Peter Hardy

Peter Hardy is happy he installed solar panels for the environmental benefits. (CBC)

NB Power needs a better policy when it comes to homeowners creating their own energy, says a Sackville man who recently installed solar panels, but isn't seeing many benefits on his electric bill.

Peter Hardy installed his solar panels last August. When he creates a surplus of energy, it goes back onto the provincial grid.

While he says it's a good way to shrink your carbon footprint, Hardy warns it won't do much to shrink your power bill.

Hardy invested about $15,000 on the system.

Last month he saved about $20 on his electric bill.

If Hardy lived in Ontario, he would make 40 cents a kilowatt hour. In New Brunswick, he gets about 10 cents.

He estimates it will take about three decades for his savings to equal his investment.

'Miniscule' environmental impact

"It is unfortunate that there are drawbacks, there are disincentives. I think people would have to go into it with eyes open," he said.

NB Power is dropping the ball on solar energy, says Woody Thompson who installed the panels for Hardy.

"There are no oils sands or tar ponds and all of that, and there's no BP oil spills associated with it. After you pay for it and it's installed, the environmental impact is miniscule," said Thompson.

Heather Smith

Heather Smith says financial incentives would motivate people to consider energy alternatives. (CBC)

NB power doesn't help cover any of the costs of installing or buying solar panels, but it supplies the meter.

Heather Smith had her solar panels installed over the summer as well. She agrees financial benefits would go a long way.

"Incentives do trigger people to start thinking about things, even if it isn't the only thing that helps you do it, it gets you motivated," said Smith.

Only 43 NB Power customers are currently feeding the grid, the utility said.