Solar - sell excess or not?

G'day guys,

recently we installed a 6.6kwh system in vic. it looks like the best we're getting is 2.5kwh in winter. we're mostly working from home.

energyaustralia is contacting us saying they have a request to change the meter.

i haven't called them back yet, as i remember people saying they had to pay $400 to sell electricity back to the grid and they get a few cents a kw and end up paying more for the electricity coming in anyway.

just thought i'd get some background on this before i call them as i'm thinking we're using up all of 2.5kwh anyway, maybe it would be better to just use the generated elec and we don't have much to sell back anyway.

any thoughts? thx


  • +5

    This solar reconfiguration costed me $33.62 from Ausnet. Postcode 3805

    You should sell your excess to the grid but try to utlise your appliances when your system is producing electricity.

  • +1

    your best bet is to look at your bill for your rates and use a spreadsheet to calculate savings.

  • +2

    Great to see you doing the calculations on ROI, however as I doubt you will get more than 15c per kwh returned. However in Summer, you may discover that you are generating close to 30 kwh per day, and this could equate to $4 per day.

    I suspect though the need to change the meter is not negotiable - I would check if you are forced to upgrade ?

    • Victorian feed-in is dropping to 6c kWh

  • +2

    Are they trying to give you a smart meter and you currently have a old analogue meter with a big dial that spins?

    If you have the analogue meter do NOT let them put a smart meter in if you can avoid it. If your solar output is greater than what you're using then your dial spins backwards. Which essentially means you are being paid the same amount per kWh as what it would cost to draw electricity from the grid. Instead of like a tenth or less as much. You can test this by unplugging and turning off as many things as you can (maybe not fridge/freezer) on a sunny day and watch what your meter does.

    • i'm on a smartmeter already :(

      • Oh darn. Can you work out whether excess solar production is reducing what's on your meter? The excess has to go somewhere

        • Use Victoria energy compare and put in your meter number, it should get you close to a good deal (you still need to check the rates)

    • +1

      “Your dial spins backwards”

      Quantumcat, are you taking the piss?

      Our place has dumb meters and while I do not have solar, this could be incentive enough to get it.

      Although, I don’t think installers would install without a smart meter (said in complete ignorance if this is true or not).

      • If you're in ACT you have to get a smart meter which is really sad. I was only about to keep my analogue meter for a couple of weeks after getting solar installed. I don't think it is enforced everywhere though.

        • +1

          in 2010, I had mine spinning backwards for a few days and when western power replaced the meter and recorded the readings, it was less than the last recorded reading and then they made up a new reading thats more than the last recorded one.

      • I know a few people that got away with this for years in WA, they have cracked down on it though, the golden age has come to an end…

      • “Your dial spins backwards”

        I doubt it was a trick but saw a YouTube video showing exactly this, a dial slowing down and eventually spinning backwards when solar panels are operational.

        But I'm not sure if ALL AND ANY dial spinning meters will react like this.

      • +3

        We had a beautiful November a few years ago when our solar and battery was installed. We were told definitely not to turn the system on before the import/export meter was installed and they said it would take 6 weeks.

        Of course I turned it on and it went backwards all day, every day. I was careful to make sure the final reading was no less than the previous reading. 😎
        It is a wonderful thing to watch that meter spin backward, warms the heart.

        Living the [email protected]@dy dream……..

  • +1

    unlikely to feed in anything until after winter has finished.
    solar system priority is to provide house elec BEFORE feeding any to the grid
    if system generating 2kw, house using 1.8, then 'leftover' 0.2 is fed to the grid
    if system generating 1kw, house using 1.5, then draw 0.5 from grid
    FWIW it's currently dark grey cloud here in SA right now and our 6kW system is generating 0.5 (so would take 5 hours to generate 2.5kWh)
    i'd be surprised if you can avoid the meter install anyway, probably part of the contract

  • +1

    I'd sign up, come summer when air conditioners come into play i'd rather have my electricity system make me money during the peak periods.
    I believe they're also reprogramming systems to shut off if the energy market goes negative (charging for producing energy).

    If you don't mind me asking how are you operating your system if you're not already feeding into the grid?

    • well it was just installed 2 weeks ago and a few days back the inspector came around and turned it 'on' he said so I'm assuming we're using the generated electricity and whatever is left over might be going to the grid for free until i get the company to come over and put me on a plan. (i'm already on the smartmeter but they reckon they have to change something)

      • Hmm sounds weird. If you have a smart meter then it should be automatically sold back to the grid.
        If you dont have a battery system they should already be paying you for the excess

      • Until your meter is reconfigured the excess is feed back in to the grid for free. Once reconfigured the meter will display the total that has been feed into the grid, including before it was reconfigured.

  • 2.5kWh daily for 6.6kW system is appalling, may be panel orientation is not ideal or you have too much shading or your system has a fault?
    My 6.6kW system (low specs Trina panel + Growatt inverter) produces solid average 15kWh daily in June and 18kWh in July.

    You should get smart meter and ToU tariff regardless what you want to do with your electricity. I suggest you get on top of your solar production first.
    We live in SA where we have peak/off-peak/shoulder. We heat up the home mostly during off-peak hours. We do laundry and electric cooking (oven / rice cooker / kettle etc.) mostly during shoulder hours. So far we double our usage compared to last year but the bill went down about 20% compared to before solar, long way to go to off-grid but living a lot more comfortable and paying less.

    • hey PAPower, it's about 2.5kwh or 15kw per day at the moment. i expect this to get better in summer for longer days, but i don't know if i'll get much more that 2.5kwh ?? i thought i should be getting close to 6kwh because it's 6.6 system but i really don't know how it works.

      i'm definitely getting into doing the washing in the middle of the day at the moment. i'll check our peak/off peak and shoulder hrs too, thx

      • +1

        Do you mean it peaks at 2.5kW during winter, and generates about 15kWh per day?

        In winter, the sun has much lower elevation, so your solar system won't peak at 6.6kW at lunch time . It will be much closer to that in summer

      • +1

        By the way, I suggest you move to another retailer. IMO Energy Australia has the worst electricity tariff.
        I would highly recommend ReAmped Energy, you can DYOR via Energy Made Easy website.
        If you sign up using my referral link we both get $50 credit. PM if keen.

      • +2

        @Andre1973 part of the confusion in the comments is because you are using the wrong units. The power you are generating at any point in time is measured in kW, the energy you produce in total during the day is measured in kWh.

        So you are generating 2.5kW at 11am or whatever, and by the end of the day you'd generated 15kWh total. These seem like pretty standard values for Victoria in winter - I'm getting about the same for a sunny winter day from my 5kW system, but I'm in Sydney.

    • We are also in Victoria and our 6.6 kWh has generated a daily average of approx 6.5 kWh so far this July

  • +2

    Where you getting 2.5kWh reported from? And what was the weather like on that day?

    In winter, the daily energy generation average would be around 2kWh/kW X 6.6kW = 13kWh, based on collective averages observed on if your system is consistently producing that low energy, then I feel you have a defective system.

    That should be looked at before deciding whether to sell excess at cost of meter replacement.

    Edit: looking at your comment above, I think you meant the system power peaks at 2.5kW in Winter. That's because of sun elevation in winter.

    Average generation of 15kWh a day seems right, see my comment above.

  • My understanding is metre reconfiguration required to capture any export metric. Meaning your grid operator gets your export for free before it's done. (unless you have analog one as someone mentioned above)

    Also without a battery, you can't control it at all since your solar directly connected to your main so it's either send or receive power from the grid and that's it.

    With battery, you can control the flow to the point of battery capacity.

    • The meter will account for exports before it is reconfigured. Mine was running for 10 days exporting for free, then once done the total on the meter matched the the inverter lifetime production. Never got paid for it though.

  • +1

    You have no choice. You have to change the meter. Sometimes it is free, $400 at worst.

    At the moment you'll be exporting SFA but come summer it will be 25kwh-35kwh. We get 18c (AGL Solar Saver, Sydney).

    It's good to see you had a full understanding of how it all works prior to making the plunge.

  • if you already have a smart meter, why would they still need to change it? is your reference of smartmeter is the smart meter for the solar inverter?

  • If you have excess why wouldn’t you sell it? They’ll want the meter upgrade anyway.

  • +1

    I'm in WA but here's what I'm getting from my system(6KW on 5KW inverter) to help put some $ values on it.
    Green is my consumption savings, yellow is my FIT earnings (@ 7.135c/kWh)
    North facing, generating around 10 to 11 MWh per year, we self consume on average 30%. Yearly getting between $500 - $600 back from FIT, saving $700 - $900 from self consumption.

  • The 6.6kW is the peak instantaneous output of the system. 6.6kwH per hour. On a given day, it will produce between approx 25kwH and 40kwH.

    You will not consume it all at the time when it is being generated. I have previously done the sums and it is a very big (relative) income stream if you export to grid.

  • If you’re generating more power from your solar panels than you’re using in your home or business, many electric companies will apply a credit to your monthly bill. No doubt, it’s not quite as easy as receiving a big check from your utility company every month for the solar power you don’t use. But you need to follow a few different guidelines and things especially depending on where you reside. That being said, net metering can be an additional bonus to what’s already a worthwhile investment,

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