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Generating Electricity vs Saving Electricity

15 June 2009 2 Comments

While putting together notes for my talks over the weekend, I noticed something interesting. The amount of electricity we saved each day by converting 10 halogen downlights to CFLs (4 kWh) is about equal to the amount of electricity we are generating each day (on average) since installing a 1 kW grid-connect solar power system.

The difference is, the 10x GU10 conversion kits and CFL lamps cost us about $120, whereas the solar power system, after government rebates ($8000) and renewable energy certificates (RECs) (~$1500), cost us $2675.

Similarly, replacing our clunky old second fridge with a chest fridge cost $140, and saves us about 2 kWh per day.

In most cases it’s way, way cheaper to reduce your power consumption than it is to generate the equivalent amount of additional power.

And that’s why people living off-grid, generating their own power, are happy to pay big bucks for super-efficient appliances like the Vestfrost range of fridges and freezers.


  • Donna said:

    Hi Darren,

    Are the Halogen lights the downlight type of ones. Or the older style ones?? Im trying very hard to save money at the moment in all areas as we want to live more simply and pay off the mortagage as quickly as possible… Our last electric bill was astronomical almost $400…

    On another note on saving money… You guys are a house hold of 5.. Would it be rude of me to ask approx how much you guys would spend a week on groceries.. this is one area that im stuggling to reduce even with growing some of our own. I know the cost of food ect has gone up but even so $170 some times does not cover all the food…

    Were on a pupil free day today, which is good,,, its been a very busy couple of weeks with school stuff so today is going to be a rest day. Take care Donna.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Donna: Yep, they’re the downlight halogens that sit flush with the ceiling, not the track-mounted ones. I was amazed at how much power they were using, and how much we’re saving now – the conversion would have a payback period of only 6-12 months for the most-used lights in your house if you’re anything like us!

    I don’t mind discussing groceries, but I’m not sure exactly how much we spend! Megan does the big buys during the week, and I tend to just do the top-ups. I reckon you could save a bit on bulk basics with a cooperative (I think they mentioned a new one on HappyEarth.com.au a while back?). Talk to you more later.