Solar Panels | 2020 Report

Now that 2020 is over, we can report annual results from our home’s solar panels. Previous posts can be found at this link.

Panel production data is accessible via a phone app or the computer. Charts for monthly and daily production can be generated. Records from our electric utility show our home averages 400 kW-hr of energy per month to operate all the electrical devices, based on 15 yrs of data. Our panel output nearly reached that amount in the summer months thus offsetting our house needs. Winter months production was low due to low sun angle and more cloudy days.

Viewed on a daily output basis, variability is obvious due to seasonal and weather differences.

Best performance came on 8 May 2020, a cloudless low-humidity day. Add to that the fact the Sun was shining almost perpendicular to the face of the panels. They delivered almost 20 kW-hr of electric energy (area under the curve). Our house typically needs less than 10 kW-hr in a day during May. The flat top on the curve shows they were at maximum power output for a few hours at over 2.5 kW.

We have records for 15 years of electric energy usage for our house prior to panel installation. The average monthly amounts in kW-hr are plotted below by the dark line. The winter months are highest due to the furnace motor and lights. The spring and fall months are lowest. There is rise in usage in the summer due to AC.  The usage for 2020 is plotted in orange when solar panels were involved.

We’ve been asked how long is the payback time. It is hard to say with so little performance so far. Each year will be different. We are glad to be able to reduce our carbon footprint on the Earth. A web site provided by the Environmental Protection Agency computes some equivalencies for the energy our panels have provided this year. In 2020 they produced about 2,824 kW-hr of electric energy. Most of that energy was for our home usage. On the brightest sunny days of summer, our extra energy went to the grid for others to use.

9 thoughts on “Solar Panels | 2020 Report

  1. Interesting. I’m still waiting for ROI over time. Our county has a green initiative which will eventually get us to carbon neutral. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time before solar panels will be part of every house. I suspect they may eventually be required to be installed at prescribed performance levels before a house can be sold.

  2. An impressive report, Jim. Well done!

    Speaking of the environment, I came upon a small innovation that got me thinking. It was the availability of water-dissolvable labels for freezer containers. Science continues to amaze! What if Walmart bags could be made to do that? : )

  3. Very interesting post. I was glad to see the panels were not damaged during the big storm you had in the summer.

  4. Were you offered any options for storing excess energy from the solar panels or is that energy always routed to the grid? Reason I ask we checked a piece of land the other day, only 15 minutes from the main road but no electricity. Talked to one of the neighbors and they run of a couple of small solar panels only. They’re not very picky but I’d like to have electricity 24/7.

    • We asked about our options to have battery backup storage. We were told it is available, but the cost was high and not worth it to us. Our next door neighbors did install battery backup more than a year after their installation. It is not a large capacity storage for whole house use. Rather, they have an electric car and will use their excess electric energy to power their car.

      • Yeah, sounds like widespread use of solar + storage is still quite a ways away. Good to know you’re happy with your installation, seems like it’s making a pretty good difference.

        • It is. We maintain a very small carbon footprint. The panels really help.
          Thanks for your comments.

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