solar panel
General

Residential solar panels: 2022 year in review

Why solar panels?

In study after study, it has been found that our planet is warming. And a significant part of the emissions that are causing this change in climate can be traced to the energy used to warm and cool our homes.

Many people think climate change mainly means warmer temperatures. But temperature rise is only the beginning of the story. Because the Earth is a system, where everything is connected, changes in one area can influence changes in all others.

The consequences of climate change now include, among others, intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity.

UN.org [https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/what-is-climate-change]

To combat these effects in our own small way, my family worked to reduce our energy usage while also installing solar panels on our home in 2019. We then expanded our array in May 2021 with the assistance of the Canada Greener Homes grant.

To follow our journey, check out these past posts!

Where it all began

Understanding Solar Panels and FAQs

Review of the first year

Solar panel update 2021

The impact on the environment of my family’s solar panel use since 2019 is estimated to be:

2022 Trends

2022 was an interesting solar year for us! It was our first full year with the additional panels that were installed in May 2021, and they really made a difference to our power generation.

However, another factor in the solar equation is, of course, the weather! We had a very long and wet spring last year and it rained incessantly through the prime generating months of April, May, and June. Though summer ran late (it felt like August in October!) the angle of the sun here in the Northern hemisphere renders the rays in these months less effective for power generation. Thus the late summer sun didn’t fully make up for lost ground earlier in the year.

2022 energy generated vs. prior years’ generation

So, how did we do? I like to look at our generation against previous years, and our solar system app provides helpful data and graphs.

2022 was our best year to date, however as I mentioned earlier, we had new panels installed in May 2021, so it’s a bit hard to compare apples to apples. However, you will note, looking at the graph “Energy Details” below, that the first five months of 2022 weren’t much better in terms of power generation than 2021, even with the extra panels! It was a terrible spring for solar.

In the summer the new panels really showed us what they could do! We ended up generating about 2,000 more kilowatt hours than 2021, which has made a significant impact on our energy bills.

2022 power bills paid vs. prior year expenses

I’m sure you’re wondering how solar panels might actually impact monthly recurring bills and that, of course, depends the number of panels and their ability to generate energy. If you’re looking at panels, your contractor should provide you with an analysis of your energy usage against the capacity of proposed panels to determine how many panels to obtain. Before installing the additional panels in May 2021, we were finding that our existing set up really only reduced our bills in the summer, and so we didn’t bank enough to make a big impact on the rest of the year.

However this year, that changed with the new panels! We paid a power bill in May 2022, then didn’t receive our next bill for power until February 2023. There was a government rebate in the mix that reduced one of the monthly billings to zero, so we’re hoping that a full year with the new panels (and hopefully a better spring!) will result in us having only one or two small energy bills per year.

How to reduce your energy usage (without installing solar panels!)

Not everyone has the option to take a step like installing solar panels, but you can still reduce your energy usage which helps the planet and your budget!

  1. Alison recently shared some great ideas to understand and reduce your energy usage.
  2. We are part of a group called the Climate Change Collective, and one of the group members created this fantastic post with a long list of additional ways to reduce how much energy is consumed within our homes.

Have you ever thought about installing solar panels on your home or business?

Climate Change Collective
Photo Credit: Michelle at Boomer Eco Crusader

Climate Change Collective

This post is February’s feature blog post for our Climate Change Collective series. The Climate Change Collective is a group of bloggers writing to keep climate change at the top of everyone’s minds. To learn more about this, check out our first post here: Climate Change Collective: What you can do.

Check out the other posts from the Climate Change Collective:

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