It’s been nearly 5 years since we self installed 12 solar panels on top of the garage. A worthwhile investment on our part, thanks to the City of Pasadena. The City generously rebated 2/3rd of the cost of the system. Hey locals! The City’s solar rebate program is still available with even better incentives.
On the City’s website it is estimated that an average Pasadenian uses about 25 kwh a day. Before we installed an Energy Star refrigerator and washing machine, our household was using about 12 kwh a day. Now with what energy star appliances we have and the powering down methods we have implemented, we have successfully cut our daily energy usage in 1/2 to ~6 kwh (on “low energy days” our household clocks in at about 3 kwh).
Our urban homestead’s solar system produces on average 7.5 kwh a day (on a clear sunny day can goes as high as 10 or 12 kwh). Even with such a “homegrown energy” system in our backyard, we are still “grid tied.” Why? Well, it was the only way to have qualified for the City solar rebate program. But we “beat the sytem” in a sense . How? Simply, by reducing our energy. The City solar program, if I remember correctly, covers a certain percentage of your energy use and this is determined by your energy bill/statements. When the city had a look at our back statements it saw that we were a 12 kwh household and rebated us a 2 kw system. But since then we’ve taken measure to cut our energy use! And not only that, we’ve also taken steps to “go green.” We opted for their Green Power program, so if we and when we do pull power from the city, it’s wind power.
Many other cities are following Pasadena’s lead. So, if you aren’t able to get invest in a solar system, it may be that your electricity provider may have a green power program available. For a couple of extra cents you can “go green.”
HOW MUCH DID THE SOLAR SYSTEM COST?
Roughly $11,500. PWP rebated us 2/3rds of the cost ( $5 per watt, which equals $8,125). By installing the system our selves we saved an estimated $4,000 on labor costs. So, basically, our 12 panel system ended up costing us about $4,000
AROUND THE HOUSEHOLD
Going through the house, here’s what we have “plugged in.”
Kitchen – 1 (energy efficient fridge)
Laundry – 1 (energy efficient and front loading washer)
Utility Bathroom – 0
Bathroom – 0
Dining Room – 0
Living Room – tv/dvd/vcr (energy star rated on power strip that’s turned off when not in use)
Bedroom 1 – 0
Bedroom 2 – 2 small lights (with CFL light bulbs)
Bedroom 3 – 0
Office/Study – computers, fax-copy machine (energy star rated on power strip)
KILL A WATT
Our household intends to kill even more watts, by conserving more and using less. Limiting our consumption is one more step towards be responsible energy savers.
What steps are your family taking on a daily basis to reducing energy use?
How low can you go?