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The best Christmas gift: Go solar!

"This past month, I spent more beer & pistachios than I did on gas & electric. And I am not a big drinker. It’s amazing how much (solar) cuts down on your bills and how economical it is to install.” – Jim Stroup, St. Louis, Missouri area resident who recently installed solar panels on his house.


Source: "Living Green with Solar Energy,"by Don Corrigan, December 14-20, 2012, St. Louis South County Times.


 Notes: As Don Corrigan writes in the article,

"Santa Claus will have to step a bit more gingerly on (St. Louis) area roofs this year. That's because some of these roofs have an array of recently installed solar panels to generate electricity for the homes under those roofs.

Jim and Judy Stroup are one example.  Earlier in 2012, they had MicroGrid Energy, a Clayton, Missouri based solar installing company, install panels on their roof. As a result, their electric bills fell drastically by up to 87%.

In 2011, their annual electric bill was $882.60. In a full year of providing up to 87% of his electric needs, Stroup estimates his solar array will cover $767.86 of his electric bill. This may drop his electric bill close to roughly $115 a year, or $9.56 a month. With an electric bill that low, Stroup will really be able to stock up on beer and pistachios.

Just like getting a Christmas bonus, the Stroups were able recoup much of their solar system purchase and installation costs, such as a 30 percent federal tax credit, a solar renewable energy credit from the local utility, Ameren, as well as a rebate from Ameren. With all this help, this investment will pay for itself in about five and a half years.

Stroup is worried about "Grinches" in Congress and in the Missouri Legislature ending incentives, like he received, to promote solar and renewable energy. Jim Stroup said, "China and much of Europe are ahead of us on this technology. Do we want small thinking to put us further behind?"

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