Spinning the PowerMeter Backwards

by Ben N on April 29, 2018

Spring has returned to Wisconsin.

Although we had a blizzard last week, we are finally in clear skies and warming weather. In fact, it’s been almost ideal weather in my area for solar power production lately.

My garage has 24 solar panels, each paired with an Enphase brand micro-inverter which can output up to 225 watts of AC (Alternating Current) power. On a clear sunny day, it’s possible to create about 5,400 watts. What’s really neat about that is it’s MORE power than my electric car uses while charging – a mere 3,300 watts.

With my grid-tie system, all power created at the panels goes to power my garage and my house. Should there still be any left-over power, it goes out “to the grid” and benefits my neighbors. The power is tracked at my digital utility meter, both pulled from the grid and exported to it. I get credited for any exported power.

IMG_8493In fact, on a day like today, my meter “spins backwards”, EVEN while charging my electric Mitsubishi. Because I’m exporting more than I use, I can actually end up with a NEGATIVE power bill! They owe me! The “bill” for the month of March was almost a three dollar credit – not much, but it marks the turning point from paying bills to becoming a net power creator.

Last month, I was involved in a traffic collision which left me not only with plenty of medical bills but also the lack of ability to work to pay for them. One day, as I was making it out to a doctor’s appointment, I saw the sun shining on the solar panels, and my car charing up. While I may not have a large income, MINIMIZING expenses can be a real blessing. Last month, I had literally NO Electric bill, didn’t have to pay for gasoline, and since I bought a used electric car and paid outright for it, I also had no car loan payment. (On top of that, I paid for college classes as I took them and have zero student debt.)
As busted-up as I was feeling, I just had to smile about having a solar powered electric car which costs me LITERALLY nothing to drive, and actually felt a little bad for the poor fools out there up to their eyeballs in debt, high utility bills, and other outstanding expenses.

Spring is sprung. The daffodils are finally coming up, and I’m happy to soak up the sun.

Until next time, keep it positive, and stay charged up!

-Ben

IMG_8489

April 28 2018 screen grab

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