All Nalu homes are equipped with an array of photovoltaic (PV) panels that can ‘cover the average electricity demand of a modern household’. But what does that mean in practice? How much usable electricity will your solar panels produce, and how much will you save on your electricity bill?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to estimate how much electricity your panels will produce, as there are too many factors involved. One issue, for example, is that the sun often shines during the day while you’re out (when you’re not using much electricity), but not in the evening, (when you are). Variations in daylight hours throughout the year, and changes in the weather on any given day will affect the performance of your panels, too.
The good news, however, is that every Nalu Home also has a domestic battery that stores surplus electricity from the panels ready for use it when you need it. Better still, the Nalu Intelligent Living Platform decides when to charge and when to use the battery so that you get the maximum benefit from your solar array. Of course, there may be occasions when your panels are producing surplus power and the batteries are full. But if you opt for an electricity tariff that rewards you for putting surplus electricity back into the grid, you can offset the cost of the power you use when your panels and battery can’t keep up with your energy use.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Although we can’t give you a specific figure as to how much electricity your panels will produce, we can give you a good idea of what to expect. When we planned our Honeywell development, we asked Hydrock, an award-winning, multidisciplinary engineering design consultancy, to give us a complete report on the carbon footprint of our houses. Part of the remit of this report was to predict the performance of the solar panels and battery over the course of a year.
To start with, Hydrock looked at the ‘operational carbon’ of our homes, which is based on “the ‘regulated energy use’; from heating, hot water, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems, as well as ‘unregulated energy use’ from plug-in devices like fridges, washing machines, TVs, IT facilities and cookers.” It then looked at the renewable energy system, comprising the solar array, battery, and the Nalu Intelligent Living Platform, and assessed its likely performance over the year in relation to predicted demand.
As you would expect, in the summer months, the panels produce excess electricity, which can be exported to the grid. In the winter, energy from the panels needs to be supplemented with some power from the grid. But Hydrock’s final conclusion was that, for a three-bedroom dwelling, occupied by a family with average electricity use, “the PV array produces more electricity than the dwelling consumes.”
It’s worth noting that the Hydrock report considers all the relevant factors. These include the type of heating used in a Nalu Home, the standard of insulation, the performance of the Intelligent Living Platform and more. In other words, Hydrock has done the maths for us. But, at the same time, no two families are the same – some will use more electricity than others, and we cannot guarantee that every family’s experience will be the same.
How will this affect my bills?
The Hydrock report covers a broad range of electricity use, including essentials like heating, hot water, fridges, cookers, and lighting, as well as other devices such as TVs, computers, and mobile phones. It concludes that a three-bedroom Nalu Home occupied by a typical family will produce more electricity, over the course of a year, than it takes to run – and the same will be true for the four- or five-bedroom homes. How this will affect your bills will of course depend on what tariff you’re on – and on your own electricity use.
Most electricity suppliers charge between 5p and 60p just to connect to the grid (a standing charge) so your bill is unlikely to ever reach zero. But, in theory, if you use an average amount of electricity for a UK household, and your supplier pays you to export excess energy, you should pay very little (if anything) on top of the standing charge. In fact, we monitored our four-bedroom show home at Honeywell over a six-month period and found that it cost just 42p a day (the equivalent of £153 a year) to run.
Saving on your electricity bills is just one of many great reasons to move into a Nalu Home. To find out more, or book a viewing, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org