You know that moving to renewable energy is good for the environment. You’d love to install solar panels and throw away all those increasingly high utility bills, but there’s always something in the way. Buying a solar system is a big initial cost. Maybe you don’t own your home. Maybe you want a system that can completely free you from the utility company instead of relying on credits. Whatever your objection has been in the past, it’s time to make the change to renewable energy. Here are three options that fit a variety of personal circumstances.
Sign Up With a Renewable Energy Provider
One of the most common barriers to using renewable energy is renting your home. Small utility companies, like Verde Energy, are popping up across the country and are an environmentally friendly alternative to your traditional utility company, and as long as you pay your own utility bill, you’re eligible. In the U.S., approximately 80 percent of energy production and consumption was from fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Renewable energy providers push solar and wind-generated electricity into the grid to cover your usage.
While there’s no way to know if that is the electricity you are getting, it is the electricity you are paying for and it is clean energy added to the system. Often you’ll be able to lock in prices that will save you money, but you’ll still be charged fees from your local utility to maintain the electrical lines, substations and the workers who keep the power on. There is a lot of upside to using a renewable energy provider and no visible downside.
Lease a Solar System
If you want to keep it closer to home and absolutely know that the energy your home is using is renewable, look into leasing a solar system. This option puts solar panels on your home without the high upfront costs. You won’t own the system, but you’ll enter an extended agreement, usually 20 years, with the solar provider, paying them a flat monthly fee. This covers your utility costs and the costs of the equipment. While you won’t reap the benefits of free solar energy like those who own their systems do, you’ll be making a positive impact on the environment and still achieving significant savings through locked-in prices.
To lease a solar system you do need to own the property or have the homeowner agree to the changes, which can be convoluted. If you don’t plan on staying in your home, leasing solar may not be right for you. You are locked into the lease and you’ll have to sell it along with the home, which can make it difficult to find a buyer, or lower the sale value of your home.
Purchase Solar With Battery Backup
Finally, when you own your own home and you’re willing to invest, buying a full solar system is the perfect option. Owning solar without a lease increases the value of your home. You’ll own the system outright within approximately seven years. Over 20 years, you can expect to save anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 above and beyond the cost of the system.
If you’ve been holding off because you don’t want a bidirectional meter and depending on credits for power overnight and on cloudy days, now is the time to invest in a full solar system with battery backup. Solar battery technology has advanced rapidly. Your home can automatically switch to battery power when the sun isn’t available. Your batteries will even continue to charge as you pull power if there’s partial sunlight. You’ll be able to run your home overnight and through cloudy days without depending on traditional utilities.
No matter your situation, there’s a solar solution to fit your needs.