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McKinleyville couple goes solar, sells energy back to PG&E

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MCKINLEYVILLE- Don and Katherine Andrews have turned their home into a power plant of sorts. They’re helping supply their neighborhood with energy, by harnessing the power of the sun.

“I’ve calculated that i have produced or we have potentially produced 350,000 watts of power in 20 days, so that's colossal,” Don said.

The Andrews recently installed 16 solar panels on the roof of their McKinleyville home.

“The way we looked at it was you could either look at it as making an investment and counting the time and the energy that you saved and sold back to PG&E until the system is paid off, or you could look at it as borrowing this money, and the monthly payment is so much less than your monthly PG&E bill that in a sense you are reducing your PG&E bill and getting a free system,” Don said.

Don bought the panels and everything needed for assembly at Six Rivers Solar. Instead of hiring a contractor to set up the system, he opted to set it up himself with instructions from the store. It took Don and a friend three days to set up the entire system.

“For the panels, the racks, the inverter and everything, it was under 11,000 dollars for a 4,000 watt system,” Don said.

But that wasn’t the final cost. Anyone who installs a solar power system at their home can also get a 30% rebate on their taxes. That will bring the Andrews’ cost down to only $6,000 dollars and because the system will produce more energy than they will use, the Andrews’ will actually be selling power back to PG&E.

“It's not going to make us rich but it will be a little bit of passive income,” don said.

For environmentally conscious consumers like the Andrews, the costs and the benefits just seem like a no-brainer.

“I think it's so crazy, you think about nuclear power and all the crazy things that we've done to try to produce energy and then this, the sun is just there,” Katherine said.