Getting the most out of solar

You can make the most of your solar by using more of the energy you produce, getting the best price for the energy you send to the grid, and using less energy overall.

See how much energy you use

You can see exactly how much energy you’re sending to the grid, as well as how much electricity you’re using at different times of day, through your electricity distributor’s online portal.

Your electricity distributor owns and manages the poles and wires that make up the electricity grid.

The distributor for your area depends on your location, and is different to your electricity retailer. Most of Yarra is within the Citipower distribution network, while parts of Alphington and Fairfield are in the Jemena distribution network.

You can also use a PowerPal smart energy meter to see the energy you use in real time on your phone. You may be eligible for a free PowerPal through the Victorian government's Energy Uprades scheme. Visit PowerPal to learn more.

Get the best feed-in-tariff

The feed-in-tariff, a credit your electricity retailer pays you for your exported energy, has changed over time. While the minimum feed-in-tariff is set each year by the Essential Services Commission, some electricity retailers offer more than the minimum amount.

Some households may not be able to export energy to the grid. Your local electricity distributor will tell you shortly before or after your solar system is installed whether your system is permitted to export energy.  If your system is permitted to export energy, look at your bill or contact your electricity retailer to find out what feed-in-tariff you receive. Ask them if there is a plan with a higher feed-in-tariff available, or consider switching to a retailer with a higher feed-in-tariff.

Be sure to consider the cost of buying electricity also, as a higher feed-in-tariff may not be the best value for you if it also comes with a higher cost per kilowatt hour of electricity, or a higher daily supply charge. Visit the Victorian Energy Compare website to compare electricity offers.

For more information on the current minimum feed-in-tariff, visit the Victorian State Government website. 

Switch to using energy during the day

With solar you can maximise your savings by switching your energy usage to when the sun is shining. Set your appliances, like washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers, on timers to run during the day.

If you’re not home during the day and you have electric heating and cooling, consider pre-heating or cooling your home in the late afternoon while the sun is shining.

Then turn off, or turn down, the heater or air conditioning when the sun goes down. Making sure your home is properly insulated and draught proofed will help even more with keeping the temperature comfortable.

Switch to electric appliances

Switching gas appliances to efficient electric ones will allow you to use your solar to power these appliances. Many Victorian homes have gas heating, hot water systems and cooking appliances. Modern, efficient electric versions of these appliances are cheaper to run. 

With an all-electric solar home and a battery or GreenPower, you can completely power your home with renewable energy.

Find out about creating an all-electric home.

Rebates for electric heating and hot water systems

You could be eligible for a rebate of up to $1,000 to replace your old hot water heater with an approved type of electric or solar hot water systems. Visit Solar Victoria to find out about solar hot water rebates. Eligible households can now claim both the solar PV and hot water rebates. 

You may also be eligible for incentives for replacing your inefficient gas hot water system or heater with an efficient electric alternative. Visit Victorian Energy Upgrades to find out more. 

Improve your energy efficiency

Using less energy will save you money on your bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Heating and cooling make up the biggest portion of most households’ bills. Installing insulation, draught proofing, and improving your window treatments are all things you can do to keep the indoor temperature comfortable and reduce how much you need to use your heating and cooling.

Find out how to use less energy at homeSustainability Victoria also has lots of information about saving energy at home.

Consider a battery

With the right size solar system and a battery, you can use your solar at night and reduce your electricity bills further. The free SunSPOT solar calculator can show you how much you could save with a battery. 

Find out more about batteries.