Distributed generation, electricity being generated on the house side of the meter, usually in the form of a solar array in New England, has a chance to be a real game changer in how consumers think about power. Combined with utility meters that measure not only energy consumed by the building, but electricity being supplied to the grid, from the distributed generation resource, are here to stay. Meters that “spin backwards” called net meters, actually pay the homeowner for supplying power to the utility grid.
As smart grid improvements, and consumer sophistication about how electricity is priced matures, it is conceivable we could reach a time when homeowner investment in distributed generation changes our perception of utility bills to utility invoices. I mentioned on the RE/MAX Leading Edge Green Facebook page a while ago that the wholesale price of electricity was $0.00 from 4-6 AM one day. Hopefully with the right smart grid choices, consumers will be able to take advantage of using power at off-peak times when the price of power is less expensive.
Combining advanced smart grid technologies with distributed generation will one day need to be looked at by real estate appraisers as a property asset. Consumer perception of utility bills as a liability may be changing.