This article shows how to convert to your own all solar home. Do that and you can slash your power bills to virtually zero overnight. Our current home north of Sydney (Australia), when bought in 2000, drew over 35-kilowatt/hours a day. Whilst over twice that typical it did not worry us as we knew how to slash that by 30% or more overnight at zero cost. How you can do this too is outlined below. It is your first step to having your all solar home. It needs only a tiny, but vital, change in what you and your family do but it can save you thousands of dollars! From there you continue to reduce energy use – and only when that is done do you start thinking of how much solar you need.
Our all-solar home in Church Point, NSW. Pic. solarbooks.com.au
The above is not how professional solar installers work. They may suggest a change to LEDs but otherwise calculate the energy you use, add a bit on top, and advise solar capacity accordingly. It is a quick and easy approach, but you will need a huge amount of solar to avoid paying power bills.
Convert to your own all solar home – wall warts suck!
Wall warts are those little grey or black boxes plugged into your power outlets. They enable you to turn off your lights, radio, TV etc by their remote controls. A typical home has 20 to 40 of them. Each draws only a tiny amount of power but do that day and night. Many draw far more power than whatever they control.
These wall warts typically suck a third or so of total electricity usage! Fixing the issue is simple. Turn off everything at all switch – never by the remote control alone.
Convert to your own all solar home – change the light globes
A further major energy user is incandescent light globes. They create a great deal of heat and some light. Many countries ban their sales. Fluorescent globes draw less, but the latest LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) use only 20% or so of the energy of those incandescent globes and 50% of fluorescent globes. They cost more initially but have a far longer lifespan – typically many years. Many directly replace your existing globes. Almost all are available in warm white as well as the cooler light often used in kitchens. You can use some with existing wall dimmers. You can buy LEDs in Edison screw as well as for bayonet fittings.
This Philips 230 volt Edison screw LED produces 4-5 times more light than its incandescent predecessor.
Changing the light globes should be your next step when you convert to your own all solar home. You do need to spend money to do, but that which you saving over time is huge. Hint: You can often buy LED globes in bulk at a major discount.
Convert to your own all solar home – heating
Many homes have gas or electric radiator heating. It is far more efficient to heat your home by using reverse-cycle air-conditioners, using their heating cycle. By utilising so-called ‘latent heat’ this provides up to four times more heat for the same amount of electricity as electric radiators of the same nominal wattage.
Reverse-cycle air-conditioners vary in efficiency. All reveal their so-called CoP (coefficient of performance): in effect, the amount of cooling or heating (in watts) for the watts actually drawn. Top units (such as Daiken) have a CoP of about 4.0. The higher the CoP the more efficient it is.
If your home has heavy walls, heat it during the day (if/when solar is available). Reduce the heat setting during the evening.
Convert to your own all solar home – refrigerators
Refrigerator efficiency improved considerably from 2000 onward – and in many cases dramatically around 2014. Consider replacing any made prior to 2014 and do replace if pre-2000.
Be aware that the larger the fridge the more efficient it is (pro rata its volume). For this reason, never have two small fridges. One of that same total volume will use only a quarter to a third more electricity – not twice.
Swimming pool pumps
A typical swimming pool pump uses a huge amount of power. Here too, you can make truly major savings. If you have ample sun, consider installing a small stand-alone (48-volt dc) solar array directly running a 48-volt input dc brushless dc pump. You usually need no batteries as ample water is circulated whenever there is some sun. How to do this is explained in our book Solar Success.
You can save power used for pumping by knowing that water truly resists being pumped. Doubling pipe size costs little – but reduces the energy used by the pump no less than five times. This can make a huge difference even with small irrigation systems. Here again, see Solar Success.
Our present home
Our present home has 6 kilowatts of solar plus a 14 kilowatt/hour Tesla battery. The solar array produces 20 to 45 kilowatt/hours a day- and we currently use only 9-11 kilowatt/hours a day. The surplus is sold to the electricity grid (for 20 cents per kilowatt/hour – about A$730 a year). (We plan later to buy an all-electric Mercedes car and use that surplus to run it.)
See also: our previous -self-designed and built stand-alone system in Australia’s remote north-west Kimberley at https://solarbooks.com.au/ensuring-successful-solar/
About our books
All our books are updated at least yearly. They are Solar Success (for home and property systems), Solar That Really Works! (for boats, cabins, caravans and motorhomes), and Caravan & Motorhome Electrics (that covers all aspects in depth). They are available in both digital and printed form.
Digital: All or any can be purchased and downloaded right. To do so Click on the title/s (in blue) above.
Printed: Our print versions are stocked by all 60 plus Jaycar stores throughout Australia and New Zealand. They are stocked by major bookstores in Australia (but can be ordered via any). They are also available via email order (worldwide) from booktopia.com.au