Learn how to read your electricity bill and manage your expectations around the results.
Assessing your site’s viability for solar includes an assessment of your electricity bill. You can learn more on this page or email us your bill and we will assess it for you.
If your power bill is very high or you use large amounts of electricity, you get billed differently to most other consumers. While you pay a very low price for each kWh of electricity, you get hit with a very expensive ‘demand charge.’ Small and medium enterprises may avoid the demand tariffs but will have general supply tariffs that have a higher cost per kWh for all electricity consumed.
CASE STUDY – Small & Medium Enterprises: General Supply Tariffs
To maximize the effect on the solar we re-wired the existing meters and shifted load onto the main ‘Tariff 20 General Supply’ as this was the tariff the solar is connected to.
See an image of the whole site below, with the solar array for the pumps at the top and towards the right of the image.
LARGE ENTERPRISES – Demand Tariffs
The main variable cost on this bill that solar can impact is the ‘DUOS & TUOS Demand Above Threshold’ under ‘Network Charges.’ In this particular example, these costs contribute to 35% of the total power bill.
The demand charge is the one point in the billing cycle (usually monthly) where the most power has been drawn from the grid at one time. With many businesses, these charges occur around 7 am – 8 am when the lights and computers are turned on, and air conditioners are started.
Understanding at what times your demand charges occur is fundamental when assessing the viability of a solar energy investment. You can obtain this information from your energy provider by asking for a 12-month load profile, also known as interval data. The report can cost up to $150, but it is without any doubt worth the investment.
Our customer opted for a 100kWP solar system with 400 solar panels to reduce the amount of electricity they are buying during the daylight operating hours of the business. Through a detailed analysis, we were able to identify the machinery causing the power spikes, and the client has been able to shift the machine’s operation time from the afternoon to the middle of the day when the solar system is performing at its best.
This is how GEM Energy achieves the best possible outcome for our customers.
See the photo of the system above. The panels were split 200 facing east and 200 facing west so the system would peak in the middle of the day as the panels are mounted on a 10-degree pitch. Having a flat roof in this instance is quite beneficial although it will require more maintenance due to dirt build up which occurs on panels that are not sufficiently cleaned with rainfall.