Near the end of January we started using more energy than we had produced since October 1st (when we started tracking). Thanks to a bright sunny start to February, we are back in the green!
Not only was it sunny, the sun is once again rising in the sky. Our solar panels are generating more energy because of the angle the sun is at. In the first three days of February, we have generated almost 150kWh more electricity than we used during those days, which more than made up for the shortfall.
Unfortunately, it also exposed the issues we have been having with the solar panels since they were installed.
You may recall in an earlier blogs where I mentioned our largest inverter is resetting itself on clear, sunny days. Well, it appears this is also happening (although much less frequently) to one of our smaller inverters.
I am expecting a call later today from our solar installers (IPS). IPS has had a ticket open with our utility (XCEL) and just Saturday had a plan of attack for addressing the issue.
In the meantime, I am continuing to watch the weather and try to plan to charge the cars on sunny days. This extra draw has allowed the system to work much more smoothly.
Oddly enough, charging the car is basically 'free' because it allows the panels to generate more energy than I use to charge the car.
Here is another look at the power use, by month instead of day. The bars show the average daily power generation, overall use, and use by vehicles.
The month of February is only the first three days. While this was a wonderful start to the month, we expect to have some cloudy days soon.
One of the certifications we are shooting for is the Living Building Challenge.
The LBC focuses on many aspects of a house or building. While energy conservation is part of it so are other important factors such as health and happiness, beauty, place, and so on. Following the link above you can get tons of great details.
Unlike other certifications that rely heavily on design and modeling, the LBC certification relies on actual performance.
Each month we track that performance to see how we are doing.
In both December and January we have fallen short on the production side of things. Part of this is just due to the weather, and part due to the issues we are having with our solar array.
The good news is, we have also used much less power than estimated for each of those months.
Part of this is again the weather, and part is we use less energy than the models/estimates expected us to.
So, we are ahead of the game, and expect to get our LBC certificate after the year long measurements are complete at the beginning of October.
And this, is one of my favorites! This is one of our rain chains. On sunny days like this, snow will melt and form icicles on the rain chain. It is beautiful and fun to watch on warmer days when the icicles melt off the chains as it warms.
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Mark really doesn't like to talk about himself, the house is much more interesting.