If you’re a homeowner in California, you’ve noticed that your utility bills are higher this year than they were last year, and considerably higher than they were five years ago. You’ve probably forgotten the lower bills you used to pay to keep your lights on. It’s no secret that California has some of the most expensive power in the country, topped only by Connecticut and Massachusetts in terms of cost per kilowatt-hour in the continental U.S. for residential customers.
Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the utility companies that serves customers in Fresno and Bakersfield, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 29th, which means now more than ever is the best time to take control of your power with solar. With rates likely to go up due to the bankruptcy proceedings, costs will likely skyrocket for all customers. However, with solar more affordable than ever, you can take control of these costs and reduce your dependence on public utilities.
Fresno and Bakersfield experience close to 300 days of sunlight per year. That includes many days of triple digit temperatures during summer months, which make it a necessity to run your air conditioner to stay cool. Air conditioners and pool pumps are two of the largest energy consumers in the average home, and both greatly contribute to massive electric bills all summer long.
However, with PG&E declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, electric rates are predicted to increase anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times per kilowatt hour at peak time. Customers who are on time-of-use rates, which are quickly becoming common, will find that their electricity rates will surge during afternoon and evening hours when households are consuming the most electricity. That means it’s difficult to anticipate what your electrical bill could be like when it arrives at the end of the month. By switching to solar, you can put control of your own energy costs right in your own hands!
The trend of increasing electrical rates is cause of concern for a large number of homeowners, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Over the last 10 years, the Energy Information Administration found that rates have increased by 24 percent across the country. That’s an increase of roughly $75 per year if you consume about 500 kilowatt-hours of energy every month. And the EIA also forecasts that grid energy will only continue to get more and more expensive in the coming years.
What does all of this mean? It means that if you’re considering switching to solar, you very well could be future-proofing your home and making sure that you have control over your energy costs for the next few decades. Thanks to falling solar prices and a number of other benefits, it has never been more affordable to outfit your home with solar, and those who sign up today will see gainful returns faster than ever before.
Shrinking Payoff Periods
One of the primary methods for determining whether solar is right for you is to determine the payoff period, or the amount of time before your solar energy system saves you enough money on your utility bills to the point where your investment it pays for itself.
Let’s look at it this way: your panels produce energy that you don’t have to buy from the energy company. Instead of paying the energy company, that cost is applied to the purchase of your solar panel system. The payoff period is the amount of time it takes for your panels to produce enough energy that the cost of that energy from the public utility company equals the cost of buying your solar panels.
When the cost of energy is extremely high, your savings is even greater, and that means your panels pay for themselves even faster. That means more years of clean, renewable power; extremely reduced energy costs at no cost to you.
California residents have the ability to take advantage of solar incentives, as the state has an aggressive renewable energy portfolio and a number of incentives to make sure they meet the implemented standards. By the year 2020, California is required to produce 33 percent of all power from renewable resources, and the largest chunk of that is going to come from solar.
Some of these benefits include extraordinarily customer-friendly net metering laws. Net metering is the practice of selling your unused power back to the grid, and California law mandates that utilities must pay their customers the full retail rate for the energy they produce. If you send more power back to the grid in a given month than you consume, you’ll receive a credit toward your account. If you carry a credit at the end of the billing year, you’ll receive a check from your utility company for what they owe you.
Furthermore, the Solar Investment Tax Credit is still going strong. If you install a qualifying system, you can claim up to 30 percent of the cost of your system on your tax return for the year that you begin construction on the project. However, you have to begin construction sooner than later in order to ensure that you will qualify for the percent tax credit that ends in 2019. After that, the credit will continue to drop until it disappears completely for residential customers in the year 2022.
Looking to take control over your energy costs? Talk to a Fresno solar expert about how a solar energy system can help you do that! Call SunPower by Quality Home Services at (800) 496-3074 today!