"The last bill I received was March of 2007," said Thomas Wheeler of Lewisville, Tex.
Wheeler still remembers when he realized he no longer had to pay a dime to run the a/c and heat, use appliances or even turn on a light.
"I was very, very excited. I pretty much talked to everyone in the office to show them the bill, and then I gave it to my wife so she could show everyone she knew the bill," he said.
Wheeler is turning the weather into money and energy.
"It's about taking sunlight - which everyone gets, everyone gets an abundant amount - and turning it into money and energy," he said.
He has 40 solar panels on his roof, two windmills and he painted the back of his roof white.
"It'll reflect more light going out than coming in," he said.
Wheeler said the double-paned storm windows keep unwanted air from sneaking into the house. "It's quite a dramatic difference," he said.
In their bedrooms, Wheeler keeps a dozen batteries. They are the same kind used in recreational vehicles. In the garage, inverters convert D/C into A/C power. He also covered the garage door with insulation, which he said helps regulate the temperature. All of this has turned his electric meter backwards.
"The first time I saw this moving backwards, that was at that point, I knew I wasn't paying for it," he said.
All of the equipment he has installed allows him to produce more energy than what his family actually uses. He sends the excess back to the grid.
"The solar panels and wind mills that I have, they're able to produce enough power to give to the batteries, which then the batteries are used by the inverters to generate power."
It took Wheeler eight to ten years to install everything. In that time, he has spent about $60,000.
"I did it more affordably; piece by piece," he said.
His wife Trish quickly realized her husband's research would pay off.
"When he showed me the first bill that was below $100, that was really nice," she said.
The family has never experienced a power outage.
"My family has never had to get hot, and they've never had to get cold," he said. "We're not really at the mercy of the electric company."
Wheeler said families can do little things to save money on their electric bill. If people just unplug lamps and appliances when they're not using them, it would save a lot of energy and money on their next bill.