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Solar Power Savings Reduce Electricity Costs

 


Switching  From
Gross To Net Metering
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Solar PV NET Metering & Billing

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130000 Aussie Householders About To Switch To Net Metering!

Let us hope everyone does their homework well before the end of the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme [SBS] on 31st December 2016. Everyone meaning distributors, retailers and householders, so as to reduce any unwanted bottleneck from occurring. It will certainly pay to be at the front of the wave for meter changeover requests!

According to our research it looks like:

NO NSW SBS Gross Metered Household [as from 1st January 2017] will receive a cent
for exported power, unless they have made changes to their metering

 

Making changes prior to 31st December 2016 is going to be the best idea. Changes such as:

 

  • A compatible Gross meter is been re-programmed for Net metering
  • A Net meter is replacing the Gross meter
  • Mechanical meters such as spinning disk / clock face are replaced with a Net meter

 

The current rate for net metered exported power is anywhere from five to eight cents depending on the electricity retailer's offer. The NSW Government due to a lack of regulation on the minimum Net FIT may have allowed it to drop to 4 cents!

Plans are already in force whereby electricity distributors are gearing up for the change of meters, from Gross metering to Net metering.

Will This Meter Changeover Cost You? - Currently we are seeing this may cost you anywhere from $400 to $600 to have the meter replaced. Less for a re-program of any compatible Gross meter.

 

 

Why Householders Come Unstuck With Net Metering

Simply stated as A Lack Of Knowledge And Information!

Alarmingly the average Aussie householder seems to have little or incorrect knowledge on how to really use the solar on the roof to maximise electricity savings. Many times we see a large 5 kW system go on the roof, then the electricity bill arrives reporting the majority was exported for little return. That is NOT the way to make the best of a net metered solar system.

What is your total consumption now after the installation? -Interestingly this question cannot be answered, without some form of energy monitoring installed for both the consumption circuits and the solar.

Offsetting Imported Power Makes You Money - With any net metered solar system, your money is best made by reducing imported power during the sunny hours of the day.  Offset imported electricity worth 25 cents is worth far more than exported power at 6 cents!

Use It OR Lose It! -

 

 

Confusion Over Solar Power Net Metering & Billing!

Solar Power NET MeterOur research done in Sydney & the NSW Mid North Coast, has shown there are a lot of people with a NET metered Solar PV system still confused!

Our findings are telling us this is both from a energy angle and a financial one. And if they are not confused, often their idea of what their solar system is doing, is not correct!

All stemming from the 'all to common fact', the householder was not informed correctly in the first place.

After reading this page visit SOLAR PV METERS IN NSW for a more detailed insight to specific NET meters.

 

 

Basics Of Solar Power Generation & Net Metering

 

  • Solar Panels create DC Power
  • Solar Systems are rated via DC Power output
  • DC power is fed into the inverter, which converts it to AC Power
  • This AC Power is fed into your home first for use. Excess power from your solar system is fed back to the grid as what is termed exported power
  • A Net Meter is a bi-directional meter where it records imported power taken from the electricity grid and exported power fed back to the grid

 

Net Meters DO NOT Record Generated Power! - How can it? Your solar power is fed directly into your home. You may have used it all! The power has not passed through the Net Meter! Only what you DO NOT use will be registered by the NET meter. With no energy monitoring your generation is only shown on your inverter's LCD screen.

Net Meters DO NOT Record Total Consumption! - With a Solar Power NET metering installation, your appliances will be using a mixture of solar power and imported power during the sunny hours of the day. Your Net meter will ONLY show you imported power and exported power.

If you are monitoring your power then you will be doing your best to reduce the import power during the sunny hours of the day. Any excess power during the sunny hours of the day is simply exported back to the electricity grid.

 

 

Helping You Understand Your Solar PV Net Metering

What is important for everyone looking to install Solar PV, is that they understand their electricity usage and billing 100%. This is difficult for most householders, as understanding the electricity bill has not been important, until the recent electricity bill rises. over the last few years!

The reason you need to understand your electricity usage, is because any electricity savings you are going to make, are directly related to your electricity usage, when connected via Solar Power NET metering. If you did not know, Solar Power when connected to NET metering, powers your home FIRST!

 

Could This Be Your Home?

Solar Power Generation & Electricity Consumption Data Graph

Understanding 100% Your Solar Investment & Your Electricity Consumption

 

 

What You Need To Know About Your Sunny Hour Electricity Usage

Before the process of installing Solar Power begins to help you reduce electricity costs, there are a few basic facts you need to know. These are 100% important, especially when installing Solar PV connected to the grid via a NET meter.

1. Your daily electricity usage, measured in kWh. Common on a lot of electricity bills, this is highlighted where you may see 25 kWh per day. If the daily usage is not shown, then find the kWh total for the period of the bill and divide by the number of days in the bill.

2. Your electricity usage during the sunny hours of the day. Now there are three ways to work this out.

  • Read your electricity meter at sunrise and at sunset
  • Install a HOME ELECTRICITY MONITOR which will show you the 'sunny hour' usage easily
  • Looking at your 'sunny hour' electricity usage in relation to appliances

 

So let us take a look at these suggestions in more detail:

    Reading Your Electricity Meter - Find your East, North or West facing roof and note when the sun starts to hit the roof. Note the reading on your electricity meter. In the afternoon when the sun starts to leave the same space, note the electricity meter reading again. Obviously there will be shortened sunny hours in the winter, longer in the summer, so adjustments to the figures will need to be made. This will give you the power you need to offset / generate with any solar pv system

    Example morning reading 65700, late afternoon reading 65712 - You have used 12 kWh

    Install An Electricity Monitor - An electricity monitor in the home is always a great idea. As this has proven time and time again to help reduce electricity costs. For the purpose of Sizing A Solar PV System, the electricity monitor again proves it is a winner. By analysing the data it is easy to see the power used under the roof, on an hourly basis. More details on our SOLAR POWER page.

    Look At Your Electricity Usage - This is the most difficult of the three, as it means you have to have an idea of what power appliances use in the first place. If you do know this, then it is a matter of noting what is on and for how long. Then doing the maths. Maybe this one, should be left to the experts. That's us of course.

 

So by obtaining a good understanding of what your home uses during the sunny hours of the day, will mean you can correctly size a solar power system to your electricity usage. Now should you decide to feed excess electricity back into the grid, taking into account any NET feed in tariff, this is your choice and you will have an idea of the financial return.

 

Install Solar & Slash Electricity CostsCONTACT US NOW to: Book Your Solar Power Assessment or visit SOLAR PV SOLUTIONS and use the online form to enter your details.

 

 

What Do I Need To Know About General Electricity Usage?

Every electricity bill itemises the electricity used for the period of the bill. Quarterly electricity bills, tend to be around 91 days. The daily averaged usage is worked out by dividing the total kWh used by the number of days.

For example an average Aussie home may use somewhere between 18 kWh to 25 kWh per day.

Now regarding NET metering, what you are ONLY going to see on the electricity bill, is the power sent back to the grid. WHAT YOU WILL NOT SEE is the power used from your solar power system, by your appliances.

Think about this for a moment!!! There is no way the meter can see this, as you are using the power first! And this is where people start to get confused. VERY CONFUSED!!

What every sales person should note and discuss with the householder, is the power used per electricity bill, before the solar installation. Making sure the householder knows and does not forget the kWh they use per bill, before solar is installed!

 

      Pre-Solar Installation Electricity Usage

      Daily Usage 25 kWh        Quarterly Usage 2275 kWh

      Post Solar Installation Electricity Usage

      Daily Usage 17 kWh         Quarterly Usage 1561 kWh

 

 

Solar PV Misunderstandings & Myths

SMA Solar InverterSolar Myth #1 My solar is not making money and not generating what I was told it would!

What most householders see on the electricity bill is the amount of unused energy that is fed back into the grid. This is itemised separately on the electricity bill, with the NET FIT in NSW being stated as 6 or 8 cents per kW. So for example if 300 kW has been fed back to the grid, then there is a total of $24 for the quarter at 8 cents per kW.

And most householders think this is the return on investment. The ONLY financial return!

BUSTED! As this is totally wrong! If you were not aware, your NET Meter ONLY records the energy you DO NOT use. So what about all the other energy from your solar pv system? Guess what? You have used it! This energy has been supplied to you for FREE from the sun and has been used by your appliances under the roof. This energy you would have normally paid for, before you installed the Solar PV System.

Now are you starting to get the picture? We hope so! YES you are SAVING continually by offsetting the electricity costs, you would normally have purchased! As electricity costs rise you save more!

Question : What is the maximum electricity savings per year created by a small 2 kW Solar PV System?

Answer : You will know soon and be pleasantly suprised.

       

      OK back to those pre-solar figures.

      Pre-Solar Installation Electricity Usage

      Daily Usage 25 kWh        Quarterly Usage 2275 kWh

       

Let us say you decided to install a 2 kW Solar System, averaging an output of around 7.85 kW per day in Sydney. Your next electricity arrives [3 months of solar for the exercise] and you see the following kWh figures.

 

      Post Solar Installation Electricity Usage

      Daily Usage 17 kWh         Quarterly Usage 1561 kWh

       

Now we know you can see the figures are reduced, when compared to the pre-solar. The issue here is  most people, do not pick this up! Because the electricity bill for many homes is a no go zone!  And this bit of the maths was not discussed during the sale, of the solar pv system. But knowing you can see the reduced figures, let us further explain what we are seeing here.

A 2 kW solar system if averaged at 7.85 kW per day would have produced around 714 kW per electricity bill. This is electricity your home has used first. Meaning you have not bought in 714 kW of electricity. So what you are seeing is the daily & quarterly usage, minus the offset electricity your solar system generated. And this is where the MAXIMUM SAVINGS ARE!!!

Now if you are charged 30 cents per kWh, your savings are $214 per electricity bill. Per year this small 2 kW solar system is saving you a maximum of $856

This example shows a 2 kW Solar System saving you $856 per year!

Keep on reading as we are not finished yet!

 

 

So What Do I See On The Electricity Bill?

The example detailed so far is showing you what happens when you use ALL of the electricity generated. This is reality is not going to happen. Unless you have electricity usage far greater than the size of the solar system installed.

Research shows that many householders, often install a solar system based on 'the greater the usage, the greater in size the solar installed.

In the real world you may use two thirds of the power. Meaning one third of the power generated is fed back [exported] to the electricity grid. And guess what? This is what you see on the electricity bill! YES! Because this electricity has not been needed and passes back through the bi-directional NET meter.

 

You See Imported Power & Exported Power ONLY On The Electricity Bill!

 

Many householders mistakenly see Exported Power as their ONLY FINANCIAL RETURN!

 

 

You Will Not Necessarily Use All Of The Generated Power!

Why? Well as you will have used some of the power off the roof. You will see something like this on your electricity bill, which relates to the power you did not use:

 

238 kWh NET Feed In Tariff @ 0.08 cents per kWh            $19.04

 

In the above example 238 kwh is a third of the 714 kWh from the previous example. We have used this ratio as it is quite common for homes to feed a third of the generated power back into the electricity grid.

So in this case, where you are feeding a third of the power back to the grid and using the other two thirds under the roof, we can forecast your Solar Electricity Savings per quarterly bill to be around:

 

        238 kWh @ 0.08 cents     $19

        476 kWh @ 0.30 cents     $143

        Quarterly Savings            $162

        Annual Savings               $648

 

Now remember the Pre-Solar Installation Electricity Usage figure of 2275 kWh?

Well the kWh usage after the solar is installed with the above 2/3 of generated power taken into account, means your usage [imported electricity] will be 2275 - 476 = 1799 kWh.

Note this is true if your usage has remained the same as before. If you have changed appliances, decided to cool or heat the house, or had family in the home for a few weeks then your usage will have changed. On the other-hand if your solar inverter is generating the expected power, then you can expect the kWh to come off the changed updated usage total. 

 

YOUR COMMENTS PLEASE - Leave your input on our SOLAR NET METERING & BILLING CONFUSION blog post. All feedback is welcome.

Now if you have been reading this as part of your pre-solar install research and you are now ready to install solar, then we offer you a Solar Assessment of your home or business.

 

 

Monitoring Your Net Metered Solar Power And Total Consumption

Aussie Home Energy Monitoring System #3 - Net Metered Solar Power Monitoring SolutionThe icing on the cake for any Net metered solar system is the energy monitoring system. In a net metered environment this is crucial:

 

  • As you have NO IDEA of your total power consumption
  • As you DO NOT KNOW if your importing or exporting

 

With no monitoring system installed in a net metered environment, there is simply missing information and the lack of ability to know when to operate appliances, to use as much of the solar power without importing power where possible.

Your electricity bill shows you:

  • With no net metered solar DAILY TOTAL CONSUMPTION
  • After net metered solar showing DAILY IMPORTED & EXPORTED POWER ONLY

 

Not the total power consumed, nor when your importing or exporting, which affects your financial return the most.

Unless you are visiting the inverter on a daily basis you are not going to know of any issue either, where your solar power output may have dropped or ceased. Not until the electricity bill in three months time of course if you spot the error that is.

Remember net metered maths is:

 

Total Consumption = Import + Generation - Export

 

Of The Four Above Elements How Many Do You Know? : If it is only import and export off your electricity bill then you sure are blind as to what is really happening. You only have 50% of the information!

The benefits of a net metered solar power monitoring system, will result in you finally and importantly having a clear insight and better understanding of what is really happening above and below your roof. You

  • Imported power reduction during the sunny hours of the day resulting in savings
  • Exported power minimisation resulting in bigger savings by using your own free power
  • Better appliance load management and awareness, making better use of the free power
  • Better management of the Time Of Use tariff
  • Reduced wasted standby power
  • Ability to get email alerts to solar power outage, high consumption, thus creating action

 

Could This Be Your Home?

Solar Power Generation & Electricity Consumption Data Graph

Understanding 100% Your Solar Investment & Your Electricity Consumption

Make it easy of yourself, monitor your solar power investment to reduce losses!

 

 

Install Solar & Slash Electricity CostsCONTACT US NOW to: Book Your Solar Power Assessment or visit SOLAR PV SOLUTIONS and use the online form to enter your details.

Slash Your Daytime Electricity Costs - GO SOLAR!

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Winners & Losers

From what we can see here the changes will mean anyone with a large system whom is exporting a great percentage of generated power, will see a greatly reduced return, unless they learn to offset that imported power better.

Anyone with a small solar system such as 1 to 1.5 kW will most likely be using the generated power during the daytime, therefore offsetting imported power and exporting little.

Those homes with no-one in them during the sunny hours [working hours] and only a fridge running will be exporting the most! Those householders will need to learn to program more appliances to operate during the sunny hours of the day.

 

 

Making The Switch From Gross To Net Metering

One of the best places to start this exercise, is to take a look at the recommendations by the NSW Department Of Industry Resources and Energy. Their website can be found HERE.

A few IMPORTANT NOTES we would like you to take on board before talking to any electricity retailer, distributor or electrician are:

 

  • Most gross / net meters support all three electricity tariffs. Flat rate, tiered and Time Of Use. If you get asked to switch tariff type you need to make sure that a switch will not raise you electricity usage charges. The Time Of Use has been shown to raise costs, when not managed correctly or not the best option for certain household types. Young families and the elderly do not always keep costs lower when on a Time Of Use tariff.
  • If your not being offered the desired tariff, then ask another electricity retailer
  • Shop around for electricians whom are able to install any required net meter, supposedly the pool of certified electricians is to rise to 30,000
  • Reprogramming a compatible Gross meter to Net metering is the cheapest option. Next is replacing a electronic Gross meter with a Net meter. Lastly where you have a smorgass board of mechanical meters, this may prove to be more expensive due to the layout of the meters, maybe having to be re-designed in the powerbox

 

Now makesure you visit SOLAR PV METERS IN NSW for a more detailed insight to specific NET meters. If you are offered a meter not on this page then please let us know and we will add the meter to the same.

 

Aussie Home Energy - Helping Add Clarity To The Australian Electricity Net Metered Bills

 

Helping You Reduce Usage & SAVE On Power Costs The Smart Way!
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