Yardley Voice – Going Green Solar Column – May 2013
by Mark Bortman
Take a look at your electric bill. How high was it last month?
Ours was less than zero. That’s right – PECO owed us money.
This is due to a combination of factors. First, we are very conscientious with our energy usage. We’ve taken a number of energy saving steps (which cost little or nothing) including replacing light bulbs and only running our dishwasher and washing machine when they are full.
Many other ideas can be found at the government’s Energy.gov website.
In addition, we have 17 solar panels installed on our roof. This relatively small system is hardly noticed by neighbors or visitors. But the panels are up there silently converting the sun’s energy to electricity and feeding it into our house – right into our circuit breaker box and automatically running anything that needs electricity.
When there are times during the day that the panels produce more electricity than we are using at that time, the extra flows out through our electric meter back to PECO. In essence, PECO buys the electricity we produce. At the end of the month, our electric bill is what came in from PECO minus what we sent out to them.
Most months our electric bills are not negative – air conditioning in the summer and less sun in the winter are the causes – but they are small.
The cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically – the price of a system like ours is less than half of what we paid just three years ago.
In addition, there are two great government incentives that reduce the cost by another 50%. One of these incentives is a rebate from the Pennsylvania Sunshine Program. The PA Sunshine Program received $7 million in additional funding at the beginning of this year but they have announced that this is it. Once this money runs out, the program will be closed. So there is only a limited time left to take advantage of this great state program.
There has never been a better time to make a choice to make a difference. Solar energy not only makes sense for the environment, it makes sense for your bank account, too.