That’s all folks. 2020 is in the bag—finally—and we can hope for a better year in 2021.
This is what my solar system’s production looked like for the month:
Mediocre is the best word that I can use to describe this month’s production. Things were not helped by a pair of snowstorms that left the panels fairly well covered for a few days. You can really see the impact in the middle of the month when production went into a nosedive.
For the month, my household was “in the red” ~396 kWh. Not great, but decent considering we spent the final two weeks of the month almost entirely at home save for a single day of skiing at Sundown Mountain.
For the year, my household was “in the black” ~1,040 kWh. Given the major lifestyle changes due to the coronavirus this is pretty good. There is very little “leakage” anymore in terms of electricity usage being diverted to someone else’s account. Namely, my employer. With four people at home almost every day, all meals cooked at home, and most of our miles being driven in an EV we still needed less than 24 solar panels to end the year net positive in terms of electricity usage.
This figure gets even better when you consider the time lost in August due to the derecho, September due to repairs stemming from the derecho, and the slow activation of my solar system addition in January. We will see what 2021 brings.
In terms of EV numbers, we drove ~431 miles at an average efficiency of 4.8 miles per kWh. Efficiency suffered this month toward the tail end because of the snow, cold temperature, and carrying four people around in the Nissan Leaf. With four people in the car the windows start to fog up almost instantly and you are forced to run the resistive heater. If there was ever an argument for a heat pump it has to be watching what running a resistive heater does to your EV’s range and efficiency.
For the year, we drove just under 6,050 miles in the Nissan Leaf. This represents a nearly 25% decline from the prior year, but the story is more complex then that. In June we sold my wife’s idle Subaru Outback. Since that time the Leaf has been our primary mode of transportation outside of a few longer trips in my truck. Even with the focus on the Leaf as a daily driver we drove fewer miles than the prior year. I guess there is at least one good thing to come out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Overall, driving the Nissan Leaf resulted in avoiding just under 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions assuming that I pulled all of the electricity from the grid at an average carbon intensity for my region. The savings are actually higher since I tried to time recharging with when my solar array was pumping out extra electrons. Another benefit of being home all of the time.