Two decades ago, California started talking about solar power and its future in the state. Fast forward to today, and California “catches more rays” than any other state in the union. Last year, California captured more energy through solar than it could use, and ended up giving it away to Arizona. Solar’s success commits California to an infrastructure in which solar systems are more affordable, and homeowners can harvest the sunshine. How can you get in on all of this energy?
If you’re new to solar, or even to the energy conversation—this is important:
Solar is an investment, yet it is the difference between buying energy and renting it. Once the sun is up, it is free to anyone that has paid off a solar system. These days, the systems come with 25 year warranties, and are tested to lose very little efficiency from years 25-35. California lending agencies are really good about low interest rates for solar systems, as they see the benefit of them.
How does the homeowner experience this loan?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical family spends $2,200 a year on utilities.
This means that the average family rents $183 dollars worth of energy every month. The energy never belongs to them, nor is it ever free. The meter runs and the homeowner pays. In five years, the homeowner will pay the same $183 dollars a month it always has (that is if energy prices stay the same; they never have). Electric prices have only increased in the last 20 years.
Lets say the homeowner buys a solar system, and pays $24,000. The homeowner can take that same $183 and pay off the system month to month. When the system is paid off, the homeowner has spent as much money on the solar system as they would have those years in utility bills. The difference between the solar and non-solar user is that after the system is paid for, the solar user won't be paying $183 dollars a month for electricity. The sun comes up everyday for free, with enough energy to power the universe, yet only the solar owner takes advantage.
In the same way that buying a home is a good idea if you've found your city, installing solar is smart if you’ve found your home. No one blames a person for buying a home when they are ready to settle down. Likewise, when the homeowner is settled it is wise to consider owning the system that powers the house.
The enlightenment solar brings is this:
For all of time, the sun has risen each morning. Every time, it rises as the most abundant source of energy in the cosmos. Its perks? It can’t be bought, controlled, or stopped. Yet not until recently has the world considered it an energy source to power the earth. The U.S. has resorted to cheaper emissions like coal. Today coal makes up for 40% of all generated electricity. This is down considerably from years past. The reason? Coal is terrible for the environment. The recent regulations on coal have put some stop on the damage, yet coal still pollutes air and water, and effects climate change. It’s harvesting process includes clean-cutting mountains, blowing them up, and garnering the coal. Energy’s current structure emits 381,740,601 pounds of toxic air pollution annually. This equates to half of total emissions in the country. Because coal can be bought—it can be controlled, fluctuated, driven up in price.
Above this senseless chaos, the sun is up, and it is free. Beaming down on every coal plant is enough energy to power all of them. Solar systems save the planet and the wallet.
California is leading the country in solar efficiency and solar usage. Solar is the logical energy solution for anyone that has found a place to call on home. Solar energy is a financially feasible option for energy compared to its competitor, the electric company. By year 5, the solar user may take advantage of the sun that rises freely, while the homeowner that hasn't switched keeps paying the utility bill. Lastly, solar makes the world a better place to breathe. The industry foresees a day when smog and haze lifts from cities across the US, and energy goes untaxed, untarnished, untamed. Solar repurposes the sun and regards it for what it is: free and constant energy.