Even more solar!

I suppose we will always be working on our house in some form or another.  We still have lots of little decorating tweaks to do, some rooms still to furnish, wallpaper here or there.  In terms of major things, we are getting down to the last few.

One of which is solar.  We initially added 8Kw of solar on a single roof plane, because we weren’t sure how much usage we would have and we didn’t want to overbuild the solar.  But at the time we first inatalled solar, we also installed additional roof brackets and conduits for more.

Then after a year, it became clear we could handle quite a bit more, with our electricity usage, and we also got an electric car, and installed a pool.  So we installed another 6.4 Kw of solar.

And we still weren’t quite producing as much as we were using, so this year we installed another 4Kw, putting panels wherever we could.

You can see the new panels are considerably cleaner than the older ones.  Not to self to get up there with the softened water to wash them all off.  That mostly maxes out our solar potential, mostly because we can’t add any more without up-sizing our two existing inverters.  But I don’t think we will need more than that.  With some efficient time use of electricity, we should do pretty well.

We didn’t stop there however.  We also installed some solar water panels for our pool.

This involved digging about a 50 or 60 foot trench to get the water between the panels and the pump.

The pool solar panels took the pool from 70 degrees all the way to 86 in a week, in mid April.  Pool season is here!

So far we’ve hit a high of 89 with just the solar panels.  The temp has dropped a bit in the last two weeks as we are experiencing some of our towns infamous “May Grey” in which the sky is overcast for most of the day.  This also about cuts our solar electric production by 30-50%.

Overall, I am pretty happy with what we’ve done with our house resource wise.

  • We produce most of our own electricity
  • We rarely have to run AC at all.  Instead we usually just open some windows at night to cool the house down, and the well insulated house stays cool most of the day.
  • Our pool heats itself, and the pumps run on solar electricity.
  • Our Electric car runs off of solar electricity
  • In the wetter months, our water bill reduced by about 1/3, which means that we aren’t really using a huge amount of water on our landscaping.  This is thanks mostly to subterranean irrigation.
  • We now have a Flume water meter monitor, so we can tell exactly how many gallons we are using at any time of the day, and attribute our water usage to a specific activity, to help us figure out more ways to conserve.
  • We always have the fact that our grey water is plumbed separately in our tool belt. At some point we can start recovering our grey water and use it for landscape irrigation.
  • We grow our own vegetables and get our eggs from our chickens.  I can’t wait until our fruit and avocado trees are producing.

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