Today is officially the start of winter as in the northern hemisphere, it is the solstice – the shortest day of the year. Of course, in the southern hemisphere, it is the longest day. All thanks to the earth being on the list, by about 23 to the sun.
It’s one of the reasons so many festivals happen around world and I thought I’d take the opportunity to look at our yearly energy use amidst the “cost of living crisis”. Partly because I’ve been examining this throughout the past few years but up to the point, I’ve felt until this year, many saw this as a quaint idiom, one of “Sam’s things” but nothing to do with me/us…
But you’re hardly one of the crowd, surely that makes this academic and a waste of my time?
To the first part, true, we did do this early. We’re one of 11% of houses in the UK with a EPC Grade B house and that’s largely thanks to the insulation installed while the previous owners built the house and the under floor heating downstairs.
We paired that with time thermostatic values for our rooms gives us comfort but cheaper heating. Remote lights and controlled power for power consumers (like the computers and TVs), and the solar cells and V2G, and you can see why we’re only 2 points off a EPC Grade A.
But what does that mean in usage on the ground? Show me the money!
Oh, alright then. Coarse as this may be, let’s talk money.
We are 10 days off the turn of the year, so I’m going to extrapolate the figures for December, I am also going to discuss the £400 from the government, coming off a fixed rate deal on a floating one, and the income from the FIT for the solar and the export rate for the power donated to the grid for the V2G and the solar. This is going to take some time, so please make yourself comfortable.
Our usage in kWh
December has been guessed on last year’s figures and I’m actually assuming they are going to be a worst case scenario – on the 1st Jan I will be updating these! There are a couple of things to note. Firstly, we generated over 3.8MWh of electrictiy with our solar array – our best year ever. It’s why we turned the boiler off completely in August and we probably should have done that in June and July too – we used solar electricity or V2G to heat our water.
In total we used 7.346MWh of electricity, and 14.88MWh of gas. That’s similar amounts of electricity to last year, but the gas is 25% less, partly because we stopped using gas to heat our water over the summer.
On top of that, we’re running the car and denoting energy from the car. So while the electricity cost £1,965.35, we got £1,561.31 from our donated energy (solar and V2G) meaning our electricity for the house and powering the car was £404.04. Please consider that our electric vehicle has been used for the daily commute (for me 14 miles, and for my son, 32 miles, a day). This has meant our V2G money is a lot less and with my husband working full time from home, he’s running a computer system full time with older, less efficient monitors.
|Month _||V2G and solar earnings|
Meanwhile, let’s look at the gas. So our gas no costs 3 times as much as it did in January 2022 as we came off a fixed rate deal… Despite that, our gas cost us £942.42, given the government helping out with £400, that’s only £542.42.
So our energy bill for the year was £(404.04+542.42) or $946.46. Ignoring our positive balance with the energy company, so our monthly costs would be £79 a month for the energy – of course there’s a standing charge too, so that makes the total nearer £120. That’s for a house three times as big as the average one in the UK with someone who works full time in the house, so we can’t have the whole heating off during the winter…
Now, I haven’t counted our FIT payments – we were lucky enough to get the solar cells installed while this was still available. We received £758.09 for generating electricity paid quarterly. Meaning, we paid £188.37 for our energy in 2022. Along with the rise in energy prices, our V2G and solar export rate is now running as 11p above the rate we pay for electricity to make it worthwhile for people doing this to donate what they generate.
So, does it pay to have solar cells, an electric car, and a well insulated house? Yes, yes it does.
I updated this on the 1st January to cater for all the figures for 2022.