Solar

Avoid this Obvious Solar Mistake

Solar power provides homeowners with a fabulous source of electrical energy. Nowhere is this truer than on the Sunshine Coast, where we enjoy beautiful sunny conditions for most of the year along with a fantastic natural environment. 

This article discusses optimising your solar solution – in particular, ensuring your high-use appliances are using solar energy and not power from the grid. If you’re making this mistake, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Let’s check it out.  

Not Maximising Your Usage of Solar Production

One of the primary goals of solar installations is to ensure that you are making the most of your solar power. For solar systems (with no battery), that means using power as much as possible during the day – when the sun is shining.

We install a range of solar battery solutions, including Enphase

To maximise the benefit of your solar system, it is important to adjust your energy consumption where possible to ensure that you are using the energy you produce, rather than purchasing from your energy retailer.

Examples:

  • Run swimming pools between the house of 10am-3pm
  • Use household appliances (dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers if you must) during the day where possible

One of the largest users of power in the home is the hot water system – electric hot water systems account for approximately a quarter of your electricity bill. [SRC: energyrating.gov.au ]

To make the most of your solar, it’s essential to make sure your hot water system is heating during the day, and using solar power. If it’s heating at night, it will not be using your solar energy (unless you have a battery) and will be drawing power from the grid, causing unnecessary costs.

Part of our service is to optimise electrical configurations.. while this might sound obvious to you, but we have seen quite a few homes where this problem is happening. If you’re going to the effort of collecting solar energy, it only makes sense to maximise it!

The Solution – Install a Timer

The solution is to install a timer on your hot water system that will ensure it only operates during peak solar collection times (during the middle of the day). Having a solar system in place is a significant step, but it’s only one part of the solution. The other part is optimising your home to make the most of solar power.

Get Assistance

If you don’t know when your hot water system is heating or need help organising a timer for your hot water system, or would like further information about optimising your home or business, please contact our team.

Electricity Saving Tips for Winter

Energy is getting expensive. From July 2023, the Australian Energy Regulator confirmed prices will go up between 20 and 25 percent. If you haven’t done so already, now is a great time to become familiar with how energy is used in your home, and look at the options you have to optimise your usage – and reduce your power bills.

1. Become Familiar with Your Power Usage

We all use power, but how well do you understand your own power usage? By becoming familiar with key terms and measures, you will be able to build a better picture of how your home is performing power-wise. Here are some key points:

a. Do you know what a Kilowatt-Hour (kWh) is?. This is the measurement used to calculate your electricity usage. A kilowatt hour is 1,000 watts used for one hour.
b. Understand your average annual kWh. Compare it to the Average in QLD for a home with the same number of people living in it. The annual average for QLD is 5535 KwH (SRC: https://www.finder.com.au/how-much-energy-does-the-average-home-use), but the amount varies depending on the area and the number of people. A great option to understand how you stack up is to do the quick test at energymadeeasy.gov.au where you can learn how you perform compared to other similar-sized homes in your local area.
d. Understand how this breaks down monthly.
e. Understand how the different seasons affect your energy use.
f. Review your electricity bill and make sure you are familiar with what it means.


2. Optimise Your Energy Company

Energy companies have different deals. Depending on your needs, using the right company and the right deal can make a big difference.

a. Checkout competitors for best deals
b. Review https://www.canstarblue.com.au/electricity/cheapest-electricity-prices-qld/ for ideas and comparisons
c. Make sure you’re aware of energy discounts which may be available from time to time for items such as: paying your bill on time; paying by direct debit; receiving invoices by email; signing up online; award point programs
d. Be aware of fixed vs variable rates on energy deals


3. On-Peak & Off-Peak

Understanding the difference between on-peak and off-peak is critical to optimise your electrical bill. On-Peak means times during the day when more people use electricity. Off-Peak are times of less electrical usage. Depending on your plan, during on-peak times electricity can be more expensive, and during off-peak times, electricity can be cheaper.


4. Understand Energy Tariffs

Energy tariffs are different ways that electricity usage can be billed. Depending on your needs, using the right tariff can make a big difference to your power bill. The following are examples of tariffs in use in Australia:

a. Single Rate: You pay the same rate at all times of the day.
b. Time of Use: Time of Use tariffs charge electricity at different prices through different times of the day. This can make it cheaper for you to use power at certain times.
c. Controlled Load: When certain devices or appliances (usually, high-energy ones) are metered separately.
d. Demand: With a Demand Tariff, billing is based on how much load you put on the network during peak electrical times.


5. Solar Energy Solutions

By generating your own solar energy, you can eliminate, or minimise, the need for your power to be linked to an electricity provider giving greater control over your electricity usage and saving money in the long-term.

a. Solar plus an electric vehicle saves money on power and fuel
b. Optimise your solar use for different times of the day.

“Using their cheap solar electricity in the middle of the day when it’s being generated is one of the ways that you get the best bang for buck out of having solar panels on your roof.”

Chris Barnes, Choice (SRC: https://bit.ly/3Pl1WUe)

c. Monitor your feed-in tariff (FiT) – what you can earn back on your power bill when your solar system generates more energy than your household uses
d. Manage your solar power using smart software
e. Store power with a battery, to increase your energy independence


6. Optimise Energy Usage in the Home – Tips

a. Minimise Appliance Usage: Chris Barnes from Choice says the cheapest heater “is the one you don’t run in the first place”. For homeowners, that’s checking your insulation in the ceiling and the floor, and the thickness of your windows, and rugging up (people and animals) to stay warm in winter. (SRC: https://bit.ly/3Pl1WUe)

b. Minimse Drafts: Check your windows and doors to ensure a draft isn’t coming through. Rather than heating a room, try closing the door. In smaller rooms, this will help to warm up the room.

c. Use LEDs for Lighting: LEDs are a more economical option for lighting than traditional incandescent lights. Switch to LEDs and save. They also last much longer.

d. Utilise Quality Appliances: Paying more upfront can help you save in the long run. Quality brands last longer, are more efficient, and less likely to break down.

e. Repair Broken Appliances: In many occasions, appliances can be repaired. This saves you the trouble of upgrading to a new appliance.

f. Using the Right Appliance: e.g. A reverse-cycle AC is a more efficient option than a portable heater.

Learn More About Energy Saving Solutions With Our Team.