ONE OF MY CLEVER colleagues has an electrician friend who has helped him run his electricity metre backwards. He's working with a backyard wind turbine and although its power output will hardly justify the cost of its purchase, it's still nice knowing that the initial installation is affecting power used by the house. And it's nicer still getting the news through a reduced electricity bill. Family living in Arizona pointed out how it's possible to get creative solar financing. Because photovoltaic panels are high-priced at the moment, some installers offer innovative ways for homeowners to afford the initial costs of installation. Arizona residents who jump over the cost barrier can discover that they can generate more than half of the electricity they need in their home. Throughout the States, you can often go solar with a company that agrees to install high-quality panels on your roof for no money down. So you let a solar installer put smart cells on your roof and you maintain them until you own them. The panels come with a smart metre that tells the company how much your home has resold to the electricity grid. The installer keeps the revenue generated by the panels and the home owner gets a metre that winds back a few units for the power produced. So basically, your roof is paying for the solar power installation and within 20 years, you own whatever is on your roof again. But right now, there's an enterprising lad in Tipperary who has figured out how to make his electrical metre turn backwards on peak wind days and that's a story that I hope gets repeated throughout energy-hungry Ireland.
Photo from Kevin Kelly.