Can I get solar? Q&A with our Head of Solar Technology

Are you a stay-at-home parent? Or perhaps an entrepreneur working from home? Maybe you’re recently retired and spending your days in the family home you’ve built?

Whether you live in an inner-city townhouse or country homestead, there are many options on hand when it comes to finding the right solar for your situation, usage and lifestyle.

We asked the questions and got the answers from Louise McSweeney, AGL’s Head of Solar Technology.

Q: Who can benefit the most from solar?

A: Typically, it’s those who spend more time at home during the day: stay-at-home mums and dads, retirees and people who can work from their residence.

Q: What kind of home is best suited to solar?

A: Roof direction plays a role in getting solar installed. Both north- and west-facing panels can be beneficial to energy production. Homes with new roofs are generally stronger and can hold the panel weight; and properties with no shading are the perfect homes for solar. But we do find most properties have a mixture of these variables.

Q: How do trees and the surrounding area affect solar and what can you do about it?

A: Shading on a panel will reduce the energy production of a solar system. The best thing you can do is to remove any branches that could prove problematic. Also, ensure you clean the panels to remove tree debris or mess from birds.

Q: Do you have any tips on small lifestyle changes that can help maximise solar usage?

A: Yes, I do. Here’s what I suggest:

  • Shift your washing requirements (e.g. dishwasher, washing machine and dryer) to the daytime. (Use your timer setting to start the appliance without you even thinking about it.)
  • Put on your air-conditioning or heating for the few hours before night-time.
  • Installed monitoring will help you identify when your solar system is producing electricity and when you are using it. Getting these two curves in sync will help reduce your electricity bills.
  • Having the panels cleaned and undertaking maintenance every few years will ensure your solar system is operating optimally.
  • Consider solar hot water units at the same time as your solar installation.

Q: Are there any kinds of people whose lifestyle isn’t suited to solar?

A: If your major requirement for electricity is in the evenings, and you don’t have appliances that can use the benefit of solar during the day, then solar may not be the best fit.

Interested in getting solar? Find out which questions to ask when getting a solar power quote.