When you use on-grid solar energy, you can get all the free energy you need while the sun is shining. But in the evening, you still access power from the main grid, meaning you need to choose an electricity retailer and energy plan. This is confusing for some customers, and even more so when the retailer doesn’t give you the options you need.
Today we’re going to talk about time-of-use tariffs and why they can be an area of concern for solar energy customers.
What is a time-of-use tariff?
A time-of-use tariff is a way of calculating the cost of your electricity based on the time of day you use it. In simple terms, your electricity is charged at two or three different rates – peak, shoulder and off-peak. While retailers can vary slightly, the standard hours are as follows:
Peak: 4pm – 9pm weekdays
Shoulder: All other times
Off-peak: 9pm – 7am weekdays
As mentioned, these times are just a guide and your retailer may vary slightly. Essentially, electricity is more expensive during peak times.
Single-rate tariffs – the alternative
If you don’t like time-of-use tariffs, there is a good alternative, being a single-rate tariff. This is a much simpler energy plan, because electricity is charged at the same rate per kWh at all times of the day. Naturally, the rate is a little higher than an off-peak rate, but not as expensive as the peak rate.
Why is this an issue for solar customers?
This can be a big issue for solar customers for two reasons. Firstly, many retailers automatically put you on a time-of-use tariff when you install solar. Solar installations also require a smart meter, so while it should be easy for your retailer to switch plans, some of them make it difficult to change.
The other issue is the rates themselves. With on-grid solar, you get the maximum benefit from your solar between 10am – 4pm (roughly). This means most of the power you pay for is after 4pm – right when the peak rate kicks in. So, it makes sense to be on a single rate tariff when you’ve installed solar.
Enjoy free solar energy today
If you want to slash your energy bills and maximise the benefit of solar, we’d love to help you out. Halcol Energy has been providing high-quality, life-changing solar solutions to Queensland families for over 10 years. We’ve got the experience you need, and we only partner with the best manufacturers to ensure your solar panels, inverters and battery storage solutions are perfect for your household. Contact the friendly Halcol team and start enjoying the benefits of solar energy today.