JOOB's 2020 Solar Production - Summary of Impact
In 2019 we worked with Michigan Solar Solutions to install solar panels on JOOB's newly renovated HQ and warehouse. As part of our installation we feed back excess solar production into DTE Energy's grid, which is then stored as an energy credit to be used during periods of low solar power production. 2020 was our first full year of solar production, so we were anxious to see how much total energy our 16 panels will provide.
For those that are thinking about going solar, there are a number of local and federal level programs that support solar panel installations. The Department of Energy is one place to start your search, along with asking your local power company about solar options.
For JOOB's HQ we have a roof facing south with no tree obstruction, which makes our site ideal for rooftop installation. Michigan Solar Solutions estimated annual production of solar at 6,475 kwh of power for 16 panels. Given that our estimated power usage was less than this, it made sense to invest in solar. In addition, we receive tax benefits that offset a lot of the installation costs.
So how did we do? The graph below summarizes the actual power produced during 2020 and the solar power produced.
Our total solar power production was 5,525 kwh for 2020, about 15% less than the original quote but still well above our actual power used of 2,407 kwh. We have enough power credits to power JOOB's HQ through 2021 even if we produce 0 solar for the year. Pretty amazing. This means we paid $0 for electricity in 2020 (we only had to pay taxes and admin fees to DTE).
Given that our solar panels have a 25 year estimated lifetime usage and warranty, and assume our average electric bill is a $100 per month - we estimate $30,000 in savings, and a payback on our solar investment in 6 years (The total cost less the tax rebate we received is ~$7k of investment for 16 solar panels).
Another way to look at this is in the tree equivalent investment to sequester CO2. A 30 year old tree sequesters about 193 pounds of CO2 per year. Which for JOOB means we would need to plant about 14 (2,407 kwh equates to 2,662 pounds of CO2) trees a year to offset our electric use if we didn't have the solar panels, or 350 trees over 25 years - assuming our power usage remains the same. But we'd also have to wait 30 years to get the full carbon capture power of each tree, so the solar option makes a lot of sense.
As we see the impact of climate change in the news across the world, it's time for each of us to do something. Solar makes so much sense, check it out and find ways to reduce your impact on CO2 emissions. For your household and your business. Better yet, learn how to go Climate Neutral.
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