January 17, 2007
Home's Solar Array Eliminates Utility Bills
It's still damn expensive, but it's a start:
EAST AMWELL, New Jersey (Reuters) - Michael Strizki heats and cools his house year-round and runs a full range of appliances including such power-guzzlers as a hot tub and a wide-screen TV without paying a penny in utility bills.
His conventional-looking family home in the pinewoods of western New Jersey is the first in the United States to show that a combination of solar and hydrogen power can generate all the electricity needed for a home.
Caminiti argues that the cost of the hydrogen/solar setup works out at about $4,000 a year when its $100,000 cost is spread over the anticipated 25-year lifespan of the equipment. That's still a lot higher than the $1,500 a year the average U.S. homeowner spends on energy, according to the federal government. Even if gasoline costs averaging about $1,000 per car annually are included in the energy mix, the renewables option is still more expensive than the grid/gasoline combination.
But for Strizki and his colleagues, the house is about a lot more than the bottom line. It's about energy security at a time when the federal government is seeking to reduce dependence on fossil fuels from the Middle East, and it's about sustaining a lifestyle without emitting greenhouse gases.