How is solar energy used?

When you have a solar PV system installed, you might be wondering what happens to the energy that you don’t use. Not all properties will use the energy generated so it’s important to understand your options when this happens. In this blog, we explore in more detail what happens with the excess solar energy and how you can apply for a Smart Export Guarantee tariff to earn money on this excess energy.

Use Smart Export Guarantee tariff when excess energy generates

Normally, your solar system is automatically set to prioritise the household consumption first, and then the excess energy will charge up the batteries. Once the batteries reach their maximum charge level, or reach 100%, the excess solar will be exported back to the grid. If you have a smart meter installed at your property, you will be able to sign up for an export tariff. The export tariff is also known as the ‘Smart Export Guarantee’ and the energy supplier you choose will pay you for any electricity exported to the grid. 

Will I still use power from the grid?

Your solar PV system is unlikely to cover your full household consumption all year round, especially in the winter months. The summer months, where the days are longer and there is more light, will be the time of year where you will see more production and greater savings. However, during the winter, the generation will be lower, so drawing from the National Grid will be more frequent, especially if your household consumption is high.

Why are my batteries charging from the grid when it is sunny and the PV is charging our batteries?

When the batteries are charging, they will have a constant trickle feed from the grid of around 35-40W. This will only occur during a battery charge and will stop once your batteries reach 100%. Your solar PV system will also import energy from the grid when your household consumption is greater than the inverter AC size.

What documents do I need to be able to apply for an export tariff?

When applying for the Smart Export Guarantee, your chosen energy company will require two documents, these being a copy of the MCS certificate along with the District Network Operator (DNO) confirmation letter. The MCS certificate will be provided to you as part of your handover pack from us. We will send your handover pack within 7-10 working days of you signing to final completion documents. The DNO notification will then be sent to your District Network Operator following your installation. Please note it can take up to 8 weeks for the acceptance to come back

Where can I gain my export MPAN?

When your solar PV system is commissioned, the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) is notified that your system has been connected by us. If you decide to apply for the Smart Export Guarantee, your energy provider should contact the DNO to request an export MPAN or they may ask you to request this. The export MPAN is to help identify the export supply from your meter, so your tariff provider knows how much energy you are exporting.

Can I stop my excess power from being exported?

If you are not using all of the power you are currently generating and your batteries are full, all excess power will be sent back to the grid and you can’t stop the excess energy from being exported. If you turn off this setting you may cause your inverter to shut down.

Get in touch to learn more

If you’d like to learn more about how your solar energy is used and what happens to the excess energy generated, be sure to contact our specialist team today. Our friendly experts are on hand to answer any questions or queries you may have about your solar PV system.


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