Browse Tag: Solar Energy

Was Solar Worth It? The Numbers After Two Years

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It’s hard to believe, but we’ve had our rooftop solar panels for over two years now.

Which means we now have two years of data to analyze as we consider whether or not home solar energy was really a wise financial decision for our family.

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Solar Energy Update: May 2019

The weather in our part of the county was unseasonably rainy and cool last month. At times, it felt more like winter than spring!

Because of the cloudy weather, energy production from our rooftop solar panels dropped by 25% from last May.

Positively, our electricity usage also declined. While it’s rare for us to use our air conditioning until the summer, there has definitely been no need for it this year.

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The New Solar Year Begins

Last month, we noted the energy credits our rooftop solar panels built up in 2018 lasted us throughout the winter of 2018-2019, enabling us to keep our electric bills at minimum levels throughout the year.

Now that spring has sprung, the “new solar year” has also started. Our solar panels are working all day long – when the weather permits! – to replenish our bank of energy credits that will – hopefully – keep our electric bills just as low next winter.

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Solar Energy Update: We Made it Through the Winter!

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The early spring weather in our part of the country has been cold, with occasional snow and ice.

But when the weather hasn’t reminded us of winter, it has often been sunny.

Which has been great for the production of our rooftop solar panels!

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Solar Energy Update: Do Your Job

Head Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots has a simple mantra for his football team.

Do Your Job.

The mantra has worked well for Belichick and the Patriots. The team has won six Super Bowl Championships this century.

With less than a month of winter left, our rooftop solar panels appear to have done their job for the 2018-2019 season.

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Solar Bank Pays Dividends as the Weather Gets Nasty

Financial Independence

The weather in our part of the country was particularly harsh during January.

We were hit by multiple major snowstorms during the month, and the temperature rarely got above freezing, and was often well below zero degrees (F).

One result of the wintry weather was a miniature glacier forming across our rooftop solar panels, which severely limited our energy production during January. Our home solar power system generated essentially no energy for a period more than two weeks during the middle of the month while the ROMT Glacier existed, and our monthly production barely topped 100 kWh – 40% worse than any other month since we went solar!

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Solar Energy Update: All Bad Things Must Come to an End

Solar Energy

Last month, I wrote about how our rooftop solar panel production had declined from prior year levels for four consecutive months, lamenting the fact we spent most of the late summer and fall using up solar energy credits we needed for this winter.

Fortunately, our streak of weaker year-over-year solar production finally ended in December, when we experienced some unseasonably warm and sunny weather.

Our solar energy production climbed by nearly 50% in December relative to the prior year period, and was up by almost 60% compared to our paltry production in November.

Not bad for the month featuring the shortest day of the year – especially since we were still able to enjoy a White Christmas!

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Winter Came Early This Year!

Solar PowerAlthough the calendar says there are still almost three weeks until the beginning of winter, the weather in our neck of the woods says otherwise. It has been cold, dark, and snowy for the better part of the past several weeks.

While it was nice to experience a “White Thanksgiving” this year, our solar energy production took a big hit in November. In fact, the monthly production from our rooftop solar panels was the lowest we’ve ever experienced, as we generated about 6% less electricity last month than we did in December of 2017.

Consequently, we needed to make our second-largest withdrawal ever from the bank of solar energy credits we build up when the weather is sunnier to keep our electric bill as low as possible.

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Our Solar Bank is Ready for the Winter!

Financial IndependenceOctober was a dark and dreary month in our part of the world, and the unpleasant weather negatively impacted our solar energy production.

For a third consecutive month, the value of the production from our rooftop solar panels was more or less equal to the cost of electricity our household used.

The optimist in me says our solar panels were doing their job by keeping our electric bill as low as it could possibly be.

But the pessimist in me is concerned our mediocre energy production in August, September, and October represents a lost opportunity to have built up more solar energy credits to keep our electric bill low this winter.

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Our Solar Production Slows As The Summer Ends

Solar PowerAfter relatively weak production from our rooftop solar panels in August, things didn’t get much better in the month of September.

While we did produce slightly more energy during September, which was a nice surprise, we also used more energy during the month.

The end result was a very small deposit into our bank of solar energy credits. Those credits will help offset our electric bill during the coming winter, when our energy production will drop precipitously, driven by the shorter days and rooftop solar panels that will likely spend a considerable amount of time buried under ice and snow!

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