November was an ugly month for solar photovoltaic production:
Why? My system was disconnected and shut down due to a planned upgrade. The guys from Moxie Solar installed an additional 8 panels and the attendant “balance of system” components like a new grid tie inverter. The 8 additional panels represent an approximate 62% increase in nameplate capacity for my system. Given the orientation and installation location are virtually the same as the previous 16 panels I expect to see an approximate 62% increase in solar production once the array is powered up.
This has to be one of the most frustrating parts of a solar installation. The rooftop install and other system components were done in a little more than a working day. The city inspection was done in about fifteen minutes and done a few days after installation. The permission to operate and the simple act of flipping the switch? I am still waiting.
See most of those zero production days in the last week of November? That is the cost of waiting for someone to come over from the electric utility and watch a person from the solar installer flip a switch. It is like a bad anecdote about union rules from the 1980s. Soon…the switch will be flipped soon.
This might also be the last month for a while where I seen an average of over 5 miles per kilowatt hour in my Nissan Leaf. For the month I drove a total of 619 miles that used 123.8 kWh of electricity at an average efficiency of 5.0 miles per kWh. At an average carbon intensity, I avoided emitting ~702 pounds of CO2.
What November really taught me is that cold weather kind of sucks for an EV. My particular Nissan Leaf is not equipped with the heat pump, so it relies on a resistive heater to provide any level of defrost in cold weather. Most of the time my trips are short enough that I just deal with a cold cabin while the heated seat and steering wheel keep me cozy. Put three passengers in the car and the windows start to fog up pretty quick with hot breath. There is nothing so dispiriting as watching the guess-o-meter drop by 30% or more when you turn on the heat.
It is not enough to dissuade me from recommending an EV in general or an older Nissan Leaf in particular. There is something to be said for taking advantage of a market dynamic like extreme depreciation. You can have your Tesla Model 3. I will take my solar panels, Nissan Leaf, and decarbonized home to the bank every day.