Power Equipment Australasia

XXXX OPINION HOW CAN YOU SAVE ON THIS CHARGE? • Do not use the kettle and the toaster at the same time, or whatever big machines you use. • Stagger the start of heaters and big machinery over 30 minutes or more to reduce peaks. • Install soft starts on machines so they don’t peak as much. • Install solar and do start ups when the sun is up. • Install Power Factor Correction equipment (a whole other topic, but it works with an 18 months payback usually). • Install a battery system and program it to trim peaks. Payback is often 18 months. You could even install a battery without solar, and charge it from off peak power at 2am. Dear Reader, if you power bill is keeping you awake, send a copy to me via the Editor. We will graph your interval data and see what we can do, for zero cost to save you money. Monitor your electricity. Not once a month but daily. My favourite gadget cost me about $500 installed including a lifetime 4G data plan. It is a Solar Analytics meter that measures not just my solar system, grid export, but where it’s using the power. It is a revenue grade meter. So if ever I want to argue the bill, I have my own data. The latest software upgrade makes the whole deal worthwhile. The system will now look at my exact consumption pattern, every 15 minutes for the past six months. It then looks at all the deals available in the market, shows me how much I did pay and the three best deals available. They take no commission, they don’t even sell. You can call up the better supplier, change account, and do it all again every three months, finding the best available deal just from your app. MAKE YOUR OWN ENERGY Instead of being at the mercy of market prices, why not make your own? This way you lock in prices at a good price today, and for at lest ten years, you pay no more. I’m talking about installing a commercial solar system. Not a household system, but a serious business system. While the size of a household system is around 6kW, I’m talking about much larger systems. With all the regulations there are two pricing sweet spots. A 39kW system, which is just a big house system and a 99.9kW system which needs an Electrical Engineer’s sign-off. You only want to deal with solar companies who insist on looking at 12 months of raw meter data, analyse the consumption patters and determine the optimal system size for your needs. James from Taylor Energy in Brisbane shared with me some data from a new system he is installing for a German-owned manufacturing business. The ideal size system turns out to be 359 kilowatts (about 700 large commercial panels). It will cost them half a million, give them a return of 30.1 per cent on their investment and pay for itself in just under four years, less than halfway through the 10-year system warranty. They will be producing their own electricity at 6 cents per kWh, compared to the average of 30.5 cents they are paying now. In addition, they will claim over $200k in government rebates. The price of polysilicon, the raw material for solar panels has stabilized, and so prices will steady, perhaps even drop a little. That is good news for buying solar in 2023. Need to know more? Email the Editor and I will try to help, or at least set you in the right direction. Gary Fooks is chair of the Blue-Sky Alliance. Gary has been working on small engine emissions standards since 2005 and was announced as the Environment Minister’s Clean Air Champion in 2015. 20 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MARCH - APRIL 2023

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