How La Niña impacts your rooftop solar!
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It's time to bust out the rain jackets and umbrellas, Australia! We're in the midst of a mild La Niña event and it's not just the weather that's changing. This phenomenon is also affecting the energy production of your rooftop solar system. But before you start panicking about skyrocketing electricity bills, let's dive into what La Niña is and how it's impacting your solar system.
What is La Niña?
La Niña is a climate pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean, usually every two to seven years. It is characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures along the equator in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. La Niña has a strong influence on global weather patterns, including those in Australia.
Think of La Niña as the cool sister of El Niño, while El Niño brings the heat, La Niña brings the chill. This cooling of the ocean surface temperature across much of the tropical Pacific Ocean can bring far-reaching effects on weather.
How it Affects Australia
First things first, La Niña typically brings higher rainfall than average across northern and eastern parts of Australia according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Pack your raincoat and wellies, you'll be needing them! But that's not all, La Niña also brings increased cyclone activity off the north coast from November through April each year. So, keep your eyes peeled for those stormy skies!
During these months, there's also a likelihood of more frequent flooding events along rivers throughout Queensland and New South Wales due to heavy rains associated with this climate pattern (like the record-breaking events we experienced around 2011). Additionally, warmer days tend to occur over southern regions while cooler nights become more common over northern areas during this time period too.
Here are some of the other major affects you might expect of La Niña in the summer:
La Niña can also increase the likelihood of cyclones forming off the north coast of Australia, causing strong winds and heavy rain that can damage homes and property, and disrupt travel plans.
La Niña can also bring increased humidity to some parts of the country, making it feel muggier and more uncomfortable, especially during the hottest months of the year.
The increased rainfall during La Niña can also lead to more breeding grounds for mosquitoes, making it more likely for people to experience bites and the associated itchiness, discomfort, and potentially diseases.
Loss of power
The increased rainfall and flood can also cause power cuts and loss of electricity. So, if this is happening to you, you might want to consider battery back up.
How does this weather affect my rooftop solar?
La Niña is associated with increased cloud cover, more rainfall, and less sunshine. This can result in reduced solar production and a decrease in the amount of electricity generated by solar panels. How much solar energy are you potentially losing out one? Well, we’ve done the research for you.
Solar Analytics analysed 35,000 sites between 2017-2022. Here’s what the data shows:
If you want to look at the greater details, here it is:
Here’s how to read the results: For example, the difference in energy output for summer in the ACT is -0.10. That means that the average energy output for all sites in the ACT during the La Niña years was 10% less than in the non-La Niña years.
The northern and eastern states are most affected by La Niña, which is expected. SA and VIC are less affected. Furthermore, we see the most dramatic impacts of La Niña in NSW, QLD, ACT in summer and spring.
To know if the reduced performance is due to weather or other system/grid issues, make sure you have advanced monitoring like Solar Analytics.
If you’d like a more detailed analysis of how clouds affect your solar, we have the article for that too!
What Can You Do About It?
While La Niña may bring more clouds and less sunshine, resulting in reduced solar production, it's important to remember that there are still ways to make the most of your solar system. You can take steps to maximise the efficiency of your solar panels and ensure that you're getting the most bang for your buck. Read below.
Have you started monitoring?
La Niña may be known for bringing the chill, but you don't have to let it freeze your solar energy production! With a little bit of knowledge and some clever adjustments, you can make sure you're getting the most out of your rooftop solar panels during this weather phenomenon. And the best way to do that is by keeping a close eye on your energy production with advanced monitoring software.
Advanced monitoring systems provide detailed data about current conditions. These systems provide detailed data about current conditions such as temperature, humidity levels, voltage readings, and more - all in real time. Imagine being able to check on your solar production from the comfort of your own home, or even on the go with your smartphone.
But it's not just about the numbers, these systems also alert users when certain thresholds have been exceeded or there is an issue with the system (such as a faulty inverter). Can you imagine being able to detect and fix problems before they cause major damage or require expensive repairs/replacements later down the line? That's the power of advanced monitoring systems! Read the following article on how to get the most out of your solar through monitoring.
Solar Analytics is a great tool for monitoring your solar production during La Niña. It will show you exactly how much power you're producing, allowing you to make adjustments as needed. Not only that, but it also provides insights on your usage patterns and energy bill savings. If you’re looking for ways to maximise your solar savings, check out this article! With Solar Analytics, you'll be able to keep a close eye on your energy production (and consumption) during La Niña and make sure you're maximising your output and savings. So, don't let La Niña catch you off guard, be in control!
Ways to Reduce Electricity Bills During La Niña
Reducing your electricity consumption
Reducing electricity consumption is the most straightforward way to lower bills during this time period. Investing in efficient appliances and switching off lights when not in use are two simple ways to do this without sacrificing comfort or convenience. For the long-term, we recommend electrifying your home by switching from gas to electric appliances and if you drive more than 20,00km per annum, getting an EV instead of petrol cars for that sweet energy freedom.
Read our guide on eliminating your power bill for a more in-depth guide!
Take advantage of the cool temperature!
Another way to reduce your energy bills during a La Niña summer is by taking advantage of the cooler temperatures. Instead of cranking up the air conditioning, you can open your windows and let the cool breeze flow through your home. This will not only help to keep your home cool, but it will also save you money on your electricity bill.
We recommend checking out our guide on reducing your electricity bills using aircon and solar.
You can save on water too
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your hot water bills without reducing the amount of water you use, check out our guide!
Load shifting is a technique that allows homeowners to shift their energy consumption to times when solar energy production is at its highest. This can be achieved through the use of smart energy management systems, which can automatically adjust energy consumption based on real-time solar production data. Imagine being able to run your washing machine or charge your electric car during the day, when the sun is shining the brightest and your solar panels are working their hardest.
Switch energy plans!
Lastly, researching different providers who offer competitive rates may result in significant savings over time depending on how much power you consume each month - switching providers could potentially be beneficial in this regard. In fact, Solar Analytics’ Head of Business Development, Nigel Morris, saved $800 by switching energy plans. You can also do this yourself using the Plan Optimiser tool.
La Niña is a weather pattern that brings more clouds and rain to certain parts of the country, which can block the sun from reaching solar panels and lead to lower energy production. However, with proper monitoring and adjustments, such as shifting energy usage to times when the sun is shining the brightest, it is possible to minimise the impact of La Niña on rooftop solar production.
- If you live in QLD, NSW, and ACT, you’ll still get 90% of your solar energy throughout the year impacted by La Niña compared to normal years.
Are you ready to take advantage of the sun's energy and make sure your rooftop solar system is running at its peak performance? Solar Analytics can help. Our advanced monitoring software gives you real-time insight into how La Niña affects your electricity production, consumption, and bills in Australia. With our easy-to-use platform, you'll be able to save money on your electricity costs while making sure that any potential losses due to weather conditions are minimised. Sign up today for a free trial!
- La Niña creates a wetter than usual summer, which reduces the output of your rooftop solar.
- If you live in QLD, NSW or ACT, you’ll still get 90% of solar energy on a year impacted by La Niña in comparison to other years. If you live in other states, the impact is even less.
- Take actions to maximise your solar energy despite the reduction through monitoring, switching energy plans, and more.
- Sign-up for Solar Analytics’ 30-days free trial to ensure you’re always on top of your solar system.