Grid Feed System with Net Metering
In NSW, customers who have missed out on the earlier Solar Bonus Scheme (which paid $0.60/kWh for all power generated) will be best using a net meter.
Depending on your energy provider, you will only receive between $0.00 and $0.20/kWh for any power that you do not use and export to the grid. In many other States you may receive $0.20/kWh for exported power, which is less than you pay for any power consumed, about $0.30/kWh.
If you are net metering, you can obtain maximum benefit from your solar system by shifting your power usage to sunlight hours as much as possible. This will save you about $0.30/kWh off your power bill for any power used.
The brighter the sun, the more solar power system produces. On a sunny day a 1.5kW solar system will produce around 1000W between 10am and 2pm. A few hundred Watts should also be produced during sunlight hours outside of this peak period.
The general idea is to run as many of your electrical loads during the day and large loads should be run during peak sun hours. Large loads include air conditioners, electric heaters, coolers, ovens and stoves, pool pumps, vacuum cleaners, iron, power tools, dishwashers and clothes dryers.
The fridge and freezer is a fairly small load (200 – 300W), however, in summer it can be running 50% of the time. If you want to cool down a carton of drinks or freeze some items, put them in the frig/freezer around 9 to 10am. You don't want to run the fig/freezer flat out overnight! Another tip to save power is to keep your fridge full rather than half empty. This helps to retain the ‘cool' when you open the door.
Generally speaking, electric ovens and hotplates use a lot of power eg 1000 – 2000 Watts per element and 2500 – 4000 Watts for the oven, so try and use these during peak sun hours. So bake your cake around midday if possible! Slow cookers (crock pots) only use about 300 Watts – so cooking that roast in a slow cooker can save you perhaps as much as $1 to $3.00 a meal. Cooking that roast slowly in a large electric oven doesn't give you this saving because the large Wattage element is either on or off. Rice cookers and bread makers also only use 300 – 450 Watts so this is an economical way to cook these foods. Large ovens are expensive to purchase and are often a waste of ‘power and space', being originally designed with a large family in mind. Having a new kitchen designed, or renovating? Consider i) getting a much smaller counter top oven that has a 15 – 20 litre glass ‘bowl' as the oven, with the element in the lid. These use only 1200 Watts and they are large enough for a 2 – 3 kilo chicken or roast. or ii) An electric frypan. These use approx 1800 Watts depending on the model, with a larger capacity for a roast and veggies for a family. Both of these options are well under the initial cost of a conventional oven.
If you are using an air conditioner, it might pay to cool down the house between noon and 3pm, particularly if the house is well insulated.
If you tend not to be home during the working week, buy yourself a couple of timers for appliances that do not have a built in timer. The dishwasher, washing machine, bread maker and slow cooker are ideal appliances to turn on during the day.
- run as many loads as you can during sunlight daylight hours
- run large loads (say over 800W) around midday
- where possible, eliminate large loads (say over 1200W)
Smarter Energy Use leads us all to Smarter Energy Savings.
Thanks for your article. Amazing how electricity companies don't want to offer 'offset price' for solar energy fed back into the grid. I am with Integral, since 1998. I am going to pursue them through the Energy ombudsman, because i have not received a cent from them since I have had a 1.52 kWh system installed on 28 Sept 2011. They keep harping on about, the NSW Govt. took away the tariff (from 28 April 2011) so I missed out on any payment. But i am saying (where is fair go gone?) that i should be paid at least 20c for the solar energy fed back into the grid. If they don't pay it is 'stealing' - that is, getting the solar energy for free and then on selling the solar energy to another customer for a higher price! They keep saying you should have moved to Origin. I said, Origin owns Integral and my supply contract is with Origin anyway (so why move?), cant you pay me what Origin are paying their customers? No sir, we are different companies and integral don't offer offset feed-in price. Yet they sell green energy to customers at a higher price! It is very wrong, unjust and totally unfair. The contract should be my supply to the energy company and not the other way around. I am supplying them with solar energy and Integral knew that i was having solar system installed case i had to give them (through the installer) a NSW feed-in assessment form so they could give me approval to have solar connected to the grid, with two new LED meters. Integral did not tell me then, that they were not going to pay me, so this is stealing. I do not want to shift electricity companies, cause there are hidden costs. For example, Origin charges 4 different rates per day. Peak period is charged at 40c per KWH, etc. So consumers still don't gain much as the cost of electricity is much higher than what Integral energy charges. The other thing they said, their network provider Endeavour Electricity were not offering anything. What has this got to do with my custom with Integral? Then they said, go and see your local member. My local rep is a labour man, what is he going to do, when Liberals n Co are the NSW Govt? So we go around in circles.
I understand using the solar power is better than getting paid for it under net metering, BUT WE ARE ALL AT WORK DURING THE DAY! Solar energy goes back into the grid (we get nothing for it) and when we get home we have to pull from the grid, because it is dark, and pay full price for that! IPART does not understand this point. I am going to fight Integral. If they allowed me offset payment, then my last bill would have been reduced by $150. If i don't pay the bill, electricity will cut off. what we really need are Batteries, so one can store some power made during the day, and use it at night.