Five-point check-list for NSW residents on the current Solar Bonus Scheme
Many solar power customers are in for a bill shock, with a predicted increase of hundreds of dollars on their home energy bills as the Solar Bonus Scheme draws to a close in New South Wales in two weeks on 31st December 2016.
Whilst solar systems alone have been an attractive and affordable proposition under the bonus scheme, a more reliable source of sustainable energy savings is needed once the Solar Bonus Scheme ends.
The introduction of battery powered renewable products is offering Australian consumers an innovative alternative which can generate as much as 80 per cent energy bill savings.Renewable energy tech startup Evergen has received thousands of responses to its new intelligent home energy management system launched last month, with New South Wales at the centre of demand.
Evergen is the nation’s first, next-generation, intelligent home energy management system – backed by AMP Capital and CSIRO – leverages the combined strength of solar and batteries with smart technology. The Evergen system continuously analyses and optimises home energy costs, always choosing the most economic source between solar, battery and the grid at any time
Evergen CEO, Emlyn Keane, said that more than half of the demand for the Evergen home energy management system is coming from NSW, where a recent report that crunches the numbers on the financial impact shows 146,000 NSW customers will be hit hard by the upcoming changes.
“For the NSW households currently on the Solar Bonus Scheme tariff that ends soon, it is crucial to think about what this means to their energy bill, and what the next steps are. The energy sector is currently facing huge disruption with the customer having more control than ever over their home energy costs. There are plenty of opportunities for individuals to reduce their bills going forward, by using a combination of more advanced and complementary technologies like batteries, coupled with intelligent management technology that manages all the system components for you.
Mr Keane’s five top tips before the Solar Bonus Scheme 31st December end date:
1. Check your bill
It’s important to check your bill and see what credit you are currently receiving for the solar power your system generates. How much is it? What will your quarterly bill look like once the Solar Bonus Scheme ends on 31 December? There are many reasons to shift to a renewable option – control, environmental impact and cost-savings. However, without the return on investment, renewable energy technology is more of a luxury or conscience item. New systems in the market such as Evergen offer up to 80 per cent reduction on your standard energy bill – providing a practical alternative that adds up with or without government subsidies.
2. Speak to your electricity provider about your meter
Many houses on the Solar Bonus Scheme will have to change their electricity meter when the scheme ends if they want to be paid anything at all for solar energy they export to the grid. The company you buy your grid electricity from should be able to help here. If that gets too hard, Evergen can arrange a change in meter as part of our broader solar battery installation.
3. Have a think about when your house uses the most energy
With the end of the Solar Bonus Scheme, you are best to try to use all the solar power your panels generate yourself, rather than let it go to the grid. Most solar systems generate their peak output in the middle of the day – so if possible, try to align your electricity consumption to use the most in the middle of the day.
4. Have you thought about a battery?
For many houses, it is difficult to consume lots of electricity in the middle of the day, when the sun is out but nobody is home. In this case, a home battery system can make sure you get the most out of your solar panels, by storing the solar energy generated in the middle of the day, and releasing this energy when consumption increases when everyone gets home. By allowing you to store energy for when you need it most, a home battery system means less reliability on the grid, and considerable cost savings. Batteries need careful management though, to make sure they are saving energy for when it is most useful to your house, and to ensure the batteries themselves last as long as possible.
5. Consider an intelligent home energy management system
An intelligent home energy management system can automatically look after your solar and batteries for you, ensuring you save the most money, and maximising the life of these important assets. An intelligent energy management system should include monitoring and forecasting of your electricity consumption and future solar generation. The remotely managed and CSIRO analysed Evergen system, for example, learns the power consumption patterns of each customer household and forecasts solar production based on local weather to build a picture of future energy flows. This analysis (done every few minutes) automatically chooses the lowest price source to power your home – whether that’s solar, your battery or the grid.
“Since our launch in July, we have seen a sharp take up of the Evergen intelligent home energy management systems in the State. Our customers will have the first remotely-managed renewable energy centre for domestic use, which offers them far greater control and choice over the way energy is used and distributed in their home,” Mr Keane said.
Mr Keane continued: “Not all systems are equal and many do not have the intelligent management needed to get the most out of the solar and battery hardware. Therefore, questions to ask include: Does the system allow you to store excess energy for a rainy day? Is there ongoing monitoring and customer service to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment? Who re-configures the system if your energy tariff or living circumstances change? Are all the hidden costs identified such as initial consultation and installation?
With December 31 around the corner, it’s important to act now and investigate the product options on the market. With the additional energy savings available through combined battery and solar systems, it makes sense to consider an upgrade.
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Evergen is a new energy services company that sells and manages intelligent home energy systems comprising solar power and batteries. The ’intelligence’ technology is provided by the CSIRO, which periodically analyses and remotely updates the system to improve over time. AMP Capital is a major investor in the company alongside CSIRO.
Evergen is run by energy scientists and advocates of change for clean solar and battery storage technologies for the home including renowned energy scientist Dr Glenn Platt and former CEO of AMP Capital and Evergen Chairman Stephen Dunne.