Don’t Let The Utility “Landlord” Keep Raising Your Electricity “Rent”

benefits of solar panels

A trend began a few years ago when the economic downturn first hit, and it continues to stick: putting our expenses under the magnifying glass with an eye towards seeing where our opportunities are to stretch limited funds further.  After trimming luxury items and narrowing the monthly list to necessities only, many delve into their monthly utility bills searching for ways to save.   The typical response is to drop the lower jaw and wonder how you could have gone so long paying so much.  Changing habits to help reduce usage helps lower that bill, but oftentimes – there’s a point where our power to save is blocked by the high rates we pay.  You may ask, “How did this get so out of control? I don’t think I was always paying so much.” And you would be right assuming that. If you’ve lived in your home long enough, you can see that your electrical expenses have increased around 5% per year on average (over the last 40 years in Southern California). Depending on the level of your usage, you may have seen an even higher average increase. Some years those rates only climbed by a mere 2%, and others exceeded 8%.

And here’s the zinger: In last month’s statement you probably saw an extra notice stating that your bill will go up yet again, and soon.

Folks who are interested in exploring alternatives are commonly led to investigate solar powered electricity. Tens of thousands of homeowners in California have, including neighbors right here in Hidden Meadows!  For a vast majority of homeowners, solar electricity is less expensive when compared to utility rates in Southern California. Generating your own electricity at a lower cost is a great way to reduce that monthly expense. When you consider that our local utility’s electricity rates are continually rising – the “renting vs. buying” analogy comes to mind.  We’re all renting our power knowing that our ‘landlord’ will only increase our rates with each subsequent year.  By choosing solar – you’re proactively taking a step towards controlling your costs moving into the future.  You’re opting into a ‘mortgage’ and walking away from your rent.  It provides an excellent way to cut costs, and allows you to save more with each rate increase that you avoid.

A major reason the economics really “pencil out” with solar is the current federal incentive available. There is a 30% tax credit that goes to the system owner, and there are few ways to finance the system.  The standard – prior to just a few years ago – was to purchase the system which was reduced with a state rebate, and then wait until your CPA processed your taxes before you realized that tax credit (which is a dollar for dollar credit off of what you owe the IRS).   For folks with no tax appetite (i.e. – don’t have an income, or are retired) this large 30% reduction in cost couldn’t be realized, and as a result – the economics didn’t work.  With the advent of leasing - homeowners with no tax burden can now realize that tax credit immediately because the lessor passes on that same savings with the upfront cost.  This form of lease is referred to as a prepaid lease (where you pay the lump sum when the system is installed).  The other form of leasing allows homeowners to go solar for zero down, and then have fixed monthly payments for the lease term of 20 years.  Both of these options help save money by locking in the price of their energy for 20 years.

If we were to only roll the clocks back 13 years – we’d see that gasoline prices were averaging around $1.00 per gallon.  What if you worked with a company offering to sell you gasoline – by the gallon – for $1.00 for the next 20 years? Just think of all the savings you would have already realized in the last 12 months alone!  Gas prices – much like electricity rates - will continue to rise. Solar electric systems present an incredible offering of savings. When you really look at your options – it is one of the safest ways to help protect yourself, know your costs, add value to your home, and save money so that you have more to spend on what you want!

In the last 5 years there have been as many as 496 companies who have installed at least one solar electric system in San Diego County.  Less than half of those companies are still in the business of installing solar electric systems.  Knowing who is providing you with recommendations and where they are coming from is incredibly important because you don’t want to have a system with a 20 + year operational lifetime installed by a company who will be onto the next ‘big thing’ in a few years.  Longevity, diversification, local presence, and our core business – electrical contracting – are just a few differentiators that separate Baker Electric Solar from literally all other solar companies in San Diego County.  If considering solar – it is always best and highly recommended by us, to meet with a few companies.  This will protect you, and clearly show you the best contractor who will help you along your way towards greater savings and clean energy which helps us all.