Going off the grid
There has been a surge of interest in off-grid homes of late, with more and more Australian’s choosing renewable energy. Figures from 2018 show that over 2 million solar panels are installed on Australian rooftops1.
With such huge technological strides in renewable energy, making it more attainable and liveable, it’s no wonder more Aussie homeowners are opting for this more affordable option and are turning their backs on the increasing prices of utilities.
But, what does it really mean to be “off-grid” and what are the practicalities of powering your life by the sun?
A brief history
Going off the grid is the term given to homeowners who disconnect from public utilities and essentially create their own. However, while some people do strive for total autonomy when it comes to their utilities, such as gas, sewer, water and others, most people going off the grid tend to focus on solar energy.
Australia has a proud history of supporting solar. For over 60 years, Australia has been a leader in solar and is home to one of the largest solar plants in the world, turning it into a viable energy source for millions worldwide.
So, why are solar powered properties growing in popularity?
Solar panels have come down in price dramatically over the years and now the technology is more efficient and cost-effective than ever before. But it’s when you combine the modern solar panels with the latest in battery storage that things start to make sense.
For example, Tesla’s Powerwall has proven it’s possible to power a huge amount of your domestic electricity requirements with solar energy alone. In turn, this boom to solar energy’s public image has created massive amounts of competition between manufacturers and suppliers alike.
So, with the average annual electricity bill for homeowners in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia being $1,752, it’s no surprise that homeowners are looking to reduce their costs through solar2.
What’s more, installing solar panels is a great way to increase the value of your property if you decide to sell in the future. According to Momentum Energy, solar power is viewed positively by most of the Australian public, so it follows that this can be a selling point for the home. Research indicates that the more solar panels there are on the roof, the higher the value of the home – with an estimated increase of almost $6,000 per kilowatt of solar power. This indicates a rise of over $29,000 in the retail value of the home for a 5kW installation3.
Environmental benefits of solar energy
Did you know, in a single hour, the amount of power from the sun that strikes the Earth is more than the entire world consumes in a year4.
Contributing to the rapidly growing popularity of renewable energy is the falling prices of solar panels. Making it an option which is easier on the bank account and beneficial for the environment.
This is partly why more Aussie’s are moving to an off the grid home in order to do their bit to reduce their carbon footprint.
Global warming continues to appear as a serious threat to humankind and solar energy can help homeowners significantly offset the amount of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere.
What should you consider before going off the grid?
You need to take the size of your roof into account when choosing solar energy for your home. Sadly, a lot of urban homes don’t quite have enough roof space to go completely off the grid but the space they do have can help to lower their bills.
While the solar panels themselves have come down dramatically in price, the batteries for storage are still on the pricier side. This will raise the overall cost of a complete solar system and could take up to a decade to pay back completely.
Financial safety net
Whether you have a self-sustaining solar energy system or not, one thing is for sure, you will sleep better at night knowing you have a financial safety net in place for your home or property, if something unexpected were to happen, such as illness, loss of employment, or even death.
By taking out just some cover, or even full cover, you will have peace of mind knowing you have a back-up plan in place, like our Loan Protection Plan. For more information, contact your local ALI-authorised mortgage broker today or alternatively, request your home loan protection quote here
1. https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/resources/technologies/solar-energy https://www.canstarblue.com.au/electricity/average-electricity-bills/
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