How to use your solar data to change your energy habits
Whether you've had solar panels for years or you're new to the world of solar energy, it's never been easier to monitor how your solar panels are performing. Here are some tips to help you learn more from your solar dashboard.
Know your peak hours
You probably already know that between 11am and 3pm is generally the best time for solar panels to generate electricity. After around 3pm, generation will slowly drop off until it stops when the panels stop receiving sunlight.
As a general rule, north-facing solar panels will drop to generating 50% of their capacity by around 4pm and down to 30% capacity by 5pm as the sun is going down. This is worth bearing in mind if you tend to switch your heating or cooling on after work hours – as you’ll be drawing from the grid rather than using your solar power, unless you have a battery installed.
Understand how your system generates electricity
The actual amount your system produces will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The size and type of system you have
- Which direction your panels are facing
- Whether shading or dust might be blocking your panels
Your solar output will also change at different times of the year. Our data shows that solar output tends to peak in December and January, when WA has the longest and usually cloud-free days. After summer, solar output declines steadily over the cooler months, usually picking up again in October as the sunnier weather returns.
Consult your dashboard
Your solar dashboard is the best way to look at how much electricity your solar panels are generating across the day.
Most systems come with an app you can download to your phone or other device to keep track of your system. You can usually get a clear idea of:
- How many kilowatts are being supplied to your house at the time you're looking
- How many kilowatt hours of energy your system has generated so far that day
- How many kilowatt hours of energy your system has produced since it was first installed
Depending on the type of system and meter you have, you could also see how you're using electricity across the day – and how much of that is generated by your solar system or supplied by the grid. If you have a battery storage system you may be able to use your dashboard to track how energy much your battery is storing. You may also track when this electricity is being used at your home and when you need to draw on the grid.
You can access your solar dashboard by downloading the relevant app from the App Store or Google Play store, or by visiting your inverter manufacturer's website.
Put your data to work
If you can use your dashboard to look at how and when you're using your solar energy and battery, you can make changes or experiment with different ways of using energy at home.
For example, you might switch to using your washing machine, dishwasher or other appliances during the middle of the day, when your solar system is likely to be generating the most electricity. If you're not usually home during the day, you could use the timer feature on your appliances to tap into your solar energy.
Get expert help
If you think there's an issue with your solar panels, inverter or battery system, based on what your dashboard data is showing, always call your supplier for advice. Don't take on the problem yourself - it's much safer to stay off the roof, away from your solar system and enlist the help of qualified solar technicians.
Find out more
Take a look at this dashboard information from a Fronius battery installed at John's house - he's one of our Synergy Energy Experts. John has shared details about what he has learned, how his behaviour has changed and the savings he has seen on his bill.