Self-suf­fi­cient en­ergy se­cu­rity

Cou­ple tap into the power of the sun

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Be­ing with­out power is never good at the best of times, but try­ing to en­dure it dur­ing the heat of a Wim­mera sum­mer can be sim­ply hard to bear.

But these days heavy ma­chin­ery op­er­a­tor Tony Baker, 39, and wife Amanda don’t no­tice any power out­ages at their house at Haven on the out­skirts of Hor­sham.

Their air-con­di­tioner, like ev­ery other elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ance in the house, sim­ply keeps go­ing – all thanks to an all but self-suf­fi­cient so­lar-bat­tery en­ergy sys­tem.

Mr Baker, frus­trated with reg­u­lar power out­ages due to lo­ca­tion tech­ni­cal­i­ties, has long been keen to ex­plore the idea of en­ergy self-suf­fi­ciency.

Now, with the help of Wade’s in Hor­sham and a Red­back Tech­nolo­gies re­new­able en­ergy and bat­tery sys­tem, he no longer has con­cerns about power avail­abil­ity.

“Dur­ing the Black Satur­day fire our power was out for nearly three days. I was pre­pared and had a gen­er­a­tor.

“But a gen­er­a­tor is noisy and you have to keep fill­ing it with fuel,” he said.

“Now I don’t even know if we’ve had a power out­age in our area. Ev­ery­thing just keeps go­ing.”

Tony called on Wade’s to come up with an an­swer to his power prob­lems and af­ter six months of in­stal­la­tion he could not be hap­pier with re­sults.

“I al­ways wanted to cap­ture so­lar en­ergy but I was in a sit­u­a­tion where I couldn’t ex­port it so I went down the bat­tery-stor­age av­enue,” he said.

“The Red­back sys­tem works a charm and while I’m still on grid and have it as a back-up sys­tem, I’m think­ing about even­tu­ally go­ing fully off the grid.

Mr Baker said he was also im­pressed by the sim­plic­ity of sys­tem in­stal­la­tion and oper­a­tion.

“Much of it is one com­pact unit. I have five and a half kilo­watts of so­lar pan­els and 9.6kw of bat­tery stor­age and it won’t take much to in­crease stor­age ca­pac­ity to even­tu­ally go off the grid al­to­gether,” he said.

“With only two of us we’re us­ing on av­er­age about 1kw a day – that’s 17 cents worth of power. The pay­back is what we save in the power we don’t ac­tu­ally have to buy.

“And what’s great about it is that it is all very easy to op­er­ate and un­der­stand how it’s work­ing. You can bring ev­ery­thing up on an app on your mo­bile phone.”

Mr Baker said the prime mo­ti­va­tion to make the fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment to in­stall the so­lar-bat­tery sys­tem was self-suf­fi­ciency and con­ve­nience.

But he added there was also a ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal case that sup­ported his de­ci­sion.

“We won’t be able to use fos­sil fu­els for­ever and tap­ping into re­new­able en­ergy is some­thing every­one is go­ing to have to do in the long run,” he said.

“You know, I even look for­ward to the day when I will be able to plug an elec­tric car into the sys­tem. Power from the sun to pro­vide en­ergy for your house and also your car – now that’s self-suf­fi­ciency.

“I also like the idea that what I’ve in­stalled is an Aus­tralian-en­gi­neered sys­tem. I’m al­ways keen to sup­port Aus­tralian busi­nesses.”

Red­back Tech­nolo­gies, es­tab­lished in 2015, is based in Queens­land and sup­ported by Mi­crosoft In­no­va­tion Cen­tre. It has also es­tab­lished al­liances with part­ners in­clud­ing Sonepar and The Uni­ver­sity of Queens­land.

Mr Baker said deal­ing with Wade’s So­lar in Hor­sham made the project rel­a­tively seam­less.

“I would cer­tainly rec­om­mend them, they were very easy to deal with, easy to talk to and they ob­vi­ously knew what they were do­ing,” he said.

He summed up his thoughts with: “Of course it’s a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment, but it is an in­vest­ment for the fu­ture and will ul­ti­mately pay for it­self.”

“The only power bill I get at the mo­ment is a grid ser­vice charge and my last bill was $36.”

Tony and Amanda Baker are very happy with their re­new­able en­ergy and bat­tery sys­tem.

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