A summary of the elements of Customer Generation
Adding It Up: the Economics of Customer Generation
Payoff, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, you may choose to look at it in financial terms. You may prefer to look at it in environmental terms: "Is this the best way for me to reduce my carbon footprint?"
Sooner or later, you will want to know how much it will cost you and how much will it save you.
The finances of home-grown green energy:
Think of yourself as going into the electricity business. You’re manufacturing a product, electricity, and selling it to two customers, yourself and maybe us. Before going any further, you will need to know how much electricity you use. You’ll need your bills for this.
Once you have your bills together, add up the numbers in the Kilowatt-hours used boxes. You can find a complete explanation of the terms on your bill at: http://www.oppd.com/ResidentialCustomers/Payment/22_001475.
Now, how much of that energy do you want to generate yourself? That will help you determine the size of the equipment you're interested in.
Keep in mind, no piece of equipment puts out its maximum capacity all of the time. The percentage of the maximum that they do generate is called the capacity factor. For instance, because half of our day (on average) is spent in night, the maximum capacity factor for solar panels is 50 percent. Unfortunately, even a bright, full moon isn't enough to generate power. OPPD's pilot PV site in west Omaha has about a 14 percent capacity factor. Wind isn't steady, either. OPPD's wind turbine in Valley has about a 23 percent capacity factor.
Finally, many people forget to consider the cost of money. If you're taking out a loan to finance your purchase, the cost of money is easy to figure. It's the interest you'll be paying the bank, discounted for present value. If you're withdrawing the money from a savings or other account you have, the cost of money is the amount of interest, dividends and other gains it would have generated had it stayed in the account.