If you have PV panels in NSW, you will no longer receive a feed-in tariff from the Government after 31 December, 2016. You will then need to convert from a solar Gross meter to a Net meter so that you can measure and use the energy you are generating. If you do not do this, all your PV energy will be exported into the Grid for no payment. You cannot even use it yourself.
Once you have a net meter, some electricity retailers may give you a nominal feed-in tariff of ~ 6c/KWh which contrasts with paying a shoulder tariff of 20+ c/KWh and a peak tariff of 40+ c/KWh of power purchased from the Grid during typical solar operating hours.
It is clearly preferable for you to use your own solar power rather than export it to the Grid and then buy it back at between ~20c and ~45c during the day. This is why PV panel owners coming off generous feed-in tariffs are considering batteries to store solar energy for use during expensive Grid times. Unfortunately, home storage batteries are still far too expensive for this to make economic sense in urban areas.
The underlying problem is that, in most houses, there are very few appliances running during the daytime when the solar panels are producing electricity. The only general exception to this is the pool.
Domestic swimming pools often use 30% of the total energy consumption of the entire household. While it looks superficially attractive to set up time-clocks to run the pool equipment during the day to use the power from your panels, this can often cost you more. This is for three reasons:-
· The pool (along with other devices normally running in the house) uses more instantaneous power than the panels produce in typical Australian homes. You need to buy the balance of the energy at high shoulder and peak rates.
· It rains on many days and you will be buying all of the energy at high rates on those days…and most of it on cloudy days.
· Typical PV panels do not produce enough electricity for long enough to clean your pool adequately, even on sunny days.
Of course, you should to do the detailed calculation for your own house and PV panel system.
Pooled Energy offers you its unique Solar Optimisation Service to assist.
Firstly, Pooled Energy will reduce your pool’s instantaneous power and overall energy consumption, to levels that are usually much better matched to the output of a typical PV system. Typical panel/pool combinations often force you to buy expensive on-peak and shoulder energy from the Grid for the mismatch. Your savings can easily be wiped out by these charges, depending on the number and size of your panels, and the weather. Pooled Energy typically makes the panel/pool match much better.
Operating via the Internet, the Intelligent Pool Controller (IPC) uses cloud and sunshine forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology to decide whether it is better on the day to run solar or off-peak. You get real value from your panels this way…and a better pool.
For large PV panel systems, the IPC can also use a WiFi link to control other appliances such as washing machines and clothes driers to use excess solar energy. This involves an extra charge and may not be applicable for all customers.