Make solar savings while the sun shines

While feed-in-tariffs have been an incentive for many to go solar, one of the best ways to save is to use the energy while it is being generated.

There are many more ways to ensure that you can make the most out of your solar PV system.

Installing solar PV panels helps you take control of how you use electricity, now and into the future. Naturally you want to make the most of your solar PV system. Think about how you use energy in your home now and consider what changes might happen in years to come as the family grows. Are you planning to renovate or perhaps you might get an electric vehicle? This means having a system that is the right size for your household and home, while using the energy at the right time to reduce your electricity bills.

Your solar retailer can help you understand the best system for your home, which includes advice on how many panels you should have and how they should be positioned on your roof.

The best way to make the most of the solar PV system is avoiding paying retail prices for your electricity. That means using the electricity as it is generated, during daylight hours when the sun is out. A great start is to run major appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine during the day, rather than at night when your electricity will have to be bought from your electricity retailer. Since installing solar panels, around two-thirds of Solar panel rebate customers, say that they have become more conscious of the way that they use energy and of those, eighty percent set their appliances to use power during the day. You can also use the Victorian Energy Compare tool to check that you are on the right retail energy plan for your home and lifestyle.

If you are not at home during the day to use the electricity while it is being generated, then you could look into setting appliances to start and go off automatically, like this Victorian family who have changed the way they use electricity since installing solar and are enjoying the savings.

Many homeowners with rooftop solar PV systems sell excess electricity that their system generates to their electricity retailer for a rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh), known as the feed-in tariff. A minimum amount for the feed-in tariff is determined annually by the Essential Services Commission (ESC) and takes into account wholesale electricity process and industry conditions amongst other factors. The minimum feed-in-tariff fluctuates from year to year. As of January 2024, the minimum FiT payable in Victoria is 4.9 cents per kilowatt hour.

In the past, the feed in tariff has been used as an incentive to increase uptake of solar systems. For early adopters of solar, the feed-in tariff was higher than it is today. While improvements in technology have reduced the upfront cost and efficiency of solar PV systems and installation, the feed-in tariff has reduced over time. That’s why one of the best ways to save with solar is to make sure you are using the clean, affordable energy you generate during the day.

Just like solar PV systems have become cheaper over time, solar batteries are also improving in affordability and might be an option available to you to boost an existing solar PV system. A solar battery means that excess electricity can be stored and used at night to maximise household use of solar electricity, that is, when the panels are not generating electricity. Solar Victoria has lots more information about solar batteries, including interest-free loans up to $8,800 for solar batteries.

You can also make sure that you are getting the most from your solar system by checking that it is in good condition. There are various ways to check from cleaning panels, to tracking how much energy is generated against expectations for your system and the weather conditions. If you think that your system might be underperforming, you can check our helpful hints for getting the most from your solar system.

As with any purchase, we all want to know that they are getting value for money. We recommend that all customers who are looking into getting a solar PV system shop around so that you know what you are getting. You can always check how many solar (PV) panel rebates are available and take the time to talk to a few retailers and get a variety of quotes and advice on what system will suit your home and your lifestyle. Speaking to energy retailers is an opportunity to ask what impact a change in the feed-in-tariff would make to your savings, so that you can make a fully informed choice in case of more changes to the rate in the future.

Every household is different and not everyone will be able to feed excess energy into the grid, so it’s important to know upfront what is possible for your home and do your sums to make sure a solar PV system adds up for you. Your solar retailer should discuss any constraints on exporting energy into the grid with you as part of the quote process.


Stay informed

Sign up to our householder newsletter and get the latest renewable energy news, insights and energy-saving tips delivered to your inbox once a month.