If you’ve had solar panels installed on your home, you will have the opportunity to use all of the electricity they generate for free. If you don’t use it, it will be sent to the national grid so remember: USE IT, DON’T LOSE IT.
If you want to reduce your electricity bills by as much as possible, you will need to make sure you use as much electricity as you can during the day, so as not to need so much at night. Some hints and tips are given below.
Solar panels generate electricity when it is daylight. They work best if they are in direct sunlight, but even when it is overcast they will still generate electricity. This electricity is used automatically by the occupier of the home for free.
If some of it doesn’t get used, it gets exported to the national grid. When it’s dark, the panels won’t generate any electricity, so all of your electricity must be bought from the national grid, as it was before you had your panels installed.
During the day, having solar panels will mean that your fridge, freezer and any other appliance you usually have on will be powered for free. These appliances, however, are likely to only use less than 10% of the power that your panels are generating – giving you lots of opportunity to run other appliances for free! Using or setting your washing machine and dishwasher to run during daylight hours are an easy way to save money.
It is important to only run one appliance (dishwasher/washing machine) at once, as you may end up using more electricity than the panels are generating.
You can also run electric heaters or charge your storage heaters during daylight hours. Be careful: these are likely to consume lots of electricity, so make sure you don’t run too many and start to buy electricity from the grid.
If you want to get more creative, then you could cook meals (if you have an electric cooker) or shower (if you have an electric shower) during the day. You could also charge all of your mobile gadgets (phones, laptops etc.) for free, rather than paying for the electricity at night.
If you have an energy monitor, this will have come with some instructions to explain how you know.
If you don’t have an energy monitor, then take a look at your electricity meter. If the red light on it is solid (i.e. not flashing), then you are exporting electricity – meaning you can use a bit more of it for free. If it is flashing (even if it’s sunny), then it means you are using all of your free electricity and are having to buy more to top it up.
Things you could run during the day to save money (remember not to run them all at once!)
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