Sunday, 1 January 2012

Our first quarter

The end of the year meant that it was time to submit our first quarterly meter reading to our electricity supplier and then wait for our first payment to arrive. This is where the system finally starts to pay us back in a tangible way, the meter reading on the 31 December was 679 units which should work out at just over £300. The website said rather gloomily that payments may take up to 65 working days, if that is true then we may well be submitting our next reading before getting paid for this one. I will post an update when payment arrives and I can say how long they actually took, reports of other suppliers taking months and needing to be chased doesn't bode well.

The other part of the equation that we are currently missing is how much of our own electricity have we been able to use as this will result in savings on our bill. There is an assumption by our supplier that we will use 50% and export 50% but this seems hard to believe. When the sun is out the system generates something between 1 and 3 kW during the day. The household devices that are always on like the fridge etc. only consume a total of 200-300W so unless we are running the dishwasher, laundry, vacuum cleaner or other high power devices we are only likely to be consuming 10-25%. I have am going to compare the electricity usage this year with the previous two or three years and see how much less we are using and try and calculate the savings. This will probably take a full years worth of reading before we will get a clear picture.

Another thing worth exploring is getting an export meter installed by our supplier. This will not only tell us how much electricity we export but also allow us to calculate exactly how much we have used. I am guessing that we will probably export something like 70% or more so it would enable us to get paid for anything more than the 50% estimate. It only comes to 3p a unit but it would still be nice to have.

We are now looking forward to 2012 and the longer days of spring, its going to be very interesting to see just how well the system does in prime months from April to September when it should really start to pay us back.

A happy 2012 to everyone.

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