Recently Gerard Gray caught up with Jess Christiansen (aka SolarGirl) from Living Energy Solutions for a cuppa. Understanding solar energy can be a puzzling exercise for any home owner, so Jess has kindly offered to help us out with some helpful tips for anyone contemplating solar electricity for their home or business, which we will be bringing to you as a series via our newsletter and web site blog.

Is solar the right choice for your home, rental property or business?

Solar can be confusing to say the least. What size system do you need? Who will you get to install it? What will happen to your electricity bill? Is there government funding available? Should you wait for new technology? Are Chinese panels bad? What about Tesla batteries? The list of questions is endless! And what was relevant 2 years ago won’t apply today…

Yet done right solar can deliver impressive savings and add real value to your home or rental. (A recent study in the US showed house values increased by $5,000 for every kW installed).

  • Does your roof get at least 5 hours of sunshine a day?
  • What direction does your roof face? North is gold but an East-West roof can still work well if the panels are placed correctly.
  • Will any of your roof be affected by shade? Don’t be put off if the answer is yes, there is a solution* 
  • East-West roof considerations:

– Is either side shaded? (Consider nearby trees and buildings).

– Which side is closest to horizontal? This will help the panels absorb maximum sunlight throughout the day.

– What time of the day is most sunny in your area? Ie, in Sydney the mornings are often cloudy. In Bright you may get morning fog or shade from surrounding hills. Cloudy weather can reduce solar production by up to 90%!

– When is electricity most expensive in your area? (Usually around 5pm). Therefore, west-facing panels will be producing optimal power while electricity is at its peak cost.

 (*Product tip: micro-inverters are a great option for shade-affected homes or those with multiple roof faces as they maximize the output of EVERY single panel – more on this to come).

Next week: Knowledge is power! Understand your energy use.

Jess and her team can be contacted on 1300 854 456 or via their web site at

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