At BEC, we are committed to helping our customers gain control of their energy supply.
That means that for people who we meet with solar pv, the advise we give has developed over the years. When we first started out, the advise for effective solar pv management was pretty similar to the advise your mum might give you for hanging your washing out: when the sun is shining, use it!
We would encourage people to time their washing machine, dishwashers and other high load items to run during the day when the sun is likely to be shining and therefore solar pv system generating. Now there is nothing wrong with that advise. If you want to manage your solar pv system but don’t want to spend a further penny then this is still the advise I would give.
It has two big problems with it though. Firstly, it requires quite a lot of ongoing thought and juggling of all your other responsibilities with what the weather might be doing. Frankly, if the sun is shining I want to be in the garden in my underpants drinking a beer (to be honest I never actually do that-I burn at the thought of a 240W light bulb) but you get my point. Who wants to spend their time switching gadgets on and off as the sun comes in and out? If you’re in Scotland, on “sunny” days, this happens about once every 8 minutes.
Secondly, most people are out during the day. Sure, there are some things you can set a timer for. But there are plenty that you can’t. And even when you set your timer, there is no guarantee that this will coincide with periods of high irradiation.
Managing your solar pv yourself is ok but you will have to accept that unless you are REALLY on the ball with it, you will end up exporting most of the electricity that you generate. This is a big shame. It means that you aren’t as independent from the grid as you easily could be and more importantly, the electricity that you have generated by renewable means is effectively wasted and instead you end up using electricity generated by power stations.
For most people, this isn’t the reason you got into renewable energy. It wasn’t as an income stream but as a lifestyle choice: you want to help the planet go renewable. My exhortation to you is this-don’t stop at 90% of the way. Put the extra bit of effort in to live as sustainably as you can.
I’ll be writing a few blogs with tips to make the most of your solar pv. They’ll all cost in time, effort and money and some will just be ideas for the future, but consider, take note and look ahead.