Farm Guide VIC : 2008 - 2009
94 Sustainability Wind turbines are grid connected and need no batteries, and most systems come with the controls and inverter built in to the turbine. When the wind is blowing, your property is partly powered by a wind turbine. On a still day, your property is seamlessly powered by your utility as you are used to. During periods of strong winds, turbines can produce excess electricity and depending on your utility, your meter will actually spin backwards—giving you credit for a later date. It is recommended that a Weather Station be used for several months measuring wind to determine if a wind turbine is the right solution for your location. There are local zoning laws that will determine whether you can install a wind turbine – such as the land size required, and height limits for tall structures – so it is advised that you speak to a solar energy specialist who can inform you of regulations in your area. Grid connect solar systems are the most prominent and popular solar energy solution in Australia. In fact, there are places in the world where entire towns have become mini power stations, generating all their own electricity needs from grid connect solar systems simply placed along their rooflines. A grid connect solar system is your direct connection to the sun, tapping in to this boundless energy and using it to power your home, school, business, farm or property. Solar panels are fitted to your roof and while it is preferable that they are north facing, they are sophisticated enough to capture light from any aspect. The energy from the panels is directed in to an inverter. This little box converts the solar energy in to the power needed to transmit in to your property where it does as electricity does, turning on your lights, running your fridge and washing machine, and powering your radio and television. When you generate more electricity than you use, it returns this electricity to the grid. You not only reduce the demands on the grid, but you receive a financial reward for it. You are paid for the surplus energy. These buy-back feed-in tariffs vary from state to state, with South Australia and Queensland offering the most generous tariff of 44 cents per unit of energy. The most superior solar panel is the Japanese made Kaneka panel which is an ideal performer in the Australian climate. Kaneka panels are shade and heat tolerant, frost does not bother them, and they come with a performance guarantee of 25 years and a life expectancy at least equal to that. As solar energy is experiencing increased interest and rapid uptake, more businesses are entering the solar energy market. It is advised that consumers seek out a trusted and longstanding solar energy company, preferably one that has showrooms where you can see products before making a purchase. There are companies which provide a national service with networks of rural and regional representatives who personally visit properties, complementing their city-based showrooms and experienced staff. It’s also important to verify they can offer you experienced installers using the most technically advanced equipment & full on-going technical and service support. This is particularly important for Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS) systems. Some even offer to handle all of the time consuming rebate and electricity company paperwork that is part of the transition process. Solar energy is not only a gift for our children and grandchildren in terms of the environmental legacy we will leave for them, but the solar energy systems can literally become an inheritance as the systems can be passed on to family members. Solar energy increases the value of property, increases our environmental awareness, and increases our chances of turning back the tipping point. While we watch the unpredictable weather and wait for rain, there is one thing we can rely on the weather for – providing us with the simplicity of the suns energy and powering our homes, farms, properties and businesses.
2009 - 2010