If your new to Solar PV etc then you will probably also be confused by the myriad of conflicting information, tariffs, panel arrays, inverters, chargers, batteries and that before we get to the various tariffs and feed-in’s etc.
Well here are a couple of simple ways you can utilise the above technology without it costing you a fortune and without the need to install expensive solar panels on your roof.
Q. How can I save money an my electricity bills without installing Solar Panels or Batteries.
A. Ripple Energy, If you have not already heard of ripple energy and what they do then listen up, Ripple Energy work by putting together cooperatives of their users who join together to fund and build commercial level solar farms and wind farms, you specify how much you want to put in and you then use that money to buy a percentage of the output of the solar farm or wind farm that you join. Your electricity company (has to be one of the listed ones like Octopus Energy etc) will then once the farm is built and generating, buy your energy in from the solar or wind farm and credit it to your electricity bill, just as if the solar panels etc were on your roof.
The life span of the average project is about 40 years so for that period your electricity is coming in and being credited to your bill, even if you move house, now that’s a massive advantage over traditional fixed panels for a start off.
Check Out Ripple Energy Here, and yes if you sign up I do get a bonus on my own ripple account. I am currently invested in the Derril Water Solar Farm which is due to go live later this year (2024).
Q. What If I Can’t Install Solar Panels and Still Want to Save Money.
A. If you don’t have the roof space or live somewhere where you cannot access the roof to add solar panels, then the easy answer is Batteries and a some interesting Tariffs from the likes of Octopus Energy.
I personally have a 5.6K Fox ESS Inverter (this governs the also have a Fox ESS Battery pack with 2 * 2.8KW slaves giving me 5.6KW of Storage Power.
Now there are many tariffs around but I am currently using the Octopus Cosy Tariff from Octopus Energy this tariff gives two 3 hour windows of cheap electricity from which you can charge up your batteries.
The 2 price dips give you electricity at 40% cheaper than your usual daily rate, for 3 hours at a time (04:00 until 07:00) and (13:00 and 16:00), allowing to charge your batteries twice, one in the morning and again in the afternoon, thus allowing you to spread the load from your house and avoid paying for electricity during none discounted periods.
The Payback for these discount periods is a Peak Rate period between 16:00 and 19:00 where your power is 60% over your day rate, but as you can see above you should have enough stored in your battery to easily take you through this period. Without the need to draw from the grid.
I personally am looking to double to size of my battery by adding 2 more Slave units to the Fox ESS master and bringing my battery up to 10.2Kw, and allowing me to run things like air source heat pumps etc without worrying about paying the day rate or the peak rate, ever.
Q. And what if I can afford Solar Panels…
A. Well everything we wrote above still applies, but it just means that during the day your batteries will be charged quicker, allowing you to sell more of the power you generate to the grid, in addition you should have less of a charge to put into the batteries on the 2nd charging cycle, instead of charging from zero, which will again save you money.
Above is a 24 hour state of charge graph from my. own system, using the Octopus Cosy Tariff to Double Dip Charge with cheap electricity and also with panels on our shed (very large shed) roof, you can clearly see the batteries charging up to 100% and then staying there until the end of each discount period, at which point the batteries take over the load and start discharging.
Given this was on a dull winters day there is very little effect from the Solar Panels, however you can see a slight decrease in the battery discharge rate at between (11:00am and Midday) when the sun did show its face for an hour.
And of course if you also have an active Ripple Energy account then you can sell that power too, or consume it.