How to Get the Most from Your Solar Panels
The people at Vivint Solar say that while a good solar battery storage system can generate copious electricity for the home, many people do not use this energy properly. In fact, many end up spending money on energy even when they have a solar panel systemjust because they don’t know how to get the most from it.
Get a System with Battery Storage
The first thing to consider if you have a solar panel system or are thinking about investing in one is to make sure you have battery storage. The way that solar panel systems work is that they produce energy by absorbing light from the sun. This energy is fed into the home’s electricity panel and is used to power appliances in the home. If the system produces more energy than the home is using, the surplus will be fed back to the grid and the homeowner may or may not be paid for this.
While that may sound great, the reality is that the amount paid to the homeowner is far lower than the amount they need to pay when they import electricity back from the grid at times when the solar panels are not generating enough power, such as at night or on overcast days. With a battery solar panel system, the surplus energy can be stored for use by the homeowner at night or when it is cloudy.
Keep an Eye on Your Energy Usage
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that the average U.S. household used around 10,632 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year in 2021, which equates to approximately 886 kWh every month, or around 30kWh per day.
A typical solar panel system is capable of generating between 1kW and 4kW per hour. However, the amount of energy it is generating at any one time will depend on how much sunlight there is and the direction the panels are facing.
It is always best to try to use less energy than your panels are generating. If you are using a lot of high energy appliances at the same time – such as the washing machine, tumble dryer, and cooker – you are likely to be using more energy than your system can generate. This means you are going to be paying for electricity imported from the grid. A clever way to utilize the energy created by your solar panel system is to keep an eye on how much it is generating and only use one energy-heavy appliance at a time where possible.
Sofor example, you could put the washing machine on, let it finish, put it in the tumble dryer, and then wait until the tumble dryer has finished before putting another load of laundry to be washed. You should also get into the habit of doing your laundry during the day, if you can. Running these high consumption devices at night will mean you are paying for electricity sent from the grid – unless, of course, you have a solar battery system.
If you are working during the day, consider appliances that have delay-start timers so they can come on when you are out.
Become More Energy Efficient
The best way to get the most from your solar panel system is to use less electricity in your home. There are some easy ways to do this, such as turning off lights when you are not in a room and switching to more energy efficient lightbulbs. This means replacing incandescent and halogen bulbs with eco-friendly LED bulbs.
You can also switch out your old appliances for newer energy saving models. Oftentimes, the cost of buying the new appliance will be quickly made back in the energy being saved when using it.
You can also do other things around the house to save energy, such as turning off electrical devices at the main switch. Leaving them on standby uses energy, and if you have multiple TVs, games consoles, and kitchen appliances, the amount of energy they are all drawing will soon add up and cost you money. If unplugging them all seems like a pain, then you can invest in smart plugs that can be switched off remotely and which should use less energy.
When cooking, try to use more energy efficient appliances such as an air fryersand microwave as they cook food quicker, thereby using less energy. Slow cookers are also a terrific way to use less energy as they can be left on during the day, when you are at work.
Ensure Your Panels are Regularly Maintained
There really is no point in investing big money in a solar panel system and then just forgetting about it and hoping for the best. While solar panels can generally be left to do their own thing, you should make a point of ensuring they are regularly cleaned and maintained. You do not have to do this yourself, but it would be a good idea to hire a solar panel servicing company to check the system once a year to make sure everything is running as it should.
Most servicing companies will wash your panels when they do the checks,which will ensure that dirt, dust, and other debris that can block light is cleared away. Clean solar panels have a higher output than those that are dusty.
Divert Your Energy to Your Water System
If you do not have a battery storage system, you could install an immersion diverter instead. What this does is divert any surplus energy away from the grid and back to your domestic water system. The system will monitor the amount of generated electricity that is being used in the home. If your consumption is less, then the excess energy will heat up your water.
Knowing how to use your solar panels efficiently will mean you save on your energy bills. Keeping your panels clean and spreading your usage of high energy consuming appliances will allow you to get more from your solar panels. You can also ensure your electricity goes to your household instead of the grid by installing a battery system or an immersion diverter.