We are excited to announce that our services now include Food Hampers for those in our community. This is in partnership with the Inglewood Christian Reformed Church on 124 st who are well known for their dedication to addressing food insecurity in the Inglewood community! Thank you to everyone in our community who has donated food, money and time to this initiative to date!
If you are in need of assistance, or would like to help volunteer in other ways, please fill out this form.
In Part 1, we explored how to read an electricity bill, and now in Part 2 we will explore the impact our solar panels had on our bill. The Inglewood Community League had its solar panel system installed in October 2019. Now that spring is here, the sun is out longer, the snow has melted off our panels, and we are generating a great deal of electricity! In April, we saw an immediate impact on our electricity bill and wanted to share it with the community. Solar panels will impact your bill in two ways.
The first way solar impacts your bill is any electricity generated in excess to what you are consuming within the building is sold back to the grid. This shows up as a credit directly on your electricity bill as “MircoGen”. In March, we exported 1280 kWh, nearly double our import of 680 kWh.
It is important to note that when exporting electricity (i.e. selling back to the grid), we get credited at electricity rate (7.104 ¢/kWh). We are not credited the variable delivery charges on exported electricity, but are not charged for them either. The delivery and transmission infrastructure (i.e. power lines) are still utilized when exporting and therefore we not doing anything to warrant a credit on delivery.
As an aside, the average usage in March for the last three years was about 1400 kWh. Our consumption this year was less than half the average. This change was primarily from the hall being shut down due to COVID.
The second way solar panels impact your electricity bill is not actually observable on the bill itself. This is the electricity which is generated and then self-consumed; i.e. consumed in the building rather than being exported to the grid. If there were no solar panels, we would otherwise be importing/buying this power from the grid. Our solar inverters have an added electricity meter which allow us to better record how much we have self consumed.
For the date range of our bill, we used our SolarEdge data portal found to have self-consumed 33 kWh during Feb 27-Feb 29 and 240 kWh Mar 1-Mar 25. Knowing this, we can now re-calculate the bill by adding in the self-consumed power and removing the Microgen export. The “with solar” column is our actual bill, and the “without solar” gives us an accurate comparison of what our bill would have been without solar. The values that changed are highlighted in yellow, which is everything except the fixed costs.
The total difference between the two scenarios is $137.67. Not only are we getting credited $91 on what we export, but we have saved an extra $40 by self-consuming an extra 263 kWh! For the electricity you export, you get credited only the electricity rate, approximately 7 ¢/kWh. For electricity you self-consume, you are avoiding importing/buying which means you are effectively saving ~16 ¢/kWh, about double!
Breakdown of money saved with solar – March 2020
Key Takeaway 1: Solar panels impact your electricity bill in two ways. a) The amount you export which is visible right on your bill and b) The amount you self consume, which is hidden and impacts your bill without you ever seeing it.
Key Takeaway 2: You get the most bang for your buck by self-consuming electricity. Each kWh you self consume is worth 2-3 times more than a kWh exported! With solar, if you can shift more of your electricity usage to daytime hours when the sun is shining, such as washer and dryer, you will save substantially more money!
I hope you enjoyed these articles. We are half way through our first year with solar, and I have several more topics ready to dig deeper into. Stay tuned!
Your electricity bill gives a great deal of information, but only if you know what to look for. The most common misconception is that the delivery charges are all fixed fees, and reducing your electricity usage will have little to no impact on your bill. In fact, most of your bill is variable including most of the delivery charges. This myth is propagated since the long list of delivery charges and riders do not have their rates stated anywhere in the bill! In part 1, we will explore the components of your electricity bill, and how to read it. Our electricity retailer is EPCOR, but there are many other retailers that serve Edmonton. While other retailers may present the bill slightly differently, the same overall concepts apply.
The Inglewood Community League has three different electricity services, and three separate meters. Service 1 is for our field hall, which is slated for demolition and currently powered off at the main breaker. Service 2 is for our parking lot lights, which typically add about 5% to our monthly usage. Service 3 is for the main hall, including the solar panel installation. For simplicity, we will only discuss Service 3 in this article.
The bill is broken down into two parts:
Electric Energy Charges: This pays for the actual electricity, an administration fee, and a credit for the electricity we sold back to the grid from our solar panels (MicroGen).
Delivery Charges: The delivery charges pay for the infrastructure to deliver electricity to your home. Most of these fees are variable, however this is not made clear on the bill.
While electricity rates are clearly shown on the bill, delivery rates are not. The rates change month to month or quarter to quarter and can be found on the EPCOR website, although unfortunately not in an easily accessible way.
There are three different types of charges, each highlighted a different colour on the bill:
Fixed: The “Administration Charge” from EPCOR is $5.59 per month.
Mixed: The “Distribution Charge” has is made up of two components: a daily fixed fee (currently 37.844 ¢/day), plus a variable fee (currently 2.669 ¢/kWh). There were 28 days in this billing period, which means $10.60 (about 1/3rd) is the daily fixed fee.
Variable: All other fees are variable and are charged in ¢/kWh. These scale directly with how much electricity you consume.
VARIABLE COSTS: THE TRUE COST OF ELECTRICITY
All the variable costs on the bill are what we consumers actually pay to use electricity in our homes/buildings, and can be summed up into a single monthly rate with units of ¢/kWh. The total variable cost we end up paying each month is often 2-3 times the amount as the raw electricity rate we see written on our bill, that most of us tend to focus on.
SIMPLIFIED ELECTRICITY BILL
The average consumer is not interested in the breakdown of electricity vs. delivery costs. From a billing perspective, it makes more sense to split between variable and fixed. A simplified bill is presented below using the total variable rate from above. I find this a much more transparent way to to breakdown how your money is actually being spent. Note that there is 1 cent difference between this and the EPCOR bill due to some early rounding from EPCOR.
A simple pie chart shows the breakdown of fixed vs. variable costs on this bill. For simplicity, and to make it more in line with an average home users bill, it excludes our solar panel export and GST.
Key takeaway: Delivery charges are not fixed! They are mostly variable and depend on your electricity consumption. They can effectively double or triple your electricity rate!
Next up in Part 2, we will explore how our Solar panels impact our bill.
As a Community League, we are proud to be launching the COVID-19 Inglewood Community Outreach Initiative. We want to ensure everyone in our community makes it through this difficult time – healthy, happy and cared for.
Our goal is to match Community Connector Volunteers with folks from our community needing 1-1 assistance in a confidential and safe manner. If you (a) are needing assistance, or (b) can help out as a Community Connector Volunteer, please let us know.
Until this pandemic is over, there may be increasing need for isolation. We hope that anyone that becomes at-risk and/or displays active symptoms, will enjoy the comforts of home with support from this initiative:
If you need assistance, please ensure you provide us with all of your information to ensure we can connect with the right volunteer to help address your needs.
Those seeking assistance will be matched with a Community Connector Volunteer on a confidential 1-1 basis.
The information provided in this form helps us tremendously – for example matching the tasks, risk groups, and location of people.
If you have generously offered to assist, we will contact you personally through our Volunteer Coordinator Sarada, as the need arises.
Thank you for participating in the COVID-19 Inglewood Community Outreach Initiative.