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Maximising your solar investment

With an average of eight hours of sunshine a day, Perth is one of the sunniest cities in the world. Across the South West Interconnected System (the SWIS), more than a third of all homes are now tapping into the power of the sun with rooftop solar PV systems. If you’re one of them, here’s some important aspects of how the solar PV industry has evolved in WA and how you can make the most of your investment.

The evolution of solar in WA

When the solar PV industry first started growing in WA, the high upfront cost and lack of providers were a major barrier for most households to buy a solar PV system for their homes. To kickstart the solar PV industry, the WA government introduced ‘feed-in tariffs’ under which eligible homes and businesses received a payment for electricity which was generated by their solar PV system and exported or sold back to the grid. The original rebate proved to be a great incentive for a lot of WA households to get on board with solar PV.

Now, WA’s energy landscape has changed. Rooftop solar PV systems are being installed at record rates, leading to greater levels of renewable energy on the SWIS than ever before. In fact, all of the rooftop solar PV systems in the SWIS combined can generate twice as much electricity as WA’s largest power station at certain times of the day. 

As we’re moving into more reliance on renewable energy, solar energy is an essential part of our energy mix – but there’s still demand for electricity after the sun goes down. The amount of solar PV energy that feeds into the network during the day reduces the amount of large-scale generation being consumed and creates system instability. This emerging challenge means that the role of solar PV systems needs to be balanced to ensure the SWIS can continue to accommodate new rooftop solar PV systems.


We’re here to help you navigate WA’s changing energy landscape

One of the best ways to get value from your investment in your solar PV system now is by using as much of the power generated by your system as you can during the day, rather than buying it from the grid. When the sun goes down, unless you have a battery system, you’ll still need to draw power from the grid. The more you can use power generated by your solar PV system during the day, the less power you could have to pay for when the sun goes down. This is a process known as load shifting.

Here are some ideas that may help you save on your electricity bills:

  • The more solar energy you can use as it's being produced by your system, the better. To do this, look at how you can shift more of your electricity use to the daytime.
  • Monitor your solar energy production to understand how much your system is generating. You may need to stagger the use of your appliances to avoid consuming electricity from the grid.
  • Set timers for your dishwasher and washing machine to run during the day, rather than overnight when you’re drawing power from the grid.
  • Charge your devices, consoles and portable chargers during the day if you can, then switch off that standby power at night when not in use.
  • Explore smart tech options (such as smart lighting) which could help you to manage your energy use.
  • Learn how to make the most of your advanced meter to take more control of your energy management at home.
  • If you have an EV, try to charge it during the day to use your solar power.
  • Check if a time of use (TOU) electricity plan is right for you. With a TOU plan, you could take advantage of cheaper off-peak rates at certain times of the day and night.

Load shifting involves some simple changes to your daily habits and routines. This could have a big impact on the way your household uses the solar energy your solar PV system generates, which could translate into savings on your bill. These changes can also help to reduce pressure on the electricity grid, which can have benefits for everyone across the SWIS.