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Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:51 pm
by RegGuheert
Including charging your electric vehicles, is your home a net producer or a net consumer of electricity?

I'll start: We are still net consumers. While we almost never run our air conditioner, we heat with a heat pump in the wintertime and that consumes more than the excess we produce during other months.

So, how about you? Any net producers out there? Do you use fossil fuels for any of the heating tasks in your home?

P.S. I sure wish we could post polls on this forum!

MODERATORS NOTE: Added poll!

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 4:18 pm
by DesertDenizen
I am almost exactly net zero. My all electric home and Leaf are powered by my photo voltaic system. In a hot summer month with monsoons and more driving than normal I will have a $30 electric bill. I am really pleased with my set up.

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 4:38 pm
by SilverLeaf
I am a net consumer of electricity, but just barely.

My PV System (6.9 kW) covers 125% of my on-peak (9 am - 9 pm) and about 40% of my off-peak.

My electricity is so cheap off-peak (about $0.055) that I only put in enough PV to cover on-peak.

The upgrade to the pv system allowed me to charge the LEAF on-peak and run my pool pump on-peak.

All in all, I am very happy with my PV and my LEAF and charging the LEAF is now FREE and CLEAN!!!

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 5:27 pm
by Boomer23
We were net producers of electricity from our 5.16 kW PV system until we got the LEAF, about 2,500 kWh net. Now we're net consumers of about 1,400 kWh per year, though all of that change in consumption occurs between midnight and 6 am, the Super Off Peak hours for our TOU rate plan. Cost-wise, we pay zero for electricity due to TOU rates.

We consume natural gas for heating and water heating, but our cooking is electric.

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2012 7:56 pm
by simpleleaf
Reached a milestone last month, drove the LEAF 500 miles and supplied all my home electrical needs and the utility credited me with $1.24. Home is all electric with a deep well water pump. Solar array is a little over 8000 watts DC with a grid tie inverter system.

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:03 pm
by Stoaty
I am a net consumer: about 300 kWh per month for condo plus Leaf (although I do purchase Green Power from LA DWP). Also, our HOA consumes about 1800 kWh per month running required lights in parking garage and operating the elevator. This works out to about 250 kWh per unit. A few months I had William Korthof retrofit our lights with T5 fluorescents, resulting in a decrease from 2700 kWh per month to 1800. I hope to have the HOA install solar on the roof over the next several years.

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 2:30 pm
by kovalb
We are net consumers. Our 5kW photovoltaic only provides about half our electricity. Our home is large, and being in Phoenix the A/C needs to run most of the year. The solar would have only provided about 40% if we hadn't also upgraded our kitchen appliances to the latest Energy Star, and had a radiant barrier placed under our roof at the time the solar panels were installed. We also use a programmable set back thermostat, CFLs and LEDs wherever possible. My wife even uses a solar clothes dryer, a.k.a. clothes line instead of the electric dryer.

I would have liked to install a higher capacity photovoltaic system, but our utility, SRP, only provided an incentive up to 5kW. That made 5kW the most cost effective for us.

I would love to do more upgrades to improve energy efficiency, but they do not seem cost effective at this time. We have two 10-SEER A/C units, I think they are 2-tons each. Upgrading to a 16-SEER would take a while to pay itself back - but if our 20 year old units ever break I would upgrade then. Our pool pump is already high efficiency, but I see there are now even higher efficiency ones available - at a price. The next time our hot water heater goes out I am going to strongly consider replacing it with a heat pump type - they are very efficient, especially when the garage they are in has an ambient temperature almost equal to the hot water.

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 2:33 pm
by mwalsh
Producer. Well, for at least as long as I only drive into the office 3 days a week. I was pretty retentive about sizing my system to zero out my utility bill with only a very small margin of surplus.

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:13 am
by leafetarian
Since you asked about whether people have to use fossil fuels for heating, I thought of mentioning a citation. The highly recommended free online book "Without Hot Air" suggests that the best option for heating / cooling is using heat pump / air exchanger where the author quotes efficiency of more than 400% vs 80-90% efficiency of fossil fuel heaters.

"Without Hot Air" is really worth reading.

Question:
For the net producers, does your utility send you a check? Specifically, I want to know what it might take to make PG&E in CA to pay net solar producers? It sounds no brainer to me as they have no problem paying polluting coal / gas power plants and nuclear power plants. Why not pay families producing excess solar electricity?

Re: Are you a net producer or consumer of electricity?

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:05 pm
by AndyH
leafetarian wrote:Since you asked about whether people have to use fossil fuels for heating, I thought of mentioning a citation. The highly recommended free online book "Without Hot Air" suggests that the best option for heating / cooling is using heat pump / air exchanger where the author quotes efficiency of more than 400% vs 80-90% efficiency of fossil fuel heaters.
It's not an option unless one desires to be connected to the grid, however. Even heatpumps draw too much power for an off-grid building. It's much better to incorporate as much passive and/or active solar as possible before using some type of fire to add additional heat if needed.

Beware of the author's assumptions. :)