Solar Sister’s energy rank rises dramatically

My sister and her husband’s solar system was recently connected to the grid.  Their text message and embedded image nicely summarize what they think of their system:

Sister neighbor efficiency rank

              “Here is a great shot of our home energy report.  Thank you solar!”

An astronomical rise relative to their neighbors, from near the bottom to near the top.

When I received this image, I was reminded of a TED talk by Alex Laskey.  Laskey found that people are more highly motivated to save energy if they know how much energy they use relative to their neighbors.  Using human behavior to motivate energy conservation is a simple yet powerful idea.

And now that I see my Sister’s report, I wonder what motivated her and her husband to go solar:  the fact some of their neighbors also installed solar systems, my happiness with solar power, being able to make serious money by selling SRECs, or was it being ranked 98th out of 100 back in February???

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Solarize Carrboro

Solarize Carrboro

Spring is here and with it comes lots of sun.  For those of you who are considering solar power or want to learn more about it, check out the Solarize Carrboro website.

With the Solarize Carrboro discounts plus state and federal tax incentives, now is a great time to go solar.

They will hold a kick-off meeting April 2, 2014 at 7 pm at Carrboro Town Hall (301 W. Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510).  At this kick-off meeting, the Solarize Carrboro team will step homeowners through the process, including solar equipment, tax incentives, installation, and financing.  Carrboro solar homeowners will also be on hand to answer questions.

See their website for details on how to RSVP for the event.

They’ve selected two installers–Southern Energy Management (the company that installed our Solar Carport) and Yes! Solar Solutions.

This is worth checking out.  And if you don’t live in Carrboro, check your local area for a Solarize program.  There is Solarize Durham; Solarize Raleigh, Solarize Mass (for MA), Solarize Seattle; to name just a few.

Net Metering under attack in NC. Duke Energy seeks to reduce payment for solar power by half

Duke Energy, North Carolina’s largest electric utility, just announced they are seeking to reduce payments for solar power from 11¢ / kWh to 5-7¢ / kWh.  Article here:  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/01/22/4632118/duke-energy-to-seek-reduction.html

While this may seem like a minor issue, it isn’t.  This would have a devastating impact on the payback period for residential solar.  And it would make going solar uneconomical for residential customers.

For those not familiar with Net Metering:  when a solar system generates excess power, the house electric meter runs backwards and credits build up.  These credits are currently equal to the rate that consumers pay for electricity (about 11¢ / kWh).  So, when the sun is not shining, you get power from the electric company at the same rate.

Seems like a fair trade:  11¢ / kWh for power from the sun; 11¢ / kWh for power from the grid.

Duke Energy is greedy and wants to discount power from the sun as follows:  5-7¢ / kWh for power from the sun; 11¢ / kWh for power from the grid.

Does that seem fair?

Solar power doesn’t pollute.  Solar power is a renewable resource.  And contrary to what power companies say, solar power doesn’t tax or strain their power grid.  Excess solar power flows to your neighbors houses, providing power near its point of generation.