#Stayinghome means we’re opening the fridge door every 20 minutes, flicking on the kettle, cooking lunches, boiling noodles, baking cakes, streaming shows, leaf blowing, hedge trimming and we’re all on devices.
No longer is our workplace paying for the air-con or the coffee machine. On the bright side, the iron and hair dryer are taking a break.
Are we using more electricity?
A recent study of smart meter data in the UK showed that where households had increased their weekday energy consumption, the increase was up to 30%. Ouch!
Lucky for us it’s not winter in Australia (yet) so we’ve been enjoying abundant sunshine providing light and warmth – and plentiful solar power in solar-equipped homes.
According to data from Solar Analytics, the good news is that energy consumption in households now housing more humans midweek due to Corona confinement is up only slightly, if at all.
And the great news is that the onsite consumption of free solar power in these households is up significantly.
Some solar houses are consuming 37% more of their free solar energy!
Solar Analytics has found that, since staying home, 20% of households in its 35,000 strong fleet of solar sites have increased their self-consumption of free solar power by 20%.
In dollar terms, this means an approximate extra saving of about $62 a quarter on top of the savings from solar already being made. And we’re still in balmy April.
Even better, 10% of households have increased their free solar self-consumption by at least 37% compared to the beginning of March.
That translates to an extra $1.70 in savings per day (based on average tariffs), or a further $153 in savings over three months.
When the colder, darker months arrive in a few weeks (depending upon where you live) we’ll be turning on the lights and the heating for more hours every day.
We suspect that while solar energy production will have its usual seasonal reduction, the potential value of solar energy to households could be just as big in winter, offsetting much larger household energy consumption.
What’s happening at your house?
Households with Solar Analytics energy monitoring have their solar self-consumption data served to them on a platter.
Head to the Consumption page on your dashboard and scroll down to BREAKDOWN (in selected range).
Here you’ll see a graphic with three circles showing:
Solar consumed on site (the yellow circle)
Energy imported from the grid (the purple circle)
Solar exported to the grid (the orange circle)
Change the date ranges and continue to watch and compare your solar self-consumption over the next weeks and months. Hopefully that yellow circle will grow!
Please share your experiences with us. We’d love you to share your findings on our Instagram or Facebook pages.
We asked a number of energy-conscious households what they were experiencing at home.
Two adults with a 1kW solar system
Solar Analytics’ cofounder Renate Egan and her family have a 12-year-old 1kW system.
Renate says, “Two of us have been working from home for three and a half weeks now. If I compare March this year with March last year our self-consumption has gone up by 10% and we were only working from home for half of March.
“The numbers aren't huge as we are very energy aware – but I expect this will be more dramatic in April because we expect to be home for the entire month.
“If I look just at the last three weeks, we are self consuming 76% – up from 63% this time last year."
An all-electric home with four people and a dog
Sarah, a member of the My Efficient Electric Home Facebook Group, reported that her energy consumption had gone up by 30% since she and her partner and her two teens started staying home.
Sarah’s all electric home doesn’t have solar and she says the increase is due to cooking individual midday meals, computer and TV, more hot water use and kids turning on the heating unnecessarily! Sarah also reported that the dog was very happy at the moment.
A five-person strawbale home with an EV and 11kW PV system
Alison, also a member of My Efficient Electric Home, reported that her household’s daily consumption had dropped because the EV was no longer being used to drive to school or the shops every day.
She said, “We are no longer putting around 10kWh a day into our EV. Now doing maybe 6kWh two or three times a week instead.”
But Alison reports her grid consumption hasn’t increased from around 9kW on a sunny day because they have more solar available during the daytime without the draw from the EV.
Your solar is 'Essential'
With many more weeks and possibly months ahead of 'staying home', and the value that comes with self-consuming solar, we want to ensure that solar owners use their solar production as efficiently as possible, and non-solar owners consider investing in solar for their households.
In order to achieve this, Solar Analytics wants to make sure that the provision of rooftop solar and solar services is confirmed as an essential service.
Please sign the Solar Citizens and Solar Analytics petition to ensure #SolarIsEssential