Why the future home is all-electric

The All-Electric Future Home

As our economy moves forward to ever greater use of renewable energy, what of our homes? What choices can we make to ensure our homes are greener and cheaper to run?

Solar is a great starting point. A quality rooftop solar panel system provides the infrastructure to get your home running on clean renewable energy.

Of course, once you’ve got solar, you want to make the most of it. By fully utilising your solar energy, you cut your electricity bills and carbon emissions.

The question is: what other changes can you make to ensure your home makes the most of your solar energy? And – to be practical about it – which of these changes should you start with?

On this blog:

  • Why the future home is all-electric
  • What are the biggest ‘energy culprits’ in our homes?
  • What practical steps can you take to make the move to all-electric?

Why the future home is all-electric

The days of gas being the main energy source for our homes are over. State governments across Australia are putting in place policies and rebate programs to get homes off gas and onto energy efficient electric appliances powered by solar.

In the past, gas was one of the cheapest ways of heating our homes. But – as anyone with gas heating or a gas hot water service will know – gas is no longer cheap. It’s expensive and getting more so.

On the other hand, the cost of electricity is expected to fall as more renewables come into the energy mix which powers our electricity grid.

Modelling done by the Victorian Government showed consumers could save about $700 to $1,200 each year by switching from gas to all-electric homes. That’s without solar. Add in rooftop solar and the savings are even greater.

Using gas as a fuel source is also bad for the environment. That’s because in Australia, gas is mostly extracted by hydraulic fracturing which can poison groundwater and threaten wildlife.

Ditching gas and going all-electric is a smart move for homeowners. The question is:

  • What should you do first?
  • How much will it cost – and what changes give you the fastest payback

What are the biggest ‘energy culprits’ in our homes?

Energy consumption of home appliances

To work out which changes you should make first, you need to know what the biggest energy guzzlers are in your home.

Some stats can help with this…

Fuelling our petrol cars is one of the biggest energy culprits and contributor to household emissions. Space heating and cooling is the second largest user of energy with 11 per cent of total energy use. Water heating comes in next at 8 per cent and cooking at 2 per cent.

When presented with these statistics, it’s clear which aspects of our home we need to decarbonise:

  • Our cars
  • Heating and cooling
  • Hot water systems

The good news is that there are environmentally friendly choices for our transport as well as our heating and cooling that are not only cheaper to run – they also improve the comfort, health and safety of our homes.

What practical steps can you take to make the move to all-electric?

Here’s a list of some of the technologies that will electrify your home, making it smarter, more comfortable, cheaper to run and carbon neutral.

The best thing about all these technologies is that they will run off free electricity from your solar power system – and most of them are available today!

  • Expandable, future-proof solar panel systems
  • Battery storage that allows you to be part of a smart, interconnected electricity grid
  • Electric vehicle charging using your solar energy
  • Reverse-cycle air conditioning for heating and cooling
  • Heat pump hot water systems powered by solar
  • Smart energy-efficient electric appliances that can be controlled remotely
  • Home energy management control system

Let’s look at each of these in turn:

Expandable, future-proof solar panel systems

Solar panel systems installed up until recently have been difficult to increase in size due to changing standards and compatibility issues. Five years ago, a 4kW solar panel system was the norm for households investing in solar. A year ago, it was 6.6kW. Now, it’s around 10kW – even 13kW.

What if you have an older solar system that’s on the small size? What if you’re concerned that your solar isn’t big enough provide the power you’ll need to electrify your home? What options do you have?

Fortunately, technology has moved on. Now, advanced solar systems from companies like SolarEdge provide complete future proofing for solar owners. You can start with a smaller system (e.g., 6.6kW) and then add to it with more solar panels in a few years if your electricity needs increase. It won’t matter if the panels are a different brand or a different wattage. And if you add a SolarEdge battery, you’ll be able to increase the panel capacity up to 200 percent of your inverter capacity to power both your home and your battery.

Battery storage that allows you to be part of a smart, interconnected electricity grid

There is a huge opportunity for households with a solar battery to become useful, valued suppliers of power to the electricity grid – and be rewarded for it.

It’s now recognised that upgrading the electricity grid ‘hardware’ – i.e., the poles, wires, transformers – is only part of the solution. The other part is using software to manage the two-way flow of electricity from home batteries to the grid – and vice versa. Getting the right software in place will mean that not as much ‘grid hardware’ will need to be updated. And this is good for households as it means our electricity bills won’t increase as much.

Electric vehicle charging using your solar energy

In coming years, the price of electric cars will fall as the market matures. Switching from petrol to an electric charged car, or EV, will save the typical car owner thousands of dollars every year. And, of course, if your EV can be charged at home with free solar electricity, the savings are even greater.

Modelling we’ve carried out shows that around 6kW of extra solar panels would be needed to charge a Tesla Model X for a daily commute of 100km. For a Nissan Leaf doing the same commute, you’d need around 4kW of solar panel capacity.

If you’re interested in getting the right set-up in place so you can easily add EV charging down the track, get in touch and we will be happy to advise.

Reverse-cycle air conditioning for heating and cooling

After your car, home heating and cooling is the next biggest energy culprit for many Australian households. Whilst buying an EV will cost you big bucks, switching over to an energy efficient reverse-cycle air conditioning system costs a lot less – and the payback is fast.

The cheapest, greenest way to heat and cool your home is with an efficient reverse-cycle air conditioning system, also known as a split system. And with generous government rebates to reduce the upfront cost, the outlay to get one installed is less than you may think.

We supply and install quality cost-effective reverse-cycle air conditioners, so get in touch if this is of interest.

Heat pump hot water systems powered by solar

If you’re using an older-style electric hot water system or gas hot water, switching to a heat pump hot water system will save you between $235 and $635 a year on your energy bills. And if you connect your heat pump hot water system to your rooftop solar system, the bill savings will be even greater.

Government rebates are available to reduce the purchase price of eligible heat pump hot water system. Get in touch if you’d like a quote for a heat pump hot water system and advice on rebates.

Smart energy-efficient electric appliances that can be controlled remotely

Wi-Fi enabled reverse-cycle air conditioners teamed with a smart thermostat allow you to control your home’s temperature even when you’re not there. The system even learns your schedule to program itself to save energy. This technology is starting to be embedded in all mainstream household appliances making it easier and cheaper to run appliances using your solar electricity.

Home energy management control systems

Companies like SolarEdge are developing smart home energy control systems so that all the electrical systems and appliances in your home can be managed intuitively to maximise the use of your solar power. Everything will be controlled from one app; making it easy to ensure your home runs as efficiently as possible.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out how Specialized Solar & Electrical can help you make the transition to a well-planned all-electric home, get in touch.

We are experts in solar panel technology, battery storage, hot water heat pumps, reverse-cycle air conditioning, energy management systems and more besides.

If you’re looking for the right advice to help transform your home to all-electric, talk to us today!