Andrew's Story: How To Tackle Your Bills
I’d like to tell a story about one of our solar architects, Andrew. Andrew lives in Cockatoo and has a 5kw solar system, his house is an all-electric home and he used to not pay too much attention to his energy bills until he realised he just got stung for a $616 bill last quarter! Read on to find it how he cut it down to $340 and is planning to save even further!
STEP 1: Call Your Energy Retailer
You gotta make them work for your business!
The main objective of an energy retailer is to sell you power and make as much as possible in the process, to appease the board and its investors. Andrew knew this but become complacent, his energy retailer gradually increased his rates, up to a rate that made his eyes bulge once his quarterly bill came. Flabbergasted, Andrew calls his retailer and threatened to go elsewhere. Eager to keep Andrew as a customer they offered him a discount of 28% on his current rate (bringing his next quarterly bill to $440) and gave him $100 off his next bill. The fact that they were able to take over a quarter off his rate price shows how much money these companies are making off of their customers. We’d recommend you do the same, it can pay to shop around for the best deals and remember, check the competition every couple of months and keep vigilant with your rate prices.
STEP 2: Installing a Heat Pump
Andrew did his own one energy profile to figure where the power was being used most, he realised his old electric storage hot water system was using 75% of electricity in his all-electric home!
That mode of hot water is the most inefficient and while the 28% rate discount is nice, paying less for the same hot water would be even better. Andrew did the math and if 75% of his bill is the hot water, and with our heatpumps being up to 70% more efficient than an electric storage unit, Andrew theorises that he might be able to make that $330 of his energy bill into $99, totalling $209 per quarter for his energy bill!
STEP 3: Get Solar
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “$209 for a quarter? How is this possible?!”
Don’t forget, Andrew has a solar system, enabling him to make saving on his electricity bills already, only paying for what he uses at night. In fact, Andrew is actually planning to upgrade his system. 5 years ago, when Andrew got his system installed the solar panels on the market at the time were 315-watt panels, with the current market standard being 440 watts, Andrews 5kWh system with 18 panels could generate 7.9kWh with the same number of panels, allowing him to generate more than his use!
STEP 4: Get a Battery
With feed in tariffs dropping, is it worth exporting?
Now this one may work 2 different ways, depending on your set up. Andrew’s system exports back to the grid, but not a whole lot, enough to charge the battery he’s planning on getting but not much more than that. Andrew is a staunch Tesla PowerWall 2 fan, because to be honest, there’s not many other products on the market that offer the same capacity for that same price point! If you’re looking at getting a big system and know you’re going to be filling your battery by mid-day, it may be worth making sure you future-proof your system to ensure your inverter is compatible with flexible exporting limits (read more about here). The other reason Andrew wanted the Tesla battery is because in a blackout, the Tesla with instantly flick over in a split second, barely even noticeable when it happens. We’re seeing more and more instances of grid instability on the news, especially in the summer period. In Andrew’s locale of Cockatoo, he’s had 16 blackouts in the last 12 months!
Remember: there’s no one “silver bullet” solution!
Some other installers might tell you there’s a single solution to your consumption problems but there’s extra steps you can take to ensure your bills are as low as possible and not rely on the mercy of your energy retailer. Remember the steps: Talk to your retailer and switch, if necessary. Install solar, a heat pump and a battery to ensure you’re not being charged for power after sundown and you’re safe in the event of a black out!
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Lightning Solar & Electrical