Top 10 solar tips to save you more money
So you've made the smart decision to invest in a solar system and now you're ready to maximise the value you're getting from it. Here are 10 tips to get the most out of your solar system.
1. Use your appliances during the day
This might sound like an obvious tip, but many people don’t take full advantage of daylight hours. By putting your heavy usage appliances like the dishwasher, dryer and washing machine on during the day, you can use the power your solar panels are producing. Make the most of this time as it is free energy!
Bonus tip! When loading the dishwasher of an evening, don’t turn it on until the next morning when the sun is shining.
2. Stagger your consumption
Try staggering your usage throughout the day. For example, put the washing machine on at 11am, then the dryer at 12pm. This prevents you from using more electricity than your panels are generating, which would result in your home drawing electricity from the grid and adding to that pesky bill.
3. Heat/cool your home in the afternoon
By heating or cooling your home in the last few hours of daylight, you can bring your home to a comfortable temperate using free solar power. You can then turn your heater/air conditioner down or even off in the evening to avoid the evening peak energy rate.
4. Check for shade and debris
Keep an eye out for any potential shading issues, cut back any trees, and remove any debris on your solar panels. Remember, shade will impact the systems performance.
5. Get your panels cleaned
Dirt, dust and bird droppings can get in the way of your savings. Anything that obstructs your solar panels will result in lower production of your system, which then reduces your savings on your electricity bill.
Getting on your roof and cleaning your panels yourself can be difficult and dangerous, so try spraying your panels from the ground with a hose if possible. Otherwise there are professional panel cleaning services you can use.
6. Use energy efficient appliances
Swap your lights for LEDs and upgrade to energy efficient appliances to lower your energy consumption at night and get that bill as low as you can!
7. Shop around for a better rate
While solar generally reduces your need to buy electricity from the grid, you will still be billed a ‘supply charge’ from your energy retailer for providing power to your property. By getting a lower supply charge, you can reduce your bill even more. Also look out for a good solar feed-in tariff to offset your bill further.
8. Add a battery
With a battery, you can store the excess solar power your solar system generates during the day to use later on when the sun goes down. This means you could use solar power day and night.
If you're exporting approximately 12kWh (on average) a day back into the grid, adding a battery is likely to help you make the most of your system. A battery can also offer you protection from blackouts.
9. Get a hot water heat pump
Hot water heat pumps use up to 75% less energy than a conventional electric hot water system and can run on solar power. In this way, they work similarly to a battery, storing your excess solar energy in the form of hot water and potentially reducing your running costs to only a few cents a day.
10. Monitor your system and usage
Make sure your solar system is operating correctly and learn how your system performs through monitoring. Most inverters will have an app which shows you your system's solar generation. You can also get your energy usage from your energy distributor. For Powercor customers, you can monitor your usage and solar export through ‘ ’. This gives you a good insight about your usage habits and how your solar performs throughout the year.