For years people have been asking us how they can reduce their power bills with solar power. The problem, of course, is that solar power is generated during the day and for many households this is impractical as they are at work during the day and hence use most of their power at night. Sure, you can set appliances to run with a timer, and you can run the base load of your house on solar power during the day, but you want more!
Solar Batteries have now solved solar’s basic dilemma by storing excess solar power, which can then be used at night. But battery storage is still more expensive than solar, which is why we recommend maximising your solar system and then support that with a small to mid sized battery storage unit. This means that minimising your electricity bill requires you to run as much as possible on solar power during the day, and then cutting back on energy usage in the evening when you are predominately running on battery power.
The key to success is to design a system that doesn’t require you to significantly change your lifestyle, and when you do need to change things, you need to make it a habit that doesn’t require much work. You want to minimise the time, effort and money spent installing and then maintaining your new energy usage setup, and then maximising the effect, which in this case means reducing your power bill as much as possible.
The most significant changes our customers are making to reduce their power usage include:
- Install LED lights throughout the house, and then turn the lights off when you are not in the room.
- Install a ‘kill switch’ that turns off everything you want with the press of one button. This is great if you are going out for the day or going to bed.
- If you use air conditioning, make sure it has a timer that can be set to run during the afternoon so that it runs on solar power, rather than you coming home to a hot house and using grid power in the evening. Furthermore, large users of power like an air conditioner are not suitable for running on battery power as they typically use far more power than the batteries are designed to handle and so you would drain the batteries in a matter of minutes.
- Similarly, if you use electric heating in winter, turn it on during the afternoon to heat up your house on solar power rather than at night when the house is already cold. It takes much less power to maintain a steady temperature than it does to heat up a cold house. Good habits such as closing doors and windows can also make a big difference.
- Change your habits – turn the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer etc. on during the day rather than in the evening. If you need a new appliance, make sure it is energy efficient and that it has a timer so you can run it during the day. Simply turning the dishwasher on when you leave for work in the morning instead of after dinner is a great example of a new habit that doesn’t require much effort and yet will significantly help reduce your evening power usage.
- Run your pool pump during the day on solar power. Many households will typically run pool pumps late at night or early in the morning. By running your pool pumps on solar power you can significantly reduce your power bill.
- Finally, see what other power you can shift from the evening to the daytime. The more you can run on solar power during the day, the smaller your battery bank needs to be. And given how much cheaper solar power is compared to grid power, it only makes sense to run as much as possible on solar power rather than the grid, especially if you have peak, should and off-peak rates because the peak rate between 2pm and 8pm is now up over 50 cents a kWh for many households.
- Change to time of use energy tariffs. Once you have installed solar power with a daily cycle battery, you will have most or all of your energy usage covered during the peak billing period of 2pm to 8pm on weekdays. Time of use billing is currently being rolled out across the Ausgrid Distribution Network and it can be a great way to save money off your bill because electricity prices are cheaper in Off Peak and Shoulder periods compared to a flat rate, which is 83% of the time. BUT (and it’s a big but), it needs to be understood that between 2pm and 8pm on weekdays you will be paying up to 52 cents a kWh for your power! This is why when you go across to time of use billing your power consumption needs to be managed. Ausgrid has confirmed that most households already use around 79% of their electricity during Shoulder and Off Peak periods, so with the addition of solar power and battery storage you can really make big cuts to your power bill.
For more information on reducing or even eliminating your power bill check out our blog post: Say Goodbye to Your Power Bill With Solar Power and Battery Storage