Solar Energy Update: Another Tiny Electric Bill!
With October now in the books, we have another month of data on our electric bill following our installation of solar panels in June.
The great news is that for a fourth consecutive month, our electric bill was as low as possible. We generated enough energy that all we had to pay for were the daily cost to connect to the power grid, in addition to some mandatory fees. In our state, these expenses cannot be offset by solar energy credits.
That said, the year over year improvement in our electric bill was the smallest we have seen to date. After saving more than 90% on energy compared to last July, August, and September, our bill shrunk by just 84% in October.
That result is driven by the fact our electricity usage is lower in the fall than it is in the summer, when we often run the air conditioning. Moreover, our electric usage last October was very low, although I can’t recall why that was the case. While the reduction in our bill in percentage terms was the smallest we have seen to date, as I mentioned earlier, our actual bill was still as low as possible, which is obviously the best result we can hope for!
The fact we once again generated a minimum bill, even though we are now past the Autumnal Equinox, briefly had me a little concerned we might have purchased a home solar energy system that is more powerful than we really need.
And then I reminded myself of how dark, snowy, and cold our winters usually are, and I recognized we have several months of lower sunlight ahead of us before we will be able to truly evaluate how our system performs over the course of a full year.
Heading into those dark months, we are in a relatively good position in terms of our solar credits, which will be used to offset our energy bill when our solar panels aren’t producing as much electricity. We added more than $35 in credits for future use during October, and we now have over $150 in credits to use over the winter.
I’d love to see the net credits we have earned continue to grow in the coming months, but I suspect that line will begin to head back towards $0 as the days continue to get shorter. As long as we continue to pay the minimum bill possible, that’s what the credits are there for, right?
Over four months into this solar experiment, I am still pleased with our decision. I think cutting our electric bill dramatically will be helpful as we head down our path towards financial independence and early retirement.
While I am not a solar evangelist, I have certainly discussed our results with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, in addition to sharing them on this blog. I am happy to report that Brother ROMT and his family recently signed an agreement to install solar panels on their home in a different state after doing their own research and talking to me about our experience!
Perhaps in the future we’ll have a guest post about the performance of their home solar energy system relative to their expectations! By the time their system is installed, it will likely be late November or December, and they will need to patiently wait several months before they begin experiencing peak production and see the full impact of solar on their electric bill. I hope a year from now they are as pleased with the performance of their system as I am with ours!
For readers who already use solar power, how dramatically has your energy production declined during the winter months?
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