Spring into Solar

Solar Bees

Setting up our bee hive after a harsh cold winter

This is just a quick update on our Solar status over the first winter. We obviously did not have very much in netmetering credits from September. We did however have an abundance of winter with some colder than normal averages and extra few feet of snow to boot. So by the numbers even with the over sized 14.64 kW of capacity our consumption of over 18 MWh of power was only met with about 11 MWh of generation. However starting April it looks like we will be back to paying the minimum connection fees.

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In the month of January, our coldest month. Our all electric home used just over 4MWh of power with .346 MWh of generation for the entire month. We would need at least 10 times the number of panels at $350,000 or more just to power our home off-gride with just solar on the coldest month of the winter. This does not even include the cost for a large battery bank with charging inverter.

So our CEO Mark Reddemann at Energy Northwest hit it on the nose in the last employee meeting, that renewables such as Solar and Wind are capable of generating energy in sufficient quantities when the environment is just right, but they lack the ability to provide capacity. Especially when it is needed most such as during early mornings, cool nights, and cold snowy winter months.  Instead we rely heavily on what is called baseline power, such as Hydro, Nuclear, Natural Gas, and Coal, that is able to keep our power grid adequately powered 24/7.  Of these Nuclear and Hydro play the biggest role in providing clean power in the Northwest.

Don’t get me wrong, Solar still plays a role, but currently cannot replace of compete with other power sources available for less then half the cost of Wind and Solar. Instead Solar is an alternative energy that will help provide relief to over taxed grids, and with research into better grid transports and energy storage.

Just think about it, bee’s have learned how to harvest and store energy in honey for winter ultimately generated by the sun. Which in turn helps them to generate heat through the winter to survive for the next spring. It does however require them to sacrifice ever minute of their short lives to do so. So looking to the future where maybe someday solar will play a bigger role. For now I’m learning towards advanced nuclear reactors which will reduce if not eliminate the nuclear waste and continue to power my home when the Sun is just not able to reach us.