If you live in NSW and purchased a solar power system for your residence, particularly before 2011, chances are that you have a gross meter and you are exporting all of your solar production to the grid at a generous Feed in Tariff (FiT). As you may be aware, the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme (60c or 20c FiT) will expire on 31st December 2016. We've talked about how this will affect you here. Let's take a look at the differences between gross metering and net metering, and how your behaviour will need to change in order to keep your electricity bills down.
Gross Meter (NSW)
All energy consumed in the household is imported at the electricity retailer's rate (let's say 25c per kWh).
All solar energy produced is exported to the grid at 60c or 20c per kWh.
For many of you, the total value of the electricity being sold to the grid is greater than the total cost of your electricity, so the electricity retailer pays you the difference. Nice.
To maximise your refund paid by your electricity retailer, you need to reduce your overall electricity consumption so you import as little as possible, and export as much as possible from your solar to the grid.
Next steps: Your subsidised Feed in Tariff will drop to around 6c after the 31st December 2016 and it will be most economically advantageous to change to net metering (see below).
Solar energy is used first on-site when it is produced. Any excess energy is then exported to the grid at around 6c per kWh. Any energy used outside of solar producing hours, or on top of solar production, is imported at the electricity retailer's rate (let's say 25c per kWh).
The amount you purchase electricity for is much more than the amount you are selling electricity at, so you will need to pay the difference to your electricity retailer (in the form of an electricity bill). Your electricity consumption will be off-set during your solar production hours, so you will still be financially better off having solar.
To increase your financial benefit you can change when you consume electricity to use more of your energy during solar production hours, hence reducing the amount of electricity you import from the grid.
Next steps: Installing the Solar Analytics smart monitor will show you what and when you're producing and consuming energy as well as notifying you immediately of faults in your system. You don't have to reduce your energy consumption; you just to have use it at the right time. To know this you need solar monitoring.
For more information on Solar Analytics' intelligent solar monitoring, head to the How It Works page.