Was just thinking. If my total bill is around $10 a month, that's $120. Not terrible for home comforts like lights and fans and kitchen stuff. I am not even using solar power yet. That is purely from watching my watts.
My bill the month before, when i wasn't paying attention to my watts, was $41.65. That is $499.80 in a year, if each month was only that much. March 2012
The month prior - $56.10 Feb 2012.
Jan - $62.89 - the coldest month here.
And last summer, the hottest months cost $95, $120 and $148.
My entire last year's electric bill was $881 with 8,493 kWhs drawn. This is AZ's APS Standard Rate Plan with a low income discount.
All these numbers. Sorry. i am trying to work this out. If last year cost me $881 and this year costs me $120 (just go with it for now), that is a savings of $761 in a year.
Solar panels are not very cheap, and there is a lot of 'hardware' that goes with them. Still, for around $200 i now have a 15w panel, a deep cycle battery, an inverter, a charge controller, cables and my multimeter. This is enough to get started.
And I still have $561 in my imaginary bill budget to add more panels, after i figure out what I am doing with this one. My next panel will be 50 watts, to give me 65 total once i have them wired together. I can get a 50 watt panel for $150 and i still have $411 in this budgeting scenario. Then I could add more panels, more batteries or a larger inverter. I have my eye on one for 2,000 watts.
To sum this up: if I do this properly, I can get my whole home on solar power using only the one's year's supposed electrical budget. After that I might never have another electric bill. Think about that!
I'll discuss this more in the solar power thread once I know how to manage the panel and battery that i have! My point here: if you bother to look at your electric bills you might be able to do this too.
Ask for a copy of your bills from 2011-2012 from your company. Find cheaper watt appliances and eliminate energy vampires. Use all the techniques I am developing here. At least get started! Know how many watts you used last month, as a miminum step.