Nancy Gosling said photovoltaic panels installed at the company's Hamilton headquarters were able to produce enough energy in two days to power a medium-sized home for a month more than 1,100 Kilowatt hours (kWh).

"Since July, the system has produced 58,440 kWh, which is just a huge amount," she said. "That's the equivalent of 113 crude oil barrels conserved. I have just been astounded by the impact this has had, not just on our bills, but on the environment so far."

She was approached by Tim Madeiros of Alternative Energy Systems with the proposal for the 136-kilowatt system.

"I said if we had the extra cash, I wouldn't give it a second thought. In my opinion the savings would be better than savings or a bond, not just because of the return on investment, but the impact on the environment," she said.

"But I told him if we have to go to a bank and get a loan, it was a different situation. So he went to the bank and did his homework."

In January, Gosling's and AES announced that the project had received full financing from Butterfield Bank; monthly payments were set lower than the estimated savings in electricity.

"For a while most of the money goes to the bank, but a few years down the road it will be all savings for us," she said. "That's what did it for us."

The system seems to be producing more energy than anticipated and with the rising cost of electricity, should pay for itself sooner than expected, Mrs Gosling said.

However she noted that some of the electricity generated by the panels has gone to waste. While residential Belco customers can apply to put excess electricity generated by renewable energy systems back into the grid, Gosling's has not been able to because it is a commercial customer.

"We are producing a good bit of energy that just isn't being used, and that's a shame," she said. "It would obviously be good for us if we could further defray costs by putting that energy back into the grid. I do understand the downside for Belco. Obviously we would be buying less kWh."

Despite that downside, Mrs Gosling said she is eager to continue investing in renewable energy and energy conservation.

"Before we got the system at Gosling's headquarters, I got three panels at home to operate my pool pump. The amount I saved from that was astounding to me," she said.

"Once we started saving money and started saving kWh, it starts making you wonder where else you can conserve."

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