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The Joys of Solar

By Maureen Cooper, Wooragee Landcare

Half way through October I changed my power company to Powershop which was recommended by Greenpeace and I promised to report on the difference in charges from my old power company.

Even though I had 3.5 kW of solar installed while still being tied up with Origin Energy my bills just kept getting higher until they doubled.  It made no difference whether it was summer or winter.  I live on my own, do not have television or a dishwasher, don’t use a clothes dryer as I have a line under the veranda overhang and a fold out rack, and have gas hot water and stove.  As an ex-Queenslander I don’t really feel the heat so rarely use a fan and I prefer to just have the chill taken off the air in winter and wear a jacket indoors.  I don’t like using the wood fire as smoke upsets my sinuses and I am sad that beautiful trees have had to be killed to keep us warm.  I now have an economical electric heater for those very cold days and nights.

I am now happy to report that my power bills have come down from approximately $296.00 per quarter to $120.00 per quarter and by January 2015 I have a credit of $143.00.  I am now saving for a solar hot water system and will purchase an electric stove and oven when I have the kitchen re-modelled.  There are so many exciting breakthroughs in the industry so hopefully by late next year there will be cost effective, up-to-date power storage units available so I can add more panels and go off the grid.  How can families afford their power bills under the old coal fired power companies?  All new houses should be fitted with solar panels and solar hot water systems and should be designed to cope with our extremes of hot and cold.

I would like to try a solar cooker like that described by Karen Retra at https://ecoportal.net.au/living-lightly/solar-cooking.    Currrently, when I cook casseroles I simmer them on the stove top for 15 minutes and then put the pan into my Dreampot and seal it up and leave it all day.  By dinner time I have a lovely low cost meal.  See http://www.dreampot.com.au.

It is very rewarding to find what you can do without and ignore the retailers who constantly tell us that we have to have all the latest gadgets.