As you know, that for grid tie solar photovoltaic system, we export/sell the electricity to the electric utility power grid, and we charged for each exported kWh energy, that what we called Feed-in Tariff. But the question is, can we control this tariff in order to maximize our return on investment? The answer is yes, and let us know how can we achieve that:
Electrical power providers are generally providing two different tariff structures, the first is called flat rate structure, in which the price for the purchased kWh is fixed, its same over 24hours/7days. And the other structure called time of use, in which the price for the purchased kWh differs from time to other, there will be off peak price and high peak price. Usually, off peak time is in the night, high peak time is from afternoon to the evening, and the normal time is represented by the rest of the day hours, in some areas, the high peak kWh charges may reach 50 cents per each kWh.
From solar economics point of view, the result of using flat rate structure or time of use structure will be very similar, however some electricity retailers provide only one tariff structurer and in that case you have no choice, but if they provide both tariffs, then you need to check your electricity consumption pattern and how you use electricity over the day, in order to indicate which structure will be more advantageous for you. For example, if you return back your home at 2-3pm, and start using a lot of electricity like TV, air conditioners, washing/drying machines, etc. up to the night, in that case you have already used/consumed the electricity during peak charge period, so no need for time of use tariff, as it will be useless, and flat tariff would be more advantageous. But if you have batteries and able to use them at peak charge time, then time of use tariff might be better.
What make things easier, is that your solar photovoltaic system supplier will be able to assist you indicating which tariff structure will be better for you, they can do analysis like feed-in tariff analysis, after checking your electricity consumption pattern.
One more important thing to consider, it’s the solar energy meter, as for time of use tariff structure, the meter will be of special specs/components and will differ from the case of using flat rate structure which does not require special energy meter, just regular meter will work perfectly. so it’s better to check which tariff you will go through before buying and installing the solar system energy meter.