Monthly Solar Production – February 2012

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I’ve been meaning to start a monthly report on my solar panel income but hadn’t got around to it for the first two months after purchasing my solar panels so I’m starting with this one that will cover the first three months.  Going forward I will be doing these monthly.

I have to admit I was a little concerned after December and January’s output were so low.  But after talking with my always-helpful installer rep Scott Wade over at Absolute Green Energy, he reassured me that the months of November through February are the worst months of the year for solar panels since the sun is so low in the sky and the days are so short.

Sure enough, looking at my initial estimate, it clearly shows that those months produce about half the output as the rest of the months of the year.  So I didn’t worry.  But I was in for a surprise as February’s output far exceeded my expectations!

My 5 kW solar panel system was connected to the grid on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, November 25, 2011.  My first NStar billing period started November 23rd and ended December 21, 2011 so I didn’t produce anything the first couple days.  But it was still pretty disappointing as my very first month with solar panels produced less than a third of my usage for the month at 223 kWh.

The next billing period, ending January 24, 2012, did not fare much better as I only produced 288 kWh for about 34.5% of my usage during the same time frame.  It was around this time that I gave Scott a call and he explained that it was just bad timing on my part that my first few months with solar panels were the worst months of the year.

He’s done right by me thus far so I trusted him and was patient.  And that patience was rewarded this month when I got my electric bill and it was for less than $40!  February’s output was 419 kWh and saved me over $100 on my electric bill.  I was not expecting those types of savings this early in the year and am very optimistic about the summer months when production kicks into high gear.

Here’s a chart showing my solar electricity production since inception:

Period Ending Production As % of Usage Savings
Dec 21, 2011 223 kWh 32.5% $48.14
Jan 24, 2012 288 kWh 34.5% $62.65
Feb 23, 2012 419 kWh 72.2% $103.60
Overall 930 kWh 44.3% $214.40

If there seems to be some inconsistency, it is due to monthly usage fluctuations, the number of days per billing period and NStar price changes.

I also just filed my taxes and am getting back over $6,000 from my renewable energy tax credits.  And that makes Gary a happy boy!  $1,000 of that was from the State of Mass. and the rest was from the feds.

I typically file as late as possible but my daughter’s Bat-Mitzvah is this coming Saturday so I wanted to have the cash available if needed.  It’s certainly nice to have this extra income.

Hope everyone is enjoying the start of spring.  I know I am.  :)

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2 thoughts on “Monthly Solar Production – February 2012

  1. Thanks for sharing some real homeowner experience. Now that I have a smart meter I’m about to do the same and document my electricity-saving efforts.

    Best wishes,
    Don

  2. Pingback: Your Questions About Solar Panels For Your Home | SunforceSolar.DKnol.com

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