Tips to make the most out of your solar PV system
With energy bills continuing to rise, and a new awareness we have for the environment, it’s more important than ever to be energy efficient, in order to enjoy lower bills and do our bit for the planet. Here are a number of ways you can make your bills cheaper with, or without a solar PV system!
Switch usage times
When possible, use appliances during the day. If you have a slow cooker, put on your evening meal during the day instead of cooking in the evening, that way your cooking will be powered by your solar energy! In addition, slow cookers are low energy and only use 0.7 kilowatts.
There are lots of different recipes you can try out in the slow cooker and you might find your recipes will have much more flavour, too. You can also save money by buying cheaper cuts of meat as they will be more tender being cooked in a slow cooker! As well as saving money, you will save a lot more time for other household chores… or you could just relax with a glass of wine instead!
Run one major appliance at a time!
As a solar PV owner, you will never want to draw energy from the grid in the day! Although you may rush to put on all of your appliances to make the most of your free electricity, make sure you only turn on one major appliance at a time to ensure that you don’t use more energy than you are generating.
Refer to this list of energy-hungry appliances for your reference (taken from thisismoney.co.uk).
Use your monitoring platform to see when you are generating energy
If you have a SolarEdge system, you can use the monitoring portal to see what you are generating and at what times. You can also identify any shading that may be affecting your panels at certain times of the day and therefore made judgements at when is the best time of day to run your appliances.
The SolarEdge monitoring portal also has a weather area to check the weather for the coming week so if there’s an extra bright, sunny day coming up, save your washing until then and then hang your clothes on the line to dry! Minimise your consumption from the grid in the evenings for maximum savings.
If your system was installed a number of years ago, you can upgrade your system to SolarEdge with Solar Plants, and benefit from increased generation, as well as enjoying exclusive access to the SolarEdge monitoring portal.
Charging and standby
Do you charge your phone/tablet etc. when you go to bed? Do you have electrical items continually on standby? If so, are you aware of how much these are costing you to run? The list below from The Guardian highlights these appliances and the cost to run/have on standby – you may be surprised at the results! The answer is simple, charge appliances in the daytime using your free solar energy, and turn items off at the socket that are usually on standby overnight.
Annual energy usage while on standby:
Printer (Laser) – £18.26
Set-top (Satellite) – £18.26
Amplifier – £12.18
Compact Hi-Fi – £12.18
iPad charger – £12.18
Nintendo Wii – £12.18
Set-top box (Freeview) – £7.31
Alarm Clock – £6.09
Microsoft Xbox 360 – £6.09
Modem – £6.09
Sony PlayStation 3 – £6.09
Air freshener plug-in – £4.87
CD player / Tuner – £4.87
Television (Plasma) – £4.87
Video Player – £4.87
Inkjet printer – £4.26
Desktop PC – £3.65
Nintendo DS – £3.65
Oven (Electric) – £3.65
Microwave – £3.04
Television (CRT & LCD) – £3.04
Mobile phone charger – £2.44
PC monitor (CRT) – £2.44
Electric toothbrush – £1.22
Childs night light – £0.73
Maximise your self-consumption with battery storage
Lithium-ion battery storage has exploded onto the solar scene, with major brands like Tesla and LG leading the way with their powerful battery technology.
A battery works by storing unused solar generation for use when the sun isn’t shining, meaning that you can make even more savings on energy bills while not affecting your Feed-In Tariff payments.
If you are out during the day or indeed exporting more than you are using, then a battery storage system may be of benefit. There are many different types and sizes of battery storage systems available, our friendly energy advisers can recommend a battery best suited to your lifestyle, energy consumption and budget.
Have an immersion tank? Use your unused energy to heat your hot water
If you have an immersion option in your hot water cylinder, then it may be possible to divert any unused electricity to heat your water.
An immersion controller is a fully automated intelligent device, which connects wirelessly to your existing immersion heater. Using clever software, it modulates the current to your immersion element to match your home’s demand and PV generation, delivering maximum power to the heater and minimum power to the grid.
In a household with solar generating a 2 kWh surplus, just 2.5 hours is needed to raise a 100ltr tank temperature for 20C to 60C giving a saving of approx £0.50 per day based on average energy prices.
Maintenance and cleaning
Solar panels are generally low maintenance and a heavy rain shower should give them a good clean and get rid of any dirt. However, sometimes lichen and moss can grow on panels and mess from birds, which can be a bit more stubborn, causing shading for the panels. If your panels are looking like they need a bit of a clean, most window cleaners will now clean your solar panels, or if you can access your panels yourself you may be able to give them a hose down. Remember that professionals are used to working at heights and not to put yourself in any danger attempting to clean your panels.
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