Niagara Gazette —
It will eventually pay off, he said, in about five years of energy bill savings. For 20 years after, the life of his lease, the cost savings will go straight to his pocket book.
“When I saw financially, with the incentives, that this was viable, I wanted to be an example,” Smeal said. “We hear a lot about conserving energy, but it’s mostly lip service. I just wanted to do my part in this battle.”
Smeal is at an advantage most regular people don’t enjoy. He’s the energy manager and capital projects manager at the city school district by day, which puts him in a prime position to know where to look for monetary opportunities.
He acknowledges this and understands how intimidating it may seem to someone without an electrical background to attempt to figure out savings. So he broke it down in explanation to show just how much is saved.
It turns out he was charged $0.18 per kilowatt-hour on his June 2013 bill, roughly the cost to deliver 1,000 watts in one hour’s time. Though usage depends on the individual, since he’s installed the solar panels and turned them on in the middle of May this year, Smeal has created approximately 2,400 kilowatt-hours of energy. So by rough math, he’s saved about $416 in three months.
“I would recommend this,” he said, adding it requires careful consideration and a conversation with an accountant to make sure the incentives work out.
“The bills are hard to understand,” he said. “I think it can be very intimidating for the average person. But that’s why I wanted to do this.”
Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.