4 ways to get the most out of your solar panels

By Ceyda Erem ·

Every day more and more Aussies are making the choice to go solar with their energy. And it’s no wonder, since many households can supply their home with free electricity during the day.

But whether you’re thinking of having solar panels installed or are 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

And if you still want to use your solar generated electricity during the night, all you need to do is access the energy stored in your battery.

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

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.

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, offers 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.

And if you’re looking for more ways to save on your energy, you can check out our energy saving tips section for more.

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Ceyda Erem
Ceyda Erem
Money writer

Ceyda Erem is Mozo’s authority on Energy, as well as having broader expertise as a personal finance writer. She loves to put her researching and writing talents into stories that help our readers to make more informed financial choices, whether that’s about finding the best energy deal or writing about the latest sneaky bank tricks. Ceyda has a Bachelor of Arts (major in writing) from Macquarie University.