Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Solar energy is one of the best green energy sources available, and unlike some forms of alternative energy, is perfect for most homeowners. You probably won’t be setting up wind turbines in your backyard any day soon, but most people can put solar panels on top of or near their house, assuming they get direct sunlight.
The biggest barrier, however, has been cost—the whole process of buying and installing the panels can cost as much as $30,000, meaning you won’t recover the cost for quite a few years. There are some great government incentives that help, but it doesn’t completely eliminate the high cost. As a result, most people felt like getting solar energy was more trouble than it was worth—until now.
The good news is that a few companies allow you to rent solar panels, meaning you get the benefits without the high starting cost, the headache of applying for permits and rebates, or even the maintenance. One company (Citizenre REnU) takes care of all the details. You simply pay a rental fee and watch your electric bill drop—often as much as 20%. The best part is that your electric rate will lock in at the present rate for the next 25 years. Since energy rates have been increasing by 6% or more every year, this could be the biggest long-term savings decision you make. If you decide to move, you are free to cancel your rental.
One thing to check—your area must have net metering available. North Carolina is one of many states that allow it, including the cities of Chapel Hill and Durham. Simply contact the power company to discuss your installation. Or you may schedule a free consultation with one of the companies that leases solar panels; often, they will handle any arrangements that need to be made with power companies. Try renu.citizenre.com or solarcity.com. Overall, North Carolina has been slow in making the solar energy option easier for consumers, but things are changing. Now, solar energy is far easier to implement. Since our area of North Carolina is located in an optimal sunlight region, you can expect to get plenty of solar energy, especially during the summer months when energy consumption goes up. You can also enjoy some great tax breaks for using green energy.
Most American consumers are concerned about the dangers of global warming and other environmental problems we face as a nation. Others of us wonder how we can do anything about it. Like me, you probably want to do something that actually makes a difference. Thankfully, there are some things you can do that actually help the environment. I just learned that you can rent solar panels so this is why I wanted to write about it. Renting solar panels is a simple decision that makes environmental sense—and saves you money! I am definitely going to look into this so I will report back with more information soon.