Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Zone Goes Green

I had a chance to go a little Green. I put a (PV) Photo Voltaic system on my roof. Now this is purely a economic maneuver. And with the rebates from the government, it is a no-brainer. The system is comprised of 20 panels of 216 watts each, in 2 arrays of 10 each. The output of 330volts is converted to AC at 220 volts and connected to my electrical panel. There are a bunch of switches and fuses to protect the equipment and any service person. Output rating is 4.37 Kilowatts peak. Nominally the system actually puts out about 3.6 kilowatts, but when the clouds go by quickly, I have seen spikes to 4.2 Kw.
The economics of it go like this. The Federal Gov. gives me a 30% rebate off my taxes at end of the year. The California Solar Initiative pays the installer $2.25 of installed wattage(3.51 x $2.25). After all the rebates the total system cost was $17K. Now in California, electricity is not cheap. The lowest Kilowatt/Hr charge is 0.12 cents. The highest tier is between 0.28 and 0.32 cents. And, I was in the highest tier a lot. The PV system lowers my overall usage by about 75% average for the year. My first bill after install was near zero. The second bill was $1.03, next one will be about $20. You have to understand that the system can make more power than I can use in the Summer months(about 32 KwHr/day) and less than I use in the Winter months(about 15 KwHr/day). My average daily use is about 25-28 kwhrs. During the day the meter runs backward and at night it runs forward.
More economics of the game. The gaming server costs me about 104 kwhr per month to power up. That's 104 times the lowest cost of 0.12 cents per KwHr or $12.50. At the highest cost per hour, it was more than double that. So this game was costing about $25 per month to keep running 24/7. Plus I have to reset the game at least twice a day due to game limitations. Lots of money, lots of work and lots of fun too.
In the long and short of it, the system will lower my yearly electrical bill of $1400 to about $300 or so. The pay back time, with no increases in electricity cost, will be about 12 yrs. But around here the costs increase about 7%/yr, so that means the system could pay for itself in about 7-8 years. After that, free electricity for me.

FRAG on Mates