Blog Post Friday 16 September 2016
Here are a few questions we get regularly asked from new solar customers. Let’s begin with a few basics:
Solar energy is generated when the sun hits your solar panels. Well it's a little more complicated than that - you can read about it here.
On a cloudy day, or in winter when the sun is not as strong, energy is still generated but just at a reduced rate.
When there is no sun i.e. at night, no power is generated, and any power you need will be drawn from the electricity grid as normal.
That really depends on your solar system - the size, number of panels etc. If you’ve just had a new system installed, your installer should be able to answer this. If you are buying a house that already has panels on the roof, the seller can probably give you an idea of what they were generating.
In NSW there are 2 types of solar meters - Gross Meters and Net Meters. Most of the new homes these days are on a net metering system, so let’s talk about those today.
A Net Meter means that the solar power you generate is directed for household use first, anything you don’t use is then exported to the energy grid. So for example, during the day, you switch on the TV. While you are watching, the power used by your TV is taken from the solar panels on your roof. If you stop using power in your house, your panels are still making solar power, so that extra power gets sent back to the energy grid, for which you earn a feed in tariff.
When you export your solar energy to the grid, you are “selling” it. The rate that you get “paid” for this energy is called a Feed-In Tariff.
The retailer-funded Feed in Tariff (or FiT for short) varies in each state and also by retailer. To see the solar plans available in your state, get a no obligation quick quote today.
Remember, solar panels only generate energy, they don’t store it. We are starting to see options for battery technology where you can store the energy you generate (as they do in remote, off-grid locations), but it’s still early days and still relatively expensive.
So for now, at night - for example, when you have your lights on, watching TV etc, all that power is drawn from the electricity grid, just like every other household.
Which means - all that we’ve been talking about in the last few weeks - making sure you’re getting a good energy discount that doesn’t expire, that it’s off both usage and supply - all this value still applies.
In fact, if you are off-setting your usage with solar power, getting a discount off the fixed daily charge becomes even more important!