Master bill reduction with solar.

Installed solar? Opened your first electricity bill and no change from this time last year? Disappointed is an understatement. This scenario is a familiar circumstance for a portion of new solar energy producers despite all the raging success stories which exist.

Avoid an electric bill shock.

It’s easy to be on the offensive when you open that first power bill only to be underwhelmed by the impact of a new solar energy system. To understand two the perspectives, from a new system owner and solar energy supplier, below is a dialogue with a very astute client eager to save more and a PSW Energy technical support technician.


When operating specific appliances during sunlight hours for the purpose of bill reduction, be sure to stagger the operation over the course of the day minimising overlap of activity.

Hi PSW Tech Support,

We had our solar system installed for the first bill cycle and since installation, I have ensured only to do laundry and operate the dishwasher between 9 am and 4 pm to utilise energy produced from the solar.

Imagine my surprise when I got our power bill two months in wherein it appears (see the graph on the bill) that we used the same power as this time last year and seem to have simply sold back all the power produced to the grid at low rates.

Please, can you have someone look into our system performance as it appears it is not feeding the home but merely going directly to the grid? Perhaps I have missed something?


PSW Energy User

THE FACTS. This is a standard single-phase grid connect solar power system matched to the customer’s specifications and available roof space. No surprises. Installed mid-winter, June 2016, the anticipation of bill reduction should still be expected.

Hi PSW Energy User

Thanks for getting in contact. Please rest assured you that the electricity is being consumed by your house initially before being exported. Please see this evidence via the installation data we have on record (personal data not revealed).

Another big thank you for sending your electricity bill in full (This helps dramatically). Yes, it does appear that the bill is very similar to this time last year. As far as production goes, I’d say all solar systems in Perth are below potential for what has been achieved in previous years due to this abnormal extended winterish weather pattern we are experiencing, frustrating but I guess the extra water is refreshing. That aside I’ve obtained the following information about your system’s production:

  • For the billing period, your system has produced 600units of electricity (possibly more due to some missing production data).
  • Within this billing period, 327units were exported leaving 273 (or more) which were consumed.
  • 860 Units were imported from the grid for this billing period.
  • Considering the 860 units imported and adding the 273 (approx) units produced by the solar energy system, your total consumption for the period was around 1133 units (approx). Up considerably when compared to this time last year with a total usage of around 800 units in the previous year.

It appears energy savings have been acquired, but a comparison bill reduction not, due to increased consumption. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, most of Perth’s energy use in winter 2016 (including my own) was higher than average due to the lower temperatures and less available sunlight hours at times when demand is greater. In a nutshell, most consumption has occurred outside of solar production hours.

Having a system installed mid-winter will usually have the least noticeable impact. Good news is we are moving into the most productive months of the year. Further alignment of appliance operation during peak sunlight hours will aid greater bill reduction in the future.

I hope this information helps and I’m always available to assist should you need it. Also please do keep me posted with the results of your next bill cycle. Have a great week and lets hope for some more great sunshine!

Kind Regards

PSW Tech Support Member

The devil is in the detail. Consumption was, in fact, greater than the previous year. Energy use and production will improve alike as environmental conditions become moderate, light intensity increases, sunlight hours become longer, and the azimuth the solar panels are installed upon is optimised.

Hi PSW Tech Support,

Thanks for the very in-depth reply, really appreciate it, and it does make sense. I must admit I’m disappointed with the result as I’d expected to be having my bills based on a ‘safe’ scale down from what was clearly a misleading salesman (notably, not yours, I saw many) who forecast likely 75% savings based on our consumption.

I must admit I am now on a mission to see where our power is going. We use the washing machine and dishwasher exclusively in the day, so only two fridges, LED lights, TV, Kettle, toaster and the like remain…. seems a lot of power for those. Our hot water is gas as is our cooking. Anyway, my issue not yours.

Thanks again for the very detailed explanation as now I understand what to look for.

Kind regards

PSW Energy User

The listed appliances above are characteristic of most modern homes in Perth WA. The key is always the time and sequence of operation. Maintaining the self-awareness to adjust is the best thing anyone can do in order to achieve a successful electricity bill reduction.

Hi PSW Energy User

I’m not sure on your habits, but the unforeseen rises usually stem back to heating, cooling or pump operation, as these are higher consumption items of electricity which have a tendency to run continuously when operational. Fridges sometimes but only if the seals are worn or the refrigerators are old.

I’d say though based on your current electricity bill, and what is typical habitual & environmental conditions over the next few months you should see closer to expected savings which you originally anticipated.

Tip: When operating specific appliances during sunlight hours for the purpose of bill reduction, be sure to stagger the operation over the course of the day minimising overlap of activity. This will ensure you consume only electricity from the solar system and not draw excess needs from the grid during operation (depending on how the peak energy of a particular appliance is consumed).

Keep persevering mate. You’re on the right track!

PSW Tech Support Member

Having a separate consumption meter installed (independent of the power supply meter) which works in conjunction with a solar energy systems production meter will always deliver greater insight into personal consumption habits. Understanding energy usage in the closest detail possible facilitates users to alter habits, achieve a more significant bill reduction.

Disclaimer: This dialogue has been provided to assist grid-connected solar users with a 7cent feed-in tariff. Each energy usage profile, power supply, supply tariff, solar orientation and solar supply capacity is different and must be assessed on a case by case basis. If you are a Perth Solar Warehouse customer and require technical support click here anytime!

DEAL: Need a low-cost, detailed energy monitor which monitors both solar production and energy import/export in user-friendly detail? The answer is Solar Analytics by PSW Energy. SHOP NOW >

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