How Can Solar Help Lower Your Utility Bills?
Clean and sustainable energy from the sun can run the energy needs of our planet. Using the sun to power our homes and save on electricity costs has become commonplace. Since utility bills began to rise over a decade ago (and continue to rise1), so has the search for alternatives to dirty, expensive fossil fuels. And our search has led us to solar, wind, geothermal and more.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), residential electricity rates have risen across the nation at a rate of about 4% on average over the last 10 years.2 This varies according to what state you live in.
We can’t conduct our daily lives without electricity. We can’t see in the dark, keep our food fresh, plug in our devices or wash our clothes. We can’t live without winter heaters and summer air conditioners. But everything guzzles electricity, raises our bills, and leaves a major carbon footprint.
How to Lower Your Electric Bill
We all want to reduce our carbon footprint while lowering our electric bills. That’s why using solar to power our homes and lower our utility bills has taken off, big time. Solar was never really discussed in the early 2000s, but now it’s not uncommon to see residential solar on many of your neighbors’ rooftops.
Reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions through rooftop solar panels is a badge of honor, with serious bragging rights. Not only can you boast a lower carbon footprint, you can boast a lower utility bill.
Appliances are not going away. They save lives during extreme weather - the highs in the summer and the lows in the winter - invariably caused by the negative effects of climate change. The winters have been colder and the summers have been hotter3 and we are using our heaters and air conditioners... a lot.
Just like saving the health of the planet with solar, you can lower your utility bills and save your wallet by using clean energy from the sun.
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Heating and Cooling Your Home with Solar Energy
Are you thinking of going solar? Well you aren’t alone. Here at Sunrun we have hundreds of thousands of customers. Across America there are an estimated 1.3 million residential solar rooftops.4 Your electric heater and air conditioner play a major role for the amount of solar energy you’ll need.5 Make sure you discuss your home’s energy needs with your solar advisor to get the right amount of power for those hot summers and cold winters.
And don’t forget the importance of weatherizing your house to reduce the amount of power you need to pull from your solar panels or from your local utility grid. It goes without saying that weatherizing will reduce your utility bill regardless of what type of solar system you put in place.6 These efforts plus switching to renewable energy from the sun will definitely provide additional savings.
How to Lower Utility Bills with Solar Plus Battery Storage
There are certain things to consider about the size of a solar array (i.e., the number of solar panels) for your power needs. Where you live, the angle of your roof, how much sun you get in summer and winter - and the energy needs of your family - to name a few considerations. But when you add a battery (check out our high-tech lithium battery) you can stand to save even more.
A solar system coupled with a solar battery is the talk of the town right now. Technology is moving fast, and the future is in batteries. A solar battery enables you to store excess energy produced by your solar panels during the day to use at night when the sun goes down, or when utility rates are the highest (e.g. after work and at nighttime). You are in control of your energy needs and your utility company is not. And when the sun comes back up in the morning? Your battery is recharged... all over again.
TOU Rates Offer More Savings
TOU means “time of use” and TOU rates are put into place by your utility to encourage you to reduce your energy consumption during peak hours when it costs the most (read more about TOU here). When everybody is pulling electricity from the local grid, energy costs more.
If a specific time-of-use plan is offered by your local utility company, you may want to look into it. By enrolling in a TOU plan you have even greater control over rising utility prices. The times you run your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer matters. It’s cheaper in the morning to run appliances – and more expensive roughly noon to 8 pm.
Sunrun understands that there are many residential homeowners that are working couples, and not all of us can do our chores during breakfast (we’re getting ready for work) or want to do them at 9 pm on the weekends (we’d rather be out wining and dining or playing Go Fish with the family). Yes, utility rates are cheaper during these times - but who cares? (P.S. Getting a solar battery is a great option.)
How Much is the Average Electricity Bill?
The two most important factors in determining how much you pay are energy consumption and electricity rates.7 The more people in your family, the more energy you use. Hot summers? The rates are higher. A severe winter storm with lots of people heating their homes? Rates are higher.
And electricity prices change depending on the cost of fuel and delivering electricity to your home. These prices can rise and fall. So there are many factors taken into consideration when “average” prices are determined. Check out Sunrun’s research on average electricity bills here, backed by research from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Solar Tax Credits
A quick tip for homeowners who want to purchase their solar system. Don’t forget about the federal tax credit of 30% off the price of installation. This credit amount will be lowered over the next few years, and go away altogether soon. Check out the federal tax details on SEIA.org for maximum savings on solar ownership.8
Whether you buy or lease you’ll save with solar power. The solar movement is strong, growing stronger - and here to stay. Just like our sun. Give us a call to discuss your energy needs, or get a free solar quote today.
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