Our 16 solar panels are producing energy, albeit haltingly since we've had so many cloudy days recently. It is the rainy season in Hawaii. Still, we saw a marked difference in the size of our last electric bill. The panels produce the least amount of energy in the winter. We're expecting even more energy production in the summer with the longer days.
Art is about as excited about the panels as I've seen him when he's gotten a new car every 10-15 years. He's going out two or three times a day to check the HECO (Hawaiian Electric Company) meter and then he's checking the on-line motoring system that we have free for a year. The on-line site tells us how much energy each panel is producing, how much energy we produce in a day, week, month, lifetime.
This chart tells us how much of our carbon footprint we are reducing and how much energy we have offset so far since we've installed the panels. We have so far offset the use of 2,452 light bulbs and 809 computers for one day. Not bad.
Funny thing though, Art is even more conscious of how much energy we are using. He's encouraging us to wait for a sunny day to do the laundry, turn off the lights and computer when they're not in use, reduce baking, try not to use the air conditioner, etc. I wanted to become an energy hog once we had the panels up. Sigh... I guess that's not going to happen yet. We'll have to wait until we've had the panels for a year (hopefully, the long, sunny summer days will add a lot more energy to our annual solar bank account) to see how much of a hog I can be.
And by the way: I just heard in the news that people are complaining that the CFL bulbs are burning out faster than the 7 years it promises to last. I thought we were the only ones with defective bulbs. Ours died out in a year or less! It's crazy! They said it dies faster if you turn your lights on and off a lot.