First Solar Year!

It’s official!  It has been over one year since we installed a solar electric system on the house.  It has been quietly working away producing electricity every day, with virtually no technical problems.  So far, so good!

We were not quite net-zero on electricity this year.  Energy use in the house was higher than normal and the energy production was about 11% lower than expected.  Perhaps the lower production was due to the record-breaking rainy spring this year.  But even so, the Washington State solar incentive for the 4.034 kWh produced will reap a bonus of $605 in addition to the free electricity.

System Rating Average production if in Germany 3.680 kWh
Expected Target Average production for Seattle 4.536 kWh
Actual for First Year Production for year ending 8/31/2013 4.034 kWh

Daily energy production varied quite a bit all through the year, depending on weather and day length. The peak production day this year was 25.5 kWh on June 18, 2013.  The lowest day produced a mere 0.3 kWh on November 19, 2012.  The daily average through the year was 11 kWh. The chart below shows the overall energy production pattern, as well as the variability.

Graph of first year energy production

Solar electric production chart 9/1/2012 to 8/31/2013

Now we begin another year. Hopefully by the time we complete the next lap around the sun, we’ll have a better idea what it will take to be net-zero for electricity–or even a completely solar-powered home.