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Thursday, January 7, 2016

2015 Driving on Sunshine

Above you can see how much electric car driving I did (shown in blue) and how much energy our solar panels made (shown in red).

The blue line is rather straight. I tend to drive the roughly the same amount each month. The red line is the more interesting one, it represents 5.6 MWh generated on our roof in 2015. The red line is shown in miles rather than kWh. This is because we installed solar panels primarily to "fuel" our electric car driving.

This "miles" chart does not look exactly the same as it would in a kWh chart. In the winter, it takes more energy to drive a mile. The heater uses energy and the batteries don't perform as well. This means that a kWh in the winter generates fewer miles. Combine this with the fact that we generate less energy in the winter and you can see why the line is relatively flat from January through April.

The line spikes up in September because we upgraded our solar panels that month. Next year we'll generate far more energy and we should see our first 10+MWh year.

This chart follows the calendar year, but it would sure look a lot better if it started on April 1st. Then it would show plenty of net-metered solar miles waiting to be used during the low yield winter days.

This concludes our 2015 solar and EV driving energy review. I have a LOT more data, but this is the single chart that best displays how it is possible to drive on sunshine when you have solar panels and an electric car.

If you want to talk to SolarCity, you can use my referral and you'll get your first month's electricity free.