Going for Solar – The Second Year

Happy New Year!

We’ve had our solar awning in place for just over 2 years and I am happy to report that we love it as much today as we did when we had it installed.  Maybe even more so now that electricity prices inched up a little this fall.  Here’s how we did:

chart showing solar production for 2012

Solar Production for 2012

  • Electricity Consumption: 6,411 kWh (down 1% from last year)
  • Electricity Production: 5,998 kWh (up 11% from last year)
  • Net consumption: 413 kWh for 2012
  • Produced 93.6% of our electricity with solar
  • Saved $940 on our electric bill (includes Green Power adder)

We also produced 6 Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), though the market has hit the floor in Massachusetts and they are trading at below $250 right now.

We also avoided the emissions of over 5,500 pounds of CO2 (using the updated 0.93lbs/kWh in MA from What Impact Does 1 Watt Have?).

We love our solar awning even if we have to clear snow off the solar panels occasionally.

Happy Greening!

solar pv awning on the back side of house

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 and second years of usage!

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  1. I have been trying to figure out how to get our farm on solar. Would love to!

  2. Some day when we settle down, I would love to have solar paneling! I think it would be great for the long run!

  3. That is some serious savings! How does that compare with your original install and maintenance cost?

    • Shannon, we have had to do zero maintenance so far. The first few years are covered by the installer, SunBug Solar. In terms of original install costs, our system was on the more expensive side because we chose to use the double-side panels and needed to build the awning instead of only mounting it on an existing structure. Still we are on target to have the savings, and SREC revenue (even the reduced amount), cover our out of pocket costs within 6-7 years.

      • Carol Beaulieu says

        I’m also interested in an awning, but I assume the investment would be too high. Can you give me a range for the cost of an awning? Does the awning provide comfortable shade so you could sit under it? I’m also in Medford MA & have lots of sun on my back deck, so I’m looking at this as a solution. Thanks for any info you can share.

        • Hi Carol,

          You should definitely check out the Solarize Medford program and contact them to schedule a no-cost solar assessment. The installer selected for Medford happens to be the same that did our solar awning, SunBug Solar.

          In terms of costs, prices have come down so much since we put it in, that your best bet is to get estimates from solar installers. When we installed, a typical roof mounted system was costing around $7-8 per watt before incentives. Through the Solarize program, that same roof mounted system $4.09 or less. I think there is an adder option through the Solarize Medford program to do ground mount, but they’d have to answer that detail.

          As for comfortable shade – most definitely!

          We love it. During the summer it provides shade and very comfortable. Even though it isn’t sealed between the panels, we often will go sit under our awning during storms to enjoy the rain.

          During the winter it provides a mini-play area that is mostly free of snow for the kids.

          We are very happy with our decision. So far this year (2013), we have generated almost 600 kWh more than we’ve consumed. I’m hoping we’ll be net-generators when the year is done.


  4. This is inspiring! Looking forward to this day!

  5. Bravo! I so wish our house faced the right way for solar. Great job on creating your own energy.

  6. So awesome! This is definitely something we want to do in our future!

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