My home solar electric panels were officially connected to the grid (Consumers Energy) December 19, 2009. The snow did not clear off the panels until March 2010 when power generation began. The rated capacity of the panels is 2.45 kilowatts. My panels are on an East facing roof with shade trees to the West, so the panels operate at about 80% of ideal.
For the year 2010:
Over 2,300 kW hours generated
1988 kW hours predicted
Over $1,400 paid by Consumers Energy
Payback in less than 10 years at this rate
Equivalent to more than two tons of CO2 reductions(@1.7lb CO2/kW-hr)
About 40% of my annual household electric power use was supplied by my solar panels.
On a monthly basis the power generated looks like this:
You can tell I had a sunny spring and a rainy June!
The next chart compares the power generated with the power used by my house. I multiplied the power used by .4 to normalize it against the annual power generated by my solar panels. If I wanted to generate the same amount of power I used during the year, I would need to have 6 kilowatts of solar panels instead of the 2.45 kilowatts I have now.
Blue bars are generation, gray bars are power use. You can see that I took my vacation in the August use reading. The drop in use reflects less air conditioning needed while I am out of the house.