solar panels
Solar Monthly Update

Residential Solar Project: Solar Panel Update 2021

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!

Residential Solar Project: Introduction

Residential Solar Project: Understanding Solar Panels and FAQs

Residential Solar Panel Project: Review of the First Year

solar panels

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?

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  • Molly @ Transatlantic Notes

    If I owned my own property I’d definitely do what you and your husband are doing with the solar panels. I think making changes to be more sustainable is the way we should all move towards — it doesn’t have to be a big step, but the more we do the louder the message to those in power will be. Thanks for sharing this!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      It’s so true. The more changes each of us make the more others pay attention. The solar panels are visible from the street so a lot of people stop and ask questions about them, which is fun! Hopefully as more people make sustainable changes, they will become more affordable too.

  • Paul (Paul Explores the World)

    Informative post. Thanks for doing your part to help the planet. Have you experienced any downsides? Specifically, any lapses of power?

    • Pastor Natalie

      I really appreciate you sharing this post. It sounds as though it is beneficial. I have heard really good things about this too. It would be great to know if you experienced and downsides to having the solar panels.

      Pastor Natalie

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Hi Paul, thanks for your comment! We aren’t a standalone system, but rather are part of a net metering program with our power provider so no lapses in power as we draw from the power grid when we’re not generating – great question! The only other real downside is the initial investment, I’d say, otherwise we’re thrilled that we did it!

  • Rosie ?? ?? (@greenrosielife)

    The cost initially put us off when we looked at doing this about 12 years ago – we simply didn’t have the necessary €20,000 we needed then. But the price of panels has come down a lot since then and France offers subsidies. We are looking into them again, now.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      That’s fantastic to hear that France has some subsidies too. The panels are a big initial investment so it’s understandable how most residential homes don’t have them yet. Hopefully the cost will continue to come down for them.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!