Monday, February 22, 2010

Hello Gamers. This is an update on my Solar Voltaic system that I had installed on my home, in California, in June of 2009. The system has been performing splendidly. In the summer months the panels produce a little more energy than I use everyday, about a peak of 33 KW/Hrs per day. In the winter months there is a marked reduction in the energy production. On the shortest day of the year the panels produce about 10 KW/Hrs per day. On a cloudy, rainy day, the system can still produce about 3-4 KW/Hrs per day.
My billing cycle has also changed to (NEM) Net Energy Metering. This means that I only pay my total usage, once a year. So far in 7 months of billing for my electricity usage, that is not replaced by my panels, my total accrued charges come to a grand total of $152.00 Last month my usage charges were $55. This month’s bill totaled only $36. A great reduction compared to my bills last year. Now the days here are getting longer and the total output from the panels is noticeably increasing, each week. In just a couple more months my bills will be in the $10-$20 range. So I am guessing my total bill for the year will be about $350. This is a big reduction from $1400/yr. That’s a little over $1000 savings per year, not adjusting for inflation.

Now, you may not have similar savings, as I cheated a little. I took advantage of the fact my usage here was high, for a few years, because I was caring for an elderly parent. And we all know they like it warmers in the winter and cooler in the summer. My utility bills were big. So they sized the system based on my passed usage charts. Then I started a campaign to reduce what I use. I replaced expensive appliances, and lighting with LED lamps. I replaced several computer CRT monitors for more energy efficient LCD type. A new high efficiency HVAC and new dual pane windows helped too. Soon to be replaced will be the 22+ year old refrigerator. That alone will reduce my usage by 30 KW/Hrs per month. I will also be seasonally shutting down my 2nd refrigerator. The second refrigerator uses a total of 49 KW/Hrs per month.

My ultimate goal here is to become electricity neutral. That is, I want to make everything I use. New law, here in California, requires that the electric company pay me if I should generate an excess, when adjusted yearly. I am not in this to make money but to get as close to zero as I can. Some near future projects will be additional wall insulation and some upgrading of the ceiling insulation, further reducing my monthly utilities, both gas and electric. I am researching the cost effectiveness of solar water heating.

Happy Fragging


1 comment:

  1. Dad, you mentioned the HVAC install, but you made it sound like you replaced an inefficient model and cut your energy usage that way. In fact, you actually just installed the first one in the house. I think your low energy usage for the last year is even more impressive when you have added such an energy-hog appliance which you never had (even when it is a high efficiency model, you are still using electric you never used before because you are running a *new* appliance). So your low energy usage is fantastic!