Saturday, September 21, 2013

Report at the end of the third year of solar electric (photovoltaic) panels on our house

I'd written an article two years ago when we reached the end of our first year of solar power. This is just a quick report, but I'll summarize it as "the system is holding up well, and is still cost effective." It's interesting that many of my neighbors talk about their monthly electric bill regularly being $200-300, and can't believe that we pay roughly the same amount for a full year.

The factors that changed in the past three years are:
  • The overall production from the panels was down.  While it was 6.5Mwh in 2011, it was 5.8Mwh this year.
  • PG&E changed their billing in ways I can't comprehend. While the true-up was smaller in 2011 and had connection charges added, my bill this year was $30 less than the true-up.
  • The trees around the house were trimmed better in 2011, and have grown a bit.  It's time to prune back.
  • We had three people living in the house from September 2012 until April 2013. While it was great to have Claire here, it increased power usage.
Here is the report for 2012-2013.  We're being more aggressive with power savings, from improved appliances to a greater reliance on LED bulbs (my favorite is the Switch LED bulb, now available as 100W). I'm looking forward to reporting next year.