Maximising solar self consumption refers to adapting when you use electricity to match when your solar panels are producing energy, thus minimising the amount of solar electricity being exported to the grid.
Maximising solar self consumption gets you the most financial benefit out of your system. Here’s why:
The cost of you buying a unit of electricity (known as a kilowatt hour or kWh) from the grid is far greater than the amount that you can sell that unit of electricity produced by your solar panels back to the grid through your feed-in tariff. Like, a lot greater!
By shifting your energy usage to when your solar system is producing electricity while cutting back what you need to buy from the grid, you further reduce the payback period on your solar system,increasing your Return on Investment (ROI).
Here are some ways you can maximise your solar self consumption:
1. Change Your Usage Habits
Running your major appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine and air conditioner at the middle of the day when your solar system is being most productive is a really effective way to use more of the energy you produce.
Even if you’re not home during the middle of the day there’s nothing stopping you from setting up timers on your appliance so they start up on their own when you want them to.
2. Cool or Warm Your Home Slowly
Instead of blasting your air conditioner when you get home from work and the sun is starting to set, have it set to a timer to gently cool your home over a couple of hours before you get home. Also, it’s much nicer to return to a cool home than a hotbox!
The same goes for your heater if you have electric heating, such as a reverse cycle air conditioner.
3. Get a Solar Battery
When your solar system is connected to a battery, excess electricity you’re not using to power your home during the day is automatically fed into your battery to be stored for use later. When the battery is full, only then will excess solar electricity be exported to the grid.
This means you can tap into the power stored in your battery at times when your solar system isn’t producing enough power to meet your usage, like a cloudy afternoon, or at night when your solar panels aren’t working at all!