Solar energy has made great progress in the past decade. With the decline of technology price, the demand for solar PV is also increasing. There are many reasons why people install solar PV, but most people see it as a way to help reduce electricity bills and carbon footprints. Once you have installed solar panels, it is important to understand how to make the most of them.
- Make sure your home is insulated. To help you save money on your electricity bills if you are using electric heating, programme your timers to come on during the day. In order to keep the heat in your home for longer make sure that your roof or loft are insulated and add insulation to your cavity or solid walls. To prevent draughts, draught-proof your doors and windows as well.
- Use more electricity during the day. It's a good idea to do all your domestic tasks such as washing, dishwashing and ironing during daylight hours as this is when your solar PV system will be working at its peak. If you’re out at work during the day, it's worth setting up timers for your dishwasher and washing machine to make the most out of your PV system.
- Install a smart meter. Smart meters are able to show you the exact and real-time consumption of your electricity and send it back to your energy supplier. When coupled with solar panels, a smart meter can save you a substantial amount of money on your energy bills. You can see what your solar energy usage is so that you can act on reducing it. However, you should be aware that not all energy suppliers have set up their smart meters to read the exported energy from solar panels.
- Combine with other renewable systems. Solar PV systems can be combined with other space-heating renewable technologies such as heat pumps, solar thermal systems, and wind turbines all of which work well together. PV can be set up to power a heat pump for example or several of these systems can feed into a thermal store. In fact, solar PV systems make the perfect renewable partner for heat pumps. Heat pumps can use the electricity produced by the solar panels from sunlight and create up to 4 times as much energy as they consume.
- Check your inverter. The basic function of a solar inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) electricity produced by your solar PV panels to alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in your home and exported back to the grid. In addition to that, its job is to maximise the available energy being generated from your solar panels.
It is important to choose a high quality solar inverter, because it is an important part of your solar panel setup. It is an intelligent device connected to your system and should be placed where you can easily get it. Most inverters now have Internet connectivity, so you can monitor your system with an application or web browser even when you are not there.