How to use solar energy to maximise your savings
Solar energy can save you a lot of money… but not if you don’t use the energy you produce to maximum benefit. It’s not as simple as placing solar panels on your roof and watching your energy bill drop. It comes down to looking at how you use energy in your household and adopting a smart approach to save you money.
It starts with the right system
Nicola Haslegrave, the Grand Group Australia Sales and Marketing Manager, has helped hundreds of our customers unlock the benefits of solar.
And something she sees so often is customers who don’t understand that solar is an investment, not just a band-aid solution:
“So many people think that if they buy an off-the-shelf 3kW solar system, they will immediately see their energy bills drop… but if that person has an average electricity bill of $900/quarter, they certainly won’t see the impact they are probably hoping for on their bill.”
It really is a case of tailoring the system to the energy needs of the household. Choosing a cheap system based on price will fail to deliver the results you need in the long-term… and that is savings on your energy bills.
For every client we work with, we go through a free assessment to determine the best system for their needs. It’s not just energy usage but also the angle and size of their roof, taking into account any trees etc that will shade the panels from the sun. Choosing the right system for you requires a completely personalised approach.
Use your solar energy while the sun is shining
You are going to see the most benefit from your solar system during the day when the sun is shining… so where possible you should try to minimise night-time usage, as that’s where the costs will start to add up.
Nicola explains that there are a few things you can do to make the most of the solar energy you are producing during the day:
“During the summer months, your solar system is likely to be generating electricity until around 7pm… if you come home from work around that time, you can set the timer on your air conditioner to turn on an hour or so before you arrive home. You will walk into a cool house… and you won’t be using electricity from the grid to do it.”
If you are home during the day you can utilise the power of the sun to run appliances like your washing machine, dryer and dishwasher. Or if you are a full-time worker – set them to a timer if possible.
It really is about making your solar system fit with your lifestyle. As Nicola explains,
“If you are someone who thinks that solar won’t work for you because you are at work during the day, there are simple shifts you can make to use solar to your advantage. And often it’s the little things that you don’t even notice… your large appliances like your fridge and freezer are a big energy suck, but during the day they will be running off the solar energy you are producing, so you will still see savings there.”
Store your excess solar energy
If you know that it is unavoidable that your household uses a lot of energy during the evening, you may want to look into installing a solar battery.
A solar battery will store any excess energy you produce during the day in your battery so you can avoid using electricity from the grid as much as possible. Nicola explains that there is a caveat to solar battery installation:
“Installing a solar battery is a bonus because you can store the excess energy you produce during the day… but you need to ensure you have the right size system to produce enough to store.
If you want to power your night-time usage as well by storing it in your battery, you need to ensure you have a system that is large enough to create sufficient energy for both your daytime and night-time usage requirements. If you are thinking about installing a solar battery, that is definitely something you should mention in the early stages of your solar assessment so your assessor can factor that into their recommendations.”
In NSW there is currently no solar battery subsidy… but it is coming. If this is something you are interested in, let us know here and we will let you know when the details of the subsidy are announced.
Take advantage of feed-in tariffs
We want to be clear that relying on feed-in tariffs alone is not a strategy that is going to maximise the savings you can make from solar energy. Gone are the days when energy companies offered high tariffs for your excess energy.
However, if you are looking for a way to supplement the savings you make from your solar energy, feed-in tariffs are ideal.
The tariffs work whereby you feed any excess energy you create beyond the needs of your household back into the grid. Depending on your energy company the tariffs will vary and we recommend you do some research to find the best rate for your situation.
Review your energy usage
We encourage all of our customers to take a holistic view of their energy usage… a smart approach to using your solar energy will go a long way to saving you money… but so will the little changes that you can make within your home.
Nicola shares her top eco-energy switches you can make in your household:
“Energy efficient light bulbs can make a big difference over the long term. Another huge one is turning off your appliances when they aren’t in use – especially overnight. I also encourage people to check that their appliances are running as efficiently as they can… so that involves things like cleaning the lint filter in your dryer.
Whether you have solar installed or not, these are all things you can do to reduce your energy bills. Combine these smaller shifts with the right solar system that you use to suit your lifestyle and you are onto a winning formula.”
We can show you how to use solar energy
Every day we talk to our customers about how to use solar energy to maximise their savings. We offer a free assessment where we can take a look at your individual situation and recommend a solution that is tailored to your household and your energy usage.