(Click on image to see generation right now.)
That’s 53.9 kWh, and a peak generation of 8.1 kW. And it’s just after Spring Equinox.
Utility-DIVE reports that ISO-NE now estimates installed solar in New England by 2025 will be 30% higher than they estimated last year.
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I make that as a 22% capacity factor, which is pretty good for a cold, northern state! How does this compare with your house energy usage?
I don’t have time to record the maths here now, but my take, even with our ductless mini-split heating/cooling, and our newly installed electric heat pump hot water heater, that we will break even averaged across the entire year. We may come out a bit ahead, since the Sunpower panels are generating more than I anticipated, whether because they are juiced to be more efficient early in life than nameplate, or because our tree shading is not as severe as I thought it would be.
Of course, monetarily, it will depend on what our state legislature on Beacon Hill does in the upcoming weeks on net metering. And that will determine what we do to them going down the road, as I have written here, whether we continue to be engaged, contributing our spare electrons to the grid, or if we go to a posture of hoarding them for ourselves.
Afterthought. I should also note that, while familiar with the notion of capacity factor, I judge that it is an old, utility-based way of thinking about solar and wind energy. It ignores the fact that the marginal cost of solar electricity is zero. Indeed, some of the solar companies I approached for our project estimated that it only paid, given our shading, to put in 4 kW to 7 kW nameplate. I disagreed, saying I wanted to generate our house load, and if that meant putting more panels up to get more of the light that we had for whatever time we had, so be it. Payback time, under all the current statutory rules and tariffs, is 7 years.
I’ve wondered about the use of payback time. 7 years sounds like a long time, but that amounts to a 10% annual return, which would be outstanding in an investment.
The metric I hear these days is less capacity factor than LCOE – levelized cost of energy. Maybe because that now looks competitive with coal and gas! How does that look for your system?
Click to access lazards-levelized-cost-of-energy-analysis-90.pdf
I think their numbers are conservative, but they are accountants after all. They are also mixing apples and oranges, because they consider the cost of a residential PV system as if it were borne by the society at large, and it’s not. But note the unsubsidized LCoE for wind and solar, especially land-based wind turbines.
If it were at all financially feasible, Claire & I would move to zero Carbon anyway. We’re vegetarians, diligent recyclers (picking up resources on the ground from around Town when we go on walks), and compost all our organics in our back yard. That we are part of a wave of energy innovation is just premium.
We have mostly (90%) divested our investments from fossil fuels, and use primarily broad market mutual funds and ETFs almost exclusively, such as the SPYX ETF. We have some additional investments in pure wind and solar ETFs, e.g., FAN and TAN, on the bet that some day they will be big.