Anchorage Solar Tour shows a future with zero energy bills

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ANCHORAGE AK (KTUU) The 9th Annual Solar Tour showcased energy efficient houses across Anchorage today and modeled systems people could adopt in their own homes to reduce power bills.

Anchorage Solar Tour

KTUU visited Seth Downs’ home in Bear Valley to see the solar panels he installed in November of last year.

The financial benefits have been obvious for Downs, “Since March my electric bill has been going negative as the sun's shining,” said Downs.

That means he’s able to sell power back to the electric company.

As Downs described, he has a “grid-tie system,” when the sun's not shining Downs doesn’t get power, when the sun is shining, power goes back into the grid.

And Downs starts making money on the power he generates.

Downs also explained that as the price of solar panels has come down it makes more sense financially to install solar panels.

Downs uses his clean energy to charge his Chevrolet Volt.

Ben May, the owner and operator of Anchorage Solar, joked that Downs is “literally driving on sunshine.”

Eventually, Downs is hoping to develop a house that produces ‘zero energy,’ a term that means you consume as much power as you use.

For people hoping to emulate Downs, he also has installed triple-pane windows, low flow shower heads, LED lights and improved his insulation to increase his home’s energy efficiency.

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