I had chance to pull the stats from the solar panels I installed in mid-January 2015  (more details here) – and there is some good news and bad news.

  1.  The good news:  My total power production for the year (from mid-January on)   was 4005.5 kilowatts.  We had a pretty optimal year for solar – lots of sunny days in the summer long days, and a rainy winter when solar production is pretty much a non-issue.   My solar contractor who installed the system gave me a solar power production prediction before the install, and they estimated first year power production of 3886 kilowatts – which I beat by 3.1%.  So they were pretty darn accurate.
  2. The bad news:  Solar power incentives will be dropping in 2016.  Much of my payback analysis was based on the Washington State incentive structure providing 54 cents per kilowatt – the projected 2016 incentives as shown here  show a much lower incentive rate.  This will stretch out my payback – and it will be interesting to see what impact this will have for the expansion of solar in the Northwest.  At the predicted incentive rates, new installations would have a much increased payback period.  Having said that, I don’t regret the decision.  Much of the cost of the system install was for the production meter installation – setting me up for future expansion of panels or replacement of existing panels with more efficient ones.  I still envision the day when panels will be low cost, but the cost of retrofitting houses to produce power will not be going down.

If you are planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest – further proof that summer is the time to visit.  Surprisingly, we had a nice June in 2015 – combine that with the summer solstice and June was my best month for Production:


Day Kilowatts
06/16/2015 25.4
06/20/2015 24.88
05/30/2015 24.86
06/13/2015 24.60
06/23/2015 24.44
06/17/2015 24.31
06/11/2015 24.14
06/14/2015 24.11
06/10/2015 24.06
06/22/2015 24.00

I would of expected some July days to be in there in normal years – but we had an exceptionally nice June.  As far as my worst days – December 2015 was the 2nd rainiest month in Seattle history, and my numbers reflect that:

Day Kilowatts
12/07/2015 0.29
12/08/2015 0.35
12/05/2015 0.44
12/12/2015 0.48
12/21/2015 0.49
01/17/2015 0.70
12/27/2015 0.72
01/23/2015 0.73
12/03/2015 0.75
12/17/2015 0.90

To be fair I do have some tree issues which greatly reduce my production in winter – but if you are planning on visiting in December you can likely leave the sunscreen at home (My top power day in December was 3.55 kilowatts on 12/31).

My total power consumption for the year was 8055 kilowatts, so I produced approximately 50% of the electricity I used for the year.  I will be watching this trend over the years- in theory as lighting gets more efficient and panels get more efficient – I should be able to raise that percentage.

So my first year is in the books and I consider it a moderate success.  If you are planning on a solar install in the Pacific Northwest – and have any questions or comments – please feel free to add a comment below.

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