Generating your own energy with solar saves on bills and helps reduce carbon emissions.
But are you maximising the full benefits of your solar system? Read below for a quick solar system health-check.
Use appliances during the daytime
Opting for daytime energy consumption, also called self-consumption, means you are making the most of your solar system’s power.
Most solar systems are connected to the mains power grid, so when the sun is not shining, you need to import (and pay for) energy from the grid. By making the most of the solar electricity you generate and use throughout the day, you can reduce the need to buy energy from your retailer at night.
Therefore it makes sense to use your most energy-intensive appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, during the day.
With most appliances you can schedule or delay the start of wash cycles to coincide with the sunniest part of the day. Some people load the dishwasher the night before and set the timer before they go to work so that the cycle starts in the middle of the day.
If your home is well-insulated, you can pre-cool your home in the afternoon on hot days to reduce the amount of cooling required at night.
Track your solar generation
Most solar systems come with an app on installation that you can download to your phone or other device to keep track of your system, including how much you generate versus how much you use and your feed-in payment.
The Powerpal free energy monitors backed by the Victorian Government are another great option. These apps are incredibly useful because they help you see which of your appliances are energy-hungry in realtime so you can make adjustments to save money on bills and emissions.
If you prefer not to use an app, you can also simply check your inverter at the end of each day to keep track of energy produced.
Look after your solar system
Easy to overlook, but it’s important to ensure your solar system is performing efficiently.
You should also check your energy bill and inverter (or app) regularly to see how much energy is generated and track this against expectations for your system.
Visit Solar Victoria to learn more about maintaining your solar system.
Invest in a solar battery
Battery technology is another solution to help make the most of the solar electricity generated throughout the day.
Solar batteries work by storing energy produced by your solar panels for later use, keeping excess energy at your home instead of sending it back to the grid. This means you can use solar-generated electricity at a later time to reduce bills, charge your battery at times of the day when grid electricity is cheaper, or install a system designed to provide backup during a power outage.
To make the cost of adding a battery more affordable, the Victorian Government is encouraging households to install battery systems with a Solar Battery Rebate of up to $2,950. For more information on the rebate and eligibility criteria visit Solar Victoria.
Join a Virtual Power Plant
If you own a solar battery, you may be eligible to take part in a Virtual Power Plant Program (VPP) pilot program.
An expansion of the Solar Homes solar battery rebate, the new program is designed to reduce energy costs by making the most of renewable energy from solar panels and batteries via an energy sharing network.
To see if you’re eligible, visit Solar Victoria.