Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Solar energy summary

As I mentioned previously, we recently had a 2 kilowatt photovoltaic solar power system installed on the NW-facing roof of our house. Below is plotted the daily household use and solar generation for the first two weeks or so after we turned it on:

I should point out that we have a family of 4 living in a typical Canberra "ex-govvie" house, which has been extended to a still-modest size of ~145 square meters of single story, basement-free living space.

I would also like to point out that in the southern hemisphere, November is late spring, with lots of daylight- all that sunshine that the NH readers don't have right now.

There are a few interesting points here. Firstly, the increase in usage around day 11 for several days is a result of several days of stormy weather, which led us to use the electric dryer instead of the clothes line. Evidently the clothesline is worth about 2-3 kWh of power- a substantial portion of our usage.

Thanksgiving Dinner stands out like a sore thumb, with double the power usage. I was surprized at this, because I have a gas oven. However, the glowplug that keeps the flames lit obviously consumes a lot of power. I will keep my eyes open for a electricity-efficient gas fired oven when the time for replacement comes.

I also noticed that running high temperature dishwasher loads eats a lot of power as well. Does anyone else have any handy power saving tips? I'll use the most obvious one, and go to bed inst3ead of surfing the web. Good night.


Schenck said...

Interesting results. Does your dishwasher have a heating element? I've read that you can let the tap near the washer run on hot for a minute (to let the hot water hit the tap) and then start the dishwasher, in order to make sure that the water temp in the washer is at it's highest.

I suppose you'd want to use the 'delay' timer if available so that it runs a high noon too.

Chuck said...

Hi Schenck,
The solar is gross feed-in, so it feeds into the grid on a separate line without going through the house. So when I run the dishwasher is irrelevant.

Gopal Nigotiya said...
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