Renewable energy: What is the right mix for your home?

With ever-increasing home renewable energy options, a free online calculator aims to identify the best mix for you.

The world of renewable energy options for your home is rapidly expanding, but it is also getting more complex.

We know Australian households love rooftop solar PV but what about other technologies? Electric hot water, heat pumps, batteries and smart electric vehicle (EV) chargers are now in the mix.

Solar Analytics, supported by $929,000 ARENA funding is developing a free online calculator tool to help navigate the renewable energy waters.

Called Solar Maximiser, the tool aims to help customers understand the potential cost and benefits of various energy offerings.

Origin EV charging with customer feature image
Smart EV chargers are among the technologies the Solar Maximiser tool will take into account

Armed with that knowledge, Solar Maximiser will help consumers make better investment decisions. It will also help them find potential suppliers and installers of recommended devices.

The $2.7 million project also includes software to support active control of smart heat pump hot water systems. This means a household’s hot water generation and storage system could be adjusted in real time to align with periods of low cost, high renewable energy generation.

All told, the project is targeting 1,000 hot water systems and 1MW of flexible demand capacity.

To put that in context, a recent ARENA-commissioned report into the role of domestic hot water in flexible demand said:

“Domestic hot water use is responsible for around a fifth of Australian residential greenhouse gas emissions and a quarter of household energy use.”

Electrifying and enabling flexibility with this load could assist with wider grid decarbonisation.

Which renewable energy resources are right for you?

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the Solar Maximiser tool aims to assist users in understanding which energy resources can provide the greatest benefits on their energy bills.

“Solar Analytics’ free tool will help households identify which resources work best for their homes, whether that is solar PV, electric hot water or batteries,”

“Increasing people’s knowledge of what is possible at their homes and connecting them with potential suppliers for quotes and installations is a step in the right direction to ensure no one is left behind in our energy transition,” Mr Miller said.

Solar Analytics’ CEO, Stefan Jarnason said: “Solar Maximiser will show you whether now is a good time to get rooftop solar, the optimal amount of solar, whether a solar battery is right for you, or if you should get an energy-efficient hot water heat pump.”

ARENA and your home

There are many approaches to reducing the energy needs of your home. For instance, reducing draughts and improving heat insulation are among the simplest practical measures you can take.

ARENA also supports a wide range of renewable energy technologies for the home.

From studies to research and development, from trials to helping deploy new systems, recent programs include: