Archive for April, 2015

First quarter 2015 performance

Q1 2015 summary: 7% cooler, 2% more usage and 14% less sun as compared to Q1 2014.

This is part of our quarterly home performance reporting. All data is posted at

Although it seemed a lot colder this winter, it was really only 7% cooler than first quarter 2014. And considering there were many nights much colder than last year, -16°F versus -8°F last year, we only used 2% more energy. The biggest difference was snow cover, specifically the snow that covered our solar panels. This resulted in 14% less energy generated this quarter compared to last year, which means we netted out using 21% more energy from the power company.

Overall, here’s how this quarter compared to 2014.

Chart showing usage, solar, net and hdd for Q1 2015

2014 Usage Solar PV Net usage
or (surplus)
daily usage
Total 3,157 1,726 1,431 35.1 3,724
Jan 1,103 472 631 35.6 1,380
Feb 994 511 483 35.5 1,174
1,060 743 317 34.2 1,170
2015 Usage Solar PV Net usage
or (surplus)
daily usage
Total 3,214 1,488 1,726 35.7 3,975
Jan 1,163 400 763 37.5 1,419
Feb 1,096 300 796 35.4 1,449
Mar 955 788 167 30.8 1,107
All values in kWh (except HDD which is base 65°F).

We also used the heat pump a bit different this year. In prior years I set the heat lower at night. But with many nights in the single digits this year, I just left the thermostat set at 68°F for the last three months. The result was a 13% increase in usage compared to Q1 2014. In total, the ASHP used 1,528 kWh in Q1, a price of $230. Still not too bad considering what most folks payed to heat their homes in our area the last 3 months.

If we subtract heating from total usage for the quarter, our usage was actually down 124 kWh this quarter. So the main difference in usage this year was heating energy. Usually we’ve turned the heat off by this time of year, but Winter has refused to release it’s icy grip on the region.

Our water usage is down 6% from Q3 2012. The water line to the barn froze in mid-February, so we’ve been carrying buckets of water down from the house. I’m sure that has had an affect on our water usage.

We’re looking forward to Spring!

You can see heat maps and detailed charts of temperature and electrical usage at View hourly, daily and monthly values for solar, usage, net usage, circuit-level usage, temperatures and HDD.

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