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Lifestyle : Energy Efficiency 2012
1HERSA1 C023 Shining example . . . Neil Dunn was quick to notice the drop in his electricity bills after he installed a solar system in his Dubbo home in 2010. Photo: Brian Harvey Panels have day in the sun People are switching to solar as the renewable power becomes more affordable, writes Nicholas Pickard. T he green revolution and the proliferation of solar energy isn't a battle that's being won in inner-city suburbs. For anyone who regularly travels the highways or train lines out of the city centre, a glance out the window shows the solar-power boom is happening in the suburbs and in country towns. ''It's often thought that solar energy is the exclusive domain of the wealthy but what we're finding is the opposite and the recent boom has been among lower socio- economic Australians,'' says the policy manager for the Clean Energy Council, Tim Sonnreich. The CEC is the peak body that represents the clean-energy sector. Using data from the Clean Energy Regulator, the CEC found the top solar postcodes in Australia included Dubbo, Caloundra in Queensland and Victor Harbor in South Australia. More than a quarter of residences in Dubbo have taken advantage of the global glut in solar panels and are offsetting the inevitable price hikes of traditional energy sources. ''Wealthy Australians tend to be less concerned about rising energy costs than lower-income earners or retirees because they can afford it,'' Sonnreich says. ''When the average three-bedroom home can have solar panels installed for as little as $1500, low-income consumers are seeing the long-term savings.'' One of the consequences of the collapse of housing markets in North America and Europe has been a worldwide oversupply of photo- voltaic solar panels. Made primarily in China, many of the panels have made their way to markets such as Australia, where energy prices have soared. Photovoltaic panels convert the energy in sunlight through fabric- ated materials into clean electricity. If fitted to a home with a good north- erly aspect, the panels can provide enough electricity for an average family to cut its reliance on the grid by more than 50 per cent. Neil Dunn, who lives in the top solar postcode of Dubbo, was one of the first to convert to solar energy in early 2010. He quickly noticed the price difference for his quarterly power bill. ''We've got an average-size house with a pool and everything else and we were paying around $600 a quar- ter,'' he says. ''Now we're paying somewhere between $18 to $150 after the [feed-in] tariffs.'' He admits to becoming a bit of an advocate for solar energy. ''I've tried to get some of the in-laws involved but for some reason they think it's a scam or something.'' Consumers have a confusing array of choices and an overload of information about state and feder- al government rebates and the Sol- ar Credit Scheme. Last year the state government wound down its Solar Bonus Scheme but the prolif- eration of solar panels into the marketplace has more than com- pensated consumers. The Clean Energy Council, which publishes updated consumer fact sheets, advises NSW residents not to buy solar packages based on expected income from feed-in tariffs because governments often change the tariffs, depending on the market. ''Consumers should really be con- centrating on how their solar panels best serves their usage,'' Sonnreich says. He also advises consumers to shop around and ask questions. ''Energy prices are only going to continue to rise and low-income earners are setting the trend by rely- ing more heavily on solar energy. It's not only green but in the long-term they're saving a lot of money.'' THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD Weekend Edition April 28-29, 2012 23 SPECIAL REPORT Energy efficiency LED light bulbs allow for tremendous energy savings and can last longer than conventional incandescent bulbs*^. However, despite the obvious bene ts of LED bulbs, some myths surrounding LED home lighting still persist. *LED light bulbs can last an average lifetime of 25,000 hours in residential use. ^Conventional incandescent bulbs can last an average lifetime of 2,000 hours in residential use. For a list of retailers call Philips on 1300 304 404 or go to www.philips.com.au/lighting A Lifetime of Comfort Philips LED Lighting. See what light can do. LED MYTH 1 - LED light bulbs are expensive While the initial cost of LED bulbs is higher than that of conventional bulbs, with lifetimes of up to 25,000 hours*, the potential for energy savings that will show up on your electricity bill makes LED the smarter choice in home lighting. LED MYTH 2 - LED light bulbs are hard to install Philips LED bulbs are designed to fit into most pre-existing sockets without the need for any rewiring.This 'plug-and-play' option makes it easy for home-owners to make the switch to LED bulbs. LED MYTH 3 - LED light bulbs are not as intense as incandescent lights Philips LED light bulbs convert energy into light more efficiently than conventional light bulbs. A 9W LED bulb gives out similar light output as a 60W incandescent light. MyAmbience MyAmbience MyVision $ Are you puzzled about energy savings? Complete the picture with Solar Gard window lm and you can save up to 30% on energy costs With proven heat-rejection properties, Solar Gard solar control window lms help homes consume up to 30% less energy for cooling and heating by keeping interior temperatures more stable. In addition, Solar Gard o ers Carbon negative window lms CO2 reduction solution Safety and security UV and glare protection To learn how Solar Gard can help reduce your energy bills - Call us: 1800 251 575 or Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org www.solargard.com.au/Energy AG5053229AA-280412
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