For almost 20 years, I've lived in a sustainable house powered by solar panels. In March 2015, I disconnected from city power and went completely off-grid. *
Every day the heat and light of the Sun provides Earth's energy. It grows rainforests and crops and powers the planet's weather and all life. It could easily run every factory, house, office building, vehicle and machine anywhere. It's crazy for us humans not to use the Sun's heat and light wherever we can. It's even crazier to use electricity made from dirty coal and gas instead
of clean energy from the Sun.
Imagine turning on your light or flushing the loo when you get up in the morning, knowing the water will not pollute and that the energy to pump and treat it is coming from the Sun. If you do that, you start the day doing no harm to the planet.
* Data is key for solar:
I get real time data from my solar projects to know whether they're producing the promised amount of power; so should we all. The data for the two year trial of the Alpha-ess batteries installed by Australia Wide Solar shows they're under-performing and delivering just 46% of the promised amount of power. I do not recommend these batteries or installers. I'm replacing the batteries with other products and different installers.
More information is here.
In 1996, I installed 18 solar panels, each with 120-watt capacity. It reduced the amount the house took from the grid by more than 60%. Since then, I have installed 12 additional panels, bringing my home's total system capacity to just over 3.5kW.
In addition to the roof solar cells,
the house uses sunlight to heat water through a standard solar hot-water system. The environmental savings achievable by using solar hot-water heaters are summed up by Gavin Gilchrist in his book, The Big Switch:
"If all the electric water heaters in Australia were replaced with solar
ones, greenhouse gas emissions from Australia's households would be
cut by one-fifth." One fifth is one mighty big saving!
The Bottom Line... I am saving hundreds of dollars every year not paying electricity bills by powering my household appliances using the Sun.