I’m so happy to have seen a bit of sunshine about the place over the last week.
The last week was incredibly busy with various appointment, DS2 had a 2 day Primary School band workshop which was a marvellous success. We have been to this workshop for 3 years in a row, first with DS1 and two years with our little trumpet star, and quite honestly I can say, the performance Thursday night was the tightest, most responsive band that we have seen yet. Those 200 kids, and all their hard-working teachers, have a lot to be proud of.
Friday night was another night out, this time at an event I’d never experience before, called the Reader’s Cup. 10 teams of kids, having previously read (and hopefully memorised) 6 books, answering questions on the stories, quiz night style. There was also a drawing question, and each group had to put together a little 4 minute “performance” inspired by one particular book, whose author was kind enough to attend. Our little team didn’t win, but quite honestly, they admitted that the difference between 1st and 3rd was 1 point, so I can’t imagine how little difference there was overall. The entire group of children participating, again, did a marvellous job. I’m glad I didn’t have the job of judging them!
However, probably the most exciting part of the week was having our solar panels installed! We went with a 5kw system in the end, which should be enough to zero out our bill. We’re not looking to make a profit here, but just to avoid any nasty bills would be great. That way we can keep our focus on paying off the mortgage as quick as possible, while keeping our living costs simple and enabling me to continue to stay at home caring for the family.
Our import/export meter was installed the previous week. This is a requirement before your solar system can be turned on, as with a digital meter, if you try to run your system on an import only meter it will count the power you are producing against you and effectively double your bill. Not pretty.
So, after turning it on Friday afternoon, we have generated over 80kwh of power. Of which over 55kwh have been fed back into the grid.
This may be a little confusing for you, and please don’t take it as advice for everyone. Much depends on your individual state and the options you have regarding metering and feed-in tariffs. South Australia offered substantial feed in prices (money you get for the power you earn and don’t use), but we missed out on them by about 12 months. We receive a legislated 24c for every kwh we feed back into the grid.
However, we PAY between 30 and 38c for every kwh we buy from the grid. This figure is vague because it is calculated on a sliding scale – the more you use pushes you into a higher bracket, the more you pay.
So, in our case, we are better off by a minimum of 6c per kwh, to use the power we generate during the day, than to export it. Working at an average price of 33c for import, we have to generate and export 1.375kwh for every 1 we buy to break even.
Clear as mud? This basically means that the time to run the dishwasher, washing machine, do the ironing etc is all during the day. Because the power we use is free. After that, whatever we don’t use, we sell for 24c.
So, every week I will be running a total of the power we have used, exported and generated over that time, to keep track of how we are going. Because after all, we have invested some serious money on our roof, and would like to see it paying itself off as soon as possible. I’m all for going green, and it gives me absolute chills to think that I’m typing this on power generated by the sun, but sadly in this commercial world, it has to make investment sense as well!