Home Solar Power Helps The Greens Save Green and Go Greener
For Hunter and Kelly Green*, it was the $1,422 electric bill for the months of July and August that did it. The Sun Valley, California couple didn’t live in a cavernous mansion, after all; they’ve lived in the same modest, two-story house for over 15 years. “I hit the roof. At first, I thought it had to be a mistake,” said Hunter, an environmental lawyer. But unfortunately, the bill was accurate. It had been one of the hottest summers on record. And Kelly had transitioned from a corporate job to opening her own home-based IT consulting business. “I have a bunch of computers with dual monitors, smartphones, tablets, and laser printers in my home office—and all summer long, it was so hot I couldn’t work without keeping the air conditioner running practically 24/7. So…I guess that used a lot of electricity,” explained Kelly. Desperate to lower their electric bill but still needing to maintain a comfortable home, solar power seemed to the Greens like an obvious choice.
“I thought I earned a pretty decent living, but between the mortgage and the medical insurance and Kelly’s new business, I decided there was no way I was going to accept paying a $700-a-month electric bill on top of everything else,” continued Hunter. He started searching the internet for Los Angeles residential solar systems and saw United Solar’s website. Then, a young associate at Hunter’s law firm—who seemed to have a keen interest in alternative energy, solar systems, and the like—told Hunter that he and his wife had recently remodeled their home; solar power ended up being a very cost-effective solution for them, and the contractor just happened to be NRG Clean Power! So Hunter gave NRG Clean Power a call, and the next day, a technician came to the Greens’ house.
“I was very impressed with how NRG Clean Power handled everything,” said Kelly. “They did a complete energy efficiency evaluation and then discussed all the options with us.” Because the 30% federal income tax credit and their local utility’s sizable rebate for residential solar installation sliced the price of the Greens’ system nearly in half, Hunter and Kelly chose to purchase it outright. “I was a little bit nervous at first about putting up a lump sum of money to buy our system,” Kelly added, but the benefits of ownership were too good for her and her husband to pass up—benefits like a significant appreciation in the value of their house when they are ready to sell. In fact, realtors often report that when selling a home, solar power can increase that home’s resale value by as much as $20,000 for each $1,000 of electricity savings made possible by solar.
The Greens’ estimated electric bill savings just for the first year were $2,438!
“Our electric bills went from an average of $300-400 a month or more to about $100. Going solar made a huge difference,” according to Hunter.
Being an environmental lawyer, he could also point proudly to the fact that his “little SoCal solar installation” could so positively affect the environment at large, preventing the emission of nearly 18,000 lbs. of CO2 and other greenhouse gases each year.
Hunter concludes, “I used to laugh when people told me to go green because my name is Green and I’m a lawyer working to protect the environment. Going solar was the logical next step; I guess I’ve gone even greener!”
SAVINGS BY MANAGING ELECTRICITY
Location: Sun Valley, CA
Home Size: 3,750 sq. ft.
System Size: 9.25 kW
Discount Programs Used: LADWP – Solar Incentive (Residential);
30% Federal Tax Credit
Results: Drastic (66%) reduction in monthly electric bills;
ROI of >10%, easily outperforming most stock investments;
Substantial increase in home resale value;
Reduced greenhouse gas pollution.
*Names have been changed to protect customers’ privacy; figures are estimates based on standard conditions and assumptions.