Dr Paul Sidwell became yet another Australian resident to seek the highly popular solar panel rebate this Year. “My main objective was to make a highly visible statement to my neighborhood that I was prepared to invest in a better future, and successfully encourage others to do the same”.

On the issue of climate change, Dr Sidwell believes there will eventually be a significant impact felt here in Australia. “…We already live with climatic consequences such as water shortages, damage to buildings through loss of ground moisture, and the changing seasonal effects on things such as food production, hay fever and wildlife.

Dr Sidwell does not feel that climate can be stopped anytime soon, “mankind will have to adopt to a new climate, but its severity could be diminished. The effects will vary from place to place, from moderate to extreme. We need to apply precautionary principles, just as we take out insurance in our everyday lives”.

Concerning green power, Dr Sidwell has decided that option was not a suitable choice “I don’t buy green power, because in the ACT it is largely hydro, which I believe is defiantly not ‘green’. I have seen the devastating environmental effects of hydro (e.g. diverting hundreds of little streams in the alpine park area by the snow scheme has devastated the park environments, and the diversion of water inland has ruined the snowy river and salivated the inland) which has motivated me to adopt solar.

The Sidwell residence uses around 1000 kW hours of electricity per Month which accounts for heating, hot water and cooking for six (6) people.

Generally speaking the grid solar system has performed to Dr Sidwell’s satisfaction. “…my only gripe is that when there is partial overshadowing of the panels the output drops disproportionately, for example, if one panel out of six is shaded, output drops from maybe 700 watts to 150 watts”. This is due to the fact that solar panel performance drops significantly if when even a small area of panels becomes shaded. Amorphous solar modules are shade tolerant however its worth noting here that it would be most desirable to install solar modules on a roof which has no shading issues.

The Sidwell grid solar panel installation has generated significant interest from their neighbors nearby. “…within a couple of Months our next door neighbors installed a 1kW system, and another family a street away installed a 4kW system.

The Sidwell family have raised their awareness to their energy consumption after having their solar power system installed “…we have turned down our heating thermostat and actually removed the heater from the bathroom, and fitted a solar water heater to boost our electric storage heater”.

The Sidwell family would install a new solar panel grid system if they ever moved into another house with the idea of implementing a better layout/design.