Most of you probably use the flat rate option on your electric bill. A meter measures how much electricity you use in a month, and multiplies that number by a flat price per kilowatt hour. But that’s not the only option.
A Time of Use Rate (TOU) is an option for most residential homes and businesses that offers two (or more) different prices for electricity depending on when you use it. They will usually offer a higher price during the day and evening (On peak rate), and a lower price at night (Off peak rate). Even without adding solar panels you can take advantage of TOU rates by shifting certain appliances to nighttime or early morning, and most electric cars have the option to restrict charging to certain times of the day.
Buying more efficient appliances can also pay off in the long run. When replacing an older dryer or refrigerator or other large appliance, compare the annual energy use of any options you are considering as you can save more money than the difference in cost for a more expensive, more efficient appliance.
One additional thing you can do is ensure your home is properly insulated. Sealing drafty doors, making sure your attic is properly insulated, and replacing windows with more insulative ones can help keep heat in your home during the winter and can keep it out during the summer.
While these tips will help anyone with an electric bill, if you are considering a PV system, they become even more important. TOU On-Peak rates that overlap the daytime can be taken advantage of by adding solar panels. You will get free power from the sun during the daytime which will offset the cost of the On-Peak rate. If you add batteries to the system, then you can store power from the day time and use it through the rest of On-Peak Hours.
When considering adding a PV system to your house, we use your electricity usage to size the system to your needs. This means that if you have more efficient appliances, and better insulation, we won’t have to size the system as large which can save you money.