Why Solar Still Works for Full-Time Workers

There is a common misconception that solar is only good for people who are home during the day. Don’t get me wrong, people with home businesses or people that stay at home with their children definitely see the most benefit from having solar installed. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to work for you because you’re working 9-5.

Timers

Most people quickly discredit the wonderful bits of technology that our new appliances contain. Most new appliances have in-built timers that allow us to set them to run during the day. This means that you can have your pool pump, dishwasher and washing machine running while you’re at work and your solar is at it’s peak. You can also purchase a hot water timer so that your hot water system heats with free energy from the sun.

Let’s have a look at how much these timers could save if you installed a 6kW solar system. Let’s assume that your electricity bill is $1,000 a quarter and your home uses 44kWs of electricity per day.[i] We’re going to assume you are using your timers and you use approximately 15kWs of your solar electricity throughout the day. Saving you $3.75 per day and $1,368.75 per year.[ii]

Weekends

We easily forget the weekends and think that the five days a week that we’re at work outweigh the two we’re at home. There are 52 weekends in a year, that’s 104 days a year that your family is likely at home with the air-conditioner or heater and electronics running. Sticking with the example above, let’s assume that your weekend daytime load is 22kWh and you pay $0.25c/kWh. After solar, that’s $572 a year you could save just on weekends.[iii]

School holidays

There are 12 weeks of school holidays a year and while you might spend some of those weeks on holidays, it’s likely that the majority of the time the kids will be at home cranking up the power bill. Let’s say you take two weeks of holidays per year but for the other 10 the kids are at home with the air-conditioner running all day.

We’ll keep our same example from before and assume you’re using 22kWhs a day. That’s another $385 you could be saving during the holiday periods.[iv] Plus, you can worry a little less about the kids leaving every light, fan and appliance on as it won’t increase your bill as much.

Feed-In Tariff

Unfortunately, the days of significantly high feed-in tariffs (FiT) are gone but it doesn’t mean you don’t receive anything. The FiT changes regularly and varies depending on your location and energy retailer so we will look at two examples.

We mentioned earlier that during a work day your home would use approximately 15kWh of your solar energy during the day. Your 6kW solar system will produce 24kWhs per day so the remaining 9kWh will be exported to the grid and you will receive a solar FiT.

7c/kWh FiT

If you receive a FiT of 7c/kWh and you’re exporting 9kWhs per day than you will receive $0.63 per day in Feed-in Tariff credits.[v] Now let’s exclude your 104 days of weekends and 70 days of school holidays as we know you won’t export as much. That leaves us with 191 days at $0.63 a day is $120.33 in solar credits for the year.

15c/kWh FiT

Now let’s look at the same example with a slightly higher Feed-in Tariff. You’re still exporting 9kWhs per day but now you’re receiving $0.15kWh, that’s $1.35 per day.[vi] Totaling $429.75 per year in solar FiT credits.

Let’s have a look at how these examples weigh up. Remember, for this exercise we were assuming a pre-solar bill of $1,000 per quarter.

Potential Total Savings with 7c FiT
Per Quarter Per year
Weekend Savings $143 $572
School Holiday Savings $96.25 $385
Feed-in Tariff Credits $30.08 $120.33
Work Day Savings $342.18 $1,368.75
Potential Total Savings $611.52 $2,446.08

 

Potential Total Savings with 15c FiT
Per Quarter Per year
Weekend Savings $143 $572
School Holiday Savings $96.25 $385
Feed-in Tariff Credits $107.43 $429.75
Work Day Savings $342.18 $1,368.75
Potential Total Savings $688.87 $2,755.50

 

When deciding to make the switch to solar it’s important to look at all the contributing factors. Like any big decision in our lives, it’s not always black and white. Assuming that solar won’t work for your because you’re not home during the day but continuing to pay $4,000 a year for electricity just doesn’t make sense.

 

[i] $1,000 electricity bill / 90 days = $11 per day / $0.25c/kWh = 44kWh

[ii] 15kW * $0.25 = $3.75 per day * 365 days = $1,368.75

[iii] 22kWh per day * 104 days * $0.25c/kWh = $572

[iv] 22kWh per day * 70 days * $0.25c/kWh = $385

[v] 9kW x $0.07 = $0.63 * 365 days = $120.33

[vi]  9kW x $0.15 = $1.35 * 365 days = $429.75

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