Double The Solar = Net Zero House

We more than doubled the size of our solar power system in December and the new system got connected to the grid a few weeks ago. The new system consists of 29 325 Watt (9425 W total) Solarworld Bisun panels with SolarEdge optimizers connected to a 10kW SolarEdge inverter.

This increases the total size of our solar power system from 6930 W to 16355 W. My estimate of power production is approximately a little more than double even though the new system is a lot bigger than the old one. To fit the system we covered non-optimal locations on the roof and also mounted 8 of the panels as an awning on our deck. We specifically picked the Bisun panels because they let some light through.

Solar Awning

Along with installing this system we also added monitoring to our old system. So now I can easily check the status of the production online making it a lot easier to update the status on my solar production tracker.

The old system produced approximately 55% of our power consumption and now I expect both the systems together to produce over 100% of our energy usage. We also do most of our driving in an electric car – our Nissan Leaf and my hope is that by the end of the decade we go all electric and the goal is to still be net zero.

Considering the bifacial panels, the structure on the deck, optimizers and panel placement, this system was a lot more expensive with a much longer payback period. The new system was also installed by Genesis Home and Energy, thanks to Randy at Genesis being the only one who could find affordable bifacial solar panels. This system cost about $3/W before federal rebate (not counting the deck structure and monitoring for the existing system to make comparison with the old system fair). This equates to about $2.10/W after federal rebate. However the payoff period (not counting tax benefits of the Dominion Solar Purchase program) is somewhere between 15 and 20 years compared to the old system which I now estimate to be less than 10 years. Of course, I’ll keep track and keep the production tracker updated.

The structure on the deck was built by a contractor from our neighborhood – Armando Vasquez.

Stay tuned for more details and photos of the entire system.

2016 Full Year Solar Production

Happy New Year! In 2016, my solar system produced 8328 kWh. The cumulative total so far is 23948 kWh. Visit my solar production tracker page for more details.

Since it takes about 1 lb of coal or 10 cu ft of natural gas per kWh of power, so far my production has offset nearly 24,000 lb of coal or 240,000 cu ft of natural gas. 240,000 cu ft is about the volume of a dozen houses.

I’m on the Dominion Solar Purchase program, which surprisingly still has room! My production so far with the 15c/kWh from Dominion amounts to nearly $3575 in earnings.

We are also doubling our solar array. More info soon.

My Articles at Seeking Alpha in the Last Month

Over Thanksgiving weekend I was busy writing articles at Seeking Alpha and submitted three of them. I missed being called names and arguing with random folks online. Here are some highlights:

State Of The Top 4 Solar Module Makers

Attack Of The Tesla Killers?

Hats off to the editor that came up with that title instead of my boring one. The first comment on the article:

Great article Siddharth. Posters will be coming out in droves to call you names.

And they did come out in droves and did not disappoint in their criticism.

Tesla’s Rapidly Growing Market Share In The U.S.

Commenters came out in droves for this one too!