Carolyn Wilkes and her daughters Sorcha (left) and Megan run their family home from a stand-alone solar power system.
Carolyn Wilkes and her daughters Sorcha (left) and Megan run their family home from a stand-alone solar power system.

Solar powers four generations

FOUR generations of family living off a stand-alone solar power system on their Stock Yard Creek property wouldn’t live any other way.

Carolyn Wilkes and her family live on her parents rural property and are firm supporters of Earth Hour and protecting the environment.

“This year’s theme – Earth Hour, every hour – is something that we all live by every day,” Ms Wilkes said.

Due to their location Ms Wilkes said the cost of connecting to the grid was exorbitant, compared with the benefits that come from solar power.

“It was actually cheaper to set up a stand-alone system that generates electricity from panels on the roof and stores that energy in batteries,” she said.

“Clearing a corridor through the bush for a power connection would have caused unacceptable environmental damage and on the plus side, we don’t get electricity bills,” she said.

But choosing the stand-alone solar electric option did come with a cost.

“Because our system has a limited capacity we have to be very careful not to waste any power,” she said.

The Wilkes family said they have most of the appliances found in an average home. The family said, however, they had to be extra vigilant when it comes to disconnecting appliances not in use.

“As a parent of teenage daughters, having another reason to limit access to TV and internet is not a bad thing,” she said.

It is estimated that Ms Wilkes and her daughters use between three and four kilowatts of electricity hours per day, compared with the typical household in NSW which uses about 20 kilowatt hours per day over a year.

Ms Wilkes said the family would be using candlelight during Earth Hour, which would be a novelty as they were fortunate enough not to have blackouts.

“While we know that our celebration of Earth Hour won’t change the demand for power from the grid, it is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the positive aspects of the habits we follow,” Ms Wilkes said.

Earth Hour occurs on Saturday and starts at 8.30pm. To celebrate Earth Hour, everyone is being asked to turn off all non-essential lights and appliances for the hour.



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