4 ways to get the most out of your solar panels
Every day more and more Aussies are making the choice to go solar with their energy. It's no wonder why when you consider that many households can supply their home with free electricity during the day.
Earlier this year rooftop solar became Australia's second largest energy source by generation as panels become more affordable and available.
But whether you’re thinking of having rooftop solar installed or you're trying to get the hang of your new electricity supply, there are a few tips and tricks to making sure you’re getting the most out of your solar panels.
Rake it in when the sun shines
It’s no secret that solar panels only produce electricity during the day, and if you’re trying to maximise your energy usage this means using as much free electricity as you can while the sun shines. While energy needs vary from household to household, some ways you can maximise your electricity usage include:
- Charging your laptop, smartphone or tablet during the day and unplugging at night
- Setting timers on appliances that use the most electricity to switch off before sunset
If you still want to use your solar-generated electricity during the night, all you need to do is ensure you have a compatible battery installed in your house. The battery, once installed by an accredited solar fitter, will charge with your solar power during the day to be used when solar energy isn't otherwise readily-available, such as at night.
Use one appliance at a time
The number of appliances you can use during the day will depend on the type of solar system you have and the amount of electricity certain appliances need in your household. By using one appliance at a time, you will be conserving your electricity.
Some of the more savvier ways you can use one appliance at a time include:
- Having a shower before or after using the washing machine
- Cooking dinner before turning the TV on
- Vacuuming after your dishwasher is done cleaning
Clean your solar panels regularly
While you don’t have to climb up onto your rooftop every weekend, it’s important you have your solar panels cleaned once every 6-12 months. Things like dirt, mould and bird droppings reduce the amount of sunlight your solar panels receive. You should also make sure that there are no trees or bushes blocking the light either, which can also hinder your panels’ capacity to soak up light.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll probably want to have your panels inspected by a professional every two years. The tip here is to make sure you’re giving your system the best chance at absorbing the most light, and thus absorbing the most energy into your household.
Use apps to manage your usage
If there’s one thing that will help keep you on top of your solar panels, it’s tracking your home’s energy usage. Many providers, like Powershop, offer apps to help you do this. These apps can display your daily, half-hourly and total daily feed-in. Having all this information at your disposal will give you an insight into when your panels are exporting the most, so you can get more savvy with your appliance use.
For example if you find that your system exports the most at 2pm, then you may want to set a timer on your washing machine to start its cycle at the same time.
If you’re looking for more ways to save on your energy, you can check out our energy saving tips section for more. To find and compare energy plans in your area, head over to our energy hub or make use of the handy comparison tool below.