18 months ago Jane was paying up to $800 for electricity each quarter for her family home. When that rose to $1200 out of the blue, Jane decided enough was enough and contacted Solaray Energy to see how solar power could help.
After installing a 5kW system, Jane is now paying bills as low as $350 a quarter and couldn’t be happier! Interested to see how she did it? Read on!
Lower Power Bills Are Just A Decision Away
Like so many people in Australia today, Jane was just too busy to keep track of her power bill. Her kids would turn on the air conditioner when they came home from school and generally things were just left on without a second thought.
Bill shock is not uncommon, but many people don’t understand why a bill can increase by so much. Jane’s bill increased by a shocking 50%, which seemed to come from out of the blue.
After talking to a Solaray representative, it became apparent that Jane’s meter had recently been replaced with a new smart meter. Previously, she was charged a flat rate of 25 cents a kWh for her power. With a smart meter, her bill was broken up into Peak, Shoulder and Off-Peak as illustrated here:
Time of use billing is currently being rolled out across the Ausgrid Distribution Network and it can be a great way to save money on 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 2 pm and 8 pm on weekdays Jane is paying an eye-watering 52 cents a kWh for her 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, but of course for many households the hours between 2pm and 8pm are when a lot of electricity needs to be used as you come home from work and as kids come home from school.
Solar Power To The Rescue!
Jane has a roof that faces north-west and it is clear of shade, so it is exposed to the afternoon sun right through to sunset. Generally, any section of roof north of east or west is suitable for solar power, but in this case, north-west is ideal because solar power will be generated during most of the peak billing period. This means that between 2 pm and 8 pm, Jane can save 52 cents for every kWh that is generated by the solar system and used in the home.
Solaray installed a 5kW solar system using LG Neon 2 315W panels. These high-performance modules are the best on the market and work well in all conditions. In particular, the system performs better in lower light conditions such as in patchy shade and later in the day as seen below. This output curve shows some interesting points worth noting:
- Output for the day was 29.9kWh, well above the average daily output of 20kWh.
- Even with patchy shade from clouds, the system still outputs significant power between 3 pm and 4 pm. Good quality products now work extremely well in patchy shade.
- The maximum output at any one time is typically below the system’s rating. This is due to a number of factors including the angle of the roof, the tilt of the array and small loses in efficiency. You can expect a good quality 5kW system to output around 4.5kWs during the peak of the day.
On average, a system will output around 4 times its size. For example, a 5kW system will output around 20kWh on an average day. By using good quality products, we see that this number is a conservative guideline. Our Enphase Systems produce on average around 110% of their predicted output, confirming that with solar systems you generally get what you pay for.
By installing a solar power system to cover her usage during the peak billing period, Jane will typically only need to buy power from the grid during the Shoulder and Off-Peak billing periods. As you can see below this can make a huge difference to your power bill because of the difference in the rates that you pay for your power:
A few key points to consider for Jane’s installation:
- We installed an energy monitor that helped Jane keep an eye on how much power she was using across the day to make sure she didn’t use much power from the grid between 2 pm and 8 pm.
- Jane made a point of educating the kids – and they loved it! It became fun to reduce their power consumption and to use solar power. One of the kids even did a school assignment on it.
- In winter they have to be careful of the period from when the solar turns off at sunset up until 8 pm. Jane has already put her name down for an Enphase battery, which is due to be released this year (you can do so here).
- A 5kW system can save you up to around $500 a quarterly power bill assuming an average cost of 30 cents a kWh. Jane was able to further reduce her power bill by managing when her family uses her power. For example, they have now set the pool pumps to run with a timer during the Off-Peak billing period (before 7 am).
More and more households are now going solar to combat ‘bill shock’. A spokesperson for Ausgrid said consumer surveys had shown customers felt their ability to reduce bills increased when using a smart meter. We believe this is especially true when combined with a solar power system, giving our customers greater awareness and control of their power bills.
Mr King from Ausgrid, said: “It is completely changing the way we think about electricity and power, moving us to a world where we can decide when we want to buy our power.” Interested in finding out how you can reduce your power bills with solar power?
Give us a call on 1300 221 586 or click here for an online quote.
*This is a representation of results achieved by a selected group of Solaray customers – using real data and feedback. Your circumstances will most likely be different. Please contact us for more information.