8 ways to optimise your solar
As we start to enjoy longer days, it’s a good time to check you are getting the most out of your solar system and ensure it is performing at its peak.
Check out these eight super simple tips to crank up your solar savings!
1. Use timers so your appliances run during the day
Maximising self-consumption is the aim with solar. The more you can use yourself, rather than selling to the grid (only to buy back later), the better off your financial return will be.
Even if you are away during the day, you can use timers on energy-hungry appliances such as washing machines, dryers and dishwashers, to make the most of your solar.
If this is not something you are already doing, it’s the easiest way to get more from your solar.
2. Give your panels a wash
While solar systems require very little maintenance we do recommend giving your panels a clean once a year or so. In general, rain keeps the panels self-cleaning, especially on steep roofs. But giving them a hose off helps prevent performance-hindering debris buildup. The end of spring is a good time to do this especially if you are somewhere with plenty of pollen in the air!
When cleaning your panels, you should:
- Hose them down early in the day, before the panels get too hot.
- Avoid high-pressure jet washing to prevent damaging panel seals.
- For stubborn stains, you can use a soft brush and mild detergent.
3. Use energy diverters
As we’ve already mentioned, increasing your self-consumption is the best way to get more out of your solar system. Energy diverters send any excess solar to an appliance, such as a hot water cylinder. These clever devices can read exactly how much electricity you are about to send back to the grid and instead put it into heating your water. This reduces the amount of electricity you need to purchase from the grid later.
We’re always happy to discuss if energy diverters might help your self-consumption – we can take a look at your system data to see if this is a worthwhile addition (if you don’t already have them!).
Smart EV chargers are another great way to increase self-consumption. They’ll divert excess solar into your EV, rather than sending it to the grid.
4. Add a battery
The next level of self-consumption comes with having a battery. Storing solar energy for nighttime use not only reduces reliance on the grid but also provides power during outages.
The Tesla Powerwall not only maximises your use of solar it can also reduce your power bill by charging when rates are cheap (off-peak) and discharging at expensive times (peak). This nifty feature is called Time Based Control and we’ve seen it keep customers from ever paying peak power prices. The great thing is the battery does it all for you; set and forget, the battery will handle the rest to get the best outcome.
5. Trim your trees
You never want shade on your panels. There might be a tree that wasn’t an issue when the panels were installed, but things grow. Keep an eye out for anything blocking your panels and trim any shading branches.
6. Review your power company
Picking the right energy retailer can make all the difference when it comes to getting the most from your solar system. As retail plans and buyback rates do change, it is worth reviewing occasionally to make sure you are still on the right plan for your setup.
Different plans work for different setups. If you have a Powerwall, a plan with free power windows can work with Time Based Contol, to allow you to charge your battery from free off-peak power and discharge when it’s expensive. Whereas with a non-battery setup, the buyback rate is more important.
7. Check your buyback rate
While you are looking at your power bill, check you are receiving the correct buyback rate. As we come into spring and summer you’ll likely start exporting excess solar. You want to be sure you are getting the correct credit when you do.
8. Make sure your system is still connected to the internet
If you’ve changed your modem or had internet outages your system may have disconnected from the internet. Even if you don’t check your systems apps regularly (e.g Fronius Solar.Web) have a look to ensure you are connected and recording data. Staying connected also means you’ll be able to get the latest updates to ensure your system is performing at its peak.
If you’ve got questions about how your system is performing, get in touch or fill out the form below and one of our team will be in touch to see how we can help.