Friday, 8 July 2011

On my mind - On grid or off grid?

Last night we had a salesman come to discuss converting to "on grid" solar power.  My husband and I have discussed doing this for a long time now.  Strangely, although everything he told us equalled no more power bills and putting extra back into the grid, we feel uncomfortable.

The whole set up seems so complicated with government rebates, guarantees on the buy back price of electricity into the grid, electricity companies charging higher tarrifs for people on solar and so on.  We were left with the feeling that everything was very uncertain........  Will electricity become so expensive that putting back into the grid won't mean much, will the government honour their guarantee?!  There are so many questions.

Then there is the fact that we have a massive pole so close to our home.  The photo shows our children's cubby in the play area.  You can see the pole is just on the other side.  It's got us wondering how much more it would cost to go "off grid".  The water pump, fridge and freezer are crucial for us.  Could solar run them?  If not, how much would new appliances cost?  I can see why I have been procastinating about making a decision, but the time has come.  Today I will have to try to organise a quote for "off grid" so that we can make an informed decision.  I would love any advice or information because, as you can see, I don't understand much about the process.  Oh, and of course, the salesman tells us that we need to sign up right now, or risk the government withdrawing the pay back guarantee!!!


Dmarie said...

oh, my, sounds like you need a different salesman!!

Hear Mum Roar said...

Oh, nothing worse than being forced/rushed into a decision! Take your time, make sure it's right for you

{ T G L } said...

I have no advice for you but I commend your efforts for 'green living'. Good luck with the decision-making process!

Found you through the 'Down to Earth' link-up :)

This Good Life

Rose said...

We haven't made the decision yet -- go slowly and do what's best for you, don't let anyone push you.

Stitchin' time said...

I was talking to a man about this while waiting to see the doctor a couple of weeks ago and he has had solar power for years - pre government rebates. He recently upgraded his converter to what he termed a '3 stage' and all his household equipment is 240volt. He's also connected to the grid but he hasn't bought electricity in years and said he receives a cheque 4 times a year from the electricity company for nearly $1000! He's also researching windpower and rebates as he'd like to work less for someone else but still have money coming in so he can spend more time with his wife and children.
Good luck with your choices and it's always best to do your own research and talk to others who have already done it.

Linda said...

Thanks for the advice and encouragement! Yes we do need to take it slowly because no matter how enthusiastic I am, it is going to cost a fortune! I have contacted a local company that do off grid solar as well, hopefully they will be reputable and be able to offer some sound advice. I am looking forward to meeting with them.

Linda said...

We have been living off grid for nearly 30 years. We have a small generator for back-up, but mostly only use it for for power tools during building projects. We've built up slowly, starting with just two little panels that only ran 12volt lights (one at a time) and radio. So I guess it didn't cost us anything to set up - just what we saved in power bills (but I wouldn't want to go back to the days of hand washing!) Now we have eight of the modern, much larger panels and a battery bank and inverter to 240 volt and run fridge, washing machine, computer, tv, music system, food processor. We have learned though to be frugal with power - it's as natural as turning off the tap while brushing teeth now. And we have chosen super energy efficient appliances. And we have a very very small fridge and no freezer - refrigeration uses a lot of power. But it is soooo good to be free of power bills, and to be able to lower our greenhouse footprint so much.

Linda said...

Thank you for your information Linda! This is exactly the sort of stuff I need to know. People who have done it before us know the reality. We also buy the best energy rated appliances we can find, but we do have a freezer and a largish fridge. We have started discussing doing away with the freezer since reading your comments. As for washing, I can barely keep up with a washing machine! I couldn't bear hand washing. You must have done it very hard. Good on you!

We have someone coming out this weekend. He told us it was almost unheard of to go off grid unless you were buying a property without established electricity but we just want to know our options. We are only at the very beginning of the effects of the problems associated with peak oil and being more self reliant would be reassuring.

angela said...

we have got grid connected solar power and your right. you deal with two or three different companys and getting things done can be a pain. The people who supplied the panels were great, its the compay that hooks it all up into the grid that are the pain in the bottom. But its nearly all done.
Going off grid, or standalone, is expensive and there are no government grants. thats something else to think about.