We have collected half a year of data on our solar system from the winter solstice to the summer one. The peak energy collection from our solar system near the solstice was 48.8 kWh in one day. The spring is probably the best period for the solar panels as the days become longer and the house doesn’t need to be heated or cooled much of the time. Even with air conditioning running on that peak day, we exported 16.5 kWh to the grid.
Our electric bills have been the minimum amount – about $12/month – since January when it was $40. In May we received $100 for our solar renewable energy credits (SRECS). Also in May PECO gave us a $70 credit for the energy we exported to the grid during the spring. Once we’ve stored up enough energy credits, PECO converts it to a cash credit on our bill. This PECO credit covered all of our bill (gas and electric, our furnace is the only gas use) for May and June, resulting in $0 bills for these months. The SRECs cover about what we paid for gas and electric in April plus half of March. Essentially our net power bills for the entire spring were zero.
So far the panels haven’t required us to do anything, they just keep generating. The coming months should be less ideal as the weather gets warmer and the days get shorter. We found that a key transition in our energy use was when the days got long enough that dinner was prepared during daylight as the oven and stove are significant users of electricity.
Solarize DelCo is hosting a webinar at 7 pm on July 19th for those interested in exploring solar power. Solarize DelCo is a local group (mostly in Havertown) that’s working on group purchase opportunities to lower the cost of solar installations. You can sign up for the webinar here, and I’ve posted the image of their meeting info on this post.
At the township board meeting yesterday, ground-based solar systems were briefly discussed. Currently there is no mention of these systems in the township code. They are starting to become more common so the township will be considering how best to regulate them (size, location, whether in the back or front yard, etc.). But given trends, its only a matter of time before these come to the township.
In unrelated solar news, a recent article detailed a plan by Tesla to allow residential batteries in California to take part in a load reducing scheme usually reserved for commercial energy producers. By signing up with the program, during times of peak usage battery owners can use or sell energy from their battery onto the grid. They are paid increased rates during these times when energy prices soar with demand. These batteries would take the place of (usually older and dirtier) coal and gas plants that utilities fire up during peak demand. Its a win for everyone, hopefully these plans will expand and further offset the cost of solar/battery installations.