Long ago, he installed solar panels on his roof. During the summer time, his panels produce a lot more energy than he can consume. The excess energy gets sold back to the energy grid, and his utility Eversource then credits his account for the value of that energy. He runs a negative balance these months, where Eversource owes him more than he owes them.
During the winter months, when the sun is lower in the sky and the days are much shorter, my neighbor can then spend the credits he earned during the summer. This entire process is known as "net metering."
Factoring in everything, over a 12 month cycle my neighbor still produces more energy than he consumes, but here's the kicker ...
Because his credits are accumulated by producing electricity, the only way he can spend those credits is by burning electricity. Therefore, my neighbor is massively incentivized to transform all his power needs into electric. This includes warming his house with electric heat in the winter, and powering his car with electrons rather than with petroleum all year round.
He tells me that as soon as his lease is up on his BMW X3, he will be in the market either for a Chevy Volt or Bolt, or for a Tesla.
Electricity is replacing fossil fuels as our preferred power source.
Just another chapter in how the world is changing.