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Man Pays $3 Electric Bill Thanks To Solar Panels

Texas man solar panel

Image source: MarathonRoof.com

Installing a solar electric power system can dramatically cut or even eliminate your electric bills, say owners of such systems.

News stories from around the United States and Canada this year show how people in all walks of life have been able to use solar panels to combat the constantly rising rate of electricity – and in some cases to protect themselves from an unreliable grid.

$3 Electric Bill

Hans Wekking of Surrey, British Columbia, pays just $3 a month for energy and that amount includes the cost of charging his electric car. His 10 solar panels are tied into the grid.

“This shields you from any rate hikes,” he said. “Once you’ve paid for the system, the electricity is free,” he said. “So if there’s any future rate increases — like gasoline keeps going up, so is electricity — so for 25 years you are producing electricity,” he added.

Wekking is correct about future rate increases – in both countries. The US Department of Energy estimates that the cost of electricity in the United States will increase by 21 percent over the next 10 years and 51 percent over the next 20 years. That makes the $10,000 that Wekking spent on his solar system a very good investment, he said.

Harness the power of the sun when the power goes out…

$11 A Month For Electricity

Ronnie Barger of Boutte, Louisiana cut his electric bill from $180 to $200 a month to $11 a month by hooking up solar electric panels. Banner even told a local newspaper that his digital electric meter sometimes runs backwards. That means he’s feeding electricity into the grid that the power company will have to buy or credit him for.

“I love that stuff,” the veteran police officer said of his solar electric system.

It’s easy to see why Barger’s system was actually feeding electricity into the grid on a cloudy day when reporters visited his home. His, too, is a grid-tied system.

“Of course they are good for the environment and they help out with pollution, but it wasn’t until I calculated how much my return would be on my investment that I really committed to it,” Barger said. He noted that the solar system might actually pay more than some of his investment accounts. “I realized that instead of having my money sitting around getting terrible return I invested in this instead.”

Barger estimated that the tax credits paid for 80 percent of the cost.

Powering A 2,700 Square Foot Home For $20 A Month

In sunny Fairview, Texas, Paul Westbook said he is powering his 2,700 square-foot-home for less than $20 a month. That’s impressive because Westbrook is an area where people use air conditioning most every day.

Westbrook used a combination of solar panels, a wind turbine, a heat pump, increased insulation and strategically placed windows for natural lighting to reduce his electric bills. Westbrook installed 14 solar panels that heat his water and produce about 75 percent of the energy that his family uses.

The best way to lower electricity bills is to combine solar power with insulation, Westbrook said.

Solar Electric Works

These grid-tied examples show that solar electric works in a wide variety of locations and climates. They also demonstrate that solar electric is no longer an exotic technology — it’s a proven method of energy production that any household or business can take advantage of. Of course, solar-powered systems that are not tied into the grid would eliminate the electric bill altogether.

Unplugging from the grid or reducing dependence on it is now a viable option for almost any American or Canadian household.

electric in half

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8 comments

  1. How could the total bill be $3.oo??? I have to pay $9.50 just for the privilage of having a meter and $3.50 county charge…before the actual power used charge is added. This $3.00 amout must be the actual use not county other fees. Interesting article. Thank you!

    • Carla, it’s possible that he’s producing adequate electricity to actually sell some back. I don’t know how Canadian power companies are but I read reports in the US frequently about folks with wind mills for power doing that here. If you don’t use all you produce, it goes out onto the grid and thus your bill might not only be $3, but negative and they will pay you for the power. Just guessing here …

  2. How could the total bill be $3.oo??? I have to pay $9.50 just for the privilage of having a meter and $3.50 county charge…before the actual power used charge is added. This $3.00 amount must be the actual use not counting other fees. Interesting article. Thank you!

  3. I have lived ‘off the grid’ for nearly 2 years now. Using 3 solar panels, 6 leisure batteries and low wattage everything (light bulbs etc) And I live in the UK!

    • Alex, how many watts are your panels each, if you wouldn’t mind sharing? We’re trying to get off the grid and just trying to get a feel for what other folks are using.. We’ve bought six 185 watt panels, but have no inverter or battery yet.

  4. I Gone through your Website its really amazing.
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  5. Live in northern Minn and get stuck with $25 to $40 a month just to have the meter hanging on the wall. That’s what it cost here. Then add about 11cents per kw and a 3-5% extra charge if the co-op as a group has used extra juice , That makes it easy to see why there needs to be new rules for co-ops. Now it (the co-op) in going to add smart meters so they can keep closer watch on each of us and have the ability to control how much and when we use our power.

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