Jan 24, 2013

A Solar Year

“Hey buddy. Wanna buy some electricity?” But seriously. I have some extra to sell.

Last year, we decided to do our part to help the environment and reduce our dependency on coal. We placed solar panels on our house. Tucson Electric Power has a reimbursement program such that in the end solar power is only marginally more expensive than coal.

So every day, our house generates solar power. In the non-summer months, we generate more power than we need and the excess is placed back on the electric grid. It’s kind of like storing energy in a big battery. When summer hits, we’ll use that energy that we have stored.

But something else has happened. Each day I look to see how our solar generation compares to our consumption. Since I get a thrill seeing how much we are banking, I have started to become more energy efficient. I actually go through the house and turn of lights and appliances when they are not in use. I have put energy efficient light bulbs in fixtures that stay on throughout the day. I’m basically turning into my grandfather!

This follows an old management principle that I learned years ago. “Anything that is measured gets better”. In this case, simply measuring our daily output of electricity makes us more aware of how much we are using – and that number is going down.

In a way, this illustrates why we need to stay connected to God through worship, Bible study and prayer. Sometimes it may not seem like these activities really make a difference in our lives. But the truth is, when we hear God’s Word, it’s like measuring the condition of our sinful nature. And as we measure up against God’s Word, we instinctively want to improve. And that makes God happy.

I have begun to do some mental calculations and I think we may actually have a surplus of electricity by the end of the year. The TEP program allows for that also. If this happens we will be paid a refund of our surplus electricity at the wholesale rate. So if any of you need some electricity, just figure out a way to bottle it up and I’ll sell it to you. Cheap.

When we get to the end of our lives, there won’t be a refund for our extra good works. The fact is, we are always in deficit. But the holiness of Jesus covers our deficit. That’s an electrifying thought.

Blessings,
Pastor David