At one event, where I didn't directly know the host, guests took turns talking about various steps they have taken to lower electrical costs. Then while dessert was being served, the host proudly announced how much they reduced their electric consumption.
"We went from about $325.00 to $275.00 a month!"
Everyone congratulated our host and so did I which provoked another guest, who knew about my background, to inform everyone that I was an Energy Consultant.
"Oh, what are your electric costs?" Someone asked.
"Mine is around $120 dollars."
"Wow," people replied. "That is really amazing, 120 dollars per month."
"No," I responded. "That is per year."
Mouths dropped open with or without dessert still in them. They slowly closed as I explained:
For almost 15 years I have been making my house energy efficient and more sustainable. No rocket science, common steps everyone can afford to accomplish. So when I went with solar panels two years ago I have been producing more electrical power than what I consume. Prior to this winter, I had 2,000 Kilowatt hours in excess and with our sun low in the sky I have been using that supply to make up the difference. By the time winter is over, I will have about 1,400 Kilowatt hours still left over and the power company will write me a check after I start my new calendar year in April. The ten dollars or so that I pay per month is for taxes and fees. I hope the check from my power company will cover most of that cost. However, that will depend on how much my electric utility pays me per Kilowatt. They charge us at least 18 cents but pay out between 3 and 4 cents per Kilowatt. How do you like them apples?
If you want solar panels to work this well for you, there are many steps to be taken first. The most important one is to have a very energy efficient house and that does not mean a "smart" house. I mean a common sense efficient house. Just peruse through my blog posts, you will understand what I am talking about soon enough.
Bill Lauto, at Going True Green
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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