NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. -- The Florida sunshine state has the folks at the city of Neptune Beach excited to pay their electric bill because it's dropped to $6.15.
"We had electric bills that were topping $1,100 for a 5000 square foot building." said Don Ford, city of Neptune Beach Building Official.
It turns out Neptune Beach City Hall is an energy hog, but that was until Don Ford the Building Official had the bright idea to upgrade light bulbs and air conditioning units to more energy efficient models.
The self-proclaimed hippie took his energy conservation one step further and turned to the sun and solar panels.
"Solar is kind of an interesting topic because essentially you're purchasing a power plant and have your own utility company," said Pete Wilking, of A1A Solar Contracting.
A total of 140 solar panels were installed in November of 2012 for $143,000 which was offset by a $116,000 in federal and county grants. The balance of the bill was then paid for by the city of Neptune Beach.
"I think we're going to reduce our bill by 80-100 percent, that's our goal and so far we've met it," said Ford.
Since the city's November installation, the largest bill they have received has been $154 and the smallest has been the $6.15 bill from January.
The solar panel system is projected to last 30-35 years, which A1A Solar said could pay for itself over the next 11 years if the median cost of electricity only doubles.
First Coast News