Make the most out of your Solar PV system.
Whether you’ve recently had PV installed, had Solar on your property for a number of years or are yet to take the dive into renewables, there are some useful tips within this blog post that’ll help you get the most out of your investment.
Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)
Residential Solar PV systems are grid-tied, meaning in short, your property shares excess energy with the local electricity network, allowing you to also pull energy from the sub-station if and when needed. By generating your own electricity via Solar Panels, you are reducing the amount of energy you will need to pull from the grid. However, your home will not use 100% of the energy produced at all times. Therefore it has to go somewhere. Where the system is grid-tied, it will end up being sent back to the local grid and sold to other households that need it. Cheeky, right? The grid are selling energy you’ve produced and it has been given to them for free…
That’s where SEG comes in. By going onto a smart export guarantee tariff, you will get paid for the energy you send back to the grid, which has been produced by your Solar PV system. Unfortunately, you won’t receive a cheque in the post every month. Instead, your Utility Provider will add this amount as credit onto your account, reducing your monthly bills.
An SEG tariff is not the same as a feed-in tariff. Sadly, FIT tariffs were closed for new applications in April 2019.
Variable Rate Tariff (Economy 7)
You may of heard of the Economy 7 tariff, a variable rate which was introduced to allow customers to stockpile energy in storage heaters, first available in 1978. This tariff allowed users to purchase electricity from the grid during a 7 hour overnight window for up to 20% cheaper than usual rate.
So why is this relevant to Solar?
Variable rate* tariffs are making a comeback, which is excellent for Solar customers. If you’re looking to prolong your investment into renewables, save more money on your utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint, you may also be looking into battery storage. Similar to storage heaters of old, battery systems are used to capture energy and store for use later on in the property. Energy storage solutions in the form of battery storage systems, are much more versatile, compared to storage heaters. You are not limited to what you use the energy to do, whether that be powering everyday household appliances or charging an Electric Vehicle.
By switching to a variable rate tariff, you can purchase energy from the grid during off-peak times (typically between 00:00 and 07:00), and store this energy in a battery system. This is a very useful feature during the winter months, due to reduced daylight hours and so lower levels of solar production. You can wake up every morning with a battery at 100% charge, helping you get through the morning electricity rush of getting ready for work, getting your children ready for school etc etc, all whilst saving money that you would’ve otherwise spent paying your electricity provider, at peak rate prices.
*A variable rate tariff requires a smart meter at the property.