As of today we are officially generating solar energy. PG&E installed our “time of use” meter, which effectively tracks the power we use, and when we use it. PG&E will send a monthly summary, but our next actual electric bill won’t arrive until our anniversary, one year from today. If we’ve sized our PV system correctly, the bill amount will be $0.
Weather and our own consumption habits will affect the balance, of course. Lately we’re thinking a lot about our consumption. Although it has always been true that leaving lights or appliances running unnecessarily would result in a higher electric bill, now I’m especially conscious. I feel like I’m in a contest to zero my annual bill. I’ll be replacing a few more incandescent bulbs with CFs this weekend.
The new meter is digital. It starts at 50,000 kWh, apparently because it’s easier to track negative consumption (that is, net energy production) if the counter doesn’t roll backwards past 0 kWh to 99,999.
The small triangle in the lower left quarter of the display points either right (as pictured) to indicate consumption, or left to indicate production. As was true with our array installation, the TOU meter went in during a rainstorm… resulting in a fairly dismal showing of all this technology. I’m looking forward to the summer, for its long clear days and thousands of watts of free energy.