April 19, 2018– The data is in on our 28kW solar energy system… and it continues to exceed expectations. We produced 33,080 kilowatt hours of electricity in 2017. Our usage was 26,109 kilowatt hours. That means we produced 30% more energy than we used! Once again, Silver Thread is like a little power plant in the heart of wine country. You can compare this performance to last year’s here.
Our production was down 6% in 2017 versus 2016. It was a rainier and cloudier year, so that is no surprise. Luckily, our consumption of electricity was down, too. We used 8% less energy in 2017 versus 2016. This was probably due to the relatively mild January-March 2017 that required less heating than normal, and the relatively cool 2017 summer that required less air conditioning than usual.
The solar arrays went live in mid-October 2015. For 30 months, we’ve been generating our own power instead of relying on a fossil-fuel-burning power plant. The amount of solar energy we have produced to date has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 41.61 tons. That is equivalent to the carbon-dioxide consumption of 1,067 trees. It’s also the emissions of a car driving 172,417 miles.
Many people are surprised to hear that solar power is viable in New York, given our short and cloudy winter days. For solar to work, our system is connected to the electric grid. In summer, we generate excess power that is sold back to the utility company. In winter, we generate less electricity and draw from the grid to power our winery. Over the course of the year, our total generation exceeds our total consumption.