Electricity bought from a supplier will cost more than an exporter is paid for any excess generation, so maximising self-consumption of electricity generation is a good principle.

It is important to reduce a buildings consumption too by being more energy efficient. This will increase the amount of export and reduce the amount bought from the building’s supplier, saving money as well as reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is worth being aware though that depending on the building’s tariff, trying to use more of the energy generated but using more energy than has been generated can increase bills.

The most cost-effective way to use energy is to align when energy is used with when energy is being generated, or when it is cheapest. This is called demand side response. An example of demand side response would be shifting the use of Electric Vehicle Charging Points to when solar panels or wind turbines are generating electricity whenever possible. Alternatively, heat water with excess electricity using an immersion heater, so hot water is generated for use later, rather than exporting electricity. Such procedures can be automated using Building Energy Management System that are already available.

Alternatively, if when a building’s energy consumption cannot be altered, energy can be stored for when it is needed, for example using a Battery Storage system or a Thermal Store.

It is expected that in the future there will be increased opportunities to provide the electricity network with Demand Side Response benefits. As networks become more complex there will be increased benefits available to customers who can provide support when the system is under strain. This may be by, for example, increasing, reducing, or curtailing electricity exports at specific times.

Energy Saving Trust, Solar PV and Wind Turbine Systems, Connection to the Grid. Available from: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/Getting%20the%20most%20out%20of%20your%20solar%20PV%20or%20wind%20turbine%20system.pdf [Accessed 26th January 2021].