my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

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my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby kaddy » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:18 am

Hi I live in Camden Nsw. End of May 12 had 21 solar panels installed. Received 1st bill and shock horror. Gone from $700 to $1200 for quarter. (2 people and not hot water included in this). Have been told by my retailer that we are on gross. Have been told by Integral that all systems installed in Nsw after April are on net. Have also been told that in my area it makes no difference what time of the day I use appliances. Received the grand sum of $28.80 for my 5c solar credits. After forking out $7500 for the system I am a little peeved to say the least. Cannot seem to get any answers from Electricity retailers. I thought that I was supposed to see a nice drop in my electricity account. Any thoughts

Thanks
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:18 pm

Hi Kaddy, I'm pretty sure you will be on the Net FiT, as the GFiT scheme is gone.

If you are on a flat rate per kWh then, yes, you will be charged the same rate no matter what time you use the electricity, but if you use your PV solar production instead of importing it, you will be better off, as you are effectively being paid whatever rate you are on when doing that, via the offset in import. Using electricity when you are not producing any, ie at night or heavy overcast daytime, means you pay full rate for it, and exporting, rather than using PV solar production, pays just 5c/kWh, so you want to minimise both of those situations. It definitely pays to use the energy you produce as much as you can, and minimise imports.

You must have exported 576kWh for the quarter.

How many (net) units of electricity did you use for the quarter, and how many for the previous quarter?
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby kaddy » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:59 pm

Thanks very much for your reply.

We used 42.94 kw this bill and 30.16 previous quarter. It seems like a massive amount of electric. Something must be gobbling it up.

Will we see any benefit in the future for our $7500 outlay for the panels.

We pay 20.758 for first 1750 kw and 22.981 for second peak.

Regards Kerri
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby kaddy » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:19 pm

How do I use my solar production instead of importing it, if it makes no difference what time of day I use it.

Sorry I am quite ignorant in these matters.

Thanks.

So nice to speak to somebody who knows what they are talking about.
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:55 pm

43kW is a rather large usage- the Oz average is about 18kWh/day, and you need to add the contribution from your solar onto that, maybe 5 or 6kWh/day extra, so you need to start monitoring your use to discover what is eating the power. Your system should have been producing around 10-12kWh/day over the past quarter if the weather hasnt been too cloudy, I assume it's about 4kW in size?

Given you have been paid for about 6kWh/day, it doesn't seem likely that you have been charged for your energy production (it has happened, according to some reports!), so chances are, there are one or more appliances eating the power in your house.
We are just out of winter, have you been using electric space heating?
It could be any number of other things, from fridges to pool pumps, so some sort of monitoring would be a good idea- you can monitor at the power point for under $40 (maybe they are less these days, I bought one a few years ago) per unit, or spend some more to monitor the whole house.

What was your usage this time last year?
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:26 pm

kaddy wrote:How do I use my solar production instead of importing it, if it makes no difference what time of day I use it.


You don't have Time of Use metering, so there is no difference in charges for using electricity from the grid day or night, ignoring your solar production.
However, when you consider the electricity you are now producing, any electricity you don't use is only worth 5c/kWh to you as export. Contrast that with using your own power instead of exporting it, and then it is effectively worth 21/23c/kWh to you. So, the electricity you produce is worth over 4 times as much to you if you can use it yourself, rather than exporting it to the power company, who can then make a big profit on it, selling it your neighbours.
The idea is to try and use as much of your own power as possible by matching your loads to your production, and you can make a reasonable estimate of how to go about it without too much effort. Your maximum production will be around the middle of the day, probably around 3-3.5kW, tapering off to not much production before ~8am or after ~4pm (varies with DST and with day length), assuming your panels are at a typical tilt and facing north, with no shadowing.
What that means in practice is to use the main energy guzzlers in the middle of the day, and the lesser ones in morning and afternoon -dishwasher in the middle of the day rather than at night, same for hot clothes washes, etc. Generally avoid big power users at night or on overcast days as much as possible.

However, you still need to figure out what is using so much power ;)
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby kaddy » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:06 am

Thank you so much for your reply. Very well explained.

Now the penny has finally dropped!! I understand!

Regards Kerri
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby kaddy » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:46 am

Hi again

Our energy usage this time last year was about 32. We have ducted air which I know is quite expensive so will have to really watch that one. I have looked at energy monitors (about $29.95) which I am about to order. We have a pool but only run the filter 2 hours a day instead of the recommended 8 hours per day. I have a 2nd fridge and chest freezer which I will be putting the monitor on and if the culprits they will be straight out the door. I am determined to get to the bottom of what is guzzling my power.

Now that you have told me what the average oz household uses it is quite obvious that we are way out in front, yet our lifestyle does not reflect this, therefore there is a power guzzler somewhere. We have always tried to watch what we use but so far it hasnt helped with huge usage.

Many thanks :roll:
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Regards Kerri
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:31 am

Let us know how you go with the energy monitoring!

Some appliances will be hard wired, so you cant monitor them with the plug-in monitors, but more expensive monitors are available that detect how much current is flowing in the wires, so you may have to consider one of them, which can monitor the whole house, displayed on a console, if you cant track down the energy guzzlers with the monitors you have.
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Re: my first power bill after solar (call the paramedics)

Postby Tracker » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:47 pm

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:Some appliances will be hard wired, so you cant monitor them with the plug-in monitors, .

But, the important ones will be plug in.....
Those that are hard wired are likely ones that you can't do much about.
Old fridges can be very hungry ..... as for air conditioning ...... well, with heating, its only using thirty percent of resistive power ..
..
@
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