Over two years ago, on March 31, 2016, I waited in line to reserve a Tesla Model 3. I have been excited ever since. I was recently invited to configure; at the end of March 2018. I quickly placed the order, received a VIN a few days later, and will take delivery in about three weeks. I will finally have a car that is powered by the sun!
While waiting, I had an electrician install a NEMA 14-30 outlet on one of the columns of the solar carport (see picture). The underground conduit that was added when the carport was built could not accommodate a higher amperage circuit. NEMA 14-30 is the standard outlet used for clothes dryers. Tesla sells a NEMA 14-30 adapter, which adds 22 miles of range per hour of charge. This is more than sufficient to fully recharge the battery overnight.
Electricity generated from solar power offset yearly usage by 104%. We used 5,119 kWH / year (averaged over nine years). Our 4.3 kW system generated 5,338 kWH / year (averaged over four years).
I still clearly remember when the solar carport was built as if it were yesterday, yet it’s been four years. As a new year dawns, I wanted to plot our average electricity generated and benchmark relative to the original PVWatts estimate made (and posted below) before the panels were installed.
I am now even more in awe of PVWatts. As you can see from the graph, the yellow curve is the estimated generation, based on our location, solar array size and panel angle relative to the sun. The green curve is four years of actual data, and it it overlays almost perfectly. As I’ve noted below, now with emphasis, PVWatts really and truly is a solar seer.
My sister and her husband’s solar system was recently connected to the grid. Their text message and embedded image nicely summarize what they think of their system:
“Here is a great shot of our home energy report. Thank you solar!”
An astronomical rise relative to their neighbors, from near the bottom to near the top.
When I received this image, I was reminded of a TED talk by Alex Laskey. Laskey found that people are more highly motivated to save energy if they know how much energy they use relative to their neighbors. Using human behavior to motivate energy conservation is a simple yet powerful idea.
And now that I see my Sister’s report, I wonder what motivated her and her husband to go solar: the fact some of their neighbors also installed solar systems, my happiness with solar power, being able to make serious money by selling SRECs, or was it being ranked 98th out of 100 back in February???
Details can be found here: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/10/victory-for-solar-owners-in-north-carolina/
This benefits homeowners who have solar or who want to go solar. There will be no changes in the net metering cost rate for the next 15 years.
In other words, the rate that homeowners get for a kWh of electricity will remain equal to the rate that the Utility companies charge for a kWh of electricity.
Duke Energy tried unsuccessfully, and unfairly, to reduce this rate, as I described in an earlier post.
Spring is here and with it comes lots of sun. For those of you who are considering solar power or want to learn more about it, check out the Solarize Carrboro website.
With the Solarize Carrboro discounts plus state and federal tax incentives, now is a great time to go solar.
They will hold a kick-off meeting April 2, 2014 at 7 pm at Carrboro Town Hall (301 W. Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510). At this kick-off meeting, the Solarize Carrboro team will step homeowners through the process, including solar equipment, tax incentives, installation, and financing. Carrboro solar homeowners will also be on hand to answer questions.
See their website for details on how to RSVP for the event.
They’ve selected two installers–Southern Energy Management (the company that installed our Solar Carport) and Yes! Solar Solutions.
This is worth checking out. And if you don’t live in Carrboro, check your local area for a Solarize program. There is Solarize Durham; Solarize Raleigh, Solarize Mass (for MA), Solarize Seattle; to name just a few.
Duke Energy, North Carolina’s largest electric utility, just announced they are seeking to reduce payments for solar power from 11¢ / kWh to 5-7¢ / kWh. Article here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/01/22/4632118/duke-energy-to-seek-reduction.html
While this may seem like a minor issue, it isn’t. This would have a devastating impact on the payback period for residential solar. And it would make going solar uneconomical for residential customers.
For those not familiar with Net Metering: when a solar system generates excess power, the house electric meter runs backwards and credits build up. These credits are currently equal to the rate that consumers pay for electricity (about 11¢ / kWh). So, when the sun is not shining, you get power from the electric company at the same rate.
Seems like a fair trade: 11¢ / kWh for power from the sun; 11¢ / kWh for power from the grid.
Duke Energy is greedy and wants to discount power from the sun as follows: 5-7¢ / kWh for power from the sun; 11¢ / kWh for power from the grid.
Does that seem fair?
Solar power doesn’t pollute. Solar power is a renewable resource. And contrary to what power companies say, solar power doesn’t tax or strain their power grid. Excess solar power flows to your neighbors houses, providing power near its point of generation.