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Archive for the ‘Solar’ Category

Our youngest son announced in March that he was moving out.  Wow, that was not expected.  Took a good bit of time getting used to.  I don’t see or hear from him as often as I do my daughter, and I miss him terribly.

However, on the plus side, we’ve noticed a positive thing – our electric use has gone down.  We went into this ungodly month of July with a 952 kWh CREDIT.

Our electric usage for the year in 2010 was 13,980 kwh (daughter moved out July 2010) and 2011 was 9,243 kwh.  To be honest, I have to attribute a good bit of that decrease to replacing our 110-volt pool filter with a much more efficient multi-speed 240-volt one.  So far this year tho, we’ve had an excess generation since February.  Our son was working 12 or 24-hr shifts and not home much before he moved out.  PLUS the last two winters, I have dried our clothes as much as possible on racks in front of the woodstove.  Amazing how much energy a dryer uses.  In the spring, summer and fall, the clothes go out on the line (just don’t tell the neighbors)

Here is a snapshot of our solar generation and usage:

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5,000 kwh less!

Quick update on our solar..or should I say never ending quest to beat the power company at their own game…

We’ve got an energy/solar generation monitoring system set up.  I took at look at our total usage for 2010… around 13,840 kwh – and in 2011 we bought a new pool filter – total usage was down to 9,920 kwh!  Can’t believe the pool filter saved us that much in two months… Did the daughter (who moved out in July of ’10) really use that much electric??

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First Solar “Year”

Thanks to a wonderfully sunny spring and summer, we saw a 12-month solar production of 8,179kwh! That is more than I expected. We had two months of over-generation and no electric bill (so to speak). If it were not for the swimming pool and running the filter 24/7 at startup, it most likely would have extended into 3 months.

It’s been a HOT summer here on the east coast, I am counting the days till fall already. While I’m loving the sun, I’m not loving the 90+ degree days we’ve been seeing. We’ve also received our second REC check, for a total repayment of $1718 not counting the electric savings!

Google’s updated the maps of the area – now showing the solar arrays on the roof:

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Solar Energy Update

The system is working out great! We had a negative usage bill in October, generated 36 more kwh than we used, and so far we’ve saved about $600 in energy costs. We also got our first REC check in February for 2 kWh. The days are getting longer and we’re starting to see our production increase. Today will be about a 25kWh day. I wish we could do that well every day!

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Solar update

Well, we’ve had some great solar days and are getting close to the 2,000kW mark. We had monitoring software installed a little over a week ago and can now not only see our minute-by-minute solar production but also our energy use. Makes you really stop and think when you see that spike in energy use…. “I don’t want to turn on the oven… lets go out to eat” ;).

Update on the freezer situation.
Took another look at the energy it was using and figured out it was using about 1240 kw a year. Looked into a new one, and was amazed to see that if we traded our old upright for a new chest model, we could save more than 900kW a year! That’s a whole month’s worth of electric! I didn’t realize the new models used so little electric. So we went to Sears and got a new Energy Star 13 cu.ft. chest freezer. Going to donate the old upright to a new home. Hope they don’t mind how much it costs to run… the new one will pay for itself in less than 3 years.

Looked at the 2001 refrigerator too – but we’d only save about 450 kW a year on a new model – not worth the high price tag on a new one.

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Well, after weeks of delays, which I won’t go into detail on, we finally got our solar panels installed this week.

While our system is smaller than what was originally quoted to us (due to roof layout), we did end up with a larger system than we thought we were going to get.

We have 32 Sharp 210w panels – 22 on the front, East-facing side of the house totaling 4.6kw and 10 on the South-facing side, for a total of 2.1kw. Total system size of 6.7kw.

It is interesting to watch the panel generation as the sun changes. The front went into standyby mode about a half hour before the south side, and restarted earlier this morning.

A few pictures of the install process:

The rails installed on the roof:

The first panels:

Inverters in the basement:

3 x 3 array over the family room:

And the finished project:

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Well, we have a few things sprouting in the garden. I’ve realized that the rabbits will probably be a problem so we’ve got to put up some sort of fence this weekend. Then, for the first time in years, a dear jumped the split rail fence *into* the yard. Hopefully she didn’t see the garden and contemplate coming back.

They came out yesterday and took measurements of the roof and took pictures of the house for the solar panels. Still waiting on DE to get the grant approved and get an install date. It’s been 4 weeks now, and we were told the total process should take 6-8 weeks. Hopefully the April showers will get out of the way by the time the panels are in. I also took a look at our electric usage over the past 24 months and was glad to see we’ve cut our average usage by 100 kw a month! And this year we’ve used 1440 kw less than the same time a year ago. Hopefully we can cut our electric us more with the whole-house fans we installed last year instead of AC and using an outdoor clothesline this summer.

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