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  • Writer's pictureHoward Hulin

Let's Talk About Solar Power


Let's Voice ...


Thinking about adding Solar Power to Your Home ?

... Caveat Emptor


With rapid, inflationary prices digging out chucks of cash out of our wallets; we began looking for ways of reducing our overall cost of home ownership. It was no longer just telling the kids and each other to, "turn off the lights when you leave the room" or "close the front door, you're cooling off the entire neighborhood." We needed a bigger impact and we needed it now.


With a pool, jacuzzi, two air conditioning units and four adults in the house all using electricity, it seemed only logical to look into ways of reducing our electrical power consumption ... or at least offsetting it a bit. With California offering nice rebates on solar, that seemed to be the path we should take. So we called upon several solar companies and finally decided on one that seemed to be more trustworthy than the others.


Here's what we learned ...


All solar companies will come to your house, ask for you to provide them with your latest electricity bill, and ask basic questions about usage. The electricity bill allows them to determine a baseline of the total consumption as billed monthly by your provider. Our sales persons even had us turn on everything that would normally draw power and then read the meter. After that, they input all of the data into their database, pulled the location of the house along with its facing rooflines, and with the aide of technology came up with an optimum quantity of solar panels that needed to be placed on the house to cover all of our electricity needs. The sales person even told me that one of the perks of having solar ... no more blackouts, at least during the day. Even better !!


For our particular situation, we had one area on our lower roofline that we didn't want panels placed due to aesthetics. That left us with a bit less than 100% solar to cover our monthly usage. This is where things get dicey.


Average Electricity Bill: $425

Cost of Solar Purchase (Monthly): $130

Adjusted Savings: $295 Very nice, heh?

Monthly SCE Charges: $25

Total Savings: $275 Still seems to be a great bargain?


At the end of the first year, we received a bill from SCE in the amount of $1300 !! What? Apparently, this is the electricity that we used during the year from the grid that our solar system didn't generate and we were not billed for each month. Hmmm ... let's recalculate.


Total Savings (Monthly): $275

$1300/12 (monthly): $108

Total Savings (monthly: $167 Still not too bad a savings ...


BUT WAIT ... THERES MORE !!!


Did you know that unless you have battery storage, your solar panels will not provide your home with electricity during a black out? That right. Last week, the power was out for almost 10 hours and we were without electricity ... at least 4 hours still under direct sunlight. It seems that each set of panels needs a power inverter that requires electricity from the grid in order to convert the solar energy into electricity.


AND IF YOU CALL RIGHT NOW ...


"We'll sell you brand new inverters that have micro solar panels that'll generate the electricity you need to power your home with your new solar system when the power goes out!"


And no, it's not just for the cost of shipping and handling.


When I sold my wife on solar, I told her that even if we saved only $100 a month, that'd be $100 more we'd have for other things. So in the end, we saved about $3000 on our electricity last year. From the environmental standpoint as taken from EPA data, this last year we have reduced CO2 output by 12.5 tons just by having solar. Now that's significant !


Do I recommend solar? Absolutely! I'm certain that every home owner can find something to do with a few extra thousand a year. Just become aware of the overall costs before jumping all in. If you have any questions, email me and we'll chat.


Until next time, use your voice! The moon is the moon and the sun is the sun. If anyone tries to tell you anything different, use your voice and speak up!


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