The first thing that people ask when I tell them that we installed a solar array on our house is: “how much did it reduce your electric bills?” Now that I’ve had a full year of utility bills, I’m going to lay out how much we’re paying now versus our historical electric bills.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of different factors at play, but there’s no doubting that the savings are substantial in spite of different weather, usage and billing rates. So let’s get to the numbers!
From August 2012 through July 2013 (my billing cycle runs from the 20th of the month), my total electric bill was $1614. Keep in mind that our house runs mostly on heat pumps, so that also includes much of my heating bill. We also have a pool, hot tub, second fridge, and freezer – we’re not living a super low-impact lifestyle, as much as I’d like to. But what we do have is all very efficient at what it does.
How do past years compare?
- 2013: $1,614
- 2012: $2,792
- 2011: $2,388
- 2010: $2,662
- 2009: $2,330
- 2008: $2,549
- 2007: $2,654
Average of non-solar years: $2,562
Saving in first year: $948
We also made a few dollars in SRECs (solar renewable energy credits) bringing the total to just around $1,000.
The cost of our solar array, including state credits, was about $13,000, so the system has a “simple payback” of about 13 years. Keep in mind that this is an overly simplistic analysis, but it’s close enough. You’d have to compare costs in your own state for a fair analysis.
In a later post, I’ll delve into these numbers more rigorously, showing my actual consumption and total kilowatt hours produced and our electric rates, but for now, solar is working and it’s saving me about $1,000/year in electric bills.