We ended up being net producers of electricity for our third billing year having solar power online. It was also the first full year during which we charged a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), which was charged nowhere else in the entire year. With all of that we still were net producers of electricity while running pumps and filters for two koi ponds (which run 24/7), a pool, and a spa. Additionally we have at least six computers powered on at all times, five DVRs, and large portions of random geeky gadgets.
Probably my best trick at keeping our net electricity usage low is to use fans instead of air conditioning at home whenever the heat is bearable. Our central air no doubt draws much more power than our EV does at peak charge point. Because we have pumps running 24/7 for our koi ponds we derived a big benefit by using energy efficient pumps.
I’m very pleased I was able to achieve one year in which SoCalEd paid us. I really worked at being energy efficient.
From the point of view of finances, the results we are getting were greatly improved when we switched to a Time Of Use rate plan designed for EV owners. We charge our car after Midnight when the rate is lowest, and since I wake up very early I often use our major appliances before dawn. We expect to break even on the cost of our solar panels in four and a half years, they will continue operating, with a gradual decline in output power, for another twenty years.
Over the course of 20 years we expect to save over $500,000. And our power generation produces no pollution at all. What’s not to like?