April solar update

I’ve been holding this update over because I was expecting an electricity bill but it’s now a couple of weeks overdue and I can’t wait any longer.

Just to recap, the first bill I received after the solar install was wrong. I’ve been reading the inverter and the electricity meter on a daily basis, so I know just where the electrons have been going—in other words, I know just how much electricity I’ve sent to the grid and how much I’ve taken from the grid.

So I rang and informed my electricity retailer and my account was put on hold while they sorted it out.  When the amended bill came, it was still wrong, so back to the drawing board and another few weeks wait. At the third attempt, they finally got it right, by which I mean their figures agreed with my meter readings! So I was $233 in credit! And the next best thing to discover was that I’m being paid 33 cents feed-in tariff, instead of the 8 cents I was expecting. Plus a letter of apology to say that my meter hadn’t been properly set up in their system and it was now fixed. I hope the overdue bill doesn’t mean they’ve stuffed up again!

OK, so solar generation has been well down as expected. The PV panels are being shaded by trees until late morning and then again in the early afternoon. And when the sun does hit them, because they’re east-west facing and not north-facing, it’s hitting at a more oblique angle. I’ve been drawing more from the grid. That was expected, too. Lights are going on earlier; the oven and microwave are being used to cook dinner after sunset; there’s a fan running on the wood fire. But I’m using so little electricity during the day that I’m still managing to export to the grid and that’s covering the increased drawdown somewhat.

April averages:

6.2 kWh per day produced by the solar panels
2.4 kWh per day taken from the grid
5.1 kWh per day excess sent to the grid
3.7 kWh per day total consumption (grid + solar)

There wasn’t a single day in April when the panels produced more than 10 kWh.

Compare this with the March figures:

March averages:

11.3 kWh per day produced by the solar panels
2.1 kWh per day taken from the grid
9.7 kWh per day excess sent to the grid
3.9 kWh per day total consumption (grid + solar)

And compare with the best summer month:

December averages (although grid usage then included hot water heating which I eliminated in February by changing to instant gas hot water):

20.4 kWh per day produced by the solar panels
4.4 kWh per day taken from the grid
18.1 kWh per day excess sent to the grid
6.8 kWh per day total consumption (grid + solar)

Now we’re heading into May, solar generation has fallen again and barely manages to get above 5 kWh per day.

It’s been an interesting exercise and I certainly don’t regret parting with some of my capital to install solar. At the end of 12 months, I hope to be able to work out roughly how much it has earned me in credits and savings on power consumption. I’m tipping it will be greater than if I had left the capital invested at current term deposit interest rates.

March update is here.

February update is here. (which contains updates for January, December and November).


One Response to “April solar update”

  1. narf77 Says:

    You have an amazing mind for figures Bev. I don’t! I am just sitting back here admiring that brilliance from afar. One day we will save enough to install some solar panels. Our huge hot water system is solar ready apparently (whatever that means!) so hopefully some day in the future we will be able to rely on solar hot water through summer and Brunhilda hot water through winter. SO good to see that you are getting 33 cents for your exported power but my guess is THAT is why your bill is held up NOT because of any other reason ;).


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