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September 7, 2011

My solar guy said to me last time I saw him, “I noticed you haven’t blogged about your solar panels yet.” [Yes, he had read my blog, and commented on a number of our shenanigans.] Looking at my feet, I mumbled something about being really excited about them but being kind of uncomfortable blogging about it–it’s like bragging or showing off. “You just wait until you get your electricity bill that is $0–then you’ll blog it up,” he said. Maybe, I thought. Honestly, I did not ever expect to have a $0 bill. Then we had this wicked hot summer and I had air conditioning for the first time and I REALLY enjoyed it. I mean, my house has been cool. Cold. Breezy. Delightful. But expensive.

I was excited when I got a bill late last week that was $35, because that was so little considering what I have used; air–conditioning the whole of Brighton is awfully hard work, but my children seem committed to doing so. Someone had come to read the meters a few days earlier, and I figured the numbers were accurate. Then I got a new, improved bill today–one that actually reflected the most recent reading. Read it and weep:

Of course, even when the electric company is telling you you don’t need to send them any money, they do it on 7 pages of paper, so I kept on reading through, and that is when I saw the long form:

Yeah, so I don’t actually owe them zero, they owe me. Or I owe them negative money. Or something. The thing is, I’m not sending them money, I’m sending them electricity. And that’s free to me from the sun! I guess now I am boasting, but I prefer to think of it as sharing. Or proselytizing. Or something.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Jake permalink
    September 7, 2011 1:12 pm

    So how much did it cost to put in the solar panels?

    • esodhiambo permalink
      September 7, 2011 4:22 pm

      Ay, there’s the rub! The initial output is great. Personally, I plan to die in this house, so it makes sense for me to invest in them. The cost varies according to how many you can put on your roof (as calculated considering the size, orientation, and your usage). I worked with O’Connell Electric in Victor–you can ask them to do a site survey and they can give you specifics on cost .

      • Jake permalink
        September 7, 2011 5:57 pm

        One more (pair of) question(s): what kind of maintenance will you have to do to keep them up? When will their useful lifetime end?

  2. Amy permalink
    September 7, 2011 1:46 pm

    Share away!

  3. Jo Pfaff permalink
    September 7, 2011 2:11 pm

    Are kidding me!!! I would be shouting this from atop your solar panneled rooftop. That is awesome, if i didn’t live in an apt. I would say sign me up. That’s terrific, tell us more about the process of getting them please.

  4. September 7, 2011 2:36 pm


  5. joanna permalink
    September 7, 2011 3:07 pm

    I am calling them tomorrow! I am sold!!! I was feeling lucky with a bill less than $100.00.

  6. September 7, 2011 3:55 pm

    uh, yeah, I’m on board. Do tell more about this…

    • esodhiambo permalink
      September 7, 2011 4:24 pm

      Your Republican sensibilities may not allow you to take advantage of the federal and state rebates currently in place, but you could certainly inquire.

  7. annettehynes permalink
    September 7, 2011 4:06 pm

    You can take the girl out of Peace Corps . . . .

    Hooray for solar! Wish I could talk my landlord into it. If I become a home owner some day, I’m calling you.

  8. esodhiambo permalink
    September 7, 2011 6:26 pm

    Jake–O’Connell maintains the system. They have someone on hand 24 hours to attend to emergencies, although I can’t really imagine a solar emergency. In preparation, I did remove one tree that significantly shaded my roof, so I do not anticipate leaves and branches damaging the panels themselves. The rest is wiring, and I’ll leave that to O’Connell and RG&E. I believe the lifetime is expected to be decades, although there is not too much info–the cost of being a trailblazer, I guess. Most people find these panels pay for themselves in 5-6 years. I am, admittedly, an aggressively conservative power user, aside from my AC haze this summer.

  9. Deborah permalink
    September 8, 2011 9:57 pm

    Amazing!! We have not had a month like yours.

    • esodhiambo permalink
      September 8, 2011 10:41 pm

      We have very different demands.

  10. September 8, 2011 10:59 pm

    I have electric bill envy. Ours has been low, but the negative? Awesome

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