Dec 21, 2015

HURAH! Winter Solstice arrives again.

Today is the day when we get the least solar energy of the year. I managed to get 8 kwh from my 6 kw system so basically you could say I had 1.2 hours of sunlight. In reality I started making electricity at 10 am and stopped at 4 pm. There were 6 hours of sunlight. Another reason why I don't make much electricity at this time of year is the angle of my solar panels. My panels are laying flat on my 4/12  roof (66 degrees off vertical) In an ideal world my panels should be only 10 degrees off vertical because I live at 56 degrees north. If solar panels cost more than one dollar per watt I might get the incentive to make the panels more perpendicular to the Sun. Losing 50% electricity production seems easier to me than building the infrastructure needed to keep the panels from blowing away. 10 years ago we got an 100 km/h wind that stripped the asphalt shingles off this roof. So December and January are the 2 months that I can barely bring in 100 kwh.
     Our newly elected NDP government says we need to have 30% of our electricity generated from renewable resources by 2030 (right now we are at 9%) Currently only 1104+ households in Alberta have a grid-tie solar system and right now 10% is coming from wind and 0% from solar. Most rooftop solar systems, even though they are grid-tied, use their electricity on site. In Alberta the distribution and transmission fees cost 60% of your total electrical bill. So even though we can buy electricity for 7 cents / kwh by the time we get it to our door it costs us 18 cents / kwh. I for one am hoping that the Tesla powerwall makes rooftop solar financially more feasible for Albertans. Not having to pay for power line losses (5%) and other infrastructure costs will help Albertans be more green.