This Space for Rent

Eco-heh moment of the month

After about a year of furiously whittling down our power consumption, we've finally gotten our monthly power consumption down under 600kwh (566 this month, which is a good start.) And, amazingly enough, it looks like PGE (or Enron, or whoever owns the local power company these days) have not managed to put the price of power up more than about 2-3% over the last four years [I'm using ploticus to generate this graph, and it doesn't give me multiple-y scaling with the standard prefabs. For the longest time this stopped me from plotting power cost vs usage, but I went in and tweaked the powerbill graph generator this month so that it uses an awk preprocessor to scale things for me. And just in time for us to switch to renewable power, which will crank the cost per kwh up up up into near earth orbit. But I digress] contrary to my deeply held prejudices against parasitic holding companies with a known history of price fixing.

But anyway, if we can hold this level of consumption (to do this we'll probably have to replace the old hot water tank with solar water or a tankless unit, because the power consumption rises as the temperature lowers) we've reduced the cost of a full solar replacement from ~US$35000 down to ~US$20,000 (plus a couple of thousand dollars in tax credits. There are also Oregon rebates through the Energy Trust, but they'll only do rebates if you hire one of their approved installers, and from what I've seen of the prices the additional cost of the installer is pretty close to the rebate.

It almost makes it tempting to go back to the servers in the basement and replace the 3.5" hard disks (5@10 watts) with 2.5" disks (5@2 watts), but that doesn't pull the power consumption down enough to appreciably change the system sizing.