Happy New Year!
|View from under our Solar PV Awning|
In our first full year with our solar awning, we generated 5,816 kWh of solar energy, which is 16% more than we expected. I’m not sure if that is a normal fluctuation in the amount of sunny days we had this year or a trend towards higher production from the bi-facial panels. I certainly hope it is the later. Our total electricity usage for 2011 was 6,958 kWh, so we produced over 83% of our own clean energy. If we can get our usage even lower, maybe we can produce (in net) all of our electricity with our solar PV awning.
I bet you are wondering how much we saved this year in electricity. At 15.5 cents/kWh (our current residential electricity rate) the 5,816 kWh saved us $900 on our annual electric bill. This year we only paid $234 compared to $1,100 last year for electricity.
Our total consumption of electricity was up 4% from last year:
- 6,689 kWh (2010)
- 6,958 kWh (2011)
In addition to those savings, we also earned five Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), which sold for over $500 each for a total additional tax free income of $2,500. The SREC market in Massachusetts continues to be strong unlike the New Jersey SREC market, which crashed last year.
Another less tangible value we realized this year was the increased value of our home. We recently refinanced our home and the added value of $12,000 for our 4.7 kW solar PV system made the difference between being in the 80% LTV (loan to value) range and the 90% LTV. Therefore we qualified for a lower interest rate. The $12,000 value the appraiser assigned is less than I think it should be valued by the two methods I’ve found in my research of $20 dollars value per dollar of annual energy savings or about 50% of the installed cost. By the 20:1 method, with the $900 savings mentioned above, that would work out to $18,000 value add. Half our installation cost would be more than that. Unfortunately, there is not enough data in the market and the appraisers do not have standards by which to evaluate solar installations, so our solar awning was valued lower. I actually had to argue for an increase in the appraised value as it was originally only valued at $2,000. As more and more people add solar to their homes, I hope there appraised value area will become more standardized.
Quick Summary of our solar by the numbers:
- 5,816 kWh – Total Energy Produced by Solar PV Awning
- 7,300 lbs of CO2 avoided
- $770 – Savings for Electricity
- $2,500 – Solar Renewable Energy Credit Revenue
- $12,000 – Increased Home Value
Total Extra Money in our Pockets from Solar in 2011 = $3,200
Here is the charts of our 2011 electricity production and consumption from SunBug Solar. There are some discrepancies in the totals showing because the data collection had some holes. The numbers above are correct and taken from actual reads electricity meters.
|SunWatch Year View for 2011 of our Solar PV Awning
click image for larger version
Have you considered going for solar? What is stopping you? Leave a comment below.
|Going for Solar Series|
To learn more about residential solar installations, check out our series Going for Solar, which details every step from dreaming about installing solar, through picking a contractor and the steps in construction. We provide information and advice for every step of the way, as well as different approaches such as paying for it yourself versus leasing a system. Don’t miss the steps on how much money we saved during our first year of usage!