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Solar system covers home's electricity for the year

The verdict is on Keith Metler’s solar system. He paid nothing for electricity for the year ending May 31.

Metler, a retired contractor, built a 36-panel system in an open field behind his home off Nelson Valley Road. He’s hooked up to Duke Energy for backup and for when the sun is not generating enough electricity to power his home. Those days turned out to be rare.
The system generated surplus power from June 1 until December. “Heating our home during many cold days of 32 degrees or less, required solar credits,” he said. “From our data, it is more efficient to cool our home than to heat it.” •
For the year ending last May 31, his solar system ended with a credit of 690 kwh or about 17.8 days of additional energy produced.
So how much does he pay Duke for heat, air, hot water, lights and appliances in the 4,800-square foot home? A meter fee of $13.51 a month or a yearly total of $162.12 to Duke Energy.  
“All our lighting, HVAC, cooking, well pump, water heater, work shop, refrigerator, bath exhausts and appliances are essentially powered by the sun,” he said. “We maintain the house temperature at 68 degrees continuously without setback.”
“In speaking with Duke they claim that we are the only net zero residence in the county,” Metler said. “And also, we are so unique in the Duke Energy grid that they can’t generate our bill. Our bill is hand generated. They don’t have software to do credit forward billing.”
Craig DeBrew, Duke Energy’s community relations manager for Henderson County, said figures on the total number of net-zero customers were not readily available.
“I can confirm that ‘net zero’ customers are rare, so Mr. Metler is definitely one of the few on the system,” he said. “As (solar) hardware has become less expensive, we are seeing residential customers installing larger and larger systems. So the trend going forward is likely to result in having more net zero customers.”
A retired contractor from Chicago, Metler does home renovation work here part-time. He welcomes questions about the solar system. Email him at