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Home Living : June 19th 2012
SOLAR POWER A POWERFUL SOL LITTLE RAY OF SUNSHINE FOR ENERGY BILLS With electricity prices due to skyrocket, now is a good time to consider solar power for your house. SOARING electricity prices and higher winter power consump- tion has put solar water heating and solar power generation back in the limelight as viable choices for home energy. Australian Bureau of Stat- istics figures show real house- hold electricity prices nation- wide rose more than 40 per cent over the last five years. In NSW, electricity prices are set to increase an average 18 per cent this year alone. Solar installation company, Solahart's General Manager Sales and Marketing Renew- ables, Stephen Cranch, says there is a compelling argument to go solar now but notes the numerous changes to rebate and incentive schemes, coupled with confusion around the dif- ference between solar power and solar water heating techno- logies, leave many confused. He said homeowners could mitigate the impact of higher energy costs by replacing their electric water heater, which accounts for around 25 per cent of a household's energy use, with a solar alternative. ''Switching to a solar water heater can reduce your water heating energy use by up to 50 to 90 per cent. ''You could also de- crease your greenhouse gas em- issions by around three tonnes a year, which is the equivalent of taking a small car off the road,'' Mr Cranch said. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? Details: Call 1300 721 914 or visit solahart.com.au FOR those confused about solar power systems, Solahart ans- wers some common questions. What's the difference be- tween solar water heating and solar power? With solar water heating, the heat is captured directly from the sun via collectors on the roof and transferred to the fluid circulating inside. Water is stored in an insulated tank for future use. Solar power (or solar PV) systems use sunlight (rath- er than heat) to generate power. Solar system saving A solar water heater saves on water heating bills. The amount saved depends on factors, such as roof orientation, location, hot water usage, type of system being replaced and water heat- ing energy tariff. Power gener- ated from a solar PV system can reduce your energy bills. Financial incentives Financial benefits exist in the form of Small-scale Technology Certificates, or STCs (formerly Renewable Energy Certifi- cates), which are a tradeable commodity attached to installa- tions of renewable energy sys- tems such as solar panels and solar water heaters. 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