Maximising your energy provider’s peak/off-peak/free times
With the ever-growing adoption of solar installations, Australian homeowners have a unique opportunity not just to generate their own electricity, but also to capitalise on the shifting energy prices throughout the day.
Let’s dive deep into how you can select the right energy provider and adapt your energy consumption to maximise the benefits of your solar system.
1. Understanding Peak, Off-Peak, and Shoulder Rates
Before making any decisions, it’s essential to understand when energy providers typically charge the highest and lowest rates.
- Peak Times: Usually during late afternoon and early evening when households are active, and demand is high.
- Off-Peak Times: These are typically late night to early morning when the majority of households are inactive.
- Shoulder Rates: The periods between peak and off-peak times.
By aligning your energy usage with these times, you can achieve significant savings. For instance, by adjusting the timing of your pool pump to off-peak hours, you could see a noticeable reduction in your annual energy costs.
2. Choosing the Right Energy Provider
Finding the best energy provider can greatly amplify the benefits of your solar installation. Here’s what to consider:
- Research Tariff Structures: Different providers offer different tariff structures. Some may have extended off-peak hours or even a free hour of power. Seek providers who have favourable rates during times you’re most likely to use power.
- Consider Solar Feed-in Tariffs: Some providers offer higher rates for the energy you export back to the grid. This can be a significant source of income for solar homeowners.
Consider this: by switching to a provider with a favourable solar feed-in tariff, you could earn back a significant amount from your excess solar energy.
3. Adapt Your Energy Usage
Intelligent energy consumption is as crucial as producing it. Here’s how to adapt your daily routines for maximum savings:
- Shift Energy-Intensive Activities: Schedule activities such as laundry, pool pumping, or EV charging during off-peak times when rates are lower.
- Monitor and Adjust: Utilise tools like smart meters or energy monitoring apps to track your usage and identify areas for changes.
Imagine tailoring your daily routines to align with off-peak times; the monthly savings on your energy bill could be substantial.
4. Taking Advantage of Solar Generation Times
Solar panels typically generate the most power from late morning to mid-afternoon. Here’s how to optimise this:
- Use Energy When the Sun Shines: Run appliances during solar generation times, so you consume the energy you produce rather than exporting it.
- Diversify Energy Tasks: Schedule different tasks at various times during peak solar generation. For instance, run the dishwasher in the late morning and the washing machine in the early afternoon.
- Leverage Solar Diverters: Solar diverters automatically redirect surplus solar energy to specific appliances or systems, like water heaters. By using a solar diverter, you ensure that excess energy is put to good use in your home, further reducing reliance on the grid during non-peak solar hours.
By optimising your household energy use during solar generation hours, you could significantly offset your electricity costs, especially during those sunny summer months.
5. Benefits of a Solar Battery
A solar battery can be your ticket to even greater energy independence and savings and allow you to store excess solar power generated during the day to use during peak times in the evening, sidestepping high electricity rates.
- Beat the Peak: Store solar energy during the day and use it during peak hours. This way, you avoid buying electricity at peak rates.
- Sell Back to the Grid: If you generate more solar power than you can store or use, sell it back to the grid, especially during peak times when feed-in tariffs might be higher.
With a quality solar battery, you can effectively capitalise on price differences by charging your battery during low-cost solar generation hours and using it during high-cost times, leading to substantial annual savings.
6. Stay Informed About Promotions
Some energy providers occasionally offer promotions like a free hour of power. Maximise these opportunities:
- Set Reminders: Mark your calendar or set alarms to ensure you benefit from these free times.
- Temporarily Adjust Habits: If feasible, shift some of your energy-intensive tasks to these promotional periods.
Capitalising on occasional promotions, like a provider’s ‘free hour of power,’ means potentially significant savings on your energy bills throughout the year.
7. Review Your Energy Provider Annually
With the evolving energy sector, it’s vital to ensure your provider’s offer remains competitive year after year. Here’s why an annual review is essential:
- Spot Better Offers: Providers often introduce new plans or incentives. Stay updated to ensure you’re on the best possible deal.
- Stay Ahead of Rate Changes: Tariffs and feed-in rates fluctuate. By reviewing annually, you’re never caught off-guard by unexpected changes.
- Optimise Solar Returns: Feed-in tariffs can vary. Ensure you’re maximising returns by being aware of potential increases in rates.
- Account for Consumption Changes: Added an electric vehicle or new appliances? Adjust your energy plan to fit your current needs.
- Ensure Quality Service: Evaluate your provider’s support and consider switching if there are better options.
By diligently reviewing your energy provider each year, you position yourself for optimal savings and ensure your solar system’s continued efficiency.
Harnessing the power of the sun is a fantastic way to offset rising energy costs in Australia. By strategically choosing your energy provider, aligning your usage with peak/off-peak times, and considering the addition of a solar battery, you’re setting yourself up for optimal energy savings. Remember, every little effort can lead to substantial long-term benefits.