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Install Owl Electricity Monitors for efficient energy consumption

Published:Thursday | May 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Brandon Virgo, energy audit manager, Solarbuzz Jamaica, shows us the statistics capabilities of the software that accompanies the Owl Electricity Monitor. - Photos by Gladstone Taylor/Photographer
Electricity monitor available at Solarbuzz Jamaica.
Jason Robinson, CEO of Solarbuzz Jamaica, explains how the OWL Electricity Monitor works. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer

You monitor your electricity consumption daily, yet your electricity bill continues to climb unabated. Perhaps you have tried extreme cost-cutting measures, but the frustration continues to mount. Your electricity bill is just too high!

Solarbuzz Jamaica can help you achieve a desired level of energy efficiency. They recommend installing an Owl Electricity Monitor in your home or business which allows you to see and monitor your energy consumption. The monitor is plugged into your breaker panel and shows you how much energy each appliance in your home or business is using.

For a one-time charge of $24,000 (including installation and GCT), within the first month, you are able to see at least a 20-30 per cent decrease in your electricity consumption. According to Jason Robinson, chief executive officer of Solarbuzz Jamaica, people who have installed the product become more conscious of the energy usage of each appliance and begin to cut back on their energy cost.

Monitor usage

"For each day of the week, you can monitor how the energy is used. The monitor can be connected to a computer, which can help you to analyse the data. By analysing the data, persons can see what is costing them the most and make changes," Robinson said.

The company, which is focused primarily on providing solar energy, recommends that people try to cut back on energy consumption before making the bold step to install solar-energy panels. Robinson said, initially, energy usage in the home or business must be determined, and whether a solar panel can be installed at the facility.

"Depending on how much usage is accumulated per day, we can determine the size of the system. Once we know the energy usage, we can start putting together the equipment - including the panels, inverters, electrical - and the labour cost," Robinson said.

Solar systems can range from $800,000 to $1.5 million for a small house, and depending on the energy usage, can also range from $4 million to $5 million. There is a 25-year warranty on the panels, and the other components can last up to 12 years. A minimum maintenance fee is charged each year.

Robinson also recommends that people have their electrical breakers analysed and cleaned regularly - at least once per year. He said energy can be lost when the breaker panel is not efficient.

"The breaker panel is like the engine of the home or business. It needs to be maintained. We label each panel for persons to know where each breaker is connected, so in case of an emergency, they will know which area in the house they are turning off," Robinson said.

He said to add a solar system or even the Owl Energy Monitor, the breaker panel must be cleaned. Some, he said, were not installed properly, while others are crammed and become hard to service or clear. He added that many breaker panels are overloaded and that causes it to 'trip' out all the time.

Solarbuzz Jamaica also provides wind power solutions. They also install anemometers and let their clients know if the wind speed is sufficient for a wind turbine to be installed.

The company also installs pool and pond energy solutions that use up to 80 or 90 per cent less energy. The costs vary, but can go up to US$2,000 (J$174,000).

Contact Solarbuzz at or 906-4693.