If you have installed solar modules on your roof, your garage, your carport, or on the ground level of your property, you will need less electricity from the electrical grid. Here are tips on how you can use most of this valuable resource for your own needs.

 

Deciding to install a photovoltaic installation means a rethinking. Whereas until now the electricity came from the grid, it is now produced on your property, much less expensive than the energy from the grid. So: use as much solar electricity yourself and feed as little back into the grid as possible. We will show you how to do it.

 

1. Reduce the electricity consumption of the building!

First of all: If you want to save on electricity costs, with or without PV, you must first eliminate devices and appliances that consume too much energy. These include backup devices, incandescent bulbs, and water heaters. The lower your total consumption, the greater the part that you can cover with photovoltaic solar energy.

 

2. Install LEDs instead of bulbs!

Usually, the most important cost factor is lighting. Obsolete light bulbs only use about ten percent of the electricity to produce light. 90 percent is lost as heat. They produce heat instead of light because they are based on a shiny filament made of tungsten. Modern LEDs use almost all electricity to produce light. You can notice this by the fact that they are kept cold, that is, there is much less loss. A good LED needs about a tenth of the electricity to produce the same amount of light. And since it doesn't get that hot, it lasts much longer. And: The price of LEDs has dropped so much that swapping them for regular bulbs pays for itself in a year or two. The same goes for industrial lighting systems that often use mercury vapor lamps. These also consume a lot of electricity and can be easily replaced by LEDs.

 

3. Turn off standby!

Many electrical devices (kitchen appliances, televisions, computers, game consoles, HiFi systems) also consume electricity when not in use and on standby. Considering the number of electrical devices in a typical home, standby consumption can add up. For that reason, such devices must, when not in use, be physically separated from the circuit by switchable plugs.

 

4. Make hot water electrically!

If you are producing solar electricity, you must convert your hot water systems into electric boilers. Instant water heaters also allow water to be heated close to the tap, for example as under-sink units. The water temperature can be adjusted exactly to what you want. The demand for hot water is more or less the same throughout the year. In late spring and summer, that demand can be fully met with solar power. That increases the level of self-consumption. A combination with special hot water heat pumps can also make sense.

 

5. Run high-power devices during the day!

The household appliances with the highest electricity demand are the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, and stove in the kitchen. These can easily be equipped with timer switches so that they work during the day when the solar generator on the roof is producing a large amount of energy, which can be used directly. A high-voltage stove could be a challenge for PV alone. In this case, a large storage unit (solar battery) can be used as a buffer for short-term peak loads. Because it is not only the number of kilowatt-hours on the roof that has to be sufficient but also the currents available at short notice. This determines whether a storage unit is designed for capacity or output (in kilowatts).

 

6. Do your gardening with solar electricity!

Solar electricity yields are highest between spring and fall. This is also the time of year when the garden requires the most work. It can operate electric lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, or lighting with solar electricity very comfortably. If you have a budget solar battery, you can use it to turn on LED lights in your garden in the evening and at night. A garden sauna can be heated using surplus electricity during the day so that it is ready for use at night.

 

7. Electrically heat during transition periods.

If your solar generator works in conjunction with a large enough storage unit, you can use infrared radiators to eliminate the chill on cooler nights. Such radiators come in a variety of nice designs, even in the form of mirrors for heating the bathroom. As long as they consume little energy and are only used for additional heating, they are a good way to use solar electricity. Once the electric heating from solar energy is no longer sufficient, you will have to buy electricity from the grid. Or switch to a more efficient thermal heat pump system

 

8. Energy storage increases efficiency!

Between the beginning of 2014 and 2017, the price of stationary lithium batteries has fallen more than 40 percent. This trend is expected to continue. Additionally, a new financing program was introduced at the end of February that will continue until 2018. These are good reasons to invest in a solar battery. The size to choose depends on the electricity demand of the building and the size of your solar generator. Lithium batteries currently cost about 1,000 euros per kilowatt-hour, lead batteries about 500 to 600 euros (net prices for the end customer). However: in a private residence, having a storage unit without a solar generator makes very little sense. This may be different for commercial companies.

 

Without energy storage, you can put 50 to 80 percent of solar electricity to good use for your own home. A battery can easily take it up to (almost) 100 percent. If you are not basing your consumption on the solar generator alone, but on the electricity demand of the whole house, the following rule of thumb applies: without storage, you can meet 30 to 50 percent of your electricity demand directly from energy. solar. In combination with a solar battery, this can go up to 90 percent. To meet all your electricity needs over a year, you need a second generator, for example. For example, a cogeneration unit. Generally, it is simpler and less expensive to use the electrical network. During winter, your needs can be met with green electricity from a certified utility company.

 

9. Switch to electric mobility!

Almost as useful as solar batteries can be in cars and electric vehicles, of any size. From the lawnmower to grandpa's (our friendly neighbor) electric wheelchair to pedelecs (electric bikes) and electric scooters for the family. These all contain lithium batteries that can be conveniently charged with solar electricity. Ultimately, there is the little electric car that can be used for shopping, short trips, or commuting. Because it is above all the short trips, that are so frequent that consume a large part of the fuel budget of conventional cars. To charge an electric car, you need a wall box charging point next to or inside your garage or in your carport. Which, of course, has been covered with high-performance solar panels. It is recommended to buy a three-phase charging system capable of producing a decent output in a short time.

 

10. A treasure hunt for the whole family!

Experienced technicians can help you when it comes to solar electricity consumption. It can be helpful to go step by step and check your meters to see what effect each measure has. Finding the devices in your home that consume the most electricity can be like a scavenger hunt, so make it a game and let your kids explore. The money you save can be set aside and used to host a solar-powered party with your neighbors.