Our solar journey, by Rebecca S
Towards the end of 2019, having decided on a design for our renovations and finally knowing that the work would not involve removing the roof, the time became right for our family to investigate the solar energy facts and consider a solar power system.
With a teenage daughter in the house, there was a huge emotional push to make our home environmentally friendly; but with a husband who works in the finance industry the decision also had to be economically sensible - not just in the terms of the solar salesman’s figures, but delivering a real return on investment.
After much research into how solar energy works and measuring the energy use of our family of five, the financial calculations showed our solar installation will deliver a saving of $1,500/year, giving a four and a half year payback on the investment. This translates to a 22% per annum return on investment, which has the advantage of being a tax-free return - a very logical decision compared to keeping savings in the bank!
We were open to quotes from all solar installers but did have a preference for a local supplier that will be here for the long haul ... so long as their service and pricing was competitive, of course. Innovate Energy fit the bill. A reliable local company providing not just solar energy solutions, but qualified level 2 electricians and air conditioning specialists.
Innovate Energy was quite specific with regards to the quality of the individual parts of the solar systems they offer. They explained that the quality of each individual part in the whole installation is important. One less robust component, whether it is the solar panels themselves, the inverter/optimiser, the roof mounting system or electrical accessories like circuit breakers and wires, will reduce the efficiency and longevity of the entire system.
We settled on a Fronius Primo inverter with Qcell solar panels. This gave us a 25-year warranty - longer than any other warranty offered by other companies we spoke to. We fully plan to expand the system to include a solar battery in the future so were pleased to hear this system is ready to have a solar battery added.
Of course, we also wanted to make the most of the government’s solar energy rebate and have our solar installation complete before the end of year. No mean feat considering it was at that time early December!
Innovate Energy had only five available days left for the year and booked us in for the week before Christmas.
It was a crazy time over summer with the bushfires and, like most local businesses, Innovate Energy was pushed to the limits - the majority of their staff live south of Nowra and as well as meeting work commitments were dealing with their own evacuation scenarios and defence of their homes. In addition, there were delays in deliveries to the Shoalhaven region providing extra challenges and, on our installation day, not all of our panels had arrived.
Despite this, the team turned up on time, calm, friendly and polite to install as much of the system as they could. They completely took care of managing the situation and we didn’t have to worry or coordinate finishing the project.
When the last few solar panels arrived the Innovate Energy team returned to finish the job. Unfortunately, by then the bushfires were in full swing and circumstances interfered again - the wind having changed direction meant the installer putting up the final panels had to dash home to rescue his family pets!
Again they took this in their stride and returned at the first opportunity to complete the solar panel installation.
Three months on and we are reaping the rewards of our new solar power system. The latest electricity bill for our family of five has arrived - our total electricity bill for December, the month before the solar system went in, was $117.55. February’s cost, showing a full summer month on solar, is just $5.88. Or in environmental terms, we love seeing on the online Solar app that we’ve saved the equivalent of 1.01 tonnes of carbon emissions so far, or 26 trees.