We were aware that our first electricity bill would not reflect the full saving potential, as our 4.5kW solar PV system was not installed and connected to the grid for the whole duration of the billing cycle.
None the less, we were surprised to discover that not only was the amount owing higher on our first bill but also our electricty useage (compared to previous bills when we didn’t have a PV solar system).
During the many phone calls made to our electricty supplier and the PV solar installer (after receiving that bill), our knowledge of PV solar systems increased.
Please note these ‘tips’ may be NSW Australia specific:
* All new solar PV systems are now ‘net systems’ (gross systems are no longer available).
* With a net system, you can use your solar generated energy during the day (to run your home). Any energy not used goes into the grid. Obviously at night you use energy from the grid. If during the day you use more energy than you generate, this extra energy also comes from the grid.
* Energy provider companies have different rates for every Kwh of energy you use from the grid. These rates also often vary at different times of the day or for the total amount you use. We are charged 0.2599 cents for every Kwh we use from the grid 24 hours a day (up to the first 7000 kW hours each billing cycle – after this amount, the Kwh rate becomes higher).
* Our energy provider company gives us 0.08 cents for every Kwh we feed the grid (this is energy we created that we don’t use ourselves during the day). This rate is referred to as the ‘feed in tarrif’.
* Remember that energy provider companies have service fees and the rate can vary between companies (this fee is just for being connected – you pay this amount each and every month, even if you don’t use any energy).
What does all this mean?
Basically as we get charged more money to use energy from the grid compared to the energy we feed the grid, being energy efficient and knowledgeable is still paramount. We only run the clothes and dish washer during the day, when we can use our free solar generated energy. At all times we still turn off lights we are not using etc as a conscious effort to save energy. Save the energy we create as any excess feeds the grid and therefore generates us money. Also save or reduce the energy we use at night from the grid, as this lowers what we are charged.
Even with a PV solar system only connected to the grid for part of the billing duration, our electricty useage from the grid should have reduced (not increased). This was the argument I debated with our electricty provider.
If our daily home routine hasn’t changed, why would our electricty usage from the grid increase with a solar PV installed?
In fact the total useage had doubled, if you take into consideration the energy we used from our PV solar system.
Our energy provider investigated and found there was a billing error. However not a big enough error to account for the increased total electricty useage. It is like they have billed us not only for the energy we used from the grid but also the energy we fed into the grid.
By putting ourselves on a monthly billing cycle and watching our energy useage and energy generated daily, we believe we will get to the bottom of this.
This post is definitely to be continued…… Read part 2 here