A big family with a small solar system
How they use their solar and what could reduce their bills further
2 March 2023
Martin and his family have a small 1kW solar system on their home in an inner Sydney urban area. Find out how a few small changes to their energy tariff and energy use at home could help them save more.
This article has been contributed by Solar Analytics.
Martin and his family have a small solar system on their home in an inner Sydney urban area. They are a busy family with two kids at school and most energy usage is at night for family meals, heating, cooling, laundry and cleaning. Heating in winter using oil heaters is the largest use of energy in the home.
Martin’s panels are unobstructed and well positioned; on a clear day they generate power from an extremely early 7am until 4:30pm in Winter and 7am until almost 7pm in Summer.
Martin checks his Solar Analytics monitor weekly, mostly to see how much energy they have used during the week.
“When I know how much energy we are using, I’m less likely to be shocked when our electricity bill comes in.”
When Martin notices an anomaly, he’s quick to get on top of it.
“I realised that our stand-up oil heaters are drawing a huge amount of energy. We’re planning to ditch them, use our reverse cycle air conditioning earlier in the evening, and add an extra blanket to our beds at night.” Read more about how to reduce electricity bills using aircon and solar.
Solar Analytics have more information about how to reduce electricity bills using aircon and solar.
They also recommended Martin shifts some of his family’s largest energy-using appliances to their solar producing hours during the week, to take advantage of their ‘free’ energy. Anyone can do this by checking exactly when their system is producing the most energy during the day in order to set appliance timers to the best time (this is different each season). Its possible to get the kids involved too by asking them to set timers on the dishwasher and washing machine before school as part of their daily routine. Martin could also add more solar panels and then finding a plan with a high Feed in Tariff; there’s plenty of potential to make the most of more solar.
Lastly Solar Analytics recommended that Martin look for an electricity offer with a low electricity usage tariff, even if the solar feed-in-tariff is not high enough, since he has a small system and small solar export.