SolarHub Assists Customer to go Carbon Neutral

February 2016

The ACT Government has set Canberra an ambitious target to make 90% of their electricity supplied through large-scale renewables energy by 2020. This target includes a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and reflects a growing interest in the Australian community regarding climate change, and action. The public’s increasing interest and technological advancements surrounding renewable energy, has fuelled the solar power market, and has become a real option for many homes and businesses, helping them to not only reduce their carbon footprint, but also their dependency on fossil based electricity, and consequently, their electricity prices.

David Southgate, a Canberra local, has gone one step further than the average home or business owner, and after three years of hard work, has made his home carbon neutral, with an aim to go completely fossil fuel free by 2020. Documenting the process in his online book Our Household Energy Transition, Becoming a fossil fuel free family (http://electricvehicleaustralia.com/download-page/), David has committed  to monitoring the process, and spoke to SolarHub earlier last week regarding the transition.

“I was very interested in the carbon footprint, this is going back say 7 or 8 years when everyone was starting to talk about climate change, but no one had any real idea what the carbon footprint [was].”

With prior experience as a self-professed ‘environmental bureaucrat’ within the Public Service for over 30 years, David has had a keen interest in renewable energies, and has written several books on the issue. However; his transition to becoming carbon neutral started in 2012 when he moved into a house that already had a 2kW solar PV system installed. He then invested in an electric car in 2014, and a second 2kW system to accompany his initial system, hiring an out of town solar company for installation.

“It got very messy. And I said that’s it, never again.”

David’s experience of hiring an out of state company is unfortunately; a common tale for many who source a company which does not have a local presence.

“[The process] is all done remotely, they just got some local contact who just rocked up one day just did it, hadn’t seen my site, hadn’t seen the job, and they just came up and just did it- Bang. That was fine until all the ACT inspectors came along, said no not good enough, and then who do I contact, do I contact the subcontractor, do I contact (the out of state installers), I kept trying to contact [them] and I couldn’t get anything out of them, couldn’t find the person I had been dealing with. That’s why I came to SolarHub.

“It’s great, [SolarHub has] got someone I can ring up, then you guys know the system here, know how ACTPLA works, ActewAGL, etc. The communication lines that just weren’t there for the remote company.”

SolarHub has a strong focus on having a local presence in the ACT, giving them the ability to visit each site location before quote and installation, and have a comprehensive understanding of the necessary local rules and regulations. This process allows their customers to get an accurate price, a quality installation, and access to local assistance if is required.

Following on from these two initial installation, David hired SolarHub in 2015; to install an additional 4.5kW solar system on his roof. This system was to help power both his home, and his electric car. He sees the integration of energy storage systems with electric car batteries as the next step for solar. The process, as he explains, will allow transfer of solar energy between your car and home, letting you use the energy where you need it most.

“You will need a house battery ultimately as the car isn’t there all the time.

“The issue is the systems at the moment aren’t in place in order to integrate your car battery into your house battery. All I can do is put energy into my car, and there is no way at the moment that I can take any of that energy out and put it into the heaters in winter time in the house.”

Integration between these energy storage systems, and electric cars however, are yet to be available for consumer use, although David suggests that some companies are already working on this technology.

“Thinking about the systems around that is where it will end up, it won’t take long, within 5 to 10 years, [and] you will have an integrated car to house battery.

“We will all be pretty carbon free.”

Despite technologies not being available as of yet to integrate home and vehicle solar, David stands ahead of the crowd with his carbon neutral home, showing the world, and especially the ACT that it is achievable. With government incentives for energy storage systems within the ACT set to start in 2016, these type of setups will become more financially achievable for many home and business owners. Technologies such as the much hyped Tesla Powerwall will also be available for consumer purchase and install in 2016, and are set to drive the popularity of energy storage systems. Through continued interest, and technological advancements, the ACT Government’s target to hit 90% by 2020 is not just achievable, it is beatable, and SolarHub are excited to be part of it.

To find out more about David Southgate’s book, head to http://electricvehicleaustralia.com/download-page/