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Solar power: This Quebecer pays $50 per month for hydro

Que. resident Jose Legris pays $557 per year in energy costs. His house is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. He has a modern kitchen, an electric car, and even a summer spa – all for less than $50 a month.

“We have outages of electricity,” said Mascouche, Que. resident Legris, referring to the Hydro-Quebec power grid. “My goal was to be independent.”

Legris hasn’t cracked a code in Quebec’s hydro system. He has 26 solar panels on his roof.

He’s still reliant on the grid – the power his panels generate is sold to Hydro-Quebec, which then returns the electricity back to him.

If what he provides is the same as, or less than, the amount he uses, his home is considered net-zero.

“Their house is very optimized. It doesn't need a lot of energy to heat in winter,” said Denis Boyer, a green-energy consultant with Eco-Habitation.

“They manage to produce pretty much the same as they consume,” he said.

The home itself is well-insulated and features three-pane windows to keep the heat in. 

The total cost of the solar panels comes out to roughly $25,000. They have a life expectancy of roughly 30 years.

“Recovery time for the investment is relatively short,” said Boyer. “It's between 10 and 15 years, so it's pretty good.”

Legris is now looking at a few upgrades, like a battery backup in case the power grid is down. 

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