Will my new battery and solar system be able to support me so I don’t have to pay any electricity bills?

When you purchased your new battery and solar system you probably, at some point, heard the phrase "never pay another electricity bill!"  While this is always very exciting to hear, the reality can be very different.

There are a number of factors that will determine whether or not your solar system is able to fully support your household electricity demands and these can often fluctuate over time.   Below are just a few examples that can change how you use and generate electricity:

  • Seasons: over summer when the weather is generally sunny and the days are longer, your solar system is going to be generating a lot of power as it is essentially working under ideal conditions.  Over winter though, when the days are shorter and cloudier, your system will generate less power so you will find you require more grid support more frequently.
  • Shade: depending on the location of the panels on your roof, they may only be exposed to the sun for shorter periods of the day than originally expected meaning they won't generate as much power.  Trees and other overhead obstructions can also affect the efficiency of your solar panels.
  • Age and Maintenance: A recent storm, or just a lack of maintenance could mean that your solar panels are dirty meaning they'll be much less efficient that if they're cleaned regularly.
  • System Size: Larger solar panel systems produce more electricity.  Similarly. the larger your battery the more support it can provide for you when the solar panels aren't generating.
  • Household Usage: household usage habits will vary from home to home, and can change drastically from season to season. You might use more power in summer cooling your home, or use more power in winter with heaters and your dryer. You might also use more power if your household grows to include more people, or if you install a new appliance. Similarly, Stay At Home,  orders in your area will also increase your usage for those periods.
  • Off Peak Appliances: unless your solar system has been specifically set up to power these appliances (usually hot water/pool pump/underfloor heating) these run on a separate circuit and will always be using grid support for their electricity supply
  • Rates and Charges: your electricity plan with your provider has an impact on how much you are paying for grid support and being paid for your solar feed in.  This will affect how much your electricity bills are.
  • Battery Usage: your battery will only support your household usage overnight if it holds enough charge.  If your solar system had a low generation day or you traded the energy in your battery at peak times you won't have as much charge to support overnight usage.  Or if your overnight usage is very high your battery might not hold enough charge at all. 

The reality is, at some point you are probably going to need to buy energy from the grid to support your usage.  However, your solar and battery system will significantly reduce the amount of grid support your household requires so while your bills may not disappear entirely, all the time, they will be much much smaller than without the system.

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