Jan 6th, 2024
December is generally the worst month for generation of solar electricity. This is not only because of the generally pretty appalling weather that we get around here, but specifically because the very short days and the angle of the sun mean that the solar panels are not getting any direct light for any substantial amount of time.
As you can see from the diagrams, we have made precious all in the previous month and in fact you can even see the amount getting smaller and smaller as we move towards the shortest day of the year (this year it was in fact the 22nd of December and not the 21st as it usually is).
If we were entirely reliant on solar we would be freezing cold all the time as we would have to conserve what free supplies we have in our battery to ensure that the LPG central heating could still be fired up. So even with our very large and very expensive installation, reliance on solar would not be feasible here and therefore self-sufficiency would not be possible. Of course it would be possible to add some additional renewables such as wind power to the mix and this could perhaps enable us to lead an entirely grid free lifestyle. However, apart from making some kind of social or political point there really is no sane reason for doing this as it would be prohibitively expensive and not guaranteed to work. Of course in our particular and rather unusual circumstances, we could have had unlimited power all year round from our friend the Donich, but putting in a micro hydro system would have been even more expensive than the solar and as the commercial hydro is already there, I doubt we would have got planning permission for a second install on the same river.
But looking on the bright side, the year is now turning and we can expect that by the beginning of March the sun will be clearing the mountains properly again and we can look to not paying any more electricity bills until the end of October.
Last year in total we made about 11 Mega Watt hours and use slightly less than this, so in total we were in green credit with the bank. Not that I really worry about things like that anyway.