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For most months here grid usage averages less than 1kWh/day at the supplier's daytime Standard Rate thanks to their alternating 12 hour split rate tariff similar to the EdF 20/20 one. Most usage is at a 20% discount ‘off peak’ rate. This exploits the way that solar usage displaces daytime grid use, and this overall saves us here 15% of the 'leccy bill .

It would be very similar for the other months too if the solar was facing south-ish like so many other Microgeners. (It is only due to the East-West orientation plus some autumn and spring shading that there is any significant daytime ‘standard rate’ grid usage between October and February.) Amongst the benefits of having Solar PV, I consequently rank the opportunity of exploiting such a split rate tariff as pretty high.

We use gas for cooking, and have LED lighting (hence why the 20% discount-rate usage is also low). Overall we are slightly below-average users of about 3200kWh/year shown here comprising;
- 12%, 390kWh/year at standard-rate,
- 34%, 1120kWh/year solar, and
- 54%, 1680kWh/year at 20% discount-rate.
The figures are all from a Smart Meter, with the ‘solar usage’ element being generation minus the Export recorded on the Smart Meter.

There are commonly also “Economy 10” tariffs like SSEs Powerfuel that give a 40% discount for 10 off-peak hours a day, which may be even better for south-facing rooftop solar households. A south-facing installation might benefit even more from a tariff with a higher discount that does not cover all the weekend. Here though, there is a combination of low winter solar generation and weekend household consumption to consider.

(N.B. There are some peculiarities to my standard-solar-discount breakdown chart.
(i) March 16th was when the Central Heating was turned off in favour of the lounge gas fire plus storage heater for a month,
(ii) the high usage December 26th to January 2nd period was when the whole household was at home, and
(iii) we were away during the summer solstice period, which would normally and otherwise have been the period of highest solar usage.)

The long-awaited release of the Competition Markets Authority report into the Energy industry was finally slipped out on, (ahem!), the day of the referendum result. (How's that for covering up an embarrassing delay?!)

The opportunity was missed of banning the loss-leading one-year fixed rate tariffs that have caused so much trouble. But the positive aspect of it - particularly from our viewpoint having solar installations - was the abolition of the consumer choice restricting fiasco of brainbox Ed Davey's 2013 “4 tariffs only” rule for retailers. Hence the subsequent plethora of available tariffs in recent months, and indeed new entrants offering them.

So, our split-rate import tariff Happy Days are here again. Once again we can each find one that complements both our particular solar panels compass orientation for generation on the one hand, and our energy consumption lifestyle on the other hand.

I'd kept our simple dual-rate “Economy 12 plus weekends” tariff through the Davey dark days, although I'd been aware that the weekend aspect of my lower Discount rate had been something that we here had not been able to benefit from in summertime when we're all out and about at weekends. So now I'm reviewing my import tariff, and would suggest others do the same. The potential bill savings are really significant, and there seems to be a huge variety of tariffs on offer.

For example for our lifestyle and our dual-string solar installation, I'm quite attracted to the simple dual-rate Economy 10 tariff. (It's off-peak rate of 7-9p/kWh happens to be at times of the day that we could concentrate our consumption into. It's peak rate is mostly in the mornings which complements our East-facing 2.5kW ‘morning’ solar string.)

There are also even more attractive multi-rate import tariffs, such as the British Gas Saver and Saver3 for those feeling confident about their “demand shifting”, plus similar ones from new entrant independents.

Those with a concern for being green will have noted that, being grid-friendly, these are also the import tariffs that are inherently green. Indeed the national grid's energy saving plans for the future seem partly predecated on the assumption that consumers will indeed “demand shift” in response to these attractive split-rate tariffs.
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