At the end of September, SunPower came by and fitted 21 new solar panels to my roof, which faces south. SunPower only knows how to upgrade the system because they are familiar with the previous installation. As your bill changes, you can gradually update your solar power. I think the roof can produce 30 MWh annually. This is a substantial sum. I currently have too much solar energy generated. That amount significantly decreases when you include a future electric vehicle, electric space heaters, a heat pump water heater, and a heat pump air furnace. Take note of the title’s pun: powerhouse.
WHY INTRODUCE MORE SOLAR? Texas experienced a terrible summer with hot days, cool nights, and a strain on the air conditioner. We set both thermostats to 78°F (25.6°C) during the day. It’s uncomfortable to sleep at 78°F at night, therefore around 11:00pm, the air conditioner would turn on and lower the temperature to 73°F. Our initial solar setup was sufficient to provide 50% of our energy needs over the summer. The remainder was used for cooling at night and charging our Tesla. My neighbors and acquaintances’ summer energy expenses ranged from $500 to $700 per month.
Based on the cost of installing solar panels, the recent Inflation Reduction Act, which has been extensively covered on these pages, offers a possible tax credit of 30%. Having more solar makes a lot of sense if you anticipate longer heatwaves, higher summer nighttime and daytime temperatures, and harsher winters. There is general agreement that winter in the Northern Hemisphere will bring higher natural gas and power rates. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which forced Europe to scramble for natural gas supplies, is frequently overlooked as one of the causes. Ukranian Slava!
The US EIA reports that many households in the US are probably going to spend more money on energy in the winter of 2022–2023 than they have in prior winters. Higher fuel prices and increased heating demand as a result of slightly colder weather predicted than last winter are the causes of higher projected energy expenditures.
Utility firms warn customers to expect rises of up to 32% during the cold weather, according to The NYTimes ‘s “Winter Forecast: Gas and Electric Bills Will Soar” article.
Only those who have solar in the winter will be able to avoid that rise.
SUNPOWER AMPLIFICATIONS Major updates to the SunPower app now enable real-time monitoring of household consumption, solar output, and net grid usage (import or export). It’s far better than using the outdated SunPower app and our neighborhood utility app, which were 2 to 3 days behind. My solar production data from March to August, which I had planned to save, was lost when they changed the monitoring box.
It was gloomy, rainy, humid, and unusually hot in August. As a result, our solar output declined. September progressed as anticipated. As we produced more, both the cost of our grid and the cost of our solar kWh decreased. Our net energy consumption for September was 720 kWh, and our grid energy charge was $101.80. The pricing that resulted was $0.14 per kWh. Our bill would be close to $280 if I multiplied it by 1979.3, which represents our total grid consumption plus solar production. That amounts to a monthly savings of $42.27.
According to estimates, the cost of electricity in Texas will increase by 70% annually to 18.5 cents per kWh. Look at this Dallas Morning News piece and this additional analysis of that reporting (key parts below). Reality smacked the mythically less expensive deregulated Texas energy grid in the face. Texas will also be responsible for paying an additional $1 billion for weatherization and the bankruptcy costs associated with the February 2021 winter freeze. All costs will be borne by consumers.
“The site’s average residential rate for this month was 18.48 cents per kilowatt hour . According to information provided by the Association of Electric Companies of Texas, that is an increase from 10.5 cents in June 2021.
Additionally, it appears to be the highest average rate since Texas’ power market was deregulated more than 20 years ago.
According to Silverstein, “Wind and solar are saving our finances,” and other renewable energy initiatives, such as storage batteries, are in the works.
In October, I’ll have to pay a fixed $20 grid electricity price as well as around $265 for both sets of solar panels. This will hold true during the summer. Yes, I am paying more, and yes, the additional power going into the grid is acceptable to me. Since our utility won’t have to purchase that electricity from wholesalers, everyone will pay less in marginal costs. Or, a resourceful battery could inexpensively store the energy for use at night. As the world acclimates to a worsening climate effect and rising energy prices, the good news is that our energy pricing is set for decades. Australia has demonstrated what occurs when renewable energy sources predominate: home energy costs decrease. We were fortunate to secure affordable solar prices. The cost of financing the panels rises along with interest rates. This reduces the affordability of solar energy. In order to reach the most vulnerable in terms of energy security, we need lower panel costs, more efficiency per square meter, and lower financing costs.
In the past, we produced roughly 45 kWh per day in the summer. The south-facing advantage of the new panels results in about 10% more production for the same system size. Always put south-facing panels first! My error was installing West first. The new south-facing panels have a higher capacity than the west-facing ones, thus it worked out to our benefit.
The beta image up top is fresh. The amount of production from each panel is seen in real time. The panels’ illumination as the sun travels throughout the day is demonstrated in a cool video view with the sun and moon. I’m hoping that with the help of this comprehensive panel data, solar engineering teams will be able to maximize output while minimizing costs in residential solar design.
THE TERRIBLE PART Only six out of the 300 homes in our neighborhood, according to my daughter and I, have solar panels on their roofs. That’s 2% solar penetration, which is terrible for a location that gets lots of sun. Although there is a lot of interest, not much is moving. To keep fossil fuel firms alive and the banks that support them in operation, people like wasting their money.
THE BEST SECTION 30% of the installed cost of solar is eligible for a potential tax credit under the new Inflation Reduction Act, which has been extensively reported on these pages. Until 2032, this credit is valid.
Personally, I am pleased that we will prevent the generation of around 24 tons of carbon dioxide annually. 251 gallons of fuel saved today equates to about 6 barrels of oil that weren’t used. Due to increased solar generation in October, this will rise. We are receiving more inquiries regarding solar, which is positive in every way.
Take comfort if you are hesitant to invest as much in solar as we did since with the appropriate business, you can expand solar gradually. You can expand the system’s capacity as you get more at ease. Waiting can result in superior panels at a reduced price. The drawback is that financing can get more expensive. Try this link: https://gtrfl.us/gkfQf9 for a solar quote from SunPower. https://ts.la/vijay59877 will take care of you as well if you like Tesla.
A FEW TIPS In the Northern Hemisphere, a roof with a 30 degree slope toward the south is excellent. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is 30 degrees with the roof fully pointing north. I’ve never noticed a Texas roof constructed with solar in mind. The majority of businesses provide both standard style panels with dots and panels without dots at the same price. Leave the dots out. The appearance is cleaner. Self-submit your HOA with the solar plan. Follow through tenaciously. In Texas, the HOA cannot compel you to leave the more advantageous site if you can demonstrate that shifting your solar panels elsewhere on your roof results in 10% less production. Those of you whose front doors face south might find this useful. Check with several providers. Negotiate. It’s an expensive purchase. I’ll discuss solar irradiance, the variables that affect it, and where to start first to maximize solar production at the lowest possible price in my following essay. Note: We are stockholders in Tesla and SunPower. Our 21 additional panels are visible in the featured image, raising the system’s capacity to 16.119 kW.
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