While we are not a totally “green” household, we are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and do our part to help make the world a cleaner place. After my cousin installed solar panels on their cabin in Texas, I really became interested in looking into installing solar panels on our home to help us save on energy costs. Guys, there is a LOT to learn about going solar, so I’ve compiled a few of the things I’ve learned in reading about going solar. Here were my top three questions about going solar, so hopefully these will answer some of your questions too!
1. How Much Will Going Solar Cost Me?
I think there is a common thought that solar has a lot of upfront costs – I know I thought that! And some systems do cost a lot up front, and then pay for themselves across the life of the system. However for some families, that large up front cost just isn’t an option – which is why I was excited to learn about Sunrun solar service. Sunrun offers solar leasing, where homeowners can get solar on their roof for as little as $0 down. This allows you to start saving on your monthly electric bill right away! Pretty cool, huh!
Leased solar, or a power purchase agreement (PPA) is easy as well. You don’t have to worry about shopping for a system, monitoring or maintaining the system, replacing parts, etc – the solar lease provider purchases the equipment, installs and maintains it. They are sort of like a solar landlord! Sunrun solar service isn’t available in every state, but check out Sunrun.com to see if solar leasing might be an option for you and your family.
2. So How Much Will Going Solar Save Me?
I think this is everyone’s first question, and there isn’t one answer for every person. It depends on how much your electricity costs you know, how much you use, and your rate. Sunrun’s customers save an average of 20% on their electricity costs (*Actual savings will vary. See http://clvr.li/1dwHGKc for details), and electricity from Sunrun is cheaper than electricity from your utility company. This can really add up over the lifetime of a solar system!
3. What does it mean “On the Grid” or “Off the Grid”?
When I hear “off the grid” I think about survivalists living in the woods making their own soap and eating wild berries, but it’s really not too complicated. “On the Grid” refers to a solar system that utilizes an existing utility’s electrical grid to send and receive power. On this type of system, you can earn energy “credits” if your system produces more electricity than you use by putting that “spare” electricity back into the system. This helps lower your energy costs by giving you credit for when your system is not producing electricity (e.g at night time).
Off the grid is different – it uses a battery backup not tied to a utility grid. These battery backups are very expensive, and their waste management is toxic, so these are options for many people. If you use third-party-owned solar like Sunrun, your system will be on the grid.
Are you ready to take the plunge yet? Even if you’re not quite ready yet, take the time to see if Sunrun might be right for your family – it’s good for your wallet AND the environment.
What questions do you have about solar? If you have solar, how do you like it, and do you have any advice for us newbies just exploring going solar?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.