For a few years now we've been hearing ads on the radio for solar power and even had a few salesmen from different companies visit out home. All of the programs out there vary from one another in so many ways that it is hard to tell what is right for us. At the end of the day we just want to start saving money with solar power. I sat down on the phone with a representative from Sunrun solar service, a leading solar power energy provider here in California, to learn about what they have to offer and how they can help us with our power dilemma. Sunrun invented solar service, a way to get solar on your roof without the high upfront cost and hassle of ownership.
I WAS gonna weed my garden…but 100 degrees at 730am? Thay be #heatstroke weather. Good grief!
Our electric bills are usually around $150 a month in the winter and up to $600 per month in the summer! We participate in a program where the electric company can turn off our Air Conditioner (A/C) during high demand times. We get a credit on our bill spread out over the summer months in relation to how much time they turn off our A/C. Recently, they've been turning the A/C off between 4-8pm, which means my house is usually 85 degrees or warmer inside during that time. It's too hot to open the windows, as we have 100+ degree heat all summer and our ceiling fans are just blowing hot air around at this point. I'm over it!! I can't cook dinner when it's 85 degrees in my house and the kids are falling out while trying to do their homework. This means we either eat out or go somewhere with A/C, like the store, where we spend more money doing unnecessary shopping.
We live in the desert so we get a lot of sun and that makes A/C in the summer even more crucial. We have changed a lot of our behaviors to lower our electric bill, besides opting in to the radio controlled A/C program. We run major appliances before 9am and after 6pm to avoid peak usage charges. I am also a bit of an electricity control freak, telling the kids and everyone to keep everything turned off during the day. We even got rid of our spa because it was too costly to run. These lifestyle changes can literally mean the difference of $200 on a bill just doing these changes, especially in the summer. The kids can only play on the slip n slide so long before they just get overheated.
Summer of fun! Just made fresh brew over ice lemonade in our @Keurig for these two to enjoy during a break from @banzai slip n slide fun! I made a little iced coffee for myself. Yum yum! #coffee #lemonade #keurig #summerfun #socal #backyard #brewoverice #flamingo #pineapple #sillykid View on Instagram
Things aren't always comfortable or practical so that's why we've been considering converting to solar. It was good news to hear Sunrun solar service rep Nick tell me on the phone that our house was a good candidate for solar. He was able to pull up a satellite image of our house online and we did a screenshare of our computers so I could see where Sunrun solar service would potentially be placing the solar panels on my home. We were able to schedule a one hour (seriously it didn't even take that long) phone consultation at a time that was convenient for me to go over the plans Sunrun solar service can offer for our specific home, tailored to our specific usage. This is a satellite image of my actual house. The lighter purple areas on the roof are places we can potentially place solar panels. The dark purple area is where Sunrun solar service is proposing to place the panels needed to match my current electricity consumption.
I was susprised to learn that even with all of my crazy cost cutting strategies, Sunrun solar service could save us over $300+ a year compared to what I currently pay. In addition, I would not have to keep up the crazy strategies of having my A/C turned off in the evenings, keeping lights off all the time, and running my washing machine only at night. Factoring in these lifestyle changes with the savings we would see, we are definitely giving Sunrun solar service a serious look.
The plans Sunrun solar service offers are called “solar leases” or “Power Purchase Agreements”. Here's how it works:
- Consult with a Sunrun rep on the phone to see if your home is a candidate for solar.
- Share your current energy usage stats with the Sunrun solar service rep to see how much you can save and to figure out the proper number of solar panels they'd need to install to meet your current energy needs.
- If you agree, they put into place a “Power Purchase Agreement”. This means Sunrun solar service installs the panels on your home, they conduct all the maintenance, and you purchase your power from them. There are two main plans- pay a flat rate for the term of the lease or pay a rate that increases a percentage every month, (for example, 2.9%) for the term of the lease.
- You keep an account open with the current energy provider. If the solar panels produce more power than you need, that is fed back into the system of your current power provider and reads as a credit. If you need to use more electricity than the solar panels produce, you will then use power from your power company. But if you've built up a credit, you will just be using power against the credit you have accumulated with the power company.
- Sunrun solar service monitors the performance of the panels remotely – I actually saw this in action via a screenshare the rep did with me and it was super impressive. Also, they have a lot of customers in my area which was encouraging! They will make regular repairs and check on the performance of the panels to make sure they are producing the proper amount of power.
- When the agreement term is over, you can choose to sign a new agreement, have the panels removed, or purchase the panels at a prorated amount.
Seems pretty straightforward. The plan we were offered is a 20 year agreement. They have options in the case that you sell your home in that time – in fact, they know most people will sell their home so they have systems in place to deal with the transfer of the Power Purchase Agreement in that case. We're seriously looking at this as an option for our home. Sunrun solar is a win-win; good for your wallet, and good for the planet.
We have a special offer for Hydrangea Hippo readers. If you go solar with Sunrun before Nov. 30, you'll get a $500 VISA® Prepaid Card. (Conditions apply.) Get a free solar quote here.
Get more info on Sunrun:
- Sunrun solar service website
- Sunrun on twitter
- Sunrun on Facebook
- Sunrun on Instagram
- Sunrun on Pinterest
What would we do with $300+ extra a year? I'm thinking maybe a vacation (camping!) or get season passes to a local theme park.
What would you do with $300+ extra a year!?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.