So I've had my solar panels installed for just over a month now. We've had many sunny days in Melbourne so they've been going gangbusters, and I can't wait to see my next electricity bill (due end of Feb).
I have a 1.52kW system which means in theory that it can produce 1.52kW each hour of operation. However no system is ever 100% efficient and I've read that 80% efficiency is a good rule of thumb. The output will also depend on the number of hours of sunshine, the temperature, the angle that the sun is hitting your panels at, and whether there is any cloud cover or shadow on the panels.
Here are the stats for month 1 (32 days: 16 December - 17 January):
Total export: 251.2kWh
Total operational hours: 415 hours
Average daily export: 7.85kWh
That might all seem a bit useless if you don't understand what a kilowatt (kW) or kilowatt hour (kWh) is.
A kilowatt, or 1,000 watts and is a measure of power. A solar power system is rated according to the number of watts it
can produce under standardised conditions.
A kilowatt hour is a measure of energy. If you ran a 1 kW
electric appliance for one hour, it would use 1 kWh of energy.
Your electricity retailer will bill you at rate per kWh used.
Needless to say I am very happy with the rate of production. We haven't had many cloudy days although there were a few here or there, and we had a major storm on Christmas day which would have affected the output. So overall I think my system is doing great.
At the moment I have yet to sign a solar contract with my retailer (more on that later) which means I am not receiving a Feed in Tariff for excess electricity put back into the grid. However, since I have the old-school spinning disc meter, it actually spins backwards when export > consumption, which is like being on a Standard Feed in Tariff (where the rate per kWh you are paid for the electricity you export is the same as the rate you pay for electricity consumed). I'll go onto a solar contract soon which means I will go onto the Transitional Feed-in Tariff, which ranges from 25-33c/kWh, so if that's higher than the rate I pay for electricity consumed, then I will actually be making a slight profit. I don't expect to receive I 'negative' bill since I have such a small system, but it will definitely help to offset the charges incurred.
I am planning a series of posts about my experience with going solar, and I will so do a regular post showing my monthly stats - I think it will be very interesting to track over the course of the year.