5 Ways Solar PV Owners Can Keep Winning as Feed in Tariffs are Floored
The Transitional Feed-in Tariff (TFIT) and Standard Feed-in Tariff (SFIT) in Victoria are set to expire on the 31st of December 2016. Solar customers currently enjoying the TFIT & SFIT will see that using the excess electricity generated by their solar panels on site is much more beneficial than exporting it back into the grid.
Average households with small solar systems (1.5 to 2kw) do not use majority of their electricity during the day. As an example, a 1.5kW system in Sydney will generate around 10kWh between 9am and 5pm in summer and around 5 to 7kWh in autumn/spring. Majority of these homes don’t consume more than 3kWh between 7am – 7pm, so even small systems has a relatively high export rate to the grid.
An electrical car charging at daytime is the perfect scenario to use this excess power. However as most solar customers don’t have one yet, we have come up with suggestions on how to maximise this available energy.
1. Upgrade to an efficient hot water system. An average Australian household will use approximately 25% of its energy usage to heating water. Standard electric Hot water systems consume more energy than any other appliances. Switching to a highly efficient heat pump which operates at daytime when the solar panels are producing the maximum output is a definite win. Heat pumps have timers built in which you can set to run at peak solar generation hours.
2. Run appliances during peak solar generation. Running your washing machine, oven and dishwasher during the day.
3. Change Space Heating and Cooling Times. Space heating and cooling accounts for the largest segment of household energy use. Split system air conditioner, ducted reverse cycle, low wattage panel heaters or heat pump hydronic systems are the common electrical systems used to heat or cool a space. The bulk of space heating/cooling occurs at night or in the morning before work. Most people are at work during the day when the house is empty but solar power are at its peak generation. An electric space heating/cooling appliance can be programmed to at least partially operate during the daytime, using excess solar energy. The aim is to pre-heat or pre-cool the space and reduce the evening energy requirements.
4. Invest in a battery storage Residential energy storage has been largely confined to off-grid applications, however there are increasing options in home energy storage systems that are more cost-effective and easy to install. Availability of different types of energy storage are also progressing in fast pace. Households won’t be limited to lithium ion batteries as more efficient and greener storage systems such as saltwater batteries become readily available
5. Identify the most cost effective retail offer for you. Solar bonus scheme households need to make an important decision. Affected households need to make an important switch from a "gross" metering system (in which all power is sold) to a "net" metering system (in which only surplus power is sold). Now is a good time for you to investigate your metering and other product options to make sure you get the most out of your renewable energy system when the Scheme ends, and to look around to see what competing retailers have to offer.