Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Air Conditioners And Hidden Standby Electricity

Have you been trying to eliminate all of the standby electricity in your home recently? Well did you ever think of the air conditioner unit?

Like a lot of homes, you may only use your air conditioning for six months of the year. Could your system be using electricity whilst it is technically in standby mode?

Well research shows in some cases, there is considerable standby electricity with some systems. Anywhere from fifty to over one hundred and fifty watts of standby electricity! Now that is costing you!

The reason for this hidden standby electricity, that it is built in by design, is due to the requirement of the refrigerant to be kept at a certain temperature. It is all to do with the viscosity of the fluid, for those of you interested in the technical side of things. The fluid has to have a certain viscosity, so as to not damage the unit.

So what can you do, if you do not use your air conditioner for six months of the year? Well you can turn it off in the fuse box. You will be looking for the switch with clearly marked AC on it.

Now for those of you with HOME ELECTRICITY MONITORS, we would like you to add a comment to this blog post, noting what your standby electricity was.

If you do decide to switch off your unit, we would suggest you firstly call your manufacturer and ask them for any other information, that they may suggest. You do not want to be turning the unit back on and using it at once, as there is a certain amount of time where the unit will need to on, to condition the refrigerant before use. You could turn it on at least 24 hours before use, to be on the safe side. The last thing we want is anyone damaging their air conditioning unit.

Air conditioner standby electricity, has been found during our HOME ELECTRICITY AUDITS. We always advise as to turning off the unit when not used for six months of the year, as a electricity reduction method.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Solar Power NET Meter Easy Explanation

Do you know the answer to either of these two questions, on Solar Power NET Metering?

Question 1. Will all of the generated power from your Solar Power system be itemised on the electricity bill?

Question 2. What will the generated power consist of financially, during the quarterly electricity bill?

If you are unsure or do not know the answers to either of these two questions, then you may be suprised to know a lot of households with solar installed, do not either.

For a full easy to understand explanation or a simple explanation on Solar Power NET Metering, visit our GUIDES page where you can download our SOLAR POWER NET METER EASY EXPLANATION

Visit our webpage UNDERSTANDING SOLAR POWER NET METERING AND BILLING for a detailed version.

Sep 2015 : See our addition to this post, where we discuss a great SOLAR PV MONITORING ANDROID APP suitable for all net metering environments.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Monitoring Your Solar Power Inverter's Output

Most Aussie householders wanting to know more about the output from their solar power system, usually install a SOLAR POWER MONITORING SYSTEM.  

This is a proven 'fool proof' way to know more about generated power, imported / exported power and finally total power consumption. 

Knowing all of these facts easily allows anyone to maximise solar power usage and increase electricity cost savings. 

Up to now most Aussie homes have had little feedback from their solar power inverter and in many cases are 100% unaware of any issue. In really unlucky cases, a total solar power outage may have occurred. In others a degrading over time of solar power output. So how have these householders found out about issues?

  • When checking the solar inverter
  • When checking the electricity bill

And guess what you and many of these householders, do not check frequently enough! 

Many householders simply complain there is no time. No time to check the inverter once a week, no time to spend five minutes checking the electricity bill once in three months? We would disagree! 

So this is where a solar power monitoring solution can really help you out. Saving you the time and importantly money off your electricity costs!

The Solar Power Monitoring System supplys that missing feedback. Where you now have data and awareness to know instantly everything about :

  • Generated power
  • Imported power
  • Exported power
  • Total consumption

These are the four main missing elements for many householders. Now imagine if you knew all of the above in real-time and had the ability to be alerted via email for example. 

Knowing what is happening above your roof and below it, has just got a lot easier! Forget the three month electricity bill delay or six! Ouch!

Imagine three months or six of lost generated solar power. Now depending on your metering connection, that literally could be hundreds of dollars off your solar power investment.

Imagine also how you could further maximise your solar power investment if you had all of the above data. You could easily :

  • Maximise the use of generated solar power
  • Reduce imported power
  • Reduce exported power when there is little financial return
  • Reduce electricity costs overall

So when it comes to installing a Solar Power Monitoring Solution, keeping an eye on everything 24/7 from anywhere, it really is painless, easy and affordable.

OK so since we have got your attention, on why monitoring your solar and consumption power is such a good move forwards for your home, let us have a quick look at what amount of power you should be seeing from your inverter and what can reduce this power output.

In this example we will talk about a 3 kW Solar Power System.

Would you expect to see close to 3 kW on your inverter's display? If you are thinking a big yes here, then you are joining a lot of Australians with a common misunderstanding. A common misunderstanding on the output of their Solar PV System.

When you chose the Solar Power System for your home, the sizing in kilowatts relates to the DC power upon the roof. This is the DC power from the solar panel array, not the available AC power for use under the roof. And this is where the confusion is for many householders.

Now we would say this misconception is there, because the output of your solar system was not fully explained to you, during the sale of the system. Or you may have forgotten, about such discussion on the possible losses of a solar pv system.

You should be aware of the averaged daily output for your Solar PV system. If not you may wish to visit this page AVERAGED DAILY SOLAR PV OUTPUT on our website.

The averaged daily output for any solar power system, takes into account all of the system's losses. Losses that occur in creating the usable AC power, for use underneath your roof by your appliances.

In layman's terms, this means your 3 kW above the roof will not generate 3000 watts of AC power, for use under the roof by your appliances!

So what are these losses? Well your Solar Power system will have losses due to,

  • Shading
  • Location
  • Roof orientation
  • Roof angles
  • Seasonal changes
  • Panel and inverter efficiencies

In total any Solar PV system could lose around 20%. So expect to see around 2400 watts of usable AC power from that 3000 watt Solar Power system.

In Australia the Clean Energy Council's Guide To Solar PV Installations, takes into account all of the possible Solar PV system losses. Before forecasting averaged daily output for all areas of Australia.

Now what you need to remember here, is in some cases you may be getting less power than you thought you were. If you were sold the system, knowing the averaged daily output, then everything is OK.

Do not worry, as your 3 kW solar system should still be averaging at least 11.7 kilowatts per day output, if all is in good order.

And 11.7 kilowatts of generated solar power, could be worth around $1280 to you, if you use it all. This is based on electricity being offset, at a tariff rate of 30 cents per kilowatt.

So when you install your SOLAR POWER MONITORING SOLUTION to keep an eye on your inverter's output, import / export power and total consumption, expect to see a little less power. Around anywhere up to 20%!

To learn more about the monitoring and analysis of your electricity usage and solar pv system's output, visit our CHOOSING YOUR ELECTRICITY MONITOR page, where we make the task of getting your data online, very easy.

Oct 2016 : We have edited this post to update it to reflect changes in energy monitoring. See this blog post where we discuss a great SOLAR PV MONITORING ANDROID APP suitable for all net metering environments. Instant awareness of generation, import / export and total consumption.

Sep 2017 : Net metering is not that financially favorable when only 6 or 8 cents is paid for exported power. So why not divert that same power to appliances in the home? Importantly on auto-pilot. See our SMART SOLAR POWER dashboard for all the information.

January 2018 : Current Cost home energy monitor users please note MyCurrentCost dashboard was retired 15th January. This alternative free real-time dashboard is a great alternative HOME ENERGY MONITOR dashboard solution, with auto upload support for PVOutput ie solar.

This blog post brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Solar Power Net Meter Export Electricity

Recent research shows us that most home's installing Solar Power connected to the electricity grid via NET metering, are going to send a small percentage of the generated power back to the electricity grid, at sometime.

This can often occur when generated power from the solar system, is greater than the power used under the roof. This excess power is exported back to the electricity grid, and any financial return for this exported power, will be based on any current NET  feed in tariff offered, by the electricity retailer. Currently in New South Wales this can range from six to eight cents per exported kilowatt.

A question often asked during our SOLAR POWER ASSESSMENTS is “How much of the generated power will we export back to the electricity grid?”

Research by IPART & the University of New South Wales, shows the average exported power from a 2 kW solar system or smaller is around 32% to 50%. On average, households have been found to consume around two thirds of their generated solar power.

It is important to note that the amount of imported and exported electricity, will be  different for all homes, due to different energy usage characteristics and the size of any installed solar system.

Some homes manage to use all of the generated power from their Solar PV system. Any financial returns will be based on the reduced imported electricity and exported electricity within any NET feed in tariff.

For a detailed explanation, of the financial returns available, with variable electricity offsetting and exported electricity, visit our GUIDE TO NET METERING, hosted on our main website.

You can leave your comments on this subject on our SOLAR NET METERING blog page.

To see electricity used, imported, generated and exported in your home, we offer you various ONLINE ELECTRICITY MONITORING options. Where you can see the data 24/7 from anywhere and analyse at any time. We also make the task of getting your data online, very easy. 

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Factors Affecting Solar Power Generation

It is not just solar panel and inverter efficiency that can affect the output of your newly installed Solar Power system.

When the averaged annual Solar Power output from your solar system, is discussed during a SOLAR POWER ASSESSMENT, it is important to ask questions regarding the following points,

  • Your location
  • Shading
  • Roof orientation
  • Roof angle & tilt frames
  • Seasonal changes

All of these factors will affect the output of your Solar PV system. With some of these being far more important than others.

For example did you know the angle of your solar panels only affects the output of your solar power system by around 5%?

To learn more about what you need to pay attention to, before installing solar power, visit our SOLAR POWER information pages.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

How To Eliminate The Electricity Bill

This a question many householders ask, during a SOLAR POWER ASSESSMENT.

Firstly it is important to note, technically only your electricity usage measured in kilowatts, during the sunny hours of the day can be offset and reduced.

Secondly any other monies raised from exported electricity, will go towards balancing out any electricity used outside of the sunny hours of the day and connection charges.

Whether you can eliminate your electricity bill completely will depend on your electricity usage and exported electricity. This is dependent on having a large amount of solar generated power in relation to used power.

When connecting a large SOLAR POWER SYSTEM, for example 5kW or over, to a household with low electricity usage under the roof during the sunny hours of the day, there is great potential to eliminate electricity costs. There can be enough revenue from the exported electricity to balance out other electricity costs and service charges.

Other factors that need to be taken into account are that, the larger the solar power system, the greater the cost and the greater use of rooftop real estate. The payback period for the larger systems, may in some cases be longer, due to Government pricing rebates being maximised, to the smaller solar power systems.

So if you are looking to eliminate your electricity bill completely, you first of all need to understand your electricity usage and the amount of any feed in tariff offered by your electricity retailer. It is this feed in tariff that will generate you revenue for your exported electricity.

What is really important is that you understand the maths of the exercise.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Switching To Off-Peak Electricity Tariff 1

Could you change from off-peak electricity tariff 2 to 1, without running out of hot water?

If so you could save yourself a third off your hot water costs. Your hot water costs are itemised on your electricity bill, as a 'controlled load'.

Homes we find on off-peak tariff 1, do not report running out of hot water. Whether off-peak tariff 1 is suited to your home, depends on the amount of hot water used and at what time of the day.

Ask yourself when you use hot water. Is it in the morning, afternoon or evening?

Off-peak tariff 1 is active at night time for approx 6 hours. Tariff 2 has the same active period with an additional 3 hours in the day, usually in the afternoon to boost the water temperature, before people start arriving home. So if this sounds like your home, then tariff 1 may not be suited. The time off-peak electricity is active, may change with electricity providers.

You will also need to understand your hot water usage. Think of usage areas such as,

  • Dishwashers.
  • Kitchen sink.
  • Washing machines.
  • Laundry tub.
  • Baths & showers.

To work out how much hot water you may use in the shower, set the shower to your normal temperature. Turn off the cold and collect the hot water in a bucket for thirty seconds. Now using a little simple maths, if you have a five minute shower, multiply the litres in the bucket, by ten. Some variable shower heads have settings written on the side, as to the amount of water being used per minute. A common shower head is nine litres per minute.

For other appliances, the amount of water used can be found in appliance manuals, or by calling the distributor of the appliance.

Let us say you use 30 litres of hot water in the morning and you have a 315 litre hot water tank. This is not a lot of water out of the tank, only around 11% and should not create to much of a temperature drop.

Having a hot water tank inside the home, will mean less electricity is used, as during the winter, the outside hot water tank can get very cold during the night and use considerable more electricity than one sited in the home.

Other important factors on the cost of your hot water are the thermostat setting. A normal setting for the average home is 60 degrees centigrade. In some cases this can be even less. Anything over this temperature will be costing you in electricity costs. Unless you have a specific reason for your water being higher, we would suggest you have it set to 60 degrees centigrade.

When setting the water to less than 60 degrees centigrade, make sure that the water is still warm enough to reach the furthest distance, from the hot water tank. A long run in the home, may be a reason for the water being higher, than 60 degrees centigrade. We would say if this is the case, make sure the pipes are insulated first. As this will be the cheaper option over time.

A common finding is for homes to be on off-peak hot water tariff 2 when there are children at home. Once gone, the tariff can switched back to 1. This is often forgotten!

Making sure you are on the best hot water tariff, with the correct temperature setting, so you can save on your hot water costs.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Solar Net Metering & Billing Confusion

Our research over the last few months mainly in Sydney’s West, has shown there are lot of people with a Solar PV system, connected to the grid via NET metering, who are very confused as to what their solar system is generating!

Our research findings are telling us, this too is both from a energy angle and a financial one. And if the householder is not confused, often the idea they have of what their solar system is doing, is totally incorrect.

So what we have decided to do is put the records straight. You will find information on what you should see and what you will not see on the electricity bill, detailed on our SOLAR NET METERING web page.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Survey Into Solar PV Inverter Checking In Australia

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.

Solar Power Monitoring Maximises Your Solar Investment

When was the last time you checked your Solar Power inverter?

How long would it take for you to notice, there is an issue with your Solar Power Investment?

1 week? 4 weeks? 2 months? Valuable time, that is costing you money, while your Solar inverter is not generating the investment, you originally wanted it to!

Our research has shown that many householders, are not checking their Solar inverter on a frequent basis. In the last month we have come across, households with solar inverters tripped off due to lightning strikes and solar inverters with electrical issues. Importantly solar inverters that are not creating any income at all!

Of course some of you may be thinking if that was me, I would at least become aware when the electricity bills arrives. What happens though if you are to busy to analyse the bill? You may pass the electricity bill to someone else to pay. You may see some generated power and think everything is fine. Do you know the expected kW generated per bill, per season, by your Solar PV System? We would think you do not!

So what can you do to maximise your Solar PV investment? Well you could install a SOLAR POWER MONITORING SYSTEM.  This will allow you to keep an eye on the output of your Solar inverter, 24 hours a day.

Importantly a Solar PV Monitor will further allow you to educate yourself, about your solar inverter's output, during changes in the weather and seasons. This knowledge assisting you in minimising any waste and balancing out your imported electricity and exported electricity, when connected with NET metering.

Sounds all too easy, but this simple solution is often missed! Costing many Aussie householders big dollars.

Do you want to find out in three months time about a problem with your solar system? Of course not, so add a SOLAR PV MONITORING SOLUTION tomorrow and protect your solar power investment. 

Due to a increasing number of householders not being aware of solar inverter malfunctions, we now have easy choices for online and computer based electricity and solar monitoring solutions. To learn more about the monitoring and analysis of your electricity usage and solar pv system's output, visit our CHOOSING YOUR ELECTRICITY MONITOR page, where we make the task of getting your data online, very easy.

This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.
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