Why Solar Panels?
In the past months we have been sharing ways we can reduce our carbon footprint in light of the reports released this year indicating that our planet is well on the way to at least 1.5C warming. At COP26, it seemed that what needs to be done to keep warming to 1.5C is in progress, but not guaranteed to occur. One of the main issues was the use of coal for power generation with several key nations unwilling to commit to eliminating the use of coal from their energy generation processes. So, in light of these impactful decisions of nations, what can we as individuals do in response?
What We Can Do
Do you know how the energy you use is generated? Here in British Columbia, we are fortunate to have hydro power which is relatively less impactful in terms of emissions, however it also has it’s downsides. If you happen to be in an area where power generation is a less clean method, consider making changes on a personal level. In previous posts, we noted the impact of heating and powering our homes – it’s significant! As as a result, if we make changes on that personal level, it will also be impactful!
What We Did!
In 2019 my husband and I decided to take a leap, make a fairly large investment, and put some solar panels on our roof! This week I wanted to share an update on our power generation, the impact on our power usage and budget, and the impact of emissions reductions as a result of our solar panels. If you haven’t already, please see the links below to get you started on understanding solar panels in general, and my story in particular, and how we got to where we are today!
How It’s Going
We’re now just over two years into this solar panel journey and we continue to be very happy with our decision to install panels. As noted below, to date we’ve generated almost 19 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy from our panels (almost 19,000 kilowatt hours). For us, this equates to a value of approximately $2,300 of energy usage offset by our panels. We had anticipated earning $800 – $900 per year, so we’re right on track!
In the graph below, you can see that the amount of energy generated annually by month is surprisingly similar. In 2020 we had quite a cool and cloudy June and a relatively sunny September as compared to 2021, which is reflected in the data below. We’ve currently generated 8,029 KWh in 2021 and so should come fairly close to our 2020 total for 2021.
One of the things we love about our system is that it tracks the environmental benefits that accrue as a result of having installed our panels, see below for the latest tracking data!
What’s New This Year
This year we’ve started to pursue an expansion! We’ve applied for the Canada Greener Homes Grant in hopes that we’ll be approved for funding to install several more panels, and potentially some additional insulation in our attic. If you live in Canada, consider looking into it to see if you qualify for funding to make your home more energy efficient. The first step is to apply and the next step is to schedule a consultation to have your home assessed. This is the step that we’re at, and we’re looking forward to seeing how we progress!
Are Solar Panels for You?
Have you ever considered solar panels? If not, maybe the cost deterred you, or maybe you think that you don’t live in the right climate: see my previous posts on solar panels as I cover off these issues! Additionally, many jurisdictions have grants for installing equipment such as solar panels and heat pumps, aside from the Canada Greener Homes Grant, so do your research as you might be able to lower your bill, reduce environmental impact — and be able to do it for less than you think!
How do you try to reduce energy usage in your home?