One Saturday, during the hottest part of the Texas summer, a guy knocked on our door. This guy was a salesman from Solar City. He promptly began to inform me that I could save a lot of money if I were to install solar panels on my house. His timing was pretty much perfect. I had just received a letter from my current electric provider telling me that my contract was about to expire and the rate that I had gotten a year ago was about to go up. Shopping for an electrical provider is not my idea of a good time or even time I want to be spending comparing these companies. As most of my fellow Texans know, when a electric provider gives you a quote for electricity they will tell you give you the price per kWh. When you first see this rate, you think, wow, $0.08 per kWh is pretty good!! So you sign your year contract and forget about it for a month. Then you get your first bill…. Look down at the fees, taxes, and charges that add up and soon you’re paying $0.14 per kWh!!! OH the trickery!!!
So when Solar City showed up, I was in the right mood to hear the man out. He showed me some examples on how this company has different ways you can get panels without having to pay the $20,000-30,000 price tag (we don’t exactly have that much laying around to throw down on some solar panels). They offer a few options such as renting the panels for 20 years, paying Solar City a set price for 20 years, or just buying the panels outright. I’m sure there are other options that I’m not remembering, but we decided we were going to rent the panels for the next 20 years. With the design that Solar City came up with, we would be able to offset 40% of our electricity usage with Solar!! That’s pretty awesome!!!
Now, Solar City gives you a design that will put the most panels they can fit on your roof. You have the option to reduce that number as you see fit. It seems that people are concerned with how the panels will look from the street. What if the panels are ugly? What if the panels are so ugly no one wants to buy my house if I decide to move? To be completely honest, those were questions we had at first. It wasn’t until actually sitting down and doing some research that I realized the concern about how they'd look was insignificant compared to the positive impact they'd have on the environment.
I am a big proponent of personal responsibility. I take responsibility for my actions, for my life, and for my family. Having said that, I believe that I am personally responsible for the energy that my family consumes and for any amount of carbon we are emitting. Once I began reading about all the benefits of using solar energy it hit me like a mac truck! How could I even consider if the panel would be too ugly for me to put on my house! Seriously!! Our system has the potential of saving 3-4 tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere. This is like plating 100 trees a year!! I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I can plant 100 trees every year. The electric grid in Texas can have some serious demands placed on it during the summer months and every bit of relief we can provide just goes to helping our fellow Texans!
When it comes down to it, we can have a significant impact on our energy consumption by utilizing solar panels. My wife and I developed our own family mission statement and one of the tenets that we live by is to be mindful of our use of the earth's natural resources and our impact on the environment. We do this in hopes to hand down a planet to our children that is better than we found it. Just our house going solar isn’t going to change any weather patterns, but it’s a step in the right direction. My only hope is that more people can come to the same realization that we have.
When we signed up to Solar City they gave us a friends/family referral code that gives them their first month's electricity for free- if you're interested use the following link: Share SolarCity.
More to come when installation begins!
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