Monday, September 07, 2009

Electricity Update

It has been close to 2 months now since our solar electricity system was installed and despite a lot of cloudy days last month it seems to be working fine. Because we have a monitor which shows us exactly how much electricity we are making, using and selling at any one time it makes us a little more conscious of how many lights we have on etc. and has even led us to change our habits a little. In order to take advantage of the night rate (that ends at 8am) we try to have the washing finished before then and I have also discovered that the vacuum cleaner uses as much electricity as the entire house does (fridge, freezer, lights etc.) and therefore try to get the vacuuming done before 8am too (okay - so I did it today for the first time, but it is a good theory!). The other day we got our first electricity bill since the system was installed and... until now our average monthly bill has been around 12,000 yen. This month it was 1,000 yen. Not too bad considering it was cloudy! Of course from now the days get shorter and therefore the amount of electricity we can produce reduces, but at the same time the price which the electricity company will pay for any excess electricity we produce will also double from November so it may all work out in the end. I guess we need to wait for a whole year cycle to see whether it is worth it or not, but so far I give it the thumbs up! I seem to be the most interested in the data and take great pride in seeing that we have saved 1.1 trees etc.
In other news we let the chickens out again this evening and they had a great time wandering and chomping again. Katy - our chickens are so clever that they all just go back in to their house by themselves when the sun starts to go down.... we've got them trained well!


  1. I'm very interested in solar panels! Our roof is facing the sunny way and could host a lot of them. On the other hand perhaps we should have thought of this BEFORE the reform....

    I wonder what happens in Hokkaido with the snow?? I guess covered up panels don't work!

    I'll be following your electricity posts with interest. If this rate of billing keeps up, how long will it be before you have paid for the panels?

    Our bill is about the same as yours except in the winter when it goes up as the stoves draw electricity too. We have a lot more lights now so I am trying to switch them OFF!

    I had NO idea that the vaccuum cleaner sucked (ha) so much energy.... One more excuse not to do it much!!!

  2. I'm following this with interest, too. I think we're too close to the mountain for it to work here (we're in mountain shadow from about 3:30pm). but I think it's a great idea. And if it encourages energy conservation all the better, hey?

  3. yoshi wants to do the solar panel thing, but his parents totally dissed that idea. seriously, they were VERY angry. because the don't want him to take on any more debt. *sigh* if i were working full-time, i guess it would be a different story. it's so expensive to start up. but that's a huge difference in bills, i'm so impressed!!