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April 06, 2008

The Electric Bill I’ve Been Waiting For


The $9.57 is the monthly service charge. Note that there are NO charges for kilowatt hours because our solar arrays generated more than we used, even late in the Vermont winter. It looks above as if our beginning and ending meter readings were the same; but, I suspect, that’s because the billing software can’t deal with a meter running backwards.

The arrays are now tilted down to their spring position and it’s clear that we’ll be in surplus on a full year basis since we’ll be generating more per day and using less as the days continue to get longer and the sun higher. In Vermont you can’t carry a credit forward more than a year so it’s time to think of ways to use some of that “surplus” electricity and displace some imported fossil fuel.

Plan is to go to geothermal heat. This uses electricity four times as efficiently as electric radiant heat.  Hopefully we can do that by next winter. Savings’ll be lots of oil which I think comes mainly from Venezuela at our location.

The geothermal heat will also provide domestic hot water. Otherwise we’d switch that to electric. Currently the oil furnace is heating that which means it has to be on all summer.

Now feel a little guilty when I use my gas grill since I could be “using the sun” to cook electrically.

In the future hope to be charging a car with some of this solar power. But plugin hybrids aren’t available yet.

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