Solar Power

Solar Panel Update – Installation Day

Well today is supposed to be the day that solar panel installation begins on my roof. I’m looking forward to this being completed. Yesterday the final panel layout was finalized. Images below.

roofpanels

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The process of getting this far has been tiring. We started with just your normal house and had a whole house fan installed, loads of additional attic insulation put in, our crawl space was sealed and conditioned and all the trees in the backyard were removed to make room for more sun. Finally, we had a yard of sod laid and right now that is trying to grow new roots to take hold.

I’m looking forward to the day that contractors are not coming to my house. I just want some peace and quiet.

The solar panel system should generate about 550 kWh of electricity per month and with our focus on our energy usage and the ability to measure usage, we have lowered our consumption to about 1,000 kWh per month. We are on target with my estimates on consumption and production. With that, our electric bill will drop from an average of $330 a month to about $30. Nice!

The biggest changes we have made that made an immediate difference I could immediately see were the whole house fan project and the purchase of the TED unit to measure consumption.

The insulation has been effective as well. We run our air conditioner units much less now. But I’m not falling all over myself about the insulation since I can’t see it. But there it is, just laying there and saving me money.

Probably the one item that may be the least effective that we’ve installed is the Cool-N-Save heat pump thing. You can see my review and video of it here.

That little TED unit helped us to find another energy leak in the house this morning. Now that we are monitoring the electric consumption of the whole house we know what our baseline is when nothing is running. Some stuff does pull a bit of power in standby and around 250 watts for the whole house is average with some lights on. Our low load has been around 550 watts just in the past few days. Odd.

READ  The Whole House Fan Project - It's Done, Comfortable and Saving Me Money

This morning Pam watched the TED unit and I started switching off circuit breakers to identify the circuit that had the phantom power drain. We finally identified it as one for the outside rear power receptacles. We’ve left that flipped off and latter we’ll hunt down what that actually goes to. I wish the home electrical systems came with a map.

I did learn this morning, while I was down in the basement that our basement florescent fixtures, the ones with the long tubes, pull about 300 watts when they are on. Wow. I had no idea that they were such a drain. I see a replacement of those and the ones in the garage in the future.

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Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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