Solar Energy Update: Our Rapidly Shrinking Electric Bill!
As the months go by, I am increasingly optimistic our family’s decision to install solar panels earlier this year will ultimately be categorized as a Smart Financial Decision.
Those results are as good as could be expected, and given recent rhetoric out of Washington, the timing of our purchase may have been just about perfect. In late September, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that inexpensive foreign solar panels have had a negative impact on domestic manufacturers. This decision opened the door for President Trump to consider imposing a tariff on imported solar panels. The Solar Energy Industry Association believes higher tariffs could eliminate over 80,000 U.S. jobs, while another estimate claims tariffs could increase the cost of residential solar energy systems by 15%.
Fortunately for us, our solar panels are already bought and paid for. Once again, our electric consumption fell relative to last year, declining by 16% this September (thanks LED lightbulbs!), but most of the savings on our bill is being generated by those shiny new solar panels on our roof. For a third consecutive month, we earned more from the credits associated with our power generation than we spent on energy.
Similar to July and August, the only charges we ended up being responsible for paying were the daily cost to connect to the power grid, as well as a few relatively small fees. Those items cannot be offset with solar energy credits in our state.
Even more importantly, we again generated surplus credits to apply to future electric bills, most likely during the fall and winter, when we probably won’t be producing as much power. Right now, we have banked over $100 in solar credits to use as shorter days, less direct sunlight, and panels that will occasionally be covered in snow and ice reduce our energy production!
At this point, our home solar energy system is performing in line with our expectations. We still seem well on our way to an annual bill of well below $200 to power our four bedroom home. Our significantly reduced monthly payments to the electric company will be a nice tailwind for us as we continue traveling down our path towards financial independence and early retirement!
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