New Feature: Solar PV Optimisation

Ecologic Apps are excited to announce a world-first tool to assist with the complex decision of sizing solar PV systems.

The challenge

The cost per kilowatt of a solar PV system reduces with increasing size owing to economies of scale in production, distribution and installation. However in most areas the rate you receive for exported electricity is lower than the rate you pay to purchase it from the grid. This means the bill savings per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated reduce with increasing system capacity. An optimal system size therefore occurs where the reduced installed costs per kilowatt of capacity are overcome by reduced bill savings per kilowatt-hour generated.

The optimal PV system size is unique to each property and is determined by the interaction of a wide range of factors including your locally available sunshine, the installed cost per kilowatt of different system capacities, your local electricity rate structure, and your unique electricity consumption profile through the day.

Solar retailers usually combine electricity bill information with rules of thumb to size solar PV systems but these approaches don't take into account fluctuations in electricity consumption and generation throughout the day, and how these fluctuations impact time-of-use and feed-in tariffs.

Source: IPART

Our solution

Ecologic Apps have developed a new, world-first sizing approach that takes into account all these factors to identify the best system size for each property's unique situation.

  1. Firstly we develop a sub-hourly profile of your electricity consumption using our unique physics-based simulation engine.
  2. We then simulate the hourly electricity generated by the solar PV system based on local solar resource data.
  3. The consumption and generation are then combined to estimate the dynamic import-export balance on a sub-hourly basis throughout the year.
  4. The simulated balance is then used to calculate the bill savings associated with your local electricity rates and feed-in tariff details.
  5. The estimated installed system cost is then combined with the estimated bill savings to identify the most cost-effective system capacity.

Calculations of this nature would normally require the services of a specialised engineering consultancy and a big budget but from today they are available to anyone for free on our web-based platform. Your personalised savings plan will now specify your optimal system capacity in kilowatts, and include our best estimates of the installation cost and bill savings for each rated capacity.

As always feel encouraged to reach out to us if you have any questions or suggestions over email, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or in the comments forum below.