$2400 or so is what our annual power bill is on average, for my household. However I only pay 75% of that figure which means I save around $1860 a year. That's money that can head into the investment kitty: Silver, crypto, superannuation, mortgage or some such area that benefits me...Not the power company. A pretty tidy sum don't you think? I think so, especially since we don't have to do a thing for it.
I'd like to tell you that wind farm you see on the hill is mine and feeds power into my house...It doesn't though. This one is in the south-east corner of South Australia, 5 hours from home, and I took a detour to go and have a look at these monolithic things up close when I was down that way recently. They are huge in case you didn't know.
Anyway, whilst I can't claim to own these monsters of renewable-energy collection I do have the ability to collect free power, kindly provided by the sun, via the solar array I have on the roof of my house.
Every now and then I take a snapshot of my energy usage and production and share it here - Today is that day.
Below you can see a couple of snapshots, both showing figures from October: The left (or first) is October 2019 and the right is October 2018. You'll see three metrics -
- Produced (blue)
- Consumed (orange)
- Net energy exported (grey)
Plus a line-graph showing the days of the month with produced, consumed and exported marked upon it.
It's interesting to note a couple of things:
- The kWh produced between the same month over these years is not too dissimilar; An 8.77% difference in favour of 2019. This indicates more sunny days or periods and greater solar energy production.
- Consumption is almost line-ball with a 1.4% difference. This is interesting considering we were away for a couple weeks in October 2019 and I would have expected less power usage. (The house-sitter must have used a lot)
- The net energy exported to the grid is up in 2019 over 2018, up by almost 34% in fact. This is a direct result of the fact we weren't there for a couple weeks though.
You can see the period on the 2019 graph in which we were away, quite clearly. The 2019 image shows low usage period from the 6th to 19th of October as evidenced by the shorter downward orange lines with the longer grey and blue ones extending upwards in contrast.
Naturally the array only converts power during the day (no sun at night) and usage at night in orange is not off-set by production. The 1.4% difference between the years is negligible and clearly shows that our nighttime usage is really quite low. Considering we have LED lights throughout the house I'm not surprised. The main usage is the TV and fridge with some air conditioner thrown in. Interesting to see there's only a 1.4% difference in us being there or not. (Although the house-sitter was there a little, not all night though.)
Here are the figures for all time:
This time the grey metric shows amount of power imported. This means that we are 1.92MWh away from generating enough power to be neutral over a three year period. That's quite a lot of power really, although without the panels it means we would have imported the full 20.36MWh from the grid! Considering the cost of power here I think we're going well!
Note the orange bars are getting shorter year on year? That's our usage-habits getting better. (i.e. using less power at night - changing the way we use power and when.) The very shrot one is the year of installation (2016) and not representative of the whole year.
Below is a snapshot taken yesterday 25 November at about 1530. It shows the same metrics above but just for the day. You can see the rising of the sun represented by the blue section above the X-axis and and the grey once again shows the collected power heading back into the grid. It's been cloudy on and off today hence the erratic nature of the graph (the collection). You can see 3.63kWh has been sent to the grid for which I will get paid for, by rebate, by the power company.
Our solar array is now paid for so we are benefitting from it financially, each billing-cycle. We are now paying over 75% less for our power bills and that money is diverted elsewhere - A big win I'd say and one which also seems my investment-holdings increase for the future. A win-win.
We made the decision to install a solar array to save money and three years later we are happy we did so. Of course, our energy production is subject to the weather and in winter it will be much less. I'll do a comparison someday to demonstrate this. We send power back to the grid which we get paid for and our bills are significantly less and it works out over the year to that 75% figure. The only way to improve it is to add more panels, have more sun, or use less power during the day when the array is producing - Oh, we could add a battery but it's cost-preventative at the moment although we'd like to...Now, If only I can work out a way to get one of those big wind-collectors in my back yard without the neighbours of council complaining...
Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default