Best Time To Use solar power systems

Posted on 25 April 2011

During the daytime, the production cost of the electricity is the highest because of its peak usage. In contrast, as the usage during night time is low, the production cost decreases. Thus, Time of Use (TOU) metering is the best option for renewable energy-sources because solar power systems produce energy during the daytime peak-price period, and produce little power during the night time, when the price is low.

Basically Time of Use is a rate plan that your utility may or may not have, though most do for solar or wind. Time of Use has nothing to do with a warranty anyway; it works with a net metering (which is described next), to lower your new utility bill. Also, to assure that solar has a faster payback. Following are some basics about Time of Use.

Net Metering

Net  Metering

During the longer days of summer, solar panels produce more electricity than one’s housing needs. So the extra energy produced is sent back to the grid for storage. On the other hand, at night time, as the sun is not shining and your solar panels are not producing, the electricity you did not use is sent back to you from the electric company. This is called net metering.

The power that your panels generate during the day time and send back to the grid is the most expensive power of the day. This power is intensely needed by the multiple factories and business and they are willing to pay for it.

Savings With Time Of Use Rate

The energy your solar panels produce is of great value. The Utility buys the energy your solar panels produce at the high day time “peak” rate with Time of Use Rate. So here is the big savings as discussed under:

1. As the sun is not shinning in the night and you buy some or all of that power back, you buy it back at the cheaper night time rate. So you sell the solar electricity high, for instance, 14 cents a watt, and buy back the night time “off peak” electricity at 7 cents a watt. Here you make a profit of 7 cents a watt on the energy your panels produce! That’s what called Time of Use.

2. Your utility and its multiple Time of Use rate plans determine the “peak” time periods. Some peak times are divided into four time periods; morning, night, afternoon, evening and weekends, each with its own rate. Other time periods, like Southern California Edison, have peak rates set at M-F, 10am-6pm. All the other times are off-peak.

However, you have to keep in mind the following points, too.

Solar Fred Tip

TOU-Time of Use

If you are properly fixing Time of Use into your initial solar panels design, it may decrease your system size because of the extra savings. With net metering, realize that utilities generally do not pay you extra if you lower your yearly bill down to zero. You want to make sure you have just enough solar power to get your bill close to a zero, but not lesser than zero.

Solar Fred Caution

If you are a person that stay most of the time in your home, you may not get advantage from Time of Use because not only you are consuming all of your solar power but also buying extra coal power to run your computers and other machinery. You will still have net metering, but you would not have that bonus profit. In this case, the normal rate will be good for you. Furthermore, it is advisable to consult with your installer about your energy usage during the day and the Time of Use rate plans.





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This post was written by:

Q. AB. - who has written 83 posts on Renewable Energy.

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