Solar Savings: An Update
Tim Knapp, Junior Warden
Our 60 panel (285watt/panel) solar system that was installed in September 2016 is performing as designed. The size was specified to eliminate the main electrical operating expense for Good Shepherd, and that is exactly what happened in 2017. We “true up” with PG&E once a year and have to pay them if our system’s performance does not equal our electrical usage. In September of 2017 we owed nothing ... that’s zip, zero, nada. And this year it looks like the same is going to happen. When we “true up” this September we will not owe anything. Our usage has actually dropped over the past 12 months and the solar production has been the same, so we have some “extra” energy that could be used for heat to reduce our gas furnace expenses in the future.
We are leasing our solar system (no out of pocket expenses to install the system) and set the monthly payment equal to what we had been paying PG&E.
So, the net result is no change in our electrical costs for 10 years and then free electricity for 15+ years after the lease has been paid off. Since October 2016 our solar systems has produced 55,050 kWh of electricity.
PG&E creates .524 lbs of CO2 to produce 1kWh. Doing the math says that our solar system has prevented 14.42 tons of CO2 from going into the atmosphere by creating clean energy rather than buying it from PG&E.
On another note, PG&E is a very clean utility and doesn’t use coal to produce electricity. If they used coal, as in many areas, they would create 2 lbs. of CO2 per kWh.
Chalk one up for the good guys!