The electricity bills never stop
For most of us who haven’t yet gone solar, we know what it’s like every month to check our mail or inbox and see another bill from the utility company. Every year we watch as electricity rates go up 7–10% even though we are basically using the same amount of electricity. Utility companies claim that they have to make routine repairs, updates, etc. to existing equipment and pass those increases onto the customer . . . permanently!
It seems inescapable. What else can we do? As long as we pull our electricity from the grid, we will be subject to these annual price increases. And no matter how long we pay them for, we will never own a piece of the utility company. Well, if you are a homeowner, I do have good news for you. Due to the advancements in photovoltaic panel manufacturing, there is actually a superior alternative to being trapped with a lifetime of inevitably escalating utility costs.
Consider renewable energy substitutes
Many who have opted for renewable energy substitutes like solar power have already seen their electricity costs drop by 70, 90, even 100% for some months. In fact, if you have a system designed that slightly exceeds your daily energy demand (DED), you could be getting a Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) back from your utility company for overproduction. You read that right. The utility company will compensate you for producing extra!
The way the price of solar is determined first of all is through the system design. To come up with this, a homeowner will contact a licensed and experienced solar installer like Green Solar Technologies and ask for a quote. Soon, they will be assigned an Account Manager who will review their previous year’s energy consumption in kilowatts and design a system that would cover their electricity needs. From there, various financing options are presented and submitted for approval. Once the homeowner is approved with a financing term that works for them, the Project Managers will follow through with permitting and plans for installation. Finally, the solar panels are inspected, turned on, and connected to the grid. It is at this point that net metering and system monitoring are set up. This is where it gets good.
Net metering (if you are not familiar) is a way for homeowners to track their panels’ energy production with the utility company to determine whether they have produced more or less than their entire month’s electricity usage. If the homeowner produces less from their system, they may draw from the grid to make up the difference. But if they find themselves in a surplus, it is likely that the utility company will offer to buy that electricity back at the end of each month. The homeowner also has the option to purchase batteries and store their overproduction for later use.
The best time to go solar?
So now that we understand the solar power system design process and the basic logistics of energy production, when is the best time to go solar? Some think it is best in the spring time when the day gets longer and the sun shines brighter. Although there is some truth to this, the overall benefit is virtually inconsequential. The truth is the best time to go solar is always now. The longer you wait, the higher utility costs will rise, and the longer it will be before you have completely paid off your system and can benefit from zero cost for electricity. As long as you are in a place where net metering is operational, it serves you best to inquire about solar right away and take advantage of the incentives that are in place before they go out. Solar has made such a dent in the overall energy carve-out that utility and other fossil fuel-based companies are now lobbying against solar. Some states like NV and FL have watched as their municipalities turned back the incentives other states take for granted. Often petitioning is required to return the landscape back in favor of solar and that could take months or even years.
Those that get in while all state and federal incentives are intact get to capitalize on those benefits. And again, the sooner you make the switch, the sooner you will be energy independent and never have to pay to turn on your lights again. So what is holding you back from going solar today?
by Ged Friedman