Posted by: Li Ling Young | March 15, 2015

Positive!

Every year we use a lot of electricity in the winter: the very time of year when our energy production is at its lowest.  As distressing as it is to see our energy balance go into the red, thanks to Vermont’s great net metering laws, all we have to do is wait until the longer days of spring start spinning our electric meter backward, making up for all those negative energy days in the winter.

This year I kept my eye out for the first positive day: the day when our solar production exceeded our electricity consumption.  I started looking for it at the end of February.  February is a pretty sunny month, as I have discovered from watching our energy monitor. However, February is also a cold month, so our heat pump uses a lot of electricity keeping the house warm.  I missed it, because I was out of town, but the first day we made more electricity than we used was February 16th.  Looks like Nik charged the car twice (black), and you can see that the water heater (blue) tripped the electric resistance element for a short time (spike around 5pm).  A not-unusual day in terms of energy use, but one could claim it’s not a true positive day since I, and my energy use, was out of town; also, we didn’t run the clothes dryer that day.

That beautiful green hump shows that February 16th was a full-on sunny day without a cloud in the sky.  All that sun made more electricity on that day than we used in that 24-hour period.  Not just a net-zero day, but an energy positive day!

That beautiful green hump shows that February 16th was a full-on sunny day without a cloud in the sky. All that sun made more electricity on that day than we used in that 24-hour period. Not just a net-zero day, but an energy positive day!

Nik has been looking out for a positive month.  With only a few positive days under our belt, at this point we’re not yet positive energy for the month. However, he noticed that we are positive money for the month (see the green box in the upper right).  How is that?  Our utility pays us more for the electricity we sell back to the grid than we pay when we buy electricity from the utility.  It’s a substantial difference, as you can see.  With a deficit of about 8-days’ worth of electricity, we still earned more money on the energy we sold than we paid to the utility to buy what we need.

 


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