Solar 2017

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!


I’m in love with Ebates – which, if you are not aware of it, rewards you with cash back when shopping at a lot of online sites.  PLUS now in a few brick and mortar stores!  And the cash back percentages change often – for example, on Valentine’s day, more than 140 stores were offering a whopping 14% back.

I just got my refund check of almost $89, most of that came from Christmas shopping.  If you are a tablet user, you can often get additional discounts by starting your shopping from the mobile app.   I’ve saved a lifetime total of more than $227.

They are very good to work with also as far as making sure you get your cash back.  A few times, I’ve not gotten credited properly with a purchase, and I just click the “where’s my cash back” option and tell them which shopping trip it was and then paste my receipt info into the box and hit send.  Most times I’m credited immediately.

I’m the queen of discounts – or so my friends and family say.  Check back often, as I’ll be posting more ways to save online.  Plus, when you sign up, you will get a $10 bonus with your first purchase, and if you share with friends, you’ll both get additional cash back.