solar panels and air conditioning

Apparently 62% of us have cut our air conditioning use to save money and 69% of Australians believe aid conditioning is the largest “contributor to their power bills” source.

According to canstarblue reverse cycle air conditioning costs $0.25-0.95 per hour to cool, dependent on the room size. That’s a huge cost over time.

Sustainability Victoria has a handy chart of the breakdowns of general air conditioning costs.

 

air con costs

Air conditioning can feel like an absolute life-saver during the summer months when the mercury goes above 40 degrees and we all feel like we’re melting. So, how can you reduce your energy costs but keep your house cool?

  • Energy-efficient air conditioners can certainly help
  • Use systems that allow zoning in your home so you aren’t cooling rooms that aren’t used
  • Alternatives like evap-cooling, portable air con units and fans are much cheaper
  • Shop around for an energy service (you should always do this regularly anyway)
  • Insulate your home and improve your home’s energy efficiency (an important one that can help reduce the strain on your air conditioning and save money straight away)
  • Use a solar energy system to power your air conditioning

 

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Australian demand for air conditioning not only increases your own energy demands and bills but has added strain and demand across energy networks across the country, especially during periods of increased demand like heat waves. This has led to blackouts – “most Australian homes are now equipped with some kind of air conditioner, but their rise in popularity over the last decade has put substantial pressure on the electricity transmission and distribution network—and the required investment in ‘poles and wires’ has been blamed for recent spikes in retail electricity bills.” source. “Some electricity retailers charge a premium for grid electricity drawn during afternoon periods when air conditioning may be in use”.

What about a solar energy system to reduce the demands of your air conditioning needs on your energy supply?

The hottest times of the day are (obviously) when the sun is at its highest in the sky. This is also, conveniently, the time a solar energy system will generate the strongest amount of energy for a property. Can the two work together? Yes, they can!

Here is a great example from Solar Analytics of a customer who’s dashboard showed that when they came home at 4pm and turned their air conditioning on they saw a huge spike in their energy use at home, but the solar energy system completely covered this spike so they had no costs to pay for their increased demands.

Image of air con use

This could mean that a solar energy system could help reduce your energy costs by thousands of dollars a year if you’re using your air conditioning during the middle of the day.

A solar energy system (without a battery) cannot supply all of the energy for your air conditioning requirements throughout a full day as Australian temperatures are still very warm towards early evening when the sun is already going down and not blasting onto your solar PV, but it can certainly take the sting off during the brightest parts of the day and significantly reduce your energy costs.

We can help you check if a solar energy system would be right for your home and your current energy demands.

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