Solar Savers is a pioneering program supporting pensioner households to install solar with no upfront costs.
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, even on cloudy days. This electricity goes through an inverter, a device that changes the electricity so that it can be used in the home to power your appliances. Any leftover electricity from your panels is sold back to the grid.
At night time, or whenever you use more power than your panels are making, you buy electricity from your energy company as you normally would. Because your home stays connected to the grid, you’ll still pay the connection or ‘supply charge’, which is usually around $100 per quarter.
Getting the most out of your solar system
Once your system is installed, we stay in touch and help you to make the most of it.
Follow these simple steps to get the most benefit from your solar panels and save on power bills:
1. Make sure your solar system is connected and working
Look at the display on your inverter (the small box that was installed at the same time as your panels). This display shows you how much electricity your panels are producing. If the display is showing numbers, then you are making electricity. If there is no reading on the inverter, call the company that sends your electricity bill to ask them to look into it.
2. Use the electricity from your panels and avoid buying electricity
When the sun is shining, and even when it’s cloudy, your solar panels are making free electricity. Take advantage of this by running your washing machine, dishwasher and any other appliances during the day. This will mean you buy less electricity, lowering your bills.
3. Check for shading or dirt
Solar panels work best when they are clean and not covered by shade. Check plants and trees to make sure they are not shading your panels. Ask the person that cleans your gutters to check if the panels have become dirty.
4. Save energy around the home
Around 70% of all the energy you use is from home heating, hot water, air-conditioning and refrigeration. Reduce your power bill even more with these simple, effective energy saving tips:
- Don’t pay for heating you don’t need – heat your rooms to around 20 degrees
- Keep the heat inside by sealing draughts and covering windows
- Don’t pay to heat rooms you’re not using – close doors to empty rooms
- Turn your heater off overnight or when you’re going out
- Use a fan for low-cost cooling.
- Keep your house cool naturally by shading windows on the outside of the glass.
- Don’t pay for cooling you don’t need – cool rooms to around 26 degrees.
- Turn your air-conditioner off when you go out
- Use a water-saving shower head
- Try to keep your showers to around five minutes or less
- Wash your clothes in cold water
- Set your fridge at 3 to 5 degrees – this keeps food fresh, and colder temperatures cost more
- Set your freezer at –15 to –18 degrees
- Keep your fridge and freezer away from the sun or heaters
- Turn off second fridges or freezers when you don’t need them
5. Pay less for the electricity you buy
Find and compare energy offers with the Victorian Government’s Victorian Energy Compare https://compare.switchon.vic.gov.au/
Victorian Energy Compare finds the cheapest energy offers for your home. It’s free, independent, and easy-to-use – this video shows you how. To get started you’ll need a computer, a recent energy bill and some information about your house.