North

Who doesn't have a power bill anymore? This guy

Vince Sharpe of Inuvik, N.W.T., paid $33,000 last September to have 42 solar powers installed on his roof. This month it paid off. Sharpe is no longer being charged for electricity.

After installing $33K worth of solar panels on his roof, Vince Sharpe no longer pays for power

'It's just been fantastic,' says Vince Sharpe, who no longer pays for electricity after installing solar panels on his home. (submitted by Vince Sharpe)

Vince Sharpe has finally reached his goal — he's no longer paying for power.

Sharpe, who lives in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, paid $33,000 last September to have 42 solar panels installed on his roof.

This month it paid off.

Vince Sharpe's electricity bill. The mere $18 charge, he says, is the cost of being connected to the grid. (submitted by Vince Sharpe)

"It's just been fantastic," Sharpe says.

His electricity bill this month was a mere $18.90 — the cost, he says, of connecting his house to the community's grid.

"I was really happy. That's the goal I was aiming at since last September and I finally reached it."

Sharpe's solar array wasn't producing any power during Inuvik's dark days of winter — 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, the community doesn't see the sun for several months of the year — but in February he blew the snow off the panels and they started generating electricity.

What he's produced so far, and will continue to produce throughout the Inuvik summer with its 56 days of 24-hour sunlight, will cover his power for the year.

"I'm not going to have a power bill again."

'It's just like putting power in the bank'

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation installed a new meter on Sharpe's home, which tracks how much power he's putting back onto the grid. When he's over-producing in the summer, he's getting credits to use in the fall and winter through NTPC's net metering program. 

"When I'm not producing power I'm actually using the power that I did produce," he says.

"It's just like putting power in the bank."

A wide shot of Vince Sharpe's home in Inuvik, N.W.T. Sharpe had 42 solar panels installed on his roof last September. (submitted by Vince Sharpe)

Sharpe says his "high-end system" also tracks the power he's producing.

"You can see every day, every minute what you're producing and it reports back to you on the computer."

Sharpe says in just seven years he'll have paid off his costly investment.

"The panels are guaranteed 25 years. So I'll have 18 years of free power."

He says he used 8,000 kilowatt hours last year and expects to produce 13,000 this year.

"I'm thinking about air conditioning my home now just so I can use some of that up," he laughs.

with files from Loren McGinnis

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