My Means are pretty generous, but I’ve still got a touch of skinflint in me. Yesterday I was already over that way so I stopped in at Walmart during the chaos of a Sunday afternoon to pick up a dozen of something for $1.48 each, saving $2.27 over ordering from Amazon.
My new (last Friday) solar electric system can’t push power back to the grid yet, so once the battery backup hits 100% the solar system only produces what I’m using instead of what it can. So running laundry and charging the car are two of the things I’ve been running while the sun shines to put that bit of extra capacity to use.
The app that controls things is pretty cool. I now see how much power I am using in (more or less) real time. I also see that my house never consumes less than 400 watts, and may hit 600 or 700 watts even when nothing extra is running. There are a few things, like my computer, that may be making up a larger part of that. I suspect the rest is all the instant-on devices. Anything that turns on with a remote has a draw. Anything with a little glowing light showing it has power. Anything with a wall wart. The stove and microwave are off, but powered up and react to touching their controls. Stereo, TV/cable box/receiver/DVD player/ROKU, router/switches/MESH, laser printer, scanner… for the first time I see what this is costing. Which, now that I have solar, will generally be nothing. Well, not exactly, but once my excess gets sold back to the grid there will be a few cents involved.
Besides the background level, I also see the peaks. The peak as the hot water heater recovers from my long, hot shower. The peak as I charge the car, of course. And run the dryer. I haven’t used the stove yet, but the microwave on high shows quite clearly. (Hopefully once the excess is going to the grid, and returning a few cents, and the novelty wears off, I’ll be less obsessed with tracking it all.)
The battery backup - two Tesla Powerwalls - gives me a bit over 20 kWh of available storage, avoiding taking them down below 20% as instructed. In the event of a long (multiple days) outage, how well that serves me depends on the sun. With clear skies, even in the winter, it looks like I would have to take only minimal conservation steps to be fine indefinitely. But on the rainy Saturday afternoon the solar produced nothing, so I might need to take serious steps to keep going when the weather is against me. At my last house I handled outages (including a three day stretch) with a small generator to keep the refrigerator, freezer, furnace and well pump working. I don’t have that generator now, but I should not need it.