Help offset utility costs

Thanks to Eric Mildenberger for his information and Penny Clifford for her supportive letter.

All of us who read the paper know what solar hot water is and that it can save us up to 30 per cent off our utility bills.

I want to explain what grid-tie solar electricity is and how it can benefit you and our utility company.

The sun hits Photovoltaic panels and dislodges electrons.

This creates electricity just like that used by your car. This direct current travels to a device called an inverter. At this point DC current is converted to AC current that we need to power our home. This system sends the electricity you need to your home. If all that power is not needed, it is sold to the utility company at a discounted rate. Then at night, you buy some of the electricity back from the electric company.

Grid tie allows you to be your own small-scale utility company working together with the large electric company. It works out well for both parties. You can produce enough electricity to get your bill down to an affordable level. The utility company makes a profit selling the excess renewable energy that you produced.

In the USA, some utility companies are helping people pay for grid-tie solar system. The one I am most familiar with is in Jacksonville, Florida.

Its utility spends over $1 million per year toward solar energy.

I have put in numerous systems on schools, churches, and private residences for the Jacksonville utility company.

Although my favourites are combination solar hot water and grid tie electric system. I installed one of these for a family of four in Jacksonville.

The utility company paid for half of the installation as part of its solar incentive programme.

The homeowner called me back a month later to tell me about their electric bill. He was very happy to tell me it is US$8.95, the minimum hook up charge.

Even though they produced more electricity than they used, the electric company is not going to cut them a check.

Hey, that’s fair, the utility subsidized their system and they still have to pay for maintenance on the lines and recoup the cost of system. Examples like this really demonstrate the win-win potential for our utility, your readers and our environment.

I wrote this brief article to help you, CUC and the Government realize that solar technology is a viable way to offset the rising cost of finite energy sources.

We can work together with our utility company to save money and help CUC keep up with the ever-increasing energy demands of these beautiful islands.

Therefore, I am asking anyone and everyone to help start a renewable energy push. Let’s revive the Electrical Regulatory Authority so that educated decisions between Government, CUC, and the public can yield a practical policy that insures the success of CUC and the ability of homeowners and businesses to work with CUC to offset our growing energy cost and needs.

Jeremy Mills

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