Top 5 Tips to Save With Your Solar
Updated: Jun 25, 2019
Often we get surprised by our first electricity bill after installing solar. Shouldn't they be practically zero? Well it's not that simple... Luckily there are an increasing range of options to get more out of your solar. Some are DIY solutions, others have a small cost associated. Without further redo, your top 5 tips to save with solar:
1. Balance consumption vs generation
You can see how much electricity you’re producing at any time by checking your inverter. If you compare this with the electricity used, you’ll quickly know whether you can plug in more devices or stop using them. Keep in mind that weather can change your production levels quite rapidly.
Be conscious of the appliances you have in your home and understand constant loads and variable loads. For example your refrigerator is a reasonably constant load, whereas your washing machine or dryer use variable large loads. Choosing the time of day to run washers and dryers allow you to maximise the use of your solar.
2. Choose the right energy plan
Your electricity bill is comprised of two parts. One is your usage charge (peak & off-peak) this is determined by your consumption. Generally, your peak energy bill is your early morning and evening consumption, your off-peak is night time when you charge your hot water, hence this equals your hot water bill. The second part is your supply charge, a fixed fee for being connected to the grid. Usage charges vary from state to state and retailer to retailer, but 27c — 37c per kilowatt-hour is a fairly representative rate for most of the country in Australia. Supply charges range from 30c/day to about $1/day — again depending on location and electricity company. If you’re looking around for a possible switch of energy supplier, make sure you take into account these charges.
3. Avoid shade on your panels Check your panels regularly to ensure there is no shade covering any of them. Shade on just one panel can result in lots of panels losing power!
Trees, roof ventilators, chimneys, antennas or significant bird droppings can all be part of the reason for a loss in efficiency. If the birds are causing you trouble, normally a significant rainfall can solve this problem. If it’s summer and you don’t want to wait, you can find plenty of resources online for manual cleaning or hiring a service to help you with this.
4. Start heating or cooling your home with the last hours of sunlight.
Heating and cooling our homes is a huge part of our energy consumption. Up to 50% of our bills. Reduce the load by setting your air-conditioner or heater to come on in the late afternoon. You’ll be surprised how much cool or hot air you can retain as the fabric of your home absorbs this energy.
Reducing your consumption during peak hours is also important. Be energy wise by heating only to 20 degrees in winter and cooling to 26 degrees in summer. If you crank up the thermostat in winter or AC in summer, each degree could whack an extra 10% on your energy bill.
5. Keep your solar to power your home
Using your solar to power your home is generally always cheaper than exporting your excess solar during the day and buying power back at night. To an extent, you can do this manually by making sure you run most appliances during the day, but there are limitations. If you want to leverage your solar even more and have it run automatically, get a power diverter device. These nifty devices automatically use any excess solar you generate to power your hot water tank so you no longer have to pay for hot water bills. Hot water accounts for 25% of electricity bills on average. The beauty? Keeping your solar does not only save you money but also helps the environment.
Hope that sheds some light on the next steps to get more out of your solar. Please reach out to me on: firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or suggestions how you have been able to optimize your system!