KAYSVILLE -- John Loveless does not skimp on Christmas lights for his house, nor does he throw on an extra sweater to keep warm on a chilly day.
But his electrical bill is about $100 a year, because of the 26 240-watt solar panels he installed a year ago on the south side of his home.
The electrical engineer also found a way to cut the cost of regularly fueling his 1992 Toyota pickup to practically nothing. He converted the gas power engine to an electrical engine this summer.
"I took out all the greasy, nasty parts that break down and require maintenance and replaced them with golf cart batteries," Loveless said.
That would be 20 six-volt golf cart batteries, to be exact. It takes about five hours to charge the batteries so the truck will travel 50 miles at 55 mph. He travels 40 miles round-trip to get to work.
It took him three months to convert the pickup from gasoline to electric. The cost of the conversion, including the batteries, was about $8,000.
The solar panels cost him $20,000, but they not only power his house but also provide the power for his pickup truck.
The state and the federal governments offer rebates for energy savings, which reduced Loveless' costs.
Loveless, a father of four, admits his neighbors thought he was "somewhat crazy" at first. But once they heard how much he is not spending on gas, for his pickup and to power his 5,000-square-foot home, "it turns into envy," he said.
Loveless has always been interested in running his home more efficiently and cost-effectively. He researched on the Internet ways to reduce electric use and said although others may not want to spend $20,000 on solar panels, there are ways to cut electricity without sacrificing convenience or comfort.
He installed "The Energy Detective" device, which he bought off an Internet site. The device monitors how much electricity his house uses. Loveless spent $200 on the hardware.
"It made us more aware of how wasteful we are," he said.
Then he decided to install the solar panels in November 2010. The next few months were filled with short, dark days, so at first he was concerned by the size of his electric bill.
However, by the spring, and then into summer, Loveless's electricity bill dropped to zero, even with the air conditioning running.
After that it was his vehicle that was scrutinized.
Loveless said he is not even considering converting his wife's vehicle from gas to electric power.
"I do know my limits," he said.