Learning about solar

Lisa Miller conducted a solar seminar at the Snowy Valleys Council on Monday.

The NSW Government hosted an informative and passionate solar seminar with Illawarra solar expert Lisa Miller on Monday.

As well as discussing solar, Ms Miller also talked about energy savings generally. She highlighted the fact that a lot of savings people can make in their bills doesn’t come from technology, but from how they use their appliances and power.

“Never underestimate your behaviour,” she said.

“20 per cent of bill savings are due to appliances that aren’t energy efficient, and 20-30 per cent is behaviour.”

She said that you should try to learn ways to make your energy use more efficient before you make the switch to solar, because then you’ll have a better idea of how much you need to power your home.

Ms Miller also recommended taking the time to educate yourself on how your electricity bill works, and to ask for more information from your power company.

She suggested learning how to check your bill carefully, as 25 per cent of electricity bills are inaccurate – “and you can guess who those inaccuracies favour,” she said.

“We took a straw poll in the office and about a quarter of staff had inaccurate bills. One woman’s bill had charged her an extra $80.”

Moving on, Ms Miller talked about one good reason to switch to solar.

It won’t be news to many that electricity costs have risen 114 per cent in the past seven years, mostly due to companies like Transgrid and Ausgrid that own the poles and wires intentionally making unnecessary repairs to their infrastructure and passing the money onto consumers.

Electricity bills are only predicted to rise even further in the coming decades, partly driven by more and more people moving to solar and removing themselves from the national grid – which means that electricity costs for the grid will have to be shared by more people, Ms Miller said.

Sixteen per cent of houses in Australia have solar panels, the highest per capita rate in the world.