Zero Cost Electricity Bill – My Solar Journey Part II

Nie wieder Stromkosten: Unsere eigene Solaranlage

(Update 10 November 2022: Scott lives with his family in Australia).


It has been over 12 months since our family had a solar system installed. Did we achieve our goal of a zero cost electricity bill? And where do we go with our solar journey now to save electricity and reduce our carbon emissions even further? Read on to find out.

In 2020, we had our solar system installed which I initially wrote about here. Now I´d like to share my experiences how the solar system has changed our everyday life.

What was our 12-month electricity bill?

Well, we DID achieve our zero cost electricity bill in 2020. Actually, we did even better so that by the end of 2020, our electricity account was AUD $187 in credit.

Die Jahresabrechnung weist dank Solarstrom ein Plus 187 AUD (etwa 120 EUR) aus.

Caption: The 12-month electricity bill shows a plus of 187 AUD (about 120 EUR) thanks to solar power.


How did we achieve the best solar savings?

We were able to achieve savings through 3 things:

  1. Using more electricity during the day when our solar system was operating
  2. Being paid for the electricity we sent back out to the grid
  3. Additional payments from our energy provider for reducing grid demand

You can see from our SMA Energy App our savings during 2020 resulted in our electricity bill.

Die SMA Energy visualisiert die Energieflüsse im Haushalt.

Caption: The SMA Energy app visualizes the energy flows in the household.


1. Adjust power consumption to solar power production
By making some slight changes to how we used electricity, we were able to maximise our self-consumption. The biggest consumers of energy in our house for the year, were our air conditioning, dryer, dishwasher and washing mashine. We operated those appliances more during the day than at night time and were able to achieve a self-sufficiency rate of almost 50% (that means we generated 50% of all the electricity we needed ourselves!) Just doing this reduced my electricity bill by ~ AUD $1000 just in 2020.

2. Generate additional revenue through feed-in
The electricity we couldn’t use went back out to the grid. We only managed to consume 36% of all the electricity our solar system generated (64% went back to the grid). This electricity was paid at a (generous) rate of AUD $0.21/kWh, which generated further savings of ~AUD $1190.

3. Relieve the public power grid
The final benefit we extracted from our solar system (which I did not plan on) was reducing the stress we put on the grid. During events of high grid demand, we did things like turn off our air conditioner and other appliances so that, we did not consume electricity from the grid, and in fact we were still sending electricity out to the grid when the grid needed it most. We ended up being paid an extra ~AUD $85 for this by our energy retailer.


What about our Carbon savings?

Well, almost 6 tonnes of carbon offset in a year is a good start, but if we’re to get to net zero (or better) then we still have a long way to go. In Australia, the best estimate for a family of our size is annual generation of about 20 tonnes of CO2. So with the 6 tonnes saved from our solar system, we still have 14 tonnes to go. Since 50% of our electricity still came from the grid, I signed up with our electricity retailer for 100% green energy. This means that all the electricity our house now consumes is from renewables, saving about 13 tonnes in 2020. The remaining emissions are largely attributable to vehicle emissions.


Switch to e-mobility

We do have two cars, but the recent release of the SMA EV Charger which works together with the SMA Energy App, has us thinking that when it is time to replace our next car, we will be going electric. Then we will fill up the e-vehicle with our own solar power. For the time being, for us it seems to be a better option than buying a home battery, since we can reduce more emissions by reducing my vehicle emissions than my electricity emissions. And if car companies release “Vehicle-2-Grid” capability, then we also be able to use the car’s battery to power our home at night time.


Personal contribution to climate protection

If as a planet, we are going to avoid drastic climate change, then we each need to do our part in addition to what our respective governments might do to reduce emissions. So if you want to try and achieve your own zero cost electricity bill and reduce your carbon emissions, find a SMA Solar Professional to help you take the first step in your own solar journey.

In my next post, I’ll tell you how you can save even more electricity costs.



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