If you have solar panels in your home, during the day is obviously when you’re going to generate the most energy.

If you have battery storage with your solar PV too, that works just fine when you’re out of the house during the day. But now with many of us being at home more of the time due to COVID-19, how can you maximise the benefits?

Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your solar panels, even when you’re in the house more of the time.

Use electricity during the day rather than the evening

Unless you have battery storage, you can only draw on your solar panels while they are generating power. That means during the day! If you are out of the house during the day, make use of timers on appliances and charge any portable items in daylight hours.

However, if like many people you’re spending more time at home right now you’re already spreading out your energy usage a bit more! still consider doing things like charging your phone during the day to avoid grid usage as much as possible.

Being at home has it’s advantages too – if you fancy freeing up your evenings a bit more, you can do chores like ironing and hoovering on your lunch break from work, or at other times during the day.

Use one appliance at a time

Even when the sun is beating down, that doesn’t mean your panels have unlimited power to provide. They might only be able to power one big thing at a time, so plan accordingly.

That means cooking lunch while the dishwasher is running and somehow doing the hoovering with another hand isn’t a great idea.

The amount of electricity you can use depends on the size and position of your panels, and of course the weather. Add in the fact that different appliances use different amounts of power, and it’s difficult to say for sure what the limit of your solar power is at any one time. Your panels should come with a meter to track how much energy is generated over time to give you an idea.

Cut your usage

Of course, the best way to cut your electricity bill is to cut your electricity usage! We have a load of advice on our website on how best to manage your bills and improve your usage.

If you really want to get the best out of your green energy, it should form part of an overall efficient approach to using electricity. Every time you switch on an appliance you’re using electricity. That’s everything from lights, to chargers, to appliances – so when you’re working from home during the day consider if you really need the big light on in every room. Once you start making it something you think about and take charge of, you’ll see a difference in your bills.

These are just a few quick tips on how to get the best out of your solar panels, but it’s not an exact science – try out different things and see how they affect your bills. 

Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth advisors are available for help and advice on your electricity bills and heating 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Call them on 0131 555 4010 (Edinburgh, Lothians, Borders) or 01463 259 712 (Highlands), or email warmth@changeworks.org.uk.

If you’re looking for advice on your solar panels or anything else to do with energy efficiency, call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 to speak to their friendly advisors.