Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cleaning Solar panels

Things are changing pretty fast in solar as far as cleaning goes. A couple of years ago when I searched for information about cleaning solar panels, it looked like no one had anything to say. Now it is different. Not only do you have information suggesting dirty panels can cost at least 10% loss in production, but there are cleaning services listed in some communities, and there are automated cleaning systems.

This is a system that includes a sprayer for each panel, filters and soap dispensers. It can be set to rinse between wash cycles. I am not suggesting this is the answer. It is hard for me to see just how effective this system would be in my area where it takes a bit of scrubbing to get the dirt off. But if you are in a fairly low dirt area, it might be fine for you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Solar Update

As if 06/16/2010 we have now past 16,700 KWh of production on our little solar array. Presently we are producing a bit over 10 KWh a day, with most of this being produced from noon to six. That means we get reimbursed at the higher rate for E7 Time of Use metering. That is a good thing. We are a bit off recently due to cooler cloudy conditions the end of May and in early June. We also have a contractor working, so our use is a bit up overall.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Unscheduled Solar panel maintenance

Actually, there is so little maintenance for these things. You may think though that you can just set up and let it go forever. That may be true, but you should check thigs out from time to time.

Here, in a quick check earlier today I realized that a tree branch had grown out over one section of the panels since I had looked a bit ago. It was shading the panels form around noon on. True, it was only a small portion of our total panel area, but that can add up to a big problem over the long haul. These things are wired in series, so a small area of shade can degrade production of the entire system.

I cut a few branches, and our output went from around 1100 watts to 1400 watts, and higher. That difference can add up to more than an extra kilowatt hour over the days production.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

True up Bill Final after being moved up a couple of months

Remember I mentioned the California legislation changing how surplus power would be compensated in the future? Part of that bill also allows you to adjust when your “true-up” period starts. Since our was in June, and after the rate changes for summer, we decided to adjust it forward so all of our current production would be for the current year instead of having a couple of months be for the previous year.

So, that has happened, and the results for the period from June 2009 to March 2010 are in. We had 1916 KWh in use for the period, and a total true up amount of $7.38. Add that to the total monthly billed taxes and other charges not related to electricity use, and our bill for the 10 month period was $60.98. So, including all taxes and other monthly set fees, our cost for the 10 months was 3 cents per KWh.

Now, we start again. . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Solar Updates

As of the February billing period, we have officially used up our credits for electricity. Our unbilled charge for the year (starting last June) is now $24.67 and our total KWh used since June is 1,638. If my math is right, that equates to 1.5 cents per KWh. The normal rate for residential use in my area starts at around 15 cents per KWh. We have been producing around 5 KWh a day on sunny days, and the sun is out again today. Of course, we still need more rain even though I am happy to see the meter going backward this time of year.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

California Bill to change the way power companies compensate net energy producers- AB 920- Huffman- Solar and Wind Generation

It appears that the new law would require net energy producers to be compensated for that production. In my case that would mean PG and E would have to provide compensation for my net production at the time of my yearly “true-up”. Currently, if I have surplus production at year end true up time, it is zeroed out before the new billing cycle starts.

Quote from

“The bill would require the electric utility to
offer a standard contract or tariff to eligible customer-generators
that includes compensation for the value of net surplus electricity.
The bill would require the electric utility, upon an affirmative
election by the eligible customer-generator to receive service
pursuant to this contract or tariff, to either: (1) provide net
surplus electricity compensation for any net surplus electricity
generated in the 12-month period, or (2) allow the eligible
customer-generator to apply the net surplus electricity as a credit
for kilowatt hours subsequently supplied by the electric utility to
the surplus customer-generator.“

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jan 2010 electricity billing

January billing information is in, and we are now at 1,255 KWh used since June 1, and with $6.27 surplus from the summer production. All in all, this January is a bit better for us than last Jan 2009 with a few KWh less use. It will be interesting to see how this turns out in the next few months. In 2009, we were already out of our surplus, and behind by $20.00 by this month's billing.