st century there ARE alternative energy solutions, that may not totally remove my electricity bill, but will at least soften the blow. However, as usual it costs money to save money! Out of my research I have found three alternative energy solutions that are not as far out of my reach as I was initially led to believe.
The most obvious alternative energy solution is solar power. The power from the sun is harnessed through solar panels which capture the energy, then it is fed it into an inverter making it suitable to power your general home needs with the excess being fed back into the power grid. Yes, they will even pay you for it! My investigations show that with the generous government subsides available at the moment a 1.5 KW series of panels can be connected for $2,000-$4,000 depending on quality and ease of installation.
Solar power can also be used to provide your home with free hot water! The authorities tell me that in the average Australian household hot water accounts for about 25% of the electricity account so that would make an impressive saving. The bad news is that this sort of system would cost between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on size and installation, even with some of the subsidies that are available. Yet, it has still got my attention.
The trouble with solar systems is that they only produce power while the sun is shining! So, if we are serious about alternative energy solutions we must also be prepared to at least look at wind power. In recent years there have been some quantum leaps forward in using the power of the wind to drive enormous turbines, resulting in wind farms that stretch for kilometers. That technology has now been down sized to make it available to the domestic market.These small turbines will fit in the average yard or could be mounted on your roof. The cost? I’m still chasing that down, but I suspect somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000 for a professionally installed system, and as long as you get enough wind, it too will feed power back into the grid like solar panels.
What other alternative energy solutions are out there? I’m sure there are some, but these 3 are the most obvious. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and consider that the installation cost outweighs the returns I have also found that there are now a range of diy options beginning to show up.
Whatever you decide, it’s high time to look at alternative energy solutions and leave the power companies in the cold.