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David A's Solar Power

Since electic rates continue to rise and recent years have seen brownouts, many Californians have installed some solar panels to reduce our costs and to aid everyone by providing extra power when it's most needed: during hot sunny days.

See also water use

Over 230,000 homes in California have solar panels generating electricity.

According to a February 2015 Washington Post, investment by individuals and companies in US Solar/Wind energy production was 389 billion dollars over the years 2007-2014.

SunRun installed our solar plant. Sunrun seemed a little...disorganized during 2015. We don't expect to need any service for 10-13 years, so lets hope they fix their internal issues.

We have twenty eight panels installed. Eighteen facing slightly south of directly west, Ten facing slightly east of directly south.

We watch our power use and generation using The Energy Detective TED 5000 inductive couplers and the associated gateway device which provides a web server on our home network with all the power data.

alert: TED5000 discontinued and the gateway interface device seems be malfunctioning as of October 30, 2017. Since TED5000 is long out of production I ordered TED Pro: once that arrives I'll update this page.

TED can produce nice reports with just your browser on your home network, but I added my own software to make my own reports and to ensure the data is all captured on my systems (not relying on the wall-wart from TED to keep the historic data safe).

From examination of SunRun's historical data we were generating a maximum of about 20KwH per day in the summer of 2014 with the 18 panels installed then.

On a sunny day we generally generate 37 KwH. Here are some of the 5 highest recorded Kwh generation days so far. Five pine trees died in 2016 (two more died in 2017) and one eucalyptus was dangerously large. Getting rid of those trees has lead to generating over 40KwH in one day.

Generation high
2017-06-10 42.513
2016-07-16 41.847
2017-06-28 41.206
2017-06-30 40.854
2017-05-24 40.699

For the month of July 2017
a total of 1157 KwH generated.

Here are some low recorded Kwh generation days.

Generation low
2014-12-11 0.588
2017-01-08 0.841
2014-12-02 1.361
2017-01-10 1.872
2017-01-18 1.948
2014-10-13 2.091

Most of the 2014-2015 winter was just above 500Kwh per month.

Global Warming is having a marked local effect in our microclimate. We installed a Rasberry Pi B+ computer and some DS18B20 temperature sensors August 30, 2017 (combined with some software I wrote) to track local temperatures. The DS18B20 sensor is remarkably easy to use when combined with the drivers provided in the Raspbian OS.

outside highs(F) and lows(F) by day
05-10 05-11 05-12 05-13 05-14 05-15 05-16 05-17 05-18 05-19 05-20 
   73    82    75    73    70    74    73    69    68    66    64 
   52    50    55    54    53    54    52    54    54    53    53 

Solar Electricity Generation. As recorded by TED5000

Electricity use. As recorded by TED Pro Home
Daily generation:
   date       kwh
2018-05-20   12.449
2018-05-19   23.313
2018-05-18   23.557
2018-05-17   27.447
2018-05-16   30.777
2018-05-15   33.898
2018-05-14   36.474
2018-05-13   39.229
2018-05-12   38.664
2018-05-11   37.490
2018-05-10   38.117
2018-05-09   34.945
2018-05-08   37.373
2018-05-07   37.059
2018-05-06   33.312
2018-05-05   25.814
2018-05-04   38.107
2018-05-03   31.343
2018-05-02   39.519
2018-05-01   39.345
2018-04-30   35.398
2018-04-29   34.876
2018-04-28   21.955
2018-04-27   37.902
2018-04-26   40.910
2018-04-25   39.041
2018-04-24   39.915
2018-04-23   38.438
2018-04-22   37.205
2018-04-21   37.809
2018-04-20   39.012
2018-04-19   40.027