Archive for the ‘Solar Power’ Category


Paying for Power by the Hour

April 4, 2013

It must have been about 5 years ago that I signed us up for Ameren Illinois’s Power Smart Pricing.  Power Smart Pricing allows us to pay the going rate for electricity for that hour when we are using the power, rather than paying the going price for the day regardless of when we are using it.  In other words, some hours the price of power is lower than the daily price and some hours it is higher.  If I use electricity only during the high priced times and I pay the hourly rate then I’m going to be paying more than my neighbor.  But if I use electricity primarily during the low cost periods than I’m going to come in on the cheap side.

About 2 years ago I wrote about our annual power smart summary; well, it’s that time of the year again. 

The average Power Smart Pricing participant used 13,146 kWh, and saved $261.77; that was 35% of what they would have paid. Not too shoddy. I’ll admit, however, to feeling a bit smug. We used 5724 kWh over the course of the year, about 44% of the average participant’s usage.  The smallest amount was 282 kWh in April and the most was 946 in July.  Overall, we saved $259.35 over the retail price for a 79.7% savings.  Holy Toledo!  nearly 80% savings over what we would have paid at the typical rate!

Not only are we doing considerably better than the average program participant, we’re doing better than we did 2 years ago.  In 2010 we used 7191 kWh and saved only 18% – not bad, but nothing compared to 79%

Solar PanelsSo how are we doing it? We had Energy Star appliances and CFLs in 2010, plus we were very conscientious about  running the dishwasher, washing machine, and AC primarily at night.  The big difference is our solar panels.   The solar panels are generating power during the most expensive part of the day, and in the summer that can make a big difference.  Between careful consideration of when we use our energy-hungry appliances and generating electricity for our own use during the high priced hours, we are saving a pretty penny.


Solar System update–another milestone met

February 6, 2011

Given that it’s winter and the sun, when it’s out, is very low in the sky, it is encouraging to see that the solar panels are squeeze out some electricity.  And yesterday we hit my latest goal – 500 pounds of carbon that we did not put into the atmosphere!

feb 5 2011  - 1Here are the outputs displays from the two sets of panels.  Grand Total: 507.3 lbs!  We have saved the weight of our family in carbon emissions.  more carbon saved as of Feb 5, 2011

I don’t remember how much that is in kilowatt hours – a goodly number.  Next update I’ll provide that too.



After a quick consultation with my husband we have decided that the next milestone to meet is 1730 lbs.  That is our estimation of the weight of the entire household, including pets  (4 llamas and 3 cats).  We aren’t counting the bees.


My Weight in Carbon

December 23, 2010

Well, that didn’t take long – I have saved my weight in carbon – actually more than my weight – I’ve saved over 150 lbs of carbon by generating electricity with the solar panels. 

Next goal, the weight of my family – I estimate about 500 lbs.