Ok, maybe you won’t get rich. But you’ll like the money you’ll save and you might even save enough to invest in a high-yield dividend fund. Before I even get in the weeds of it all, I’m going to show you some info my most recent bill from my electric company (NStar or Eversource, whatever they’re calling themselves these days) so you can see the real life example of what renewable energy can do for you.
The first image is what I see when I log into my account. That’s not a piece of lint on your screen. It’s a minus sign. They owe me $50. I won’t see that money in cash, but it will be kept as a credit on my account to off set any bills I may have, which will inevitably happen in the short winter days. Yesterday (9.26.16) would have been my due date, but since I don’t have a balance, I didn’t have to make a payment and I got to keep that $150-190 I normally would have paid them. Maybe I’ll put it towards my student loans…
The second image is a 2-month history (this month and last month) of my account activity. It helps me compare my previous usage and bill to the current charges. I’ll reiterate: this is not a drill! My usage for the 2 months you see is indeed “0”. Technically it’s a negative number but for their billing purposes, it’s zero.
The third image is the cost of my electricity. They charge you a delivery fee as you have their equipment (meter) and are still connected to the grid. However, at 18 cents/kWh and me producing 300+ more than I’m using, my credit exceeds even the delivery charge granting me the credit.
Finally, you see the YTD history of my usage. The solar panels were installed mid-June and had to go through an inspection before they could be turned on in the last week of June. This makes my first full month of “free” electricity July. As you can see, I haven’t had any usage since. As the days get shorter and the weather gets nastier here in New England, I anticipate that I’ll be paying again soon, maybe sometime in late October, early November. However, as long as there is sun, I will never be using as much power as I’ve used before.
Here are my estimates for 2017 which will be my first full year of having solar panels (I’ll be estimating an average of a $50 credit for the more fruitful months, break even for the lean months and an average of $175 for all full bills):
Jan – Full Bill
Feb – Full Bill
Mar – Full Bill
Apr – Break Even
May – ($50)
Jun – ($50)
Jul – ($50)
Aug – ($50)
Sept – ($50)
Oct – Break Even
Nov – Bill fully covered by accumulated $250 in credit
Dec – Bill partially covered by remaining credit balance
Yes, things are looking good. With a 30-year warranty on the panels and a 15-warranty on the inverter, this may very well be my life until 2046: $600 in electricity costs. When are you taking the plunge?
Here are some important notes about my usage:
- We moved into the house Christmas week, which shows an artificially low January total.
- Yes, I am aware that I use a lot of electricity (pre-solar), however I am still below the average American household which was estimated to be 911 kWh/month in 2014. Despite that, my house is bigger than the average house at close to 3,100 square feet and my entire house runs on electricity (electric range, washer, dryer, boiler, pump for the well, central AC, hot water heater, etc.) meaning that even when I do something as routine and necessary as flushing the toilet, I use electricity.
- This year sucked almost as bad as last year. Despite the minimal amount of snow we had, there were some really cold days in the single digits and even in the negative. So we ran the heat longer and higher than we normally would have.
- Finally, a new home means some adjustments. We had to learn the house because we had just moved in. We often had lights on that we didn’t know were on because we didn’t know they existed. Sometimes, we couldn’t even figure out how to turn them off. We would hit 4 or 5 switches before we figured out which one was the flood light on the side of the garage. This year we hope to do better to maximize our panels.
If you want to see pictures of the actual project, visit my Instagram page @karibefrost