Seeking Energy Independence — Solar Pays for Itself
- posted on: June 5, 2015
- posted by: 21 Acres
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This month’s topic of discussion at the Tuesdays at 21 event was “Seeking Energy Independence.” If you’re familiar with the 21 Acres Center, you might have seen the 26.1 kW solar photovoltaic roof-mounted system that contributes to generating roughly 10-15% of the facility’s energy demand (Sunergy Systems). Renewable energy was one of the categories the 21 Acres Center earned credits for when achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Certification, among other energy-efficient systems integrated with the green building.
The 21 Acres Center is a commercial model for showcasing innovative designs in buildings and just within the past year, it has inspired a Woodinville homeowner to install solar panels on his home. At the Tuesdays at 21, Steve Wright led a group of people to look at his residential photovoltaic system and he was accompanied by NW Electric and Solar who installed his system to help answer questions.
Unfortunately, there’s an overwhelming stigma about the effectiveness of solar in the Pacific Northwest and how the return on investment isn’t that rewarding. Wright’s 7.35kW solar panel system, however, will pay for itself in 5 years which isn’t a long time if you consider that he’ getting paid $4,300/year to produce power for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) simultaneously.
Here’s how it works:
The power from the array is fed through a production meter to the home’s panel and PSE pays the homeowner 54 cents per kilowatt hour. The customer is using that generated power and does not have to pay PSE the average 10.7 cents per kilowatt hour as all homeowners do. In this case, Wright is literally spinning the net meter backwards and is making free money every day the sun shines. Also, if homeowners produce more energy than they use, they can get paid by selling it back to PSE.
If you’d like to find out more information on solar photovoltaic systems, stop by 21 Acres for a tour and talk with our facilities team. They are a fountain of knowledge and can show you how you can save money and energy through a number of different sustainable systems.
Save the date for the next Tuesdays at 21: On June 23, we’ll have guest speakers talk about “From Seed to Table: The Cost of Food.”