10 ways to make the most of your solar investment

10 ways to make the most of your solar investment

Solar power is an excellent way to save money and contribute to a sustainable future. If you’ve taken the plunge and installed solar panels, you’re already on the right track. But did you know there are specific strategies you can implement to maximise the return on your investment?

Here are ten proven ways to get the most out of your solar energy system:

1. Changing Your Energy Usage

To truly maximise your solar investment, consider aligning your daily energy usage with your solar generation. In Australia, peak solar output occurs between 9 am and 3 pm. Utilise energy-intensive appliances during these hours to use more solar energy and less from the grid. Remember, feed-in tariffs often pay less for excess energy sent back to the grid compared to what you pay for grid electricity. So, the more solar energy you use directly, the more you save.

Read more about changing your energy usage.

2. Timing Appliances

Making the most of your solar system goes beyond installation; it’s also about when you use your appliances. Optimal solar energy generation typically happens between late morning and early afternoon. By aligning your high-energy appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and air conditioners with these peak solar hours, you can substantially increase your savings.

Modern appliances often come with features like ‘delay start’ or ‘timer’ functions, allowing you to easily schedule their operation for when your solar panels are most productive. If you have electric vehicles or a home battery system, timing their charging can also contribute to more efficient energy use.

Find out how to time your appliances effectively.

3. Moving Away From Gas

Transitioning from gas to electric appliances can significantly amplify the benefits of your solar system. This shift not only helps you lock in your energy costs amidst rising gas prices but also reduces your carbon footprint. From cooking and water heating to home and pool heating, electric alternatives can run efficiently on your solar-generated electricity.

However, it’s essential to assess your solar system’s capacity for the additional load and consider any upfront costs, such as purchasing new appliances or necessary rewiring. Luckily, various state and government rebates can help offset these initial expenses, making the move to electric more affordable.

Learn more about moving away from gas.

4. Choosing a Solar Friendly Energy Provider

Selecting the right energy provider is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of maximising your solar investment. Not all providers are created equal when it comes to feed-in tariffs, daily fixed charges, and peak/off-peak rates. A competitive feed-in tariff can boost your savings, while lower daily fixed charges can make a substantial difference for homes generating most of their energy from solar.

Additionally, look for providers offering flexible payment options and strong customer support, particularly in addressing solar-related queries. If you’re looking to further reduce your carbon footprint, consider providers that invest in broader green initiatives.

Discover how to choose the right energy provider.

5. Maximising Peak/Off-Peak/Free Times

Understanding your energy provider’s peak, off-peak, and shoulder rates can help you unlock additional savings from your solar system. Running energy-intensive tasks like laundry or pool pumping during off-peak hours can noticeably reduce your energy bills. If your provider offers promotional free electricity periods, be sure to capitalise on these as well.

Solar batteries can further optimise your energy consumption, allowing you to store solar-generated electricity for use during expensive peak times. Regularly reviewing your energy provider’s rates and promotions ensures you continue to make the most of your solar investment.

Learn more about maximising peak/off-peak/free times.

6. Maximising Feed-In Tariffs

Feed-in tariffs offer you financial rewards for the excess solar energy you send back to the grid. Different states and retailers offer varying rates, so understanding how these tariffs work is crucial for maximising your solar returns. By aligning your energy consumption patterns with peak sunlight hours, you can optimise the amount of excess energy you sell back, leading to greater savings or even earning credits.

Knowing your state’s specific feed-in tariff structure can further help you make informed decisions about your solar system.

Read the full guide on feed-in tariffs.

7. Solar Diverters (or Hot Water Timers)

Sending surplus energy back to the grid earns homeowners a feed-in tariff, a credit for adding electricity to the public grid. However, the rate for these feed-in tariffs frequently falls short of the retail cost you’re paying for grid energy.

Utilising a solar diverter or a hot water timer allows you to optimise the use of your own generated electricity, thereby enhancing the financial returns on your solar system. Additionally, if your setup includes a solar battery, a solar diverter offers extra benefits by minimising charge and discharge cycles, thereby extending the battery’s longevity and overall lifespan.

Learn more about the benefits of solar diverters and hot water timers.

8. Utilising Energy-Efficient Appliances

One of the major sources of energy wastage in homes comes from outdated, energy-inefficient appliances. Compared to newer models, these older appliances consume significantly more power. Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances not only boosts your savings but also maximises the benefits of your solar energy system. These appliances require less electricity, leaving more surplus solar energy that can either be stored in batteries for use during high-cost periods or fed back into the grid. Additionally, some states offer rebates and incentives for upgrading your appliances, making it an excellent way to further capitalise on your solar investment.

Find out about how utilising energy efficient appliances can save you money

9. Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging

Combining an Electric Vehicle (EV) with your solar system is like having your cake and eating it too—financially and environmentally. With solar panels, you can charge your EV using clean, renewable energy, slashing both your fuel costs and carbon footprint. It’s a prime example of how adopting multiple green technologies can create a synergy that amplifies your savings and environmental impact.

Learn how to optimise EV charging with solar.

10. Regular Solar Assessments

Your solar system is a significant investment that should be diligently maintained to ensure you’re reaping the maximum benefits. Regular solar assessments not only help to keep your system running at peak efficiency but can also provide personalised advice to help you unlock even greater savings.

Read more on the importance of regular solar assessments.

By taking these steps, you can significantly increase the return on your solar investment. Each action point not only saves you money but also contributes to a more sustainable and energy-efficient lifestyle. So why wait? Start making the most of your solar today!