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National statistics may say that March 2017 was sunnier than “normal” (statistics since 1830 or so), but on our roof the numbers are different: March 2017 generated less solar electricity than the average of the previous 7 years (178.345 Wh). Still, it could have been worse: the first half of the month made it look as if the system would not even make it half way to the average. So in the end, I guess the conclusion is that March was more or less “average” when it comes to the sun. The good news, of course, is that Spring is in the air, with flowers and blossoms and fresh green all over our garden.

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The weather isn’t too great here in Belgium: the last weeks have been grey and wet. Yes, we had a cloudy day in Valencia during our stay there – but we also had blue skies and white clouds and the sun!

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Anyway, the Belgian meteorological conditions are reflected in the solar energy numbers for February – in the history of our system this was the gloomiest of Februaries. Combined with the past December and January that makes for a mediocre Winter, in terms of energy production by the sun.

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I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but the numbers on the energy production of the solar panels on our house are finally stored in a spreadsheet. At last, after seven years! I suppose no one was really paying attention to them, because I did find a few errors in the summations in my report (and even in some of the monthly totals)…

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Anyway, as of today the numbers have been verified, corrected and found to be in concordance with our Sunny Beam monitor. In reality, the errors in my reports were minor and did not have an impact on my previous conclusions. But I don’t like making mistakes, especially not such basic mistakes in sums. Oh well.

Having everything in a spreadsheet meant I could add seasonal overviews, extending the list of meteorological summers to all seasons. You’ll find them at the bottom of the page.

By the way: January 2017 was a good month, with a production clearly above the average. Let’s hope 2017 does better than 2016 when it comes to sunshine.

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2016 was not the best of years, and I’m not talking about the results of referendums or presidential elections – there are already enough comments on what happened on a global scale last year. In 2016, my wife and I experienced a few (temporary) medical problems that frightened us a lot, although in the end we’re back to normal, more or less.

On top of that the sun did not play nice with us in 2016. In fact, 2016 is the year with the lowest total solar energy production for our system. We did not hit 2 megawatt-hours over the whole year, mostly because of a cloudy meteorological summer. In fact, it’s the month of June that failed to deliver. Just look at this graph: the dip in the curve where the top should have been is the (low) production of June 2016.

Graph showing the Solar energy production per month for 2016

Solar energy production per month for 2016

Let’s hope that 2017 may be sunnier than last year, on all counts!

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All The Best For 2017 !

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What The Yogi Said About Cows

After all, as a wise Indian yogi said to me in the hot Visakhapatnam sun, you can indeed lead a cow to water and make it drink, but don’t be surprised if it shits on your shoes a couple of times on the way.

Women washing clothes and cattle watering at the village pond, Nagar (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann

Women washing clothes and cattle watering at the village pond, Nagar (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann)

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2016 Is Not The Best Year

I did not report on the solar energy production numbers of last October, because I was too disappointed with the results. Now that November has run its course, it is clear that 2016 will be remembered as a gloomy year. October did not get up to 90% of the October average of our system; November could not make up for that, even if it surpassed the November average.
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A gloomy year for the sun… At least that is consistent with what happened in our lives – a few medical obstacles – and in the world at large. The worst part of all this is that I can already summarise the year a month before the year is over!

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