As many of you know, we had solar panels installed last December. Admittedly not the sunniest time of year. Snow fell almost immediately.
That snow melted, but by the time the electric company installed the new meter and connected our panels to the grid, more snow had fallen. There was a series of snowfalls and melts, but in between our solar panels generated electricity. It was exciting, but we weren’t generating as much as we were using. And then in February we got two big storms right in a row and our panels were covered for half the month. So we would still have an electric bill to pay. When they came to read the meter at the end of February, it read “562”. That is how much electricity we had used since early January. The meter records energy we use above and beyond what the solar panels produce. I had hoped for better.
But eventually the snow melted from the panels and March has been a much better month. Despite the many cloudy days, we have produced almost 500Kwh since they read the meter in February. That is more than we use. And so the meter has been going backwards!
It now reads “466.” That means we have generated almost 100kwh more than we have used! Wow! In Massachusetts we have what they call net metering. That means that we get credit for extra energy generated and we can use that at night and during times we don’t generate enough. That means that next winter we should have credit we can use when the panels are covered with snow or the days are just too short.
What an amazing thing. No fossil fuels are used to produce our electricity. It is completely green. Of all the things we have done to improve the sustainability of our lifestyle (gardens, compost, chickens, wood stove, etc) the solar panels have reduced our carbon footprint the most. Financially, with the rebates, tax credits etc the panels should pay for themselves in about five years. But the benefit for the planet….that is immediate.