As per a previous post we talked about how we installed an off-grid system that peaks at around 1.5 Kw that supplies the outdoor room LED TV bar fridge and led lighting and and stereo.
This system has 2 x 200amp gel batteries that are charge regulated from 6 x 100 watt panels. It great because you have power 240v and 12v 24/7 unlike standard solar that gets you sorted ONLY during the day. So its a great back up should the mains or grid power go down.
But whilst this is great for that space and as a 24 hr back up, it didn't meet the energy requirement of this big house. Of course the house has something like 90 LEDS, and the appliances / TV's are high star rating efficient. On top of this we have 3 split Panasonic systems and gas central heating plus 2 solar hot water panels on the roof, but we wanted to go further. Starting with energy efficiency is the place to start before going solar, for example most nights we'd have about 4 lights on at night plays the tV once the cooking is done. So thee Led lighting is consuming only about 16w to 20W, while the neighbours security light out the back of their house burns 100W every hour - it seems they they want to make sure the Possums don't lose their footing while they much up follage.
After several months of passive and active investigation and a number of quotes we decided on a ~ 4kw system grid tie system, we've gone for German Panels, which from all advice are thinner, stronger, lighter, longer life and more efficient than the bucket load of Chinese stuff on the market and we've gone with a quality inverter from Austria so you know it's good (not Australia) its called Fronius which has a 10 year Warranty, wifi for iPad / mac monitoring, which means you don't have to go outside the monitor the system. There seems to be a lot of tricks in the market like headlining a "3 kilowatt" inverter system that only really a 2kw panel system. The headline "trick" offers are all a bit dodgy brothers and its worth getting into blog-land and getting real like experience. The best panels on the market are reportably SunPower from the USA, which hit about 20.3% efficiency but at DOUBLE the price and no space issues on the Northern Roof, it's much more logical to go with more "less expensive" than fewer "highly expensive" panels. The system will produce roughly 13-14 KW a day "on average" given that an average house burns 18KW a day, it a good deal. In essence you can run a medium air-conditioning unit during a hot summer day for next to nicks, anything larger you might cut the running costs in half. Yes the current feed in tarrif is only 8 cents for KWH but at least that eliminates the daily supply charge we all have to pay, and gives you the option of running the Dishwasher and Washing Machine for free and cuts around a third of the cost of running the fridge which after all runs all day everyday.
The system gets installed in around a week, if the experience and the results stack up or if it doesn't I'll provide an update.