It’s been a very long time since I posted an update on our solar. It’s still working well, and still producing an average of 8,000 kwh per year.
The graph on the left shows our production by year. This shows our first full-year generation of 8,464 kwh. 2010 was a rather dry year.
I thought 2016 was a very cloudy year, but we ended up with our second-highest generation since installation, as shown on the right.
Our December 2016 and January 2017 production was pretty low, in fact the lowest we had ever had for those two months. We finally realized it was time for the 19-year-old Leyland Cypress in the front yard to go. It was shading the solar panels from the early morning sun.
When we moved here in 1996, we knew we wanted to eventually put in a pool, so we planted Leyland Cypress along both sides of the back yard. The one we put out front was a ‘left over’ from the back yard plantings. It had grown to a height of about 25′!
Saturday was going to be a balmy 68 degrees in mid February!! Decided it would be a great day to take it down.
Here is the beginning of the removal. Started out with an extendable pole saw. If you’ve never used one, this little guy is great – I think it works better than our regular chain saw! It’s extendable and the blade is very sharp and cuts through limbs easily, it’s electric and quiet. Replacement chains are only about $10 each. We (meaning me!) cut off the limbs we could reach. The pole saw extends to about 10′. The tree doesn’t look that big here, wait until you see it down…
Luckily the tree had 3 separate trunks, so it was easy to cut down two of those trunks. Here is what was left.
And the final knock-down. You can see how big it is, kinda dwarf’s the hubby!
Our youngest son announced in March that he was moving out. Wow, that was not expected. Took a good bit of time getting used to. I don’t see or hear from him as often as I do my daughter, and I miss him terribly.
However, on the plus side, we’ve noticed a positive thing – our electric use has gone down. We went into this ungodly month of July with a 952 kWh CREDIT.
Our electric usage for the year in 2010 was 13,980 kwh (daughter moved out July 2010) and 2011 was 9,243 kwh. To be honest, I have to attribute a good bit of that decrease to replacing our 110-volt pool filter with a much more efficient multi-speed 240-volt one. So far this year tho, we’ve had an excess generation since February. Our son was working 12 or 24-hr shifts and not home much before he moved out. PLUS the last two winters, I have dried our clothes as much as possible on racks in front of the woodstove. Amazing how much energy a dryer uses. In the spring, summer and fall, the clothes go out on the line (just don’t tell the neighbors)
Here is a snapshot of our solar generation and usage:
Quick update on our solar..or should I say never ending quest to beat the power company at their own game…
We’ve got an energy/solar generation monitoring system set up. I took at look at our total usage for 2010… around 13,840 kwh – and in 2011 we bought a new pool filter – total usage was down to 9,920 kwh! Can’t believe the pool filter saved us that much in two months… Did the daughter (who moved out in July of ’10) really use that much electric??
Thanks to a wonderfully sunny spring and summer, we saw a 12-month solar production of 8,179kwh! That is more than I expected. We had two months of over-generation and no electric bill (so to speak). If it were not for the swimming pool and running the filter 24/7 at startup, it most likely would have extended into 3 months.
It’s been a HOT summer here on the east coast, I am counting the days till fall already. While I’m loving the sun, I’m not loving the 90+ degree days we’ve been seeing. We’ve also received our second REC check, for a total repayment of $1718 not counting the electric savings!
Google’s updated the maps of the area – now showing the solar arrays on the roof:
The system is working out great! We had a negative usage bill in October, generated 36 more kwh than we used, and so far we’ve saved about $600 in energy costs. We also got our first REC check in February for 2 kWh. The days are getting longer and we’re starting to see our production increase. Today will be about a 25kWh day. I wish we could do that well every day!
Well, we’ve had some great solar days and are getting close to the 2,000kW mark. We had monitoring software installed a little over a week ago and can now not only see our minute-by-minute solar production but also our energy use. Makes you really stop and think when you see that spike in energy use…. “I don’t want to turn on the oven… lets go out to eat” ;).
Update on the freezer situation. Took another look at the energy it was using and figured out it was using about 1240 kw a year. Looked into a new one, and was amazed to see that if we traded our old upright for a new chest model, we could save more than 900kW a year! That’s a whole month’s worth of electric! I didn’t realize the new models used so little electric. So we went to Sears and got a new Energy Star 13 cu.ft. chest freezer. Going to donate the old upright to a new home. Hope they don’t mind how much it costs to run… the new one will pay for itself in less than 3 years.
Looked at the 2001 refrigerator too – but we’d only save about 450 kW a year on a new model – not worth the high price tag on a new one.
Well, after weeks of delays, which I won’t go into detail on, we finally got our solar panels installed this week.
While our system is smaller than what was originally quoted to us (due to roof layout), we did end up with a larger system than we thought we were going to get.
We have 32 Sharp 210w panels – 22 on the front, East-facing side of the house totaling 4.6kw and 10 on the South-facing side, for a total of 2.1kw. Total system size of 6.7kw.
It is interesting to watch the panel generation as the sun changes. The front went into standyby mode about a half hour before the south side, and restarted earlier this morning.
A few pictures of the install process:
The rails installed on the roof:
The first panels:
Inverters in the basement:
3 x 3 array over the family room:
And the finished project:
Well, we have a few things sprouting in the garden. I’ve realized that the rabbits will probably be a problem so we’ve got to put up some sort of fence this weekend. Then, for the first time in years, a dear jumped the split rail fence *into* the yard. Hopefully she didn’t see the garden and contemplate coming back.
They came out yesterday and took measurements of the roof and took pictures of the house for the solar panels. Still waiting on DE to get the grant approved and get an install date. It’s been 4 weeks now, and we were told the total process should take 6-8 weeks. Hopefully the April showers will get out of the way by the time the panels are in. I also took a look at our electric usage over the past 24 months and was glad to see we’ve cut our average usage by 100 kw a month! And this year we’ve used 1440 kw less than the same time a year ago. Hopefully we can cut our electric us more with the whole-house fans we installed last year instead of AC and using an outdoor clothesline this summer.
We found out today that the 30% federal tax credit will be on TOP of the state grant. So that means that our new solar system will cost us only 20% of the up-front cost. I’m not even counting the REC’s or the energy savings OR the added value to our house. Delaware is a great place to live! They’ve got one of the best renewable energy grant programs going.
They can’t get this installed fast enough to suit me. Those sunny summer days are coming.
For quite a while now, we’ve heated our house with wood. We had a meeting last night with a rep from Trinity Solar – about adding solar panels to our house. With Delaware and Federal rebates, along with Renewable Energy Credit payment, it’s almost a no-brainer.
Delaware is giving a 50% rebate up to a maximum amount of $31,500. There is now a no-limit 30% Federal tax CREDIT. Our system will pay about $1755 a year in REC’s for the next 11 years, thus bringing our net cost down to only $2,450! And this is not counting the projected yearly savings of $1350.
And the panels will extend the life expectancy of our roof by 8-10 years.
Stay tuned as we document the process!