Benefits of solar energy

Discover the benefits of solar panels, solar batteries and clean energy in your home today

  • Reduce costs

    Electricity generated from solar can save significantly on electricity costs when the sun is shining.

    How it works: Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity which you can use in your home or sell back to the grid. By reducing how much power you need to draw from the grid during the day you can make big reductions in your bill. Any extra power you produce will automatically be sold back to the grid which further increases your savings.

  • Save it for a rainy day

    With the addition of a battery, excess electricity generated can be stored for use when you need it.

    How it works: Batteries allow you to store excess electricity generated when the sun is shining and use it at other times when you need it. Because the value of excess electricity that you sell back to the power grid (feed-in-tariff) is generally lower than what you are charged when you consume energy, it can be more efficient to store your own energy for later use.

 

How solar systems work

Graphic displaying the key componens on how solar works

How solar panels work

Solar is confusing at the best of times, so here we discuss what makes up a typical household solar system and why it’s beneficial to your hip-pocket.

There are four key components in a typical household solar system. These include:

  1. Solar Panels: Panels that sit on the roof and convert the energy in sunlight to electrical energy. This is in the form of DC electricity.
  2. Inverter: Converts DC electricity to AC Power. This is the type of power that is required for your home and the grid.
  3. Switchboard: Where the power is sent to so that it can be used by your household electrical equipment.
  4. Grid/Meter: When energy production from your solar panels exceeds energy consumption, the overflow is sent back to the grid to be used by other households or businesses. Likewise, when you need more power than you are producing (like at night) your house will draw electricity from the grid.

Basically, solar panels turn the energy in sunlight into electricity, and an inverter is used to make this electricity suitable for use in the home.

Once suitable, the power goes to your switchboard and can be used in your home. If you aren’t using all the power being produced, the overflow will be transferred back into the grid.

Solar energy is a clean and natural source of energy generated from the sun, making it an environmentally friendly and sustainable option for energy production.

energy consumption graph

How solar batteries work

Home batteries store excess solar generation for later use, taking the idea of maximising self-consumption one step further.

Batteries also have the potential additional benefits of purchasing grid power at off-peak times when it is cheap, or selling the stored power back to the grid when the price is high.

Batteries can provide a backup in case the grid fails.

Getting the most out our your solar investment

energy consumption graph

Energy consumption is typically higher in the morning when people are getting ready for work and school, and in the evening when they return from these activities before bed.

Solar production on the other hand is mainly produced during the middle of the day when people are away from their homes. This means that there is an excess of solar generation during this time, and overflow is exported back to the grid at around 11 cents per kilowatt hour.*

When people return to their homes in the evening, no power is being produced and therefore electricity must be purchased from the grid at around 25cents per kilowatt hour. Clearly, this isn’t ideal.**

A great way to maximise your self-consumption is by setting timers on all your big ticket items. This includes heating and cooling systems, water heating, pool pumps and electric vehicles. Timing these to run during the day will make the most out of your solar purchase.

*https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/victorian-feed-in-tariff

** http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/services-and-advice/households/energy-efficiency/at-home/appliances/calculate-appliance-running-costs

Find out more about RACV Solar

For a break down of how solar works to post-installation support, find out more on the RACV Solar FAQ page