Solar power cutting back on utility bills in La Plata County

Posted at: 08/27/2014 4:27 PM
Updated at: 08/27/2014 5:46 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

LA PLATA COUNTY, Colorado -- In April, David Burke had his first solar panels installed at his house, but with the new power source, he's noticed the change quickly.

"I guess I have become this solar advocate now," he laughed.

Burke wasted no time in showing off exactly how much power his house is using, and how much the solar grid on his house is producing.

"We know that every month our utility bill is going to be $23; it's the base fee that you can't get around."

The 8-kilowatt solar grid on the roof produces almost all the power his family needs, and then some.

"If we do happen to produce more power than we need, at the end of the year, we settle up and we sell it back to [the city]," Burke said.

Meaning David's utility bill is basically paid for by the sun, and he says it's made a huge difference.

Burke's is one of 101 households in La Plata County that were a part of the "Solarize La Plata" initiative. 

"They took all the leg work out of it, so basically all we had to do was sign a paper, and know that we got a good deal."

And he gets to simply enjoy the benefits of solar power.

"It's a cool thing, because we don't feel like we have had to do anything differently - we still have a hot tub, we still have an air conditioner, we still have all the modern amenities - but it's plugged into the sun versus some coal plant somewhere," Burke said.

The installation cost about $20,000, but Burke says he expects the instillation to pay for itself in ten years.