"You'll always get more value from your solar by using it"
Seb Crangle, Head Energy Coach, Enova Community
We invited our solar customers to write to us with any further questions they had about getting the most from their rooftop solar systems, following on from the great response to our e-book "Get the most out of the solar you generate".
Seb Crangle, Enova Community's Head Energy Coach sat down with us to answer those questions and we recorded this handy video.
We hope it helps you learn a bit more about using your solar. We've time-stamped it so you can go directly to hear Seb's answers to the questions you're particularly interested in. If we haven't addressed your question here, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're here to help!
Firstly, an introduction: What is load shifting and how does it help me get the best out of my solar?
Seb's definition of load shifting is when you move some of your energy-using activities to the daytime when your solar is producing, rather than leaving them to non-solar times like at night. This can be done for small daily tasks and larger set-and-forget energy-using items like hot water systems.
(1:29 - 2:22) Why load shift and why would you want to do this with your solar?
You'll always receive a greater return for your solar by using it because by doing so you're not paying the rates you would otherwise have been charged for buying the energy from the grid. Your feed-in tariff will always be lower than the rates at which you buy energy.
(2:40 - 5:53) I have a relatively large 6KW system. Can I turn on two appliances at the same time and still only draw from my solar?”
Generally, yes you can, but it depends on what energy-using appliances you're using and the time of day. It's safest to remember that your solar is producing the most from after 10.00am and before 2.00pm. If you switch your kettle, toaster and dishwasher on all at the same time at 8.00am when you solar is not generating much, you will overdraw and end up paying for energy from the grid.
(5:59 - 11:33) When I first got solar, I was told to get the largest system I could afford because the FiTs would ensure it would pay for itself. This no longer seems to be the case. What should I do?
Hang in there!
Right now we're effectively in a transition period, while we wait for household batteries and electric vehicles to become more affordable so they can be more widely taken up. They're close to taking off and gaining momentum in Australia.
While you may not use all of the solar you generate now with a large system, you're effectively able to get prepared for when it is more affordable to get a battery and an EV.
Find out more about Seb's thoughts on this, for example taking the time to fine-tune your understanding of how much solar you do use, so you can input the right-sized battery when the time comes.
(11:40 - 14.21) What are some creative ways for using my excess solar?
Think about how you can do more things with electricity that you would otherwise do with petrol or some other fossil fuel.
Try an electric lawnmower, slow cooking dinner throughout the day and modifying your pool pump so it's mostly operating during your peak solar production times.
Have you ever thought of offering to charge your neighbours' devices during the day to use up excess solar? Great community service!
(14:23 - 19:04) What's the big ticket item I should load shift so I don't have to think about it?
Hint: If you don't have a solar hot water system, then it's most likely your hot water as it's heating at night and drawing energy from the grid! Your hot water system is the biggest energy user in the house. Shifting it to heat from your solar could be an easy fix.
(19:13 - 20:46) Is it worth spending the money on a small benchtop oven for small cooking jobs instead of using my gas oven?
If you're at home like many of us these days, and you can cook during the day with solar energy, then Seb says, yes!
A portable induction cooker is a great option, as are the small benchtop ovens for cooking with renewable energy during the day rather than gas or drawing from the grid at night (if it works for your schedule of course!).
(20:46 - 22:40) I have a 16 kWh battery system along with my solar system have you got any tips on how to make the most of my system?
A key thing to check is what energy plan tariff you're on. Ensure you're on time-of-use so that you're set up to use the solar stored in your battery at night. Then you'll be saving money as well as having the satisfaction that all of the energy you use (or most of it anyway) is renewable from your rooftop.
Do you have more questions about using your solar?
Please send an email to Seb Crangle at email@example.com and he will be happy to answer it for you.
We're here to support you to reduce energy use, keep your bills down and get the most from your solar system.
We can help you!
If you’re interested in learning more about the areas where you can improve the energy efficiency in your home, we can help.
Enova Community’s team of volunteer energy coaches will be available to households again this year to give you guidance on improving your home’s energy efficiency. We’re passionate about this because finding ways to use less energy allows everyone to take immediate action on reducing their carbon emissions.
You can book a session with us here.
BONUS Energy Efficiency resources from our Energy Coaches
We have some excellent resources available to help guide your energy efficiency knowledge and efforts. Check them out here!