I am sure you’ve heard about how solar power is “beneficial” and how it can help you save money on electricity every month.
As the writer of most of Solar Advice’s content, I have researched solar power and its benefits. I have even written guides and articles outlying the pros of installing solar.
However, I had never considered implementing the tips and advice in my home until recently.
I decided to write this article to tell you, from my own experience, how installing a solar power kit and being more aware of what we’re running has enormously benefited my family.
This is our journey from being grid reliant to almost entirely energy-independent.
Our Solar Power Journey: About Us
My family, home and solar power system
We installed a small solar power kit a few years ago, mainly to avoid load shedding but upgraded our equipment to a much larger kit over a year ago.
But we were still receiving high electricity bills, so we decided to make a drastic change in June 2022 to be more energy-conscious and to use our solar system to our advantage.
Our Solar System Specifications
Our Solar Power Journey: Our Consumption & Costs
Our Consumption and costs for 2022
I have looked at our Eskom invoices over the last year and noticed that we were pretty consistent in our grid consumption: we averaged between 800kWh – 1000kWh every month.
Our solar power production and consumption data were collected from our Solar Assistant account, which monitors our grid consumption and our solar power production and battery usage.
We created our Solar Assistant account at the end of February, so I only have complete data from March – June 2022.
Grid Use: January – June 2022
Grid Consumption: 5272kWh
Avg Monthly Cost: R2200.00*
Total 6 Month Cost: R13500.00*
Solar Power Usage: March – June 2022
PV Consumption: 4060kWh
Avg Monthly Saving: R3400.00*
Total 4 Month Savings: R13700.00*
The Energy-Efficient Appliances
These appliances, if used correctly, drastically reduce our reliance on the grid.
What We Changed
The first appliance we decided to chop was the crypto miner. It was running 24 hours a day at around 1kW. So, on the 28th of June 2022, we turned it off.
The geyser heat pump, while energy-efficient, will still cost a fortune to run if you leave it on for hours on end. Now, we only turn it on twice a day. We have a WIFI switch installed to control the heat pump with an app on our phones, and we have set a timer to turn it on and then off again.
While we haven’t done anything about converting our oven and hob to gas, we use our air fryer more regularly.
For our other appliances like our dishwasher, heat pump tumble dryer and aircons, we only use them during the day, between 11 am – 4 pm.
And finally, we decided to flip the grid switch on our DB board and only turn it back on when we needed to cook something.
Our Solar Power Journey: The Results of Our Efforts
For July & August 2022
I patiently and excitedly waited all of August for our impending actual reading invoice from Eskom, because I would finally be able to see physical proof of what our efforts had accomplished. I was not disappointed.
To fully grasp the vast differences in pre and post change consumption trends, I have included the proof, in the form of our Eskom invoices.
June Actual Reading Eskom Invoice
Total consumption: 1813kWh over 60 days
August Actual Reading Eskom Invoice
Total consumption: 445kWh over 61 days
In two months, we used just over half of what we would normally use in 1 month.
So far, we have reduced our monthly grid reliance by around 75%.
We only turned the miner off on the 28th of June, so the August invoice includes at least 7 days of our pre change grid usage, so I expect to see a further reduction in the coming months.
Our Solar Power Journey: Conclusion
Our future looks bright
Investing in a solar power kit and using it wisely has drastically helped to reduce our carbon footprint and save us money on electricity.
Using our produced solar power will see us paying off our solar power system far more quickly.
Once our solar system is paid off, we’ll be producing free electricity, freeing up monthly money to put towards other things, like outings with the kids or a well-deserved weekend away for my husband and me.