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Last updated: August 2016

Solar products and information to enhance lifestyle and reduce energy use, in Perth and regional W.A.

Since life on Earth began, the Sun has been the controlling factor for every natural function that permits life to exist. Utilising that vast energy source is the most fundamentally basic way to improve/provide a more natural quality of life. Though ideal in most instances, solar is not equally functional for everyone, due to location/surroundings and their willingness to comply with one fixed constant, the annual (cyclical/variable) path of the Sun! Due to which, unfortunately about half of the solar devices installed (to date) do not function to the efficiency they could/should.


Solar Option is a strong advocate for solar energy, with the conviction that maximum efficiency should always be the prime objective (or you will lessen its functionality). Always committed to provide and install the most efficient solar option available for the job, at a very competitive price. If solar is not suitable/practical, will advise most appropriate alternative.

Solar Option is primarily focused on passive sun control (SUNGOLA), and assessing/presenting the solar resource available at your site (SACI).

Whether heading; toward Summer when any increase to external shade can prevent excess heat entering the home, OR toward Winter when entry of sunlight can provide heating and natural light directly into the home. A SUNGOLA can passively achieve both.

If considering solar for either water heating or producing electricity, how can you tell if efficiency may be effected by objects (trees/structures) that can cast shadows across the device, reducing efficiency/output. A SACI assessment can provide details.

These pages also include other information that can indicate how to gain maximum 'SOLAR' benefit.




Solar energy products are some of very few lifestyle purchases that can not only pay for itself, but may also give a Return On Investment (ROI), with reduced ongoing expenditure. BUT, only if done correctly.

Though the main product - SUNGOLA - is hard to quantify in relation to an ROI, it does provide benefits throughout the year, that other shade devices can not match. Maximum shade in Summer reduces heat entering the home, therefore reducing the load on air conditioning cooling. Plus, minimum shade in Winter permits more heat and light into the home, reducing both of those costs. Other fixed shade devices only give either a Summer OR Winter benefit.

The other product - SACI - is aimed at giving visual/graphical (and written) evidence of the amount of solar energy available for any solar  energy device at a specific location (position on the building). It shows all items that may shade the device throughout the year, and to what extent. Giving a clearer indication of daily/annual efficiency.

Solar device installations done incorrectly would be both an initially expensive purchase and ongoing cost for the (possibly reduced) life of the product, with little/no prospect of any ROI.

The (relative) movement of the sun is consistent year after year, and can be fully utilised efficiently through correct design and installation.

When you consider 'going solar' functionality must always override aesthetics, if you expect any ROI. The three crucial factors for maximum efficiency are; good solar access, correct orientation, correct tilt angle (in order of importance), two out of three is not good enough.

Suggestions by some suppliers/installers are primarily to save them cost/time/effort, rather than maximise efficiency for the purchaser (which would have provided cost savings throughout the life of the system). Many suppliers give enough information to gain a sale, and do not stress what may be required to obtain maximum efficiency (and ROI) at the risk of losing that sale. When done correctly, any additional initial cost may quickly be absorbed (and exceeded) through the efficiency gained.

If you are prepared to commit to solar energy, you should rightfully expect it to perform at maximum efficiency. If the system does not function as you had been led to expect, it is likely that your displeasure would be passed to anyone who mentions solar, and may deter you from future consideration of a solar product. This could instill a wrong impression of the benefit/ability of solar, and be detrimental to those that are committed to the industry for the long term (not just short term profit).

Apart from all solar products having a common dependency on the sun for functionality, each product type has a different role to fill, and therefore operate at maximum efficiency under different setup parameters. The three main types are; passive sun control, water/air heating, and PV (electricity generation), listed in order of efficient conversion/control of solar energy, though PV gets the majority of focus as electricity bills are a very regular reminder of ongoing cost.

Though water/air heating panels and PV panels look similar, they do not share the same operational parameters, nor should they be installed in an identical manner. Far from it, water/air heating is required more so in Winter (less in Summer), whereas PV benefits most from an 'overall annual total' input (highest in Summer), therefore the installation parameters are quite different for each.

Only correct installation will give an assured/prolonged return on investment, through efficiency and system longevity.

There may also be a small lifestyle change required to obtain maximum efficiency and ROI, as solar is not yet a 100% 24/7 solution on its own. Energy reduction practices are required for PV systems (throughout the year), and time of use considerations required for hot water systems (during colder months).

As battery storage becomes more 'main stream' and lower cost, 'stand alone' systems will increasingly move toward a 24/7 solution, free from the electricity grid.




Solar Option reserves the right to decline any sale/installation where it is obvious the product will be prevented from functioning efficiently, due to problems with location, or imposed constraints by the architect, developer or home owner. In which case we may be able to direct you to others that may not be as ethical.

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 Products and Information!

Products:

Summer shade . Winter shade
SUN•GOLA
Passive Sun Control.
Designed to provide both maximum shade in the hotter months and permit maximum sun penetration during the colder months.
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Solar Access Composite Image (SACI).

 
Independent assessment of solar access at your location, for the whole year. Indicating any shade reduction to SWH or PV solar panels/collectors.
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Debris Excluding Guttering.
Though not a solar product we have developed a rain water system that prevents leaf/debris build up on roofs. Not only preventing flooding into the roof cavity, but also eliminating a fuel source during bushfire.
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Information:

Why consider solar energy?
Expense or investment, your choice.
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Solar Water Heaters - Maximise Return On Investment (ROI).
Will only happen if you install to match hot water usage, rather than aesthetics.

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Passive Sun Control.
How fixed shade elements function (year around), and making your own.
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Greenhouse Gas calculator.
Calculate the greenhouse gas emissions for your household.
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Orientation is crucial for a passive solar house to function correctly, primarily dictated by the block.
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Photo-voltaic panel basics.
Description of PV panels/arrays, that may help to clarify their installation/function.
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