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One Month of Solar Power

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I hit refresh on the browser for at least the 10th time only to get the same result as before... nothing. "Why won't they bill me?!?!", I thought.

Yes, I was anxiously hoping to get a bill. I had officially entered Bizarro World.

I've been writing about my solar journey for about a year now. This may be my last post for awhile. After getting solar installed and it starts paying, the hope is that I am in the "happy ever after" phase... until there's a problem. I'm going to be optimistic and presume that I have no problems to write about for a long while.

My wife and I learned one very important thing this month, but I'm sure you don't want to read it now... we'll get to it later.

Back to the bill. I would have to wait until the next morning.

When it came, it was almost exactly as I had expected... almost. The bill was for $-87.68. Yes that's a negative. Not only did I get all my electricity for free... the electric company owed me money. Our solar panels produced 1035 kWh and we used only 458 kWh. We had a credit of 577 kWh... which was worth $87.68 after a few taxes and fees were subtracted out.

Why was it only almost as I expected? When we buy power from the electric company there is a delivery charge of a few cents per kWh. When we produce our own power we don't need to pay that. However, we don't get a credit for delivering any extra power. Thus when our credit of 577 kWh is converted into cash, it doesn't buy as much power in the future... that cash has to pay for delivery as well.

That's not a big deal. It was unexpected, but not exactly a game changer.

Now for the reveal of what my wife and I learned. We conserved power like never before.

The Spring months are the best time to build credit. We aren't using huge energy draws like air condition. We are also producing a lot of power (as you can see).

We spent the month with a special mindfulness towards our electricity use. I'm not sure if it will carry into the future. I feel like it might because each day I check to see how much power our solar panels are producing. (For May, we are on pace to produce nearly 1200 kWh.)

That mindfulness is one of the hidden advantages in going solar.

So that's where we are today. We've eliminated our electricity bill (replacing it with a solar panel bill) and are even earning a sizable credit for this winter.

Last updated on May 25, 2015.

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6 Responses to “One Month of Solar Power”

  1. Richard DeLong says:

    Where did you get your solar panels and what is the price.

  2. Lazy Man says:

    I went to a local place. I think the price was around $33,000 or less than $25,000 after tax credits (I don’t have the documents handy).

    I essentially got the biggest system that would be subsidized (state and federal) and it worked out to be projected to do about 100% of our electricity for the year. As the two boys grow up, I expect it to do less.

    There is a good article about going solar in this month’s Money Magazine. Wish I had a link handy to give you, but I don’t know if it’s online yet.

  3. Nicely done! I was really hoping we could go solar at our new house, but our roof is facing the wrong way.

  4. Luis Alberto says:

    Hi! Long time reader here from Peru, but first time commenting… I am amazed by the fact that you’ve earned money from your solar, enough to pay your bill and even make you some money… My natural question would be, is it possible or have you considered the possibility to buy a second solar installation to make a profit? What would the % rate of return would be?

    All the best!

    Luis Alberto

  5. Lazy Man says:

    Thanks for the comment Luis. I didn’t realize I had regular readers internationally. You just made my day.

    What I’ve earned is actually a credit from the energy company. They won’t be issuing me a check. That credit will roll-over month after month until the winter when we’ll need it because we won’t produce as much power as we use.

    Also, while I do have some roof space for expansion, I maxed out the amount that the state subsidizes. The value is a lot worse if you have to foot the whole bill.

  6. Luis Alberto says:

    Hey, we all struggle around the world to save a little bit here and there! :D

    Thanks for the info!

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