Nine years of solar panels

This month marks nine years since we plugged our solar panels into the grid and started generating power. Each year I like to look back at how much we’ve earned and compare our results to previous years.

Solar panels

Here is this year’s solar report.

If you need to get caught up, here are all of the previous updates and other details:

I had hoped that in this update I’d be able to say we had made as much money as the panels cost to install ($40,727.46). We are oh so close. Literally 99% of the way there. We have just $523.60 left. (To be clear, we paid for the panels in full when we had them installed. I just like to use this calculation to gauge our earnings over time.)

This past year the panels generated $3,873.00 in total. (We’re hooked into the grid, and the province pays us $0.396 per kWh). This is our lowest income yet, aside from 2014-15, which was a partial year as the panels were just getting going. The decrease is partially due to an accounting change I made two years ago, which removed HST from our payments. It could also be due to the panels gradually not producing as much as they age. Or a less sunny year.

Regardless, we made more than what we consumed. We spent $2,786.05 on electricity over the same time period, giving us a profit of just over $1,000.

Over the next couple of months, we will finally pay off the panels, and then I will be looking ahead to the rest of our 20 year contract.

My ultimate goal is to disconnect from the grid and have our panels generate our own power. Though we would likely need to upgrade our panels for that. Technology continues to advance, and I’m sure there are much better options available today than there were nine years ago. While I like that the panels are an income source for us, I like the idea of self-sufficiency and clean power more.

Regardless, every year when I do this analysis, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and the choice that we made to go solar. It’s something that we can build on and grow for the future.

Does anyone else track their utility bills and compare each year? How are you “going green” at your house?

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