Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Excited about an electricity bill....seriously!

I've been waiting with bated breadth for my electricity bill - not because I'm dreading it, but because I hadn't yet received one since having my solar panels installed in December 2011.

Today was the day!! Never have I been so nervous to open a bill - to see whether all the money and hassle paid off.

A few notes...

  • The bill is for 17 Nov 2011 - 14 Feb 2012. I had my panels installed in 16 December so there was electricity being produced for two of the three months
  • I hadn't yet had a bi-directional meter installed, so there is no calculation of how much electricity the panels produced except the readings I take from my inverter, on the 17th of every month, if I remember! Also, technically I am not getting paid for electricity I produce - the meter was spinning backwards when there was electricity being fed back into the grid, which is equivalent of a Standard Feed-in Tariff (more on that soon).

My Nov 2010-Feb 2011 bill was $207, and my Nov 2011-Feb 2012 bill was $67! Note that the $207 bill included a $35 re-energisation fee which I think is just the connection fee - it was my first bill. So not counting that one-off fee, that's a saving of $105 or 61%.

I had my bi-directional meter installed at the end of February, and my solar panels were switched off for three weeks whilst the meter was being programmed. The bi-directional smart meter replaced my old two-rate peak and off-peak meter. The off-peak meter was only connected to my electric hot water system, which used as many kWh as all my other electricity usage combined, on a typical bill.

For the three weeks that the bi-directional meter was not fully programmed (to Time-of-Use metering), my electricity usage for heating water was being charged at peak rates, as there was only one meter.

I'll explain the whole meter story in another post, should I ever get around to it! (I have three draft posts err...drafted... to explain my solar experience...)

Anyway, that's part of the reason why I didn't do a monthly solar stats post for March - my system was off at the time so I couldn't check the stats...I will do one in April and will just have to factor in the three weeks it was off.

Now that the weather is changing and we have less sunny days and less hours in the day, the electricity production will reduce, but I still expect there will be a decent effect on my winter bill, especially as it was extremely high last year.