Distant Sun

Solar is never going to meet all our energy needs, especially not at these latitudes. But even though the one aspect of our roof that is completely covered in solar panels faces west, we still generate significant amounts of electricity. In summer that’s more than we can use, and we sell it back to the grid. In winter, well that’s a different story.

Our generation has been creeping up since the solstice, breaking the 7 kWh barrier yesterday and pushing 8 kWh today. That gets you about 30 miles in an electric Mini Cooper, or one sauna session. Not a great deal, but better than nothing.

In the 488 days we’ve had the panels, we’ve generated 6.76 MWh of electricity, and sold a quarter of it back into the grid. Nearly 14 kWh per diem on average, so we still have a way to go to reach that—unfortunately the crappy Chinese website that handles all the data seems to be having a meltdown so I can’t accurately predict when we’ll be producing more than we eat, but it’s probably going to be around the end of April.

Yes, with the data at our finger tips (CCW malfunctions notwithstanding) it’s endlessly geeky and great fun. Combined with a smart reader thing that tells us what we’re using in the instant does mean I run round the house turning lights off, but I guess that’s no bad thing.

I am currently considering setting up a series of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto the west-facing roof in the morning, but maybe that’s taking it too far.

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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