Simon’s epic solar journey to self-sufficiency
Simon, an engineer at Redback Technologies and his wife have been living and raising a family in suburban Brisbane for over a decade. Due to a growing awareness of climate change, they decided to turn to renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their self-sufficiency as much as possible, whilst maintaining their family’s quality of life.
A beneficial side-effect of Simon reducing his carbon footprint with solar power was the potential to save money on his power bills through improved energy efficiency. He and his family were delighted with what they were able to do by installing solar panels and a Redback Technologies battery.
What began as a relatively simple solar journey, became an ongoing project to be completely self-sufficient.
So how did he do it?
10 years ago, Simon installed rooftop solar – a standard 1.5kw grid-tied system, meaning that the panels are reliant on being connected to the electricity grid to work. At the time, their feed-in tariff was locked in at 40 cents a kilowatt hour – a decent amount which meant they frequently received zero-dollar power bills.
Fast-forward a few years – the installation of a pool, an expanding family and the purchase of a second-hand Tesla EV saw Simon decide to upgrade his existing solar system to include more panels. But most importantly, this expansion also included a Redback Technologies Smart Hybrid System, a DC coupled unit with 14.2kWh of storage.
“The beauty of the Redback hybrid solar battery storage unit is that it’s DC coupled. This means we don’t have to rely on the grid being operational for us to use the solar generated by our panels,” says Simon.
Because of this, he and his family are protected from blackouts, even if the grid is down for a few days. His Redback system allows the battery to recharge whenever the sun is shining, even if temporarily disconnected from the grid, providing self-sufficiency for his home.
When asked about his system, Simon couldn’t be happier.
“I’m really impressed with how well it’s all been going. On a sunny day I can charge our Electric Vehicle (EV) and the house battery at the same time whilst importing nothing overnight. Plus, the Redback system also works perfectly with my existing inverter.”
Reducing your footprint doesn’t just stop with solar
Simon and his wife went even further to improve their self-sufficiency by replacing their gas burners with an energy-saving induction cooktop. The addition of a pool blanket and a pool heat pump that runs solely on the energy from the rooftop solar panels has meant his family can get the most out of the pool without impacting on their carbon footprint.
On a sunny day, particularly in summer, Simon says his home battery is fully charged by 9am and his system then takes advantage of his energy provider’s Feed-In Tariffs by exporting excess solar to the grid for the remainder of the day.
Although he has the advantage of prior knowledge as a Redback Technologies engineer, he has rapidly expanded his knowledge of all things solar. This includes tweaks and apps that have helped him maximise his monitoring and savings.
“There are quite a few EV owners who use special chargers or apps (like I am) to regulate the charger so that it only uses the excess solar energy you are generating. Using technology along with common sense has enabled us to reduce our footprint. We are thrilled with the fact that we are using clean energy from the sun and don’t have to import fossil fuel generated electricity from the grid.”