Jan 212014

I recently installed Solar Panels on my house.

I had Future Energy Savers do the installation. During the installation they let me climb up on the roof with them and inspect their work. I know, like they’re going to stop me climbing on my own roof, but they were very welcoming and very helpful in explaining the installation process and why they made various decisions. I was very curious about the whole process.

They did a good job of applying electrical conduit, installing the new circuit breakers and emergency shut off switches. The whole job was very cleanly done. I felt pretty good about taking the photos. I still need to get a ladder and go back up and take final pictures showing the finished job. And while we installed in December/January (some of the shortest days of the year) and our overall energy production is significantly lower than it will be during the summer months, we’re already seeing a dramatic improvement in our “total electric consumption” numbers.

I can’t wait till the summer when energy production will be at it’s peak!

Day 1 (1/2 day) Production
(Noon-4 PM or so)

Between installation and this weekend the PG&E NetMeter wasn’t tracking credits. So all of the excess power produced was basically “free” for PG&E. We had to sign some documents and detail our NetMeter agreement terms. I’m not going to go into too much detail about this unless someone asks. But while we were waiting for them to execute on the NetMetering Agreement, we had “zero consumption” during peak solar hours (instead of energy credits) and regular usage in the evening. This produced a noticable but not dramatic reduction in electricity consumption. (It only applied for the last 9 days of the previous billing cycle. In a 32 day billing cycle we could see the impact but by then we were already in Tier 4 prices. Since installation we’ve been waiting for PG&E to determine if they needed to upgrade the NetMeter (they didn’t need to) and to push out a software update to allow them to track energy credits.

Recently, PG&E pushed the software out to my NetMeter. The billing cycle started January 15, the NetMeter was updated on January 18th. Now that we’re tracking credits our usage is down from 35-40ish kWh (pre solar panels) to 10-20 kWh. We might even remain entirely in Tier 1 rates for January. (0.13-0.16 cents currently per kWh.)

This should translate to a 90% reduction in our PG&E bill (for electricity only).

It’s very exciting.