I think people install solar panels for 2 main reasons, to make money / save money or to do their bit for the environment. Often it will be a combination of the two. I was determined that it wasn’t just about getting a cheque from the energy company every quarter but that we make the most use we can out of the energy we generate.
In our previous house we were on Economy 7 which gave us discounted energy over night so I was encouraging the missus to put on the washing and dishwasher overnight when it was cheaper, we dumped that though as it wasn’t cost effective as we used so much more energy in the day than we saved by having a cheaper tariff overnight.
Now we have the solar panels installed its all about when the sun is shining but its soo much more than that. Our system came with a monitor that told us how much energy was been generated at the minute (when you press the button on it), but it was out of context, yeh we are generating 1Kwh lets put the kettle on. That’s when I found the Eco eye , that shows us what we are consuming, generating and our net position both kilowatt hours and in a great traffic light system, red for drawing electricity from the grid, amber for using all we are generating and green for generating more then we are using.
With the eco-eye we can now see if we have spare electricity to use and how much we have used and generated each day, I can download the information and look at how much we are using over time but its all “offline” and in this day and age that just won’t do. So an evening or two of research on how to upload the data to the internet and I had the eco-eye connected to Xively, a site for “connected devices”.
Now I can see the current usage and generation on my phone or on my PC, can see when we have put the washing on at the right time or not. It does mean I can see when the misses has put the washing on when there is no sun or missed the ‘ideal’ time to put it on but I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.
As part of the feed in tariff (FIT) the government assume we use half the energy we generate, from what I’ve seen and read people use much less than 50% unless they are making an effort. The more electricity we use when the sun is shining the more our electricity bill is reduced so it makes sense. What do you do to reduce energy usage and bills?
So as you can see my husband is rather obsessive umm I mean prudent when it comes to using electricity at the right time in our household and we keep our paid electricity usage as low as possible!