Solar Energy Panels Report

October 1st, 2014

In September 2009 I had Solar Energy Panels installed on the roof of my residence. The purpose was to capture sunlight energy and convert to electricity for use in my home. The $28,000 installation cost was more than 50% offset by energy rebates from the State of California and a Federal Income Tax credit. The installation consisted of 23 solar energy panels rated at 4kW intended to produce approximately 80% of my electricity energy needs.  The system’s panels have a 25 year warranty and other components for not less than 10 years.

Energy produced by the panels is routed into the Southern California Edison utility’s line servicing my residence. When the panels produce more energy than required for my use the excess goes into the Edison system and is automatically credited to my account.  In 2009 electric utilities were not required to pay for excess energy routed into their system. The installation of a system meeting only 80% of my needs was to eliminate the possibility of producing excess energy for which no benefit would accrue. California requirements have changed since 2009 and utilities are now required to pay for excess solar energy electricity entering their system.

My solar energy account with Southern California Edison is settled annually following the September installation anniversary. While local utility taxes are billed and paid monthly, the utility’s charges (or credits) for energy are recorded but not billed until the anniversary day. This year’s September 2014 annual bill totaled $350.28 – which I estimate to be approximately 18% of my total electricity (solar and Edison) needs and usage during the year.

I’ve found the solar panel installation an exceeding good financial investment.

  • The $1,922.31 total electricity bill I paid in the year ending September 2009 (before solar installation) dropped to $390.97 in the following year.
  • The 12,101 kWh hours of electricity usage in the pre-September 2009 year dropped to 2,943 kWh hours in the year following.
  • In the September 2014 year just ended my residence used 2,774 kWh hours of Edison electricity and the total cost billed to me for the year was $350.28.

The installation package for my residence includes a Sunny WebBox monitoring unit. It receives and stores current measured solar energy collection values and transmits data via my Internet Router to Sunny Portal, a company that stores, analyzes and reports the measured values. The monitoring unit keeps me updated on the status of the solar panel system around the clock. Data collection parameters can be changed and a variety of measured values can be depicted, analyzed and downloaded via a web browser. Sunny Portal provides a dedicated website for reports of my stored data statistics and tools to configure any reports. The website is quite informative and may be viewed by clicking here.

My estimate of the five-year savings from energy produced by the solar panels is $7,500, a figure representing approximately half my cost for the system. It appears the solar system will have paid for itself in less than ten years with another fifteen years remaining in the warranted life of the panels. The investment in solar energy panels is one I definitely recommend.

Bond Shands


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