Making sure you are getting the most from your solar system during difficult times
You don’t need us to tell you about COVID-19 – the news and social media is doing enough of that. We’re not virology experts, so anything we did say should be ignored anyway! However, we are energy experts. So, instead of spreading more panic, we will focus on what we know – how to make sure you are getting the highest savings possible with your solar panels.
Many of us will be spending a lot more time at home for the foreseeable future. This means our daytime energy usage will increase – lights on, air conditioners on, kettles on. Fortunately, this is the exact situation solar is great for! In fact, this can reduce your bill even further and save you more money. If you already have solar, this is the prime opportunity to realise the true benefits of the system.
Using energy during the day
Solar generates electricity when the sun is up. Here’s an example solar output (this is a real graph from our GM Matt’s system):
To make the most of your system, you want as much of your energy usage during this period as possible.
Normally, when you’re at work during the day, your consumption may look like this (also real usage, just shifted for effect):
During the day usage is low, but in the evening, much higher – because you turn on the AC, cook dinner, put on the dishwasher, etc. The green you “sell” to the grid (for ~10c/kWh), and the red (that isn’t overlapping the green) you “buy” from the grid (for ~26c/kWh).
If you’re careful about your usage, it can look like this:
This is the exact same usage profile, except nearly all your usage is during the day. You sell less back to the grid, but you buy a lot less, and given buying is more expensive than selling, you save money!
How much can you save?
Using our solar calculator, we can put some rough numbers to your savings:
Here’s our example person (dark blue bar in chart below):
- 8kW solar system
- $800 quarterly bill (without solar)
- 100c/day supply charge
- 26c/kWh unit charge
- 10c/kWh feed-in rate
Without any energy management, you use more energy during the night hours than during daylight hours (dark yellow bar).
- Day usage: 30%
- Night usage: 70%
- Bill: ~$370
However, you can shift your usage to more day usage (dark green bar).
- Day usage: 70%
- Night usage: 30%
- Bill: ~$200
This is with the same solar system, same total energy usage, same solar energy production – you can almost half your bill by only changing the time you use power.
However, because you’re now at home more, your usage actually increases 25% (light blue bar).
- $1000 quarterly bill (without solar)
Without any energy management – 30:70 day:night split (light yellow bar)
- Bill: ~$535
With shifted usage – 70:30 day:night split (light green bar)
- Bill: ~$315
In other words, you can use 25% more power but still get a lower bill than if you worked away from home!
Because it’s always easier to understand something with a visual:
How to save money
So how do you shift your usage to the day? Here’s an example plan:
9am: Turn on your dishwasher and washing machine. Hang outside to dry – no need to use the tumble dryer.
10am: Heat the water in your hot water tank.
12pm: Turn your AC on. Even if it’s not overly hot, using energy around midday is “free”, so it’s better to cool your house in advance of the hotter mid-afternoon hours.
4pm: Cook dinner earlier.
Solar for Beginners: https://gienergy.com.au/introduction-to-solar/
Don’t have solar? Contact us and start saving.