More and more Australians are turning on to renewable energy. But what is it?
Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, water and geothermal heat. Its greatest advantage is that it is naturally replenished, so it won’t ever run out!
The easiest way to switch onto renewable energy is to buy green power or electricity generated by renewable sources. There are providers out there who do this, but their prices and quality obviously differ. Make sure you do a thorough investigation of your options before picking a provider.
When you have done all you can to reduce your household’s energy use, and you want to go one step further, you can switch over and begin producing your own renewable energy. There is no need to go out and get planning permission for a big wind turbine for your backyard – there are many solutions much cheaper and easier to implement.
Solar power is one of the most popular ways to generate your own power and in some areas there are lots of incentives to switch over.
Talk to your local council and state government to find out what benefits and incentives they can offer you for harnessing your power from the sun.
Solar energy is usually produced using solar photovoltaic systems – these are those panels you see on the roofs of many homes. In some areas, you can get involved in bulk buy initiatives, where companies agree to lower their costs if a certain number of people agree to get solar systems.
To be eligible for a solar system you really only need a roof. But there are a few provisos. If you’re renting you will obviously need your landlord’s approval. Your roof needs to be accessible so that the installation team can get up and install the solar panels. Your roof also needs to have a large area that gets regular sun – systems won’t work if they are regularly in the shade.
Generally most people have a 1.5 kilowatt grid connected solar system. This may generate around 1900 kilowatt hours per year – depending on the climate where they are installed. This is an average of 6kW hours per day and can save two tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.
With climate change such a big issue, many people feel limited in their ability to respond. But switching onto renewable energy gives regular people the power to make a difference.