The UK has been hit by a sudden bout of warm weather over the past few weeks and while many have been maximising those rays by hosting barbeques and basking under the unfamiliar blue skies above, for those who have PV systems installed it has meant that making the most of the abundant energy generated is the main thing on the agenda.
Like any sun worshiper, solar PV thrives off clear blue skies and lengthy periods of sun shine. So in summer, just before solstice, it’s the ideal time to consider how to harness increased energy and use it to its full potential. From taking more control over how appliances are used, to weighing up the benefits that PV storage systems can offer, below are a number of ways to maximise summer sun.
Use appliances that can work autonomously throughout the day
During the day is naturally when most energy is generated by solar panels, so it’s unfortunate that many domestic users will not be able to use as this energy as it’s being produced. In order to combat this, why not consider choosing household appliances that can work independently on timed settings?
Slow cookers are ideal for utilising energy that might otherwise be left unused, especially since they have rather low 200 watt power consumption. This will free up time in the evening, using power to cook a meal during the day, so more time can be spent enjoying free time, while safe in the knowledge that solar panels have done their job correctly.
Washing machines are also a great way utilise that spare energy. By washing a load during the day, when solar PV is working to its optimum, all that energy can be used efficiently by cleaning clothes. Many washing machines can be used in conjunction with timers or have them in built to help users control use a little better.
By using such appliances between the hours of 10am -4pm, users can maximise solar panels when they are producing the maximum amount of electricity, ensuring minimum electricity is wasted. Be mindful not to run all appliances at once as this could use too much electricity and require excess from the grid.
Use surplus solar power to heat the property
Solar Panels work only by converting UV rays from the sun into electricity, heat is created via solar thermal panels. Of course, on properties where roof and ground space is at a premium it may only be feasible to have a solar PV array installed. This doesn’t mean that heat cannot be generated via the sun; there are many products out there that will help convert surplus solar electricity into heat for the home or business.
Keep an eye on what is used and when
Making sure that energy is used when solar panels are working to their biggest potential doesn’t have to mean checking the weather forecast and restricting use to between 10am and 4pm every day. It can be easier than that, with the use of handy gadgets.
There are many devices on the market, like the Geo Solo II that will monitor what has been generated, when it has been generated, how much has been used and when it has been used. By keeping a close eye on this, behaviour can be changed in order to ensure energy is used effectively, without demanding any from the grid.
Some devices are even created with the ability to monitor via Wi-Fi connection, this means users can remotely monitor generate consumption via mobile devices.
Invest in PV battery storage
Over the past few years, solar PV battery storage has become more of a financially feasible solution to help combat rising grid electricity costs and extend use of solar PV power. PV battery storage allows users to use power generated when it is needed; mainly in the evenings, when households are the most functional. It also works as a backup option for end-users in the instance of a power cut; where each household’s independent power plant can provide electricity when other energy is not available.
GoodWe has recently introduced a range of energy storage systems that can be installed on either existing or new PV systems. The BP system is retrofit and is compatible with any on-grid PV inverter to create a DC energy storage system. Its storage and intelligent battery management functions mean that self-consumption is increased for further grid independence.
The ES hybrid is suitable for use with both on and off grid PV systems, so can control the flow of energy intelligently with the option of grid interaction or independence. The ES hybrid can be used with lead-acid and Li-Ion batteries (like the LG Chem Li-Ion) and offers an intelligent battery management function.
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