Solar Performance Update & News (July 2014)

It has now been quite a while since we’ve completed our second solar array. Things have been going GREAT so I thought it would be good to share exactly how great it’s been going.

First of all, on July 19th we had a gathering of electric vehicles at our house, and we parked them all in front of the array. It was a very rainy day, at first, but later on it cleared up so that we could get a great photo.

Thirteen 100% electric vehicles parked in front of our solar array. July 19, 2014. Photo by Steve Coram.
Thirteen 100% electric vehicles parked in front of our solar array. July 19, 2014. Photo by Steve Coram.

We had three Tesla Model Ss, nine Nissan LEAFs, and a converted Scion xB. It turned out to be a good party with lots of interesting discussions and great food. About half the attendees had come up from the Seattle area, and half had come down from British Columbia.

The rain that day reduced our production quite a bit, but overall we’ve been having much better performance than predicted. For example, for the month of June, our total predicted production was 1,612 kWh, but we produced 1,820 kWh. In fact, we have over-produced every single month except for December, by an average of 112.6%. You can see our performance for every month in this graph:

Solar Performance vs Predicted as of July 2014
Solar Performance vs Predicted as of July 2014

This writing is on July 28th so the graph includes extrapolated performance through the end of July. There’s also a huge jump in April due to Phase 2 coming online on March 25th.

As of the end of July 27th, we have banked a total of 2,312 kWh with the utility. According to the predictions, we’ll continue banking additional power through September, after which we will begin using up the banked power. We’ll probably have enough banked power to last us at least through mid January, after which we’ll be pulling some from the utility again (though not a lot, as we’ll be picking up production again around that time).

In the coming months we’ll be getting our check from the utility for our Washington State production credit. This will help cover the loan payments we’ve been making thus far, and allow us to pay down the loans a little bit as well. After that, the next big benefit will come next tax season, when we’ll get the remainder of our 30% tax credit for Phase 1, and probably all of our credit for Phase 2.

In the meantime, we are planning to take another EV road trip down through Oregon this year. We’re hoping to actually enter California this time (though we won’t go far there), and possibly visit Central Oregon as well, where many quick chargers were recently deployed. More on that once we’ve figured out our plans.

By the way, we are looking for another EV-owning couple to come along with us (in your own car). We prefer no kids, but otherwise don’t really have any requirements. If you’re interested in coming, let me know!

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