Smart technology enables you to minimise your home energy bills by allowing you to monitor your energy consumption. If you have a solar panel system installed, or you’re considering getting one, you can further maximise your energy savings by using smart plugs to switch appliances on when the sun is shining and maximum power is being generated.

Solar Energy 101

Installing solar energy requires solar panels to be fitted to a suitable south-facing roof and connected to an inverter, usually placed as close to the panels as possible to avoid losing power. The inverter converts the DC current generated by the panels into AC current you can use in your home or sell to the grid.

Many inverters are also connected to your broadband or cellular connection to allow your solar energy company to monitor your installation. It also allows you to monitor your energy generation and, using smart appliances, maximise the benefits of free electricity by switching on when the sun shines.

Get the app

Appliances can be controlled remotely via systems such as Hive, using an app on your smartphone or voice-controlled through a smart speaker. You can monitor your energy generation, also through an app provided by certain developers and manufacturers. When you are generating more power than your house is using, you can switch on appliances that make the best use of the excess.

• Fill your washing machine before you go to work, but only switch it on when the sun comes out
• Use battery and cell technology to store yet more solar power and make sure your digital devices or smart wearables are ready for action when you get home
• Place your culinary dishes in the dishwasher, ready for an automated switch on when power generation is sufficient

Free electricity!

Running high power appliances when the sun shines is a win-win for solar householders and smart homes. Energy export is estimated at 50% of its generation – so if you can use all the generated power for your own household you will be getting free power and then some.

Photo: Into the sun by tomaszbaranowski007 licensed under Creative Commons 4.0