Our Solar PV Installation has now passed finished its first full year of production as of Oct 30th 2020 and we are pleased to share the results with the community!
Electricity production and consumption is measured in kWh or MWh (1000 kWh = 1 MWh).
Our solar installer estimated our solar PV system would produce 19.1 MWh of electricity per year, whereas we ended up producing 17.7 MWh, about 93% of the estimated total. Most of this difference was over the winter months. Our specific installation has extra snow guards to prevent snow from sliding off into the park. This lead to a build up of snow and ice from November to early March. Stay tuned to a follow article where the impact of this is looked at in more detail. Overall, the system production is performing as expected!
Historically, from 2014 to 2019 the Community League buildings consumed about 18.7 MWh of electricity a year. This year was a year like no other and we consumed only 9.9 MWh this year, a whopping 53% of our historical average.
While COVID was a large contributor, it wasn’t the only one. Our Sustainability Committee and Facilities Committee did a great job reducing electricity usage too. About half the energy savings was from simply turning things off and replacing outside lighting with LEDs! The 47 percentage point decrease is estimated to be broken down as follows:
|Estimated Electricity Savings
|Estimated percent point decrease
|Powering off the sports hall
|Reducing parking lot light usage to near zero
|Replacing outdoor sign and flood lights with LED lighting
|Turning off electric heater in emergency escape stairwell (March)
|Turning off fridges when not in use
|Reduced hall usage due to COVID shutdown
Now the question you have all been asking: how much money did we save? We ended up saving $2869, with a total electricity bill of $663 credit for the year. This means that at the end of the day we paid nothing, and they actually paid us $663!
The below graph shows in blue what we would have paid without any solar panels. Without solar, our total bill would have been $2205.
In grey is what our electricity bill would look like if we have solar and EPCOR as our electricity retailer paying market rates. Under this, we would have saved $1346, with a total bill of $851.
And in orange is our actual electricity bill using Alberta Cooperative Energy (ACE) as our electricity retailer where we saved $2869. The League switched to ACE at the start of June and was able to take advantage of their microgenerator rates of 22 cents/kWh for the remainder of the summer. This is about triple the EPCOR average over the same time period of 6.6 cents/kwh, and allowed us to more than double our yearly savings!
MONETARY SAVINGS: BREAKDOWN
Now might be a good time review how solar panels impact your electricity bill in this article. The basic idea is that there is a visible impact which shows up as a “MicroGen” credit on your bill, but also a hidden impact.
The Microgen credit is for the excess electricity exported back to the grid. Of the $2869 total we made, $2700 or 94% of that was from Microgen credit.
The hidden impact is the electricity you “self consume”. This is electricity that is produced by your solar panels, and then consumed by lights and appliances in your building without being sold back to the grid. This is electricity you would otherwise have had to import, paying a full 15 cents/kWh for the electricity plus distribution. Our total self consumption for the year was was 1.9 MWh, or 11% of our total production, saving $167. This would have been much higher if our electricity usage had not plummeted at the same time our production went up for the summer.
It should be noted that these types of numbers are not typical, due to our significant reduction in power usage this year. A typical solar PV system is designed to produce 100% of their yearly electricity, with self consumption sitting at about 50% or higher. Our friends at the Westmount Community League have a solar PV system the same size as ours and had higher electricity usage over the same period, saving $917 due to self consumption.
At the conclusion to our first year, the solar panels are operating exactly as expected. We’ve produced nearly as much electricity as predicted, and earned more revenue than expected. This extra revenue is money that would otherwise have come out of our AGLC Casino funds. These funds are earmarked for our phase two park redevelopment project.
Special thanks to our solar installer Generate Energy for executing the project, providing an exceptional level of customer service and technical expertise! Also thanks to the MCCAC for partially funding the project, and the EFCL Green Leagues program for resources and support to help us get the project off the ground.
Now that we have a full year of data behind us we have a series of articles being planned, including: How much production loss did the snow guard cause? How much production loss does our chimney cause to the panels beside and behind it? All this, and we haven’t even touched on the GHG emissions reduction, which are an entire topic in an of themselves. Stay tuned!