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We all know the great benefits that renewable energy can bring, in particular ongoing savings on electricity costs and sustainability. You may be one of the many homes or businesses that have made the investment in rooftop solar already – but do you know if you are putting it to work and really getting the most out of it?

We’re putting our energy into helping those who help others

Synergy is helping WA community groups to not only access the benefits of renewable energy via the Synergy Community Solar Fund but to also better understand and manage their energy use and maximise their potential savings.  Since 2018, the Synergy Community Solar Fund has awarded 19 WA charities and not-for-profits fully installed rooftop solar systems, while giving them tailored advice on managing their energy use.

The result is that, to date, Synergy Community Solar Fund recipients have benefitted from a collective electricity cost saving of approximately $81,000.*  The ongoing operational savings made by the recipients can be redirected into a wide range of programs that make a real difference in our community – among them are Communicare’s Men’s Behaviour Change Facility in Maylands and the Police and Community Youth Centre (PCYC) in Gosnells. 


A smarter energy future is here to benefit us all

For these organisations – like all of us – every dollar counts, which is why Synergy conducts audits prior to installation, to ensure that each recipient receives the right size system for their individual energy needs^ as well as giving them practical tips to help them make the most of their new system.
Some of the most common, practical tips include:

  1. Plan wisely. A north-facing roof space is generally perfect for solar panels in WA, as the panels will catch the most sunshine throughout the day. If your rooftop faces west, the panels could catch the afternoon sun. It is also important to get tailored advice for your home or business before installation of rooftop solar to ensure you get the right size system for your energy needs. 
  2. Make the most out of the sunshine.  Your solar panels are typically generating energy between 10am and 3pm – if practical, this is the time to use your appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines as you will be drawing on this solar power. 
  3. Stagger your consumption. Look to stagger your appliance use during 10am and 3pm to avoid drawing from the grid during peak consumption. Handy appliance timers can help you with this.
  4. Heat or cool before the sun is down. Use the last few hours of sunlight to turn the heating or cooling on, using energy from your solar panels, before it is dark.
  5. Check for shade. Shade could impact your system’s performance. Check for any trees that may need to be cut back to let the sun shine through.
  6. Clean your panels. Dirt, dust and debris can also obstruct panels and result in lower production of your system. Always follow manufacturer instructions in relation to cleaning your panels. 
  7. Look to the stars. Investing in new appliances can be costly but, when it is time to replace or purchase new ones choose energy efficient appliances where possible. These could help reduce your electricity use in the long term.
  8. Watch the thermostat. Heating and cooling can account for a whopping 18 per cent of your energy bill. A common mistake made in both homes and workplaces is having the heating or cooling working overtime. In summer set your air conditioner to 24°C and your heater between 18°C and 20°C in winter. 
  9. Turn it off. Switch as many appliances as possible off at the wall rather than leaving them in standby mode – and encourage others to do the same. You’ve heard it before but it remains a very simple way to save electricity, whether you’re at home and work. If it isn’t in use, turn it off.
  10. Get energy savvy. Access Synergy My Account to understand your electricity use, while getting tips for how you could save energy. Most inverters will also have an app which summarises your system’s PV production and performance throughout the year.

According to Melissa Perry, CEO of 2020 Synergy Community Solar Fund recipient Communicare, having both the rooftop solar installed and making simple adjustments to energy use has brought down their ongoing electricity costs. 

“Communicare works to create strong, safe and inclusive communities and these savings mean even more support for our Men’s Behaviour Change Facility and our mission towards ending gendered violence against women and children,” Melissa said.

For 2019 Synergy Community Solar Fund recipient, PCYC Gosnells, savings on electricity costs is also helping them in their important work, which will mean more support to some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our community.

“By offsetting some of our operational costs, we have been able to redirect the savings into our school holiday programs that support young people at risk by giving them a safe place that they can turn to,” Executive Manager, Centres, Programs and Activities, Julie Gorman said.

“Just small energy behaviour changes suggested by Synergy, like using just one bank of lights for functions in our Scout Hall and upgrading all our lights to energy efficient lighting has made a big difference in our energy savings.”

Find out how you can make energy work for you, including more tips to on how to get the most from your solar PV system and better manage your energy use here.


* Estimated collective savings are approximate only and exclude GST. Savings are calculated using consumption and export metering data received from Western Power from the date each of the 16  past Synergy Community Solar Fund recipients had their rooftop solar system installed until their last meter read, and based on what each recipient is being charged for electricity consumption by Synergy and the applicable buyback rate and credits received for excess energy exported to the network.. 

^ Terms and conditions apply.