I'm saving money with
My name is Robert Willey. I'm a professor of music at UL Lafayette, and made this informational website to share my experience installing a solar power system at our house in order to help people in the area save time researching the options. Please send me email or call (337) 501-1975 if you'd like to come by and see our system, find out how it has lowered our energy bills, or get recommendations for contractors.
When we're not using a lot of electricity the meter spins backwards, and we get a credit from the city for what we put back into the grid.
During heavy use times and at night we use up the credit.
We got 80% of the cost of the system back after filing income taxes—the State of Louisiana cut a check for 50%, and the Federal government granted 30% in tax credits.
The remaining 20% that we paid will be recouped in savings on utility bills, after which we'll be getting free energy.
The savings on our electric bill the first year equalled a tax free 9.6% return on our investment— better than what the banks or stock market are paying.
I had contractors install:
- (2) solar-powered attic fans - reducing heat in attic, thereby reducing air conditioning costs
- a 4.3 kilowatt system of photovoltaic panels (August, 2010)
- (2) tube skylights - providing natural light
- impedance matching system (July, 2011) from Tigo Energy - maximizes efficiency and provides panel level monitoring.
I installed myself:
- window film - reducing heat entering house
- insulating blanket around hot water heater tank, lowered temperature to 120°.
- Socket Sealers - fire retardent seals for AC outlets and switches, preventing up to 20% of home air loss
- Yet to do:
I decided against installing a solar-powered hot water system to heat water since our heater is gas powered. Depending on how much hot water you use, a solar system really makes sense if you're using electricity to heat your water, since it can pay for itself in about 18 months.
Rotating Sun from NASA - looks plenty powerful!
The Return of the Sun - click and enjoy
Ultraviolet photo of sun