How to make the most of your solar panels
If your home has solar panels on the roof, there're a few things you can do to help you get the most out of the free electricity they produce.
How do they work?
Solar electricity panels, also known as solar photovoltaics, catch the sun’s energy and converts it into electricity that you can use in your home.
The solar panels only produce electricity during daylight hours, and will work on sunny and cloudy days. The stronger the sunlight, the more electricity is generated.
When will I get free electricity?
When solar panels are producing electricity, you'll be able to use the free electricity they make. This means you'll always get some free electricity during the daytime.
It’s important to remember that the panels only:
- produce electricity during the daytime.
- produce a limited amount of energy at any one time.
This means that the panels can make your electricity bills lower, but they'll not give you all the electricity you need. There'll be times when you’re using more electricity than the panels are making, and the extra electricity you need will be taken from the national grid. This means that you'll still have an electricity bill to pay.
How to make the most of your free electricity
If you make some changes to the way you use energy in your home, you can save more money on your electricity bills. Whenever possible try to:
- Stagger your use of big electrical appliances during daylight hours. For example, vacuum after the washing machine has finished.
- If you’re not at home during the day, try using delay-start timers if your appliances have them, or use a slow-cooker for your evening meal.
- If you have an electric shower, use it during daylight hours.
- Charge electrical devices during the daytime, especially when you’re not using large appliances.
- Set your fridge to between 3 and 5 degrees and defrost your freezer regularly to keep it running efficiently.
- Don’t overfill the kettle – only boil the amount you need.
- Turn your electrical items off standby mode.
If you've got a ‘time-of-use’ tariff such as Economy 7 and you're unable to stagger your use of large appliances during the day, it may be cheaper to run them at night.