Go solar, go green!
December 21, 2012. By Arnold Rapinan
After much deliberation, I have finally decided to go solar. Last September, the system went online and it has been producing renewable energy since. For the first three months, the 12 panel solar system has produced an average of 600 kwhs per month which represent 85% of my monthly power usage (last year, I averaged 700 kwh per month).
The idea of using renewable energy has always been attractive to me, but I always thought that the cost of going solar was expensive. After speaking to several vendors (Solar City, Sunrun, Sunpower and Sungevity), I have realized that I can have it installed for $0 upfront cost with a twenty year lease.
I wanted to maximize my 20 year savings, so I have elected to go with SunRun and signed up with their Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) program - it is another type of lease where I pre-paid 4,500 kwhs that the system will produce annually at $.11 per kwh. With this program, if the system does not produced the annual guaranteed kwhs, Sunrun will pay me the difference. They will also provide monitoring and maintenance services at no additional cost for the life of the lease. Additionally, any renewable energy that I do not use, my local electric company, PG&E, will re-sell and credit me back on a yearly basis.
Besides the obvious benefit of using clean energy, the financial savings is huge. My breakeven point is 7 years or sooner assuming the system produces more power than Sunrun had guaranteed (on the first three months, the system produced 35% more than anticipated). Any electricity produced after breakeven point is all free electricity which translates to approximately $27,000 overall savings! That is just awesome!
So if you own a house, there is almost no reason not to go solar. It makes financial sense, you are using renewable energy, and it is a cool technology. So make an environmental difference, do not be afraid, go solar, and go green!