How you can save $2,000 when going Solar

Thinking of buying a solar power system to kill your electricity bill?

Then this one simple action could shave a whole kW off the size of solar system that you need to buy to get that magical zero dollar electricity bill.

What am I dithering on about? Bear with me for about 3 paragraphs..

The cost of a good quality solar system of 1.5kW capacity is currently hovering around $3,000 after rebates. For every kW you add to your system, you’ll pay about another $2,000 per extra kW. So a 2kW system will cost about $5,000, a 3kW system about $7000 etc.

If you use 1kW (kiloWatt) of power for one hour, you have used 1kWh (kilowatt-hour) of electricity (about $0.25 worth)

The average aussie home uses 18kwh per day.

A 1 kW solar power system will generate about 4kwh per day. So the average Aussie home needs a 4.5kW solar system to offset all its electricity use (18 divided by 4 = 4.5).

So if you can reduce your electricity bill by 4 kWh per day, you are reducing the cost of your ideal solar system by $2,000.

I just got my electricity bill through today, and happily I saw that my daily usage had dropped about 4kWh per day. Yippee! (see picture for proof)

electricity bill showing 4kwh per day drop

What was the cause of this drop? Well, I finally convinced my wife that we should wash the clothes in cold water. (We have 3 kids, so do a fair bit of clothes washing.)

A lot of people seem to think that washing in cold water using “Cold Power” detergent or similar is somehow going back to the dark ages. My wife used to think the same. Then one weekend she went to Melbourne for a Girls’ Weekend, and I did all the washing on the cold cycle. About 3 days after she got back I asked her if the clothes were any different, or ┬ánot washed properly or smelly etc. She couldn’t tell the difference. Since then she’s been a convert!

Three other advantages of washing cold (apart from huge electricity savings):

  • No ruined clothes through shrinkage.
  • Shorter wash cycles (like half the time)
  • Less fading / longer lasting clothes.

Occasionally, after the kids have been mud wrestling, followed by dragging each other through raspberry bushes, we have to do a hot wash with a bit of super strength Vanish thrown in, but it is very rare. “Cold Power” gets rid of almost every thing else stain-wise.

So give it a go! Trust me – the world will not end if you wash your clothes in cold water.

And if you are interested in how to choose a washing machine that is cold wash compatible (not all are) then check out the link for a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago that goes into great detail.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

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