Feb 2023 Electric Bill

by Ben N on March 15, 2023

I don’t tend to do “This Month’s Electric Bill” that frequently on YouTube anymore, but I thought this would be a good one.

It’s March right now, so I have the bill for the previous month – February 2023. This is important because I have found that March tends to have very GOOD solar production. In the last couple of years, March has been one of my best months of solar production!

You might not expect that, but March has several things going for it. One is longer hours of daylight. March includes the Spring Equinox, meaning that there is an equal number of hours in the day as the night – 12 hours. Another is that it’s still relatively cold. Photovoltaic Solar Panels (PV) produces higher voltage when the panels are cold. Higher voltage translates into more power and thus more total energy.

Lastly, we finally start getting some sunny weather again. Winter in my area tends to be very cloudy. As in “I can’t tell where the sun is in the sky because it’s just solid gray!”
We start getting some nice sunny days again in March. In fact, I shot this video after my electric bill was in for two weeks, just because we finally had a sunny day!

I also have a great, local, publicly-owned power utility. My solar array is grid-tie only. I have true net metering with my power utility AND am on a Time of Use plan for electric cost. At the end of the month, an overproduction of solar energy just gets turned into a credit. I can bank the credit, and use it to cover my electric bill in the winter.

For the last two winters, that credit has covered us through until March, when we started OVERPRODUCING solar energy again!

Back to this month’s electric bill.
I still had a credit of $138.61. The current charges came to $82.97. So, that meant I didn’t have to pay anything AND still have a credit of $55.64.

If I can manage to keep my March electric use low, and we have some sunny weather, I hope to be able to keep next month’s bill going with a small credit, and then overproduce in following months.

If I do, that will be our third winter of NEVER PAYING AN ELECTRIC BILL!

Also, based on math I’ve done before, I fully expect the capitol costs of installing the solar to be paid off this summer by the savings it has created – About a 6.5 year simple economic return on investment! That’s approximately the equivalent of an 11% GUARANTEED rate of return!

Keep in mind that we also have a pair of plug-in vehicles, so our monthly cost of electricity ALSO includes MOST of our transportation fuel. We usually buy about one tank of gas per month for our Chevy Volt PHEV, and this is likely to go down now that we have a 259 mile range Chevy Bolt EV.

Anyways, solar is pretty fantastic, especially when you have a good power utility and electric vehicles!

Until next time, stay charged up!
-Ben Nelson

PS: Read more about my solar garage at: https://300mpg.org/bens-solar-garage/

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