Getting the best from your solar panels

If you're considering solar, review how you use electricity to get the best out of your system.

Use your appliances during the day

Using appliances (e.g. washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner) during the day will increase the amount of solar electricity you use and reduce the amount of electricity that needs to be purchased from a retailer.

Showering in the morning rather than evening can bring added gains as solar electricity, rather than purchased electricity, is used to heat the water in your cylinder. Consumers with electric vehicles will benefit from charging these during the day, when solar is generating.

Maintain your system

Most solar panels will work for 25-30 years or more with very little maintenance. For best performance, panels should be cleaned periodically to remove dirt and other debris (e.g. leaves). Very little cleaning might be needed in areas with high rainfall and better air quality, but more cleaning may be necessary in areas with poor air quality. You may need to pay a contractor to do this work if your roof is difficult to access and/or steep. Trees that shade your panels should be trimmed.

You may need to replace an inverter during the life of your system. An inverter converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into the alternating current (AC) used in New Zealand houses. Inverters come in two main types; string inverters and micro-inverters. Both types have their strengths and weaknesses - talk to a solar expert about the best option.