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Green Your Home: 7 Commonly Asked Questions About Going Solar + Giveaway

As homes are getting “smarter,” so is the electricity that powers them. Celebs are getting in on the trend, even the Scott Brothers and Kylie Jenner have solar! 

Many homeowners who go solar do so to save money in the summer months, when the sun is out the longest and air conditioning costs are the highest of the year. With the recent popularity of smart thermostats and TVs, bracelets and refrigerators, and home automation software kits, one emerging home trend to consider is a smart energy source like Sunrun solar service, which can power all the technology in our homes. 

The smartest way to power a smart home is with clean, affordable electricity from the sun. We asked the experts at Sunrun for the answers to your most frequently asked questions about solar power. For giveaway details scroll to the bottom of this post.

  • Sunrun customers save an average of 20% on their electricity costs.* *Actual savings will vary. See http://clvr.li/1dwHGKc for details.
  • Electricity from Sunrun is more affordable than electricity from your utility. You can spend your savings on your retirement, college tuition, or a dream vacation.
  • Sunrun installs, insures, monitors and maintains a solar system that is designed specifically for you and your home. You just pay a low, locked-in rate for the electricity that the panels produce.
  • Sunrun gives you control over your electricity costs and protects you against unpredictable electricity rate increases.
  • Sunrun monitors your solar system's production remotely, so you have peace of mind.
  • Sunrun solar is a win-win; good for your wallet, and good for the planet.

What are my options for going solar? 

Today’s homeowners have two main options when choosing to go solar: purchasing a system or leasing a solar system with a solar service provider. When a homeowner purchases a system, there is a high upfront cost, and the homeowner is often responsible for shopping for a system or installer, managing the installation, insuring the system, completing the paperwork for tax rebates and credits, monitoring and maintaining the system, replacing expensive parts, etc. This can be a headache for the homeowner, which is why most homeowners choose to go solar with a solar lease provider. Sunrun invented solar service, a way to get solar on your roof without the high upfront cost and hassle of ownership.

What is a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA)? 

Leased solar (also called a “PPA” or “third-party owned solar”) allows homeowners to go solar with little or no upfront cost. The solar lease provider purchases the equipment, installs it on your roof, and monitors and maintains the system throughout the life of the agreement. The homeowner pays a low rate for the electricity the system produces. In 2013, 72% of California homeowners who went solar did so with a third-party owned system, according to Go Solar California. Note that leased solar isn’t available in every state due to a variety of factors. Visit Sunrun.com to see if Sunrun solar service is near you.

 

How much am I going to save with solar? 

How much you will save will be specific to you and it depends on your usage, your rate, and the rate charged by your local utility. If utility rates continue to increase as they have historically, solar customers will save substantially on electricity bills over the life of having solar.  Sunrun customers save an average of 20% on their electricity costs.* *Actual savings will vary. See http://clvr.li/1dwHGKc for details.

Do I get tax credits and rebates? 

There are both Federal and State incentives for purchasing residential solar panels that a homeowner can take advantage of if they purchase solar panels. As the owner of the panels, leased solar providers take advantage of those incentives as a means to lower the price you pay for your solar electricity. This way, you don’t have to deal with extra paperwork, but you still get the price advantage.

Is it true that I can put my solar electricity back into the grid? 

Yes! When you go solar, a net meter is installed along with the system. It looks a lot like your utility meter and measures how much solar electricity the system produces. So, if it produces more electricity than you used (e.g., on sunny afternoons), that excess electricity is automatically fed to the utility grid and your net meter will “spin” backwards, earning you energy credits. In the evenings, when the solar system is not producing electricity, the homeowner uses those energy credits to power their home.

What are tiered utility rates and why do they matter? 

Tiered utility rates are part of the reason electricity has become so expensive. With tiered rates, the more electricity you use, the higher your rate becomes per kilowatt hour. These tiers are typically less regulated or not regulated at all, which means that utility companies have the ability to raise rates without your consent. You’re allowed a certain amount of power in each tier; once you’ve exceeded that amount, you are subject to pay the next highest tiered rate. Lower tiered rates are generally affordable and higher tiered rates can be very expensive. In many cases, leased solar providers will recommend a system that only offsets your expensive tiers, to help you maximize your savings. The nice thing about going solar is that you can better predict your electricity costs for decades to come. Sunrun gives you control over your electricity costs and protects you against unpredictable electricity rate increases.

Where do the panels go on my house? 

In most cases, panels are installed on the southernmost side of the home to ensure the highest amount of sun exposure and production possible. The size and number of the panels are designed specifically for your home and energy consumption.

Now for more fun, the giveaway! Enter the Sunrun sweepstakes on Facebook enter to win a Nest Learning Thermostat: http://bit.ly/1J9x4fO

Want to learn more about the benefits of solar power?  Visit: Sunrun for more info. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.