We’ve had the solar panels for 5-1/2 months now. We knew we wouldn’t be able to produce enough power during the summer months without having to purchase power during the day, and we purchase all our night power and the a/c runs a lot at night but we’re thrilled with the numbers, now that the worst of summer is behind us.
This shows that we’ve produced a total of 7904 kWh since the system was turned on May 1. That’s 1437 kWh per month. Going into this, we knew that our monthly average kWh usage is 1,400 kWh per month. That’s average for the year, and we use literally half as many kWh in the winter as we use in the summer. Some of our colder months, we use as little as 700 kWh and during the heat of the summer, we use as many as 2,200. Vince did so much research and calculating and we wanted to size our system to produce about 1,400 kWh per month during our peak solar months. I think he did a pretty good job! For us, there was no real reason to put in a larger system than we need because (1) we’re supposed to be a “net user” with our power company (meaning at the end of a year, we should have used more than we sent back . . which I’m not sure is going to happen); and (2) oversizing the system would just have cost us more and not given us much in return.
In those 5-1/2 months, we’ve purchased 5,097 kWh from the power company. We have to buy power when any of the following occur:
- It’s dark or cloudy and we’re not producing power;
- We’re using more power than we’re producing.
We’ve sent back 4,186 kWh to the power company and they credit our bill each month for what we send back.
In summary, we’ve produced 7,904 kWh, of which 4,186 was excess and sold to the power company. This means we used 3,718 kWh of our own power, plus the 5,097 kWh that we purchased from the power company, for a total of 8,805 kWh, or an average 1,602 kWh per month.
The solar panels are producing exactly what we expected them to produce and our power bills are exactly what we thought they would be. Until the battery or other storage technology improves, and the price comes down, which may or may not happen during our lifetime, we’re stuck purchasing power at night but until about June, we should be able to produce and send back enough so that we don’t pay anything to the electric company.
We’re so happy with the solar panels! It was a good investment and should pay for itself in about 8 years . . as we had calculated. Solar panels won’t work for everyone but here, where there’s so much sun, and we had the perfect set up for it, we felt we had to try it and are glad we did.