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Solar....Saviour or Sales Pitch

Posted on Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A recent report on the ABC Radio suggests that those who have solar power could pay 50% of those without. The average 3kw system will pay for itself in around 4-5 years.
Listen to ABC Podscast or read the transcript


Energy investment of up to $1 trillion needed by 2050

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Australia's electricity networks will need up to a trillion dollars of investment by 2050, regardless of whether consumers are providing their own energy or buying it from the grid.

That's the view from the Energy Networks Association and the CSIRO, in an interim report aimed at helping the industry transform over the next decade.

They say the costs of solar energy and storage are falling faster than expected, but their increased use must be accompanied by changes to regulation and pricing, to protect vulnerable consumers who can't access new technologies.

From Canberra, Naomi Woodley reports.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The electricity industry is trying to see the future and in a market that's rapidly changing, the CEO of the Energy Networks Association, John Bradley is sure of one thing.

JOHN BRADLEY: We're expecting to see a lot more of the decision making being done by customers, and customers deciding what technology they install.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The association has teamed up with the CSIRO to develop a 10 year "roadmap" for the industry as it deals with the rise, and rise of solar panels.

JOHN BRADLEY: Provided we've got the pricing right and it's fair and efficient, then those people that are installing solar, they're not only taking up a new service that helps them take control of their energy use, they're also participating in the grid and helping to take pressure off the network.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The CSIRO has mapped out four different scenarios. One where consumers "set and forget" their energy needs, the rise of the actively involved consumer or "prosumer", another where people leave the grid altogether, and lastly a market of 100 per cent renewables.

The CSIRO's chief economist for energy is Paul Graham.

PAUL GRAHAM: By 2050 if you don't have solar you're going to be paying a bill somewhere around $2,000 a year, for the average consumer, but if you have solar, you'll to be paying a bill about a thousand dollars less.

NAOMI WOODLEY: More consumers are expected to install battery storage, and the current cost of storage and solar panels is 20 per cent lower than the CSIRO forecast it would be just two years ago, and it's continuing to fall.

Chief economist Paul Graham says that will help to drive down the cost of maintaining traditional networks.

PAUL GRAHAM: Where we have a lot of solar in the future, we need to add storage to that so we're not so reliant on the grid and the grid can be built more efficiently.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Energy Network Association's John Bradley says despite the rapid change in the industry, there'll always be a need for a central grid.

JOHN BRADLEY: The best value they'll get out of their solar is usually by selling excess energy back into the market. For those reasons you need to have a grid in the middle which is enabling all the customer choices in that future energy system.

NAOMI WOODLEY: This report is the mid-way point of the roadmap program. The final report will be delivered in a year.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Naomi Woodley with that report.
Source - ABC RADIO - AM with Michael Brissenden - 3rd December 2015

Want to know more about Solar Power check out the Better Living Video

Solar Power - The truth the whole truth

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You know there isn’t a day that goes by when someone isn’t offering the unrepeatable deal of the century on solar power systems that just seems just too good to be true. Generally I have always found that if it sound too good to be true then chances are that is exactly what it is.

Now the idea of solar power sound great but, who do you trust?

Gas Works have been installing solar systems for over 20 years so if any is going to know then a trust SA Company like Gas Works is a great place to start.

So what make for a good solar power system, in short it is one that suits your needs and that will vary depending on what your needs are. It will also depend on exactly what size system you can fit on your roof, what you are looking to achieve from a solar system and what budget you have to spend on a system.

Now the price of a system can vary dramatically however in the long run there is no substitute for quality. While the cheaper systems may perform well at first as they get older they can experience problems. There can be issues with the inverters or the panels themselves. There are a number of solar power companies who are no longer in business and tracking down the manufacture of the panels is not always easy and the vast majority are made overseas.

So what size system do you need and how much do they cost? This will depend on your power usage however the average size systems installed are 3-5 kilowatt. These will dramatically reduce the average household bill. You can expect to pay somewhere between $5,000 - $6,000 for a good quality 3 kilowatt system after the government rebate. This means you should always look at solar as a long term investment. Generally you can expect to your system to pay for itself in approximately 4 -5 years and has an expectant life of 20-25 years.

Gas Works recommend that before investing in a system, spend a week measuring your usage between 6am-6pm. This let you know how much power you are consuming during the daytime, while your system is producing power.

What you don’t use you can sell back to the grid, however in most cases you pay more for power than you get back.

With a north facing roof with a pitch of 25-30% you can expect a system to produce 4.2 kilowatts of power per day per kilowatt of system.

Want more information on a solar power system to suit your needs? Talk to the Solar Power Specialists at your nearest Gas Works Showroom who will help find what works better for you.

Solar panel rebate still kicking

Posted on Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Can I get a rebate on my solar panels?

Right now, yes. In the near future, probably not. If you have solar panels on the mind, the time is ripe to get a quote and think about pushing ahead with installation. The government is talking of quashing the Renewal Energy Target (RET) which in turn will mean we can start waving goodbye to any rebates on solar panels.

The government doesn’t actually call this incentive a solar panel rebate, just to be clear. They call it the Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC) Program but it will be gone before the end of the year if the government has their way.

This program was designed to reduce the upfront cost of purchasing and installing solar panels on your home or property. Anyone can claim, on the proviso the system is smaller than 100kW, Australian approved panels and inverters are used and the system is installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited professional, such as Gas Works.

So the message is, if you are interested in installing solar power get into Gas Works today! We will help you determine how much you can save on the price of a solar system.

Don’t forget that when you install solar you don’t just save money on your own power bill. If you don’t use all of the power you can feed it back into the grid and receive a credit on your account. This is called a Feed in Tariff (FiT) and for systems ordered after 30 September 2013 you will receive 7.6c per kilowatt of power exported to the grid. Although with the abolition of the carbon tax this will reduce to 6.0c per kilowatt, it is still a handy bonus for many households though.

Check out our solar panel, kit and inverter options and get in contact with your local Gas Works today and do your bit for the environment while the government is still helping to reduce the cost.

Choosing a hot water system

Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Water heaters tend to finish their life abruptly and not only are they a sizeable investment initially, they also account for around a quarter of a typical household's energy use. So, it is worth taking the time to think about the solution you would like to move on with when it is time to replace your current hot water system.

If you are looking to replace a hot water system and you have gas, your options are; continuous flow hot water, gas storage or gas boosted solar. If you are looking for a solution that doesn’t require a gas connection your options are; heat pump, electric boosted solar or electric storage.

Hot water systems have a life span of approximately ten years. If you are nearing the ten year mark or building a new home, review your hot water usage before you start to look around for a replacement solution. Below we have detailed what the different systems do, the costs associated, their energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Heat pump hot water system

This is an much more efficient way to heat water than a standard electric storage hot water system. Heat pump systems work similarly to a refrigerator, extracting heat from the atmosphere using a refrigerant gas and a compressor, then storing it until it is required.

Purchase cost: Medium/High
Installation cost: Medium
Ongoing cost: Medium
Energy efficiency: High
Environmental impact: Low/Medium

Gas boosted solar hot water system

Solar hot water systems harness the suns energy to heat water, they are very environmentally friendly but all need a booster for days on low sunlight.

Purchase cost: High
Installation cost: High
Ongoing cost: Low
Energy efficiency: 5 star
Environmental impact: Low

Electric boosted solar hot water system

Solar hot water systems are the cheapest to run but the investment to have them installed is greater, meaning you need to have them for a while to see a return on investment.

Purchase cost: High
Installation cost:High
Ongoing cost: Low/Medium
Energy efficiency: 5 star
Environmental impact: Medium

Continuous flow hot water systems

Continuous flow hot water systems make sense as they only heat water as it is required, meaning you only pay for the hot water you use. 

Purchase cost: Medium
Installation cost: Medium
Running costs: Low/Medium
Energy efficiency: 5 - 7 stars
Environmental impact: Low/Medium

Gas storage hot water system

This system stores hot water ready for use, a 5 star plus rating is the best option in this range. The lower rating units are less upfront cost but much less efficient. 

Purchase cost: Medium
Installation cost: Low
Running costs: Low/Medium
Energy efficiency: 5.5 stars
Environmental impact: Medium

Electric storage hot water system

An element heats the water and it is stored, ready for use in this hot water system.

Purchase cost: Low
Installation cost: Low
Running costs: High
Energy efficiency: 5 star
Environmental impact: High

You can also watch our video about hot water systems here, or pop into your local Gas Works store to find out more about the right hot water solution for you.

Types of Hot Water Systems & Their Benefits [VIDEO]

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013

Types of Hot Water Systems Video Transcript:

Hi and welcome to better living with Gasworks.

In this episode we take look at one of the most important comfort functions in the home… the hot water system.

Having hot water available on demand is an essential daily requirement for showering, cleaning, washing and bathing. 

And it’s not until we are without it, that we really appreciate the value of a good hot water system.

Unfortunately, when a Hot water system fails, it’s usually without notice and, like so many of life’s inconveniences, at the worst possible time!!

The natural response for many of us is to fix the problem as quickly as possible, which often means simply replacing the unit with the same model or size, by the first plumber who can get there!

But ironically, this little in home disaster is actually a great opportunity to save yourself money and make your more home energy efficient if you take the time to seek expert advice on what type of system to install and whether it is right to suit your needs.

There are many different options to choose from including Electric, Gas or Solar, storage or instantaneous to name a few.

And your decision will depend on a range of factors including your budget, your energy use and the demand needs in your home.  

The traditional electric storage service heats the water, usually overnight, and then stores it ready for later use. With the rising price of electricity, this can be an expensive and inefficient option. 

Solar systems are the cheapest and most environmentally friendly to run as they harness the suns power to heat the water, although they still require an additional electric or gas back-up to take over when there is insufficient sunlight.

A key consideration in choosing Solar is the large up-front costs – although these will generally be recovered over time through reduced energy bills.

A Heat Pump System is another storage type system. Heat Pumps extract heat from the air or ground. They run on electricity and are about three times more efficient than the traditional electric storage system. 

The catch with heat pump is you need the right environment to make them work effectively.

Continuous flow gas systems are very popular and economical to run as they only heat water when it is required. Being continuous, they never run out and have the added advantage of being able to set the temperature of the water to suit the specific need. This is ideal where young children are present as it reduces the risk of burns and it also helps to maintain efficient energy use.

Amongst all of these options is a vast array of models, shapes, sizes, quality, warranty and of course cost.

So which one do you choose? Continuous flow is reliable and convenient, but what if you don’t have gas connected? Solar is a great option, but given the investment required you need to stay in that house for years to make it viable.

One of the best things you can do is take the time to speak with the hot water experts at your local Gasworks Store.

With years of experience in sales and installation, they know exactly what type of system will work better for you and is best suited to your needs and budget.

Or you can jump onto the Gas Works website where you’ll find loads of great information.

And one last piece of advice that could save you the heartache and inconvenience of being caught unaware.

Take the time to check your current unit.

If it is more than ten years old you might want to do some research now, so when the time comes to replace it, you’ll be fully prepared and know exactly what to do and who to see.

Thanks for watching, until next time, I’m Karen Prater for Better Living with Gasworks.

Solar Hot Water Rebates

Posted on Friday, October 26, 2012

As of February 28, 2012 the Federal Government announced the end of Solar Hot Water Rebates and Heat Pump Rebates. Systems installed prior to February 28, 2012 were eligable for the rebate if applications are received before June 30, 2012.

To see if there are currently any Hot Water Rebates in South Australia visit http://www.hotwaterrebate.com.au/p/sa-rebate-overview 

South Australian Solar Hot Water Rebate

The South Australian State Government introduced a rebate for solar hot water systems to comply with new water heater standards as of July 1, 2008. These standards were introduced to increase the usage of high efficiency systems such as gas, heat pump and solar water heaters.

A rebate of $500 is available for those who meet the eligibility criteria.

Eligible applicants are home owners that install a complying water heater for their principal residence. While holding at least one of the following concession cards at the time of installation:

Centrelink Health Care Card Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card DVA Gold Card (Totally & Permanently Incapacitated) DVA Gold Card (War Widow) DVA (Extreme Disablement Adjustment)

Other State Rebates Available

QLD: $600 ($1000 for low income earners)

VIC: Between $300 & $1600 (multiple rebates)

WA: $500 (Gas Boosted Solar) - $700 (LPG Boosted Solar)

NSW: Not Available

ACT: Not Available

TAS: Not Available

NT: Not Available

Click here for more information on other state based rebates.

Solar Hot Water Brands Stocked

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  • Bosch

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