Daniel Spiteri lives in a three-bedroom home in the Newcastle suburb of Merewether, NSW, with his wife Jackie and their daughter. The family invested in a 6.6-kilowatt solar power system including 22 panels and a 5-kilowatt inverter, installed in February.
When the time came to commit to solar, the decision was relatively quick for Mr Spiteri who had done his homework before ringing around for quotes and advice.
“Some of the companies I called, the answers they were giving me made it clear they had no idea what they’re talking about,” Mr Spiteri said.
“You would ask a couple of technical questions and they wouldn’t have an answer ready to give you.
“I sat down with sales consultant Oli McKay and within half an hour I knew One Power was the company we wanted to deal with, just by the way he was talking.
“He was able to answer all of my questions and had a technical understanding that the others didn’t.”
One Power wasn’t the cheapest option, but Mr Spiteri said the quality of the solar panels and the level of technical support gave him the confidence to commit.
“I had done my research and I heard nothing but dramas with the cheaper systems that are like $3500-$4000,” he said.
“They come and put it on, the company shuts down and you can’t ring and find out what’s going on because they’ve disappeared.
“Oli from One Power was only coming around for a quote, but I made the call on the spot. I thought, ‘This is it, this is the company’.”
Mr Spiteri said the installation was completed in a day and was impressed by both the standard of the workmanship and the final clean up.
“I was concerned that being an older home, disturbing the roof may have caused a leak or two, but they showed me how they remove the tiles, use brackets and put the tiles back in place,” he said.
“I’m a tradesman as well so I got up there and had a look. There was no mess, everything was done. I was happy with it all.”
The family had been forking out around $400 per quarter for electricity before going solar and have already recouped almost $300 in the two-and-a-half months since their system was installed.
“It’s unbelievable,” Mr Spiteri said. “I’m filthy that we haven’t had this for years!”
While some of the credit for those savings goes to the solar system, Mr Spiteri said the education he received during the process has changed the way they use power. Mr Spiteri used a tracking app which allows the family to monitor their power usage in real-time and adjust their habits as needed.
“Everything has timers on it so we can set things to go during the day when the power’s free,” he said.
“I set my dishwasher at 10am, the washing machine goes on at 12.30pm and the air-conditioner goes on at 3pm.
“We try to cook before the sun goes down so we’re basically getting free power all day.
“You can actually see when you’re paying for power and not paying for power. It’s insane.
“It just makes you stop and think, do I need to turn this on now or can I do it at another time in the day?”
Money wasn’t the Spiteri’s only motivation for going solar — the system forms part of a wider effort to reduce their environmental footprint.
“We run compost, we’ve got chickens and we produce our own honey,” Mr Spiteri said.
“In terms of rubbish, we’re down to one bag a week, if that.”
And for anyone thinking about going solar, Mr Spiteri has some choice advice.
“Educate yourself first so that you have the knowledge that you’re not forking out for a crap system,” he said.
“Once you have that confidence, it’s easy to go ahead.
“I’ve been working in the mines since I was 15 years old, so I’m a coal guy but I’m 100% sold on solar.
“I’ve never been so confident with a product in my life, I’m so happy with it.”