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Tips for Maximising Solar Energy

We’ve pulled together our top tips for maximising the benefits of Solar Energy in the home.

Below we explore how to ensure you have the right amount of electricity when you need it while enjoying maximum savings!

Understand Usage

Understanding your electricity usage will help to make good decisions to best utilise your solar power. You can easily identify where your electricity consumption is coming from through online monitoring systems.

These platforms, when used in conjunction with a smart meter, can provide real-time data of your household electricity consumption, solar production and the amount of excess solar power being exported to the grid.

Use less power

A good place to start is by reducing your overall electricity consumption to maximise the solar power being generated.

Here a few ideas to get you started:
  • Always wash clothes in cold water.
  • Use clothesline or horse rather than an electrical dryer.
  • Always turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
  • Use fans instead of air conditioners when possible.
  • Switch off appliances rather than using standby mode.
  • Disconnect your second fridge or freezer when not in use.
  • Insulate your house and plug any gaps or leaks.
  • Run your air conditioner at the recommended temperature (18-20 C)
  • Take shorter, five minute showers.
  • Cook using a microwave or slow cooker whenever possible, rather than a gas or electric stove.
  • Check the seal on your fridge door and replace if faulty.
  • Use CFL or LED lighting inside your home and sensor lights outside.

Further, be mindful why you installed solar in the first place when purchasing new appliances - always try to stick to those will high energy ratings whenever possible.

Make the most of the Sun when it’s Shining!

It makes sense to maximise your energy usage during the day when the sun is out. The position of panels on your roof will determine when most of the solar power is being generated.

North facing panels are the ideal position for generating power consistently throughout the day.

East facing panels result in most of your power generation being produced in the mornings.

West facing panels capture the afternoon sun.

Best Practice when it comes to using appliances

Once you’ve established when power generation will be at its peak each day, it makes sense to use as much of this free energy as possible during daylight hours.

Think about:
  • The most energy-intensive household items like the washing machine and dishwasher. Use only during daylight hours or use a timer so they operate while you’re at work.
  • Recharging mobile devices, laptops and other electronic gadgets during the day and unplug at night.
  • Using appliances with rechargeable batteries such as cordless kettles and vacuum cleaners - charge during the day and run off battery power at night.
  • Some high quality inverters feature energy management capabilities, meaning certain services such as your hot water or pool pump can be triggered to run when solar power is being exported to the grid. This feature maximises self-consumption and will minimises power wastage.

Use one appliance at a time

When solar generation is low it’s preferable not to have multiple appliances running at the same time. For example, on a cloudy day solar will produce say 1000w.

Using oven is about 1000w and will be covered by solar. Vacuuming or ironing at the same time might be another 1000w which will be purchased from the grid and in return, will increase your power bill.

Solar Maintenance

Solar panels work at their optimum level when they are clean and clear of shade or vegetation.

  • Panels should be cleaned from mould, dirt and bird droppings ideally every six to twelve months.
  • Ensure trees or bushes are not blocking direct access to sunlight.
  • Have a professional check your System every couple of years to keep performance at its peak.