You’ve done your research and recently installed a fantastic new solar energy system which promised the world of bill reduction opportunities. Opening your first electricity bill and unexpectedly there’s no change from this time last year? Disappointed is an understatement. Clearly it’s a case of the solar system not performing. This is a familiar circumstance for many solar energy system owners despite the success stories which exist.

In such a scenario it’s easy to get caught in the offensive trap of emotion. An overwhelming low caused by the insignificant bill reduction. Taking a step outside of the box, is the solar system not performing as it should or is something affecting your ability to influence increased bill reduction? The top 10 causes and solutions are below.

Avoid an electric bill shock.

10 potential causes of your solar system not performing enough to influence electricity bill reduction. Plus what you can do to solve it.

10. Faulty system. The most obvious answer but not the number one reason why a solar systems performance dwindles.

Solution: Look for warnings or messages on the solar inverter. If an issue is present, it’s more likely to not be working at all as opposed to the solar system not performing to expectation.

9. Half bill cycle operation. Easily the most common cause of initial bill shock for new system owners. It’s highly likely the solar system was installed part way through your electricity bill cycle. 

Solution: Relax and wait for the next full bill cycle.

8. Additional charges. Often the bill total isn’t reflective of the energy consumed or saved. Electricity companies sometime add extra costs such a meter upgrades.

Solution: When opening an electricity bill we look directly at the amount owing first. Review the cost break down.

7. Tariff changes. The billing amount maybe similar, however have you checked if your supply or export tariff has changed in value? 

Solution: Check and see if the electricity supply or export tariff has changed in value on your bill? See if alternative tariff options exist which can be more financially beneficial towards your lifestyle.

6. It’s Winter. Or a similar low light period of the year. Yes the sun still shines however, solar power works by optimum light intensity. 

Solution: Wait it out or add more panels in order to capture more light.

5. Grid fluctuations. When the electricity grid shifts in a direction outside of the solar inverters operating parameters, the solar inverter is programmed to disconnect from the grid.

Solution: Ensure the solar inverter monitoring portal software is connected and you are receiving service messages. The daily solar production curve provides a great visual aid in the case of a solar system not performing.

4.Consuming more. Of coarse you’re not, not you. Believe it or not, there is actually a good chance you are consuming more than in a previous billing period in which you are comparing. Consumption habits vary widely and are not as consistent as we all would like to think. Solution: Get an energy meter and know your consumption habits accurately.

3. Using appliances while the sun shines. Sounds crazy right? In fact, using too many appliances at the same time is likely to exceed the production capacity of the solar system. 

Solution: Stagger your appliance operation time over the duration of the day, minimising the overlap of activity.

2. Excessive night time usage. Unless you work from home, night time when many household energy demands increase. But you were promised bill savings!

Solution: Shift as many habits as possible towards the day. Even if you aren’t home, making use of operational timers in air conditioners, washers, pool pumps etc are key to greater bill reduction from solar.

1.All (or part) of the above. More often than not the reason bill reduction is insignificant comes down to more reasons than one. Solution: Multiple changes. It’s the solution we least want to hear but it’s the most likely explanation.

Under the emotional distress from a higher than expected power bill, logic is often ignored and the blame game can arise. If you’ve invested in a good solar energy system (didn’t shop around for the cheapest possible price) and there are no frantic warning lights on your solar inverter, then chances are your solar system is working just fine. Take the time required understand your energy usage in detail. Altering habits in most cases achieves greater bill reduction.

Tip: To better visualise your energy consumption habits and further safeguard from a solar system not performing, an energy meter installed with a solar power system is the next best upgrade. 

Your thoughts?

Got any tips we’ve missed? Save others from the distress of a solar system not performing. Share your knowledge below in the comments section. The world needs your insight! 

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