When Amber Neuman built herself a new house on her 74 acre property in Beermullah last year she opted to go completely off-grid for power – installing solar panels with a battery storage system instead of connecting with Western Power. “Western Power gave me an estimate of around $45,000 just to connect power up to my fenceline – which is absolutely ridiculous,” she says, “They can just charge what they like!”
Instead Amber chose a completely independent solar system installed by EVWorks for a total cost of $37,000 – a decision she says has more than paid off.
“I wouldn’t go any other way, now I don’t have bills to worry about,” she says. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the average Australian house hold uses 5817kWH per year, at an average cost of $1690 annually. Of course costs vary hugely between households with rural properties often requiring much more due to water pumps and powered worksheds.
Rob Mason of EV Works Says Amber’s 6.2kW system is capable of producing over 30 kwh/units of power per day in full sunshine and is more than
enough to run her house and sheds. Amber opted for a bit extra so she could easily power up her shed and run her welding gear. “It didn’t cost much more to install a slightly larger system and I know it will be more than capable of running the place if I extend to include an outdoor entertaining area or add water pumps to irrigate my garden,” said Amber. She confesses to knowing very little about how the system works or it’s capacity, other than it’s never failed. “It just works, I don’t have to think about it,” she said. “For people building on rural blocks with no existing power supply a system like this is extremely cost-effective,” says Rob, “However there are benefits for people switching from Western Power too, although there’s no longer much incentive from the feed in tariff system. “We find many people are going off grid because they want independence and reliability when there are power outages. However more and more people are also choosing solar power because they want to be more sustainable. They are happier in the knowledge that they are using a renewable power source in their homes rather than relying on fossil fuels.”
To find out what size system you need Rob suggests taking a look at your power bill and divide the total by 90 – for example for a $350 bill (over the standard two month period) 350 divided by 90 = 3.88, so a 4kW system would be recommended.
You can contact Wade Rose from West Coast Solar on 0438 066 051 for a great deal on solar panels and EVWORKS on 9303 9040 for more information about setting up an off-grid system.