Sunday, March 19, 2017

Going Solar

Last July, we closed on a new home and moved to another location in the Avenues.  Our first order of business was to replace the roof, which was nearing end-of-life, and install solar.

We worked through the University of Utah's Community Solar program, which provides a discount on solar installations.  The install was done by Creative Energies, who did a great job.  Due to the popularity of the program, we had to wait a couple of months for install, which finally happened in early December.

Solar install in early December.
We are fortunate to have great exposure for solar, with a roof that faces south-southwest and has no major shadowing from local buildings or trees.  We lose just a little solar late in the day due to coniferous trees on the west side of the home, but the impact is small and the cooling we receive from those trees in the summer probably reduces our electrical usage more than what we would gain if we removed them.

There was some anxiety in terms of the grid-tie capabilities being connected by Rocky Mountain Power.  They take a few weeks to do this and we were hoping to be able to take the tax rebates during the 2016 tax year.  Incredibly, they connected the system on December 31st, just sneaking in under the wire.

Production in January and February was pretty limited due to snow cover, cloud cover, and low sun angle, but this month we've been killing it.  Our biggest production day was last Wednesday, when we reached a total production of 34.4 kilowatt hours.  Production totals every 15 minutes for that day show an optimal situation with no cloud cover.  We lose just a bit of production late in the day due to tree shading.

Of course, solar production is at the whims of the weather and a more typical day with occasional clouds yields a production curve with more gaps.

How large of a system to purchase was based on our desire to produced as much power as we use, but given that this is a new home for us, we had to do some guesswork.  We suspect that we are going to end up producing more power than we are consuming over the full year and that this gap will grow some as we perform upgrades to the home to reduce electrical consumption.   We figure when we buy an electric vehicle, we can put the surplus to good use.  We also have room on the roof for expansion of the solar array if we desire to do so in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post and information, good luck with the move and installation!