I export a lot of solar during the day

What the Guru says

Hi Solar Guru, I have gone back to work and now make a lot of solar during the day, when I am not home. What are my options?

You actually have several options if you generate energy when you are not at home. Firstly put some timers on your load. your pool pumps, your hot water system, any load that you can shift means that you can soak up all that solar energy and an reduce your running costs.

Secondly if you almost paid your solar system off because you had it on your roof for a while now could be the right time to think about a battery. You can use a calculator to work out what the payback or the investment might be, and that battery will soak up all that excess energy for you.

Thirdly you need to make sure if you are exporting al ot that you are on the right electricity retail plan. So use a service like Plan Optimiser (from Solar Analytics) to suit your needs.

What to do with the solar I produce during the day?

If you export a lot of solar during the day because you do not use much electricity at that time or you are not at home, then do not despair, if, in your area, there is only a low feed-in tariff, paying you around 5 to 9 cents per kWh.

There are options for you to get a better outcome

Shop around

You can shop around for the best feed-in tariff in your area. Different energy retailers offer different amounts for your exported solar. Call around or check comparison websites for what’s on offer. Please do not jump automatically into the contract that offers the higher price per exported kWh because sometimes the same energy plans also charge more per consumed kWh. Solar Analytics monitoring software offers a plan optimiser to recommend the best local plan based on your consumption and export patterns.

Solar batteries

Have you investigated solar battery storage?  If you have paid for your solar system, you may consider investing in a solar battery storage system. Instead of sending excess electricity back to the grid, you can store it in batteries to use later at night when your solar PV system is not generating power. This allows you to maximise self-consumption and reduce reliance on the grid when the sun does not shine.

Car charging on EV charger
EV charging at home can absorb your excess solar

Consider getting an EV

Get an Electric Vehicle (EV) and use excess solar to charge the car. If you purchase an electric vehicle, you can utilise your excess solar power to charge your vehicle during the day. Of course, to do this, the car must be parked at your home. This might be easier during the weekend, but nowadays, many of us work part of the week from home, so this might be a viable option.

Consider load shifting

This is the practice of shifting your electricity usage to when your solar panels generate power. When not, send your solar during the day into a heat pump hot water system, the pool pump or pool cleaner. This way, you can reduce your reliance on grid electricity or gas for hot water generation and generate additional value from your solar output. You can also put your washing machine, dishwasher or electric heating & cooling equipment on a timer so that they start when you generate excess solar.

The best way to use excess solar power depends on your circumstances. If you are unsure which option is right for you, you should consult a solar installer or energy auditing advisor.

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