Maximise the energy usage of your solar PV system
Source: Which Solar Installer
When a solar PV system is generating more electricity than the home is using the 'excess' energy is usually exported to the grid. Home owners normally receive an extra 3p/kWh for this exported energy, in addition to the payments they receive for generating renewable energy.
But since a unit (kWh) of electricity costs home owners about 13p to buy from the grid it makes sense to use as much of the energy a solar PV system generates as possible. Obviously there is no point in turning on lights, or other devices which do not need to be on, but if the 'excess' energy can be diverted into things which can store the energy, or make use of it to avoid buying electricity in the evening or at night, there are big savings to be made. Controlling a PV system in this way makes great sense and can reduce the time it takes for the system to 'pay back' its' installation cost.
Wattson, the makers of the Solar Plus and other electricity monitoring solutions have now brought out two new products to help home owners control their PV systems in this way. The first is the Optiplug, which picks up signals from the Wattson Solar or Wattson Solar Plus (or Wattson XL, if it is set up to record energy generation as well as energy usage). The second is the Optimmersion, a stand alone controller which diverts 'excess' solar energy into the immersion heater in your hot water tank.
Wattson Optiplug is an intelligent socket which switches on your appliances when you have spare electricity. The smart socket learns how much electricity is used by the appliances that are plugged into it and then switches on when enough electricity is available for those appliances, switching off when electricity is no longer free. This clever little device optimises your use of your own excess generated electricity. It's only £49.95 and will save you money as soon as it's plugged in!
Find out more about Optiplug.
Optimmersion is a proportional controller to add to a Solar PV installation. It diverts 'excess' electricity to the immersion heater when surplus power is available. Optimmersion automatically harvests surplus electricity and uses it to heat water and maintain temperature level. It's a standalone system that does not require a Wattson Solar Plus to get its data, but will work very well with Wattson to show how much of your generated electricity you are using and how much power you could be using on other products in the home.
Find out more about Optimmersion.