free solar panels UK

Solar Panels And How They Affect Energy Tariffs

Tue, 20 Sep 2011 22:36:00 GMT

There have been a lot of questions recently about how your current energy tariffs from your energy company would be affected if you had solar panels installed. Some people have asked about how their current tariff will be affected or whether they can change to a different provider.

For both free and paid solar systems there will be no impact on your current energy company, your tariff will remain the same. I have been asked whether you would be moved to a more expensive tariff because you have solar panels, this is not the case; your solar panels are completely independent of your current energy company and tariff when it comes to how much you pay on your electricity bill.

So if you decide to get either free solar panels or buy solar panels your tariff will remain unchanged, there is not special solar tariff that you will be forced to change to. You are free to change tariffs or change energy companies just as you were before installing solar. Which leads on to how solar panels affect your bills as not everyone is clear on how they actually work.

How solar panels work

Solar photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into electricity; this means that they will only be supplying you with power during daylight hours. The longer the length of the days and the greater the intensity of the light the more power they produce. This means that in the summer your panels will produce far more electricity during the day than they will during a typical winter day.

solar panels and energy tariffsOn some days your solar panels may not produce enough electricity to meet your current demands. In these circumstances power from your electricity supplier will make up the difference. The same will be true at night as solar panels do not work during the hours of darkness. Conversely your solar panels will also produce more electricity then you can use on some days in which case your surplus power that is generated will be fed back to the grid. If you own your own panels you will be paid for your surplus.

Cheaper tariffs and solar

Which brings me to another common question about tariffs, is it better to switch to a tariff with cheaper night time rates such as Economy 7 or Economy 10. With these tariffs you pay less for any electricity used at night but more for any electricity used during the day. As the 7 or 10 hours that you get at a cheaper rates varies depending on which electricity company you are with you will want to choose one that suits you best. Also the higher daytime rates may be in the form of higher standing charges rather than an increased daytime rate. So choosing the right tariff will depend on your daily usage habits.

Getting the most out of your free electricity

The people who will benefit the most from free solar are the ones that will use the free electricity that their panels generate during the day. The more free power that they use the lower their electricity bills will be reduced by. Every household has a base load which can usually easily be met by solar even in the winter and on overcast days. The base load is made up of appliance such as fridges, freezers, alarm clocks or any other devices that are on all of the time.

By doing activities that use electricity during daylight hours such as running the washing machine or dishwasher you can increase the amount of savings on your electricity bill. In the summer months this is easier to do as the days are longer. In the summer it also means that you could run fans or air conditioners during the day to keep the house cool to use the free electricity that would otherwise just go back to the grid where you would not benefit from it.

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