The Benefits of Solar During COVID-19

The solar industry during the pandemic

COVID-19 has had a definitive impact on the solar industry so far in 2020. This is especially true in Victoria where stage four restrictions have affected many businesses and workers until 13th September, wherein the criteria for essential travel and business will be compared against the current infection rate data available to the Australian Government. Until then, most employees and businesses have been forced to work from home if able, requiring them to adapt in a short period.

More now than ever, solar can bring many benefits to the new working environment during the pandemic. First, how have the stage four restrictions and COVID-19affected the solar energy industry?

Solar providers understand that this is an unprecedented time for businesses and clients from all walks of life and have adjusted how their businesses operate to ensure that people still have access to the same services and benefits available before the pandemic. One of the changes that providers have made is the creation of a strict set of procedures to ensure that solar system installations are contact less. This is a major adjustment for an industry that has relied on person to person interactions more so than other businesses.

The “COVID-19 bill shock”

The shift from the workplace to working from home has had its own set of difficulties that are unique to every household. However, one challenge that is facing every home currently is the increase in household expenses. The use of laptops and mobile devices for work, remote learning for children, and communication has skyrocketed to levels not previously experienced by many families. This has now become known as the “COVID-19 bill shock” and it is starting to have a real impact on the lives of many around the globe. This is especially true for homeowners currently struggling with reduced household incomes and the possible loss of employment.

It is now more important than ever to research how expenses can be cut and electricity bills lowered to manageable levels. This is where solar comes into play.

Would it be wise to invest in solar power during the pandemic?

The home power surge

The shift to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused home electricity bills to sky rocket.  This is the major factor behind why so many Australians now have plans to purchase a solar panel system.

However, many Australians are still only in the research stage and are putting off the swap until life begins to return to normal – but this could be a huge mistake. One of the biggest reasons for opting to follow through with solar power installation sooner rather than later is the falling Australian dollar.

Even before the effects of COVID-19 were felt across the finance industry, the Australian dollar has been in slow decline over the last couple of years. Restrictions across the country have now caused the value to drop even further. Economists predict an even lower value for the Australian dollar within the next few months.

With how the prices of commodities are linked with exchange rates, many solar providers have stated they will not be surprised if solar panel systems and installations become more expensive.  For homeowners who are currently researching to swap to solar, it may be a smart decision to purchase now before it becomes more expensive.

Waiting for the pandemic to be over may not be the best decision, especially if saving money is a priority – which is for most people the most important motive for wanting to swap to solar.

While there are a lot of unknowns in regards to this pandemic, the solar power industry has proven to be resilient throughout many crises before. So now maybe the best time to take action.

Solar and working from home

Solar power provides a certainty of making savings on your utility bills during the pandemic, especially if the majority of your work is done during the day. This is because of how solar panel systems work.

An in-depth breakdown of how solar panel systems work is available in a previous article, but as a short recap:

  • Solar panels capture sunlight.
  • They turn that sunlight into a Direct Current (DC).
  • The solar inverter turns DC into Alternating Current (AC).
  • The switchboard ensures you use solar energy first before drawing from the grid.
  • Any additional power need is taken from the grid.
  • Any surplus of solar energy is fed back into the grid.

It might seem like common sense, but solar panel systems generate the most amount of electricity during daylight.  It generates less as it starts to get dark. At night, nothing.

Unless you invest in a solar battery system to retain the solar power generated during the day, it will be virtually impossible to ensure that all of the nightly usages will be from solar. At the time of writing this article, most solar battery solutions are not worth the investment if the primary goal is to save money. To give an example, the Tesla Powerwall 2, which is one of the most efficient solar batteries on the market, costs just shy of $12,000 in Australia.

Therefore, the best method of reaping rewards from solar panel systems when working from home will be to plan the majority of the power usage to be during the day. This is because people save more money by using the electricity generated by solar panels than they do feeding it back to the grid for credit (feed in tariff).

Make sure to use the major electronic devices needed for work –computer, laptop, phone – during the daytime and it will be cutting down the home office costs by a considerable margin.

Simple habits lead to big changes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, simple habits people build now will help them benefit even more from solar. Changes such as:

  • Make sure computers/laptops have their standby settings enabled when not in use.
  • If using multiple office devices such as printers and scanners, make sure they are plugged into an energy-efficient power board and turn it off when not in use.
  • If the light is needed while working in a home office, swap out traditional bulbs for more energy-efficient LED globes – a window would be even better.

Since people will be at home during the daytime hours they normally wouldn’t be, they can also opt to do their clothes washing, cooking, and using other big energy drain items during the time they’ll be generating the most electricity with solar.

Most solar panel systems will come equipped with some sort of terminal or Wi-Fi application that you can use which will tell the owner how much their system generates during the day and which times they generate the most. If they maximize the use of their solar generation, they’ll start to reduce those shocking bills to normal levels.

What could all this mean for you?

It has been a huge shift in terms of the ways we’ve had to think about the way we spend and use power during the day, especially during this pandemic.  However, this doesn’t mean you need to fall victim to the drastically increased use of power while working from home.

Researching your options now for getting solar and how much money you can save is wise, especially with rising electricity rates and the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings about in many supply chains and industries around the world.

The only certain thing is that there are many benefits of having solar during COVID-19 and they can lead to significant reductions in your utility bills which have proven to improve the lives of those who opted to make the switch to solar towards the beginning of the pandemic.

If you’d like examples of how solar can save you more money while working from home, check out our other article titled “How Solar Can Reduce Your Electricity Costs.” That article will show you how much it costs to get solar and reveal the government incentives that have been put in place to reduce the initial investment.

This will get you saving sooner, reduce the “COVID-19 bill shock”, and free you up financially to better decisions that will improve your lives, and remove stresses during this difficult time.

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