You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2008.

On July 18, 2007, our home solar system of nine 170-watt solar panels and a Sunny Boy inverter was fired up.

About one year later, the system has generated a total of 2,130 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Taking away 10 days because of a power outage this winter, that translates to an average of 5.96 kilowatt-hours every day.

We’re very happy with the performance of the system, as it’s generating about 90 percent of our power. We might add more panels in the future to get us to the 100 percent mark, but we’ll probably first take steps to reduce our power consumption more, including adding insulation to our attic. It’s already insulated up there, but it probably could use more.

Since climate control is our big power-sucker, especially in the summertime, it only makes sense to cocoon the house from the outside elements.


Recently, something happened that we’d always dreamed of when we first installed our solar-power system in July 2007 — we generated more power than we used.

I had a hunch it might happen in April or May. Those were the days in which we saw a lot of intense sun but mild temperatures — perfect conditions for solar-power generation. In fact, one day in early May, we generated an all-time high of 10.02 kilowatt-hours of electricity, and there were several other days of 9 KWH and higher.

According to our AEP-PSO bill, the meter reading on April 25 was 89377. On May 27, the meter reading was 89354. (Remember, this is the utility doing the reading, not us.) That meant the solar array was generating so much juice that month that the meter turned backwards to the tune of 23 KWH.

I always wondered what that would do to utility bill. The residential service total was $13.95, but the actual amount due was $12.64. AEP-PSO credited us $1.31 for the power the power we provided to them.

After seeing their KWH totals go lower instead of higher, it wouldn’t surprise me if AEP-PSO repairmen come out for a third time to replace the meter. It’s not like that hasn’t happened before.

Apologies for the long delay between posts. Things have been pretty crazy here at the House of the Lifted Lorax this summer, with a lot of travel and a lot of projects to complete.

Our big sustainability news this spring was the addition of three new beehives — one in the backyard and two at organic farms near Bristow.

It’s been a great season for honey, with lots of rain and lots of plants blooming for our girls to work, so we decided to do an early harvest from our biggest hive to make room for some new Bee-O-Pac frames, which are a type of plastic packaging that you install right in the hive to allow for easier collection of comb honey.

We bought an inexpensive plastic extractor and put 10 frames through it this week, ending up with about 30 pounds of honey. I brought the camera along, and we made a digital video of our project, which I posted to YouTube and also turned into a Podcast.

I’m hoping to do more Podcasts about our sustainability efforts in the future, so check back often or subscribe here.