02 June 2014
Surprise, Writing this Post Powered by the Sun!
Rocky Mountain Power sent us a visitor today, and it is a joyous day for Alex. After all of our research, we decided not to do solar unless we won the power company's lottery this spring. We did not win the lottery.
Then we kept talking about solar. Alex has been really interested in and excited about it since we moved. We researched pricing on installing it ourselves, and it was significantly less expensive than paying another company to do it for us. We still couldn't comfortably afford it, so we decided not to do it.
Then we kept talking about solar. Tax refund time was coming up, so we thought, "What if we did a few kilowatts at a time over several years and tax refunds?" That way, while we would not wipe out our power bill in one fell swoop, we could still get started and reap a few of the benefits right away. Then our cars decided to need all of our tax return this year.
Still, we kept talking about solar. So Alex sold his favorite vehicle, a little jeep we have kept around for a long time, and we scraped together enough money to do about 1/3 to 1/2 of what we will eventually need. He installed it a couple of weeks ago. We had to have an electrician hook it to our meter, and then Rocky Mountain Power sent their technician today to install a net meter, and we are good to go!
We made one funny mistake, so if you do your own, don't do this. You are not supposed to turn your solar on until after RMP comes to make sure all is well. But Alex was so excited, that he left it on for a day or two to watch what the power production was. Then, he decided to look at what it was doing to our meter. The extra power running through the meter was running the meter in the Cost Us Money direction, so we will be paying for that day or so's production. So if you install and test, test briefly! Wait for the net meter to show up.
Another thing Alex came across in his studies: It is less expensive to make your house very energy efficient than it is to pay for more solar panels to run it. So we bought a large quantity of LED lightbulbs last month to decrease our power production. If you live in our county, you should travel north to Iron County and buy your bulbs in Cedar City, because there is a state subsidy in our state for certain areas that cuts the cost of LED bulbs by around $5 a piece. That enabled us to buy almost twice as many lights.
So that is our solar update. Let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing what this system does to our summer air conditioning bill.