Introduction: Why do people install solar and home batteries?
One of the most exciting days in the solar process is when customers can turn on their solar and battery systems! We love to ask our customers what inspired their decision to switch from utility power to solar power. What we hear time and again are five reasons why customers decide to install solar and home batteries at their homes!
We know that many people are just starting the process of exploring solar, so we wanted to put this article together to help people get a better understanding of why it makes so much sense for homeowners to install solar and home batteries!
Reason 1: Why do people install solar and home batteries: Utility Savings
Homeowners are starting to realize how expensive utility electricity is. For example, in Hawaii, homeowners are, on average, paying 4.50% of their yearly salary on Hawaiin Electric power! Historically the electric utilities had a monopoly on where consumers got electricity. That meant that when utilities raise rates year after year, homeowners had no choice but to pay these increases.
With solar, consumers are becoming aware that installing solar and home batteries presents them with a less expensive alternative than utility power.
Alchemy Solar customers can install solar using various financing options like purchasing the system, getting a solar loan, a monthly power purchase agreement, or a prepaid (PPA). These different options allow homeowners to get clean, renewable energy from solar at a lower cost than utility power.
These savings can be worth tens of thousands of dollars for a homeowner!
When our customers install solar and home batteries, many can see utility savings right away. By locking in a controllable and lower cost for electricity with solar power, the savings only increase as utility rates increase year over year!
Reason 2: Why do people install solar and home batteries: Battery Backup
The state-wide power outages that impacted Texas in 2021 alerted the nation that severe power outages are expected to increase in the future. The Texas Power Outage was an extreme situation that led to billions of dollars in damages and tragically loss of life. Solar and home batteries present a unique opportunity to protect the home from blackouts and extended power outages.
As our lives have become increasingly connected and we are working or learning from home more, keeping the power on is essential to keeping people safe.
If homeowners do not have batteries, the home loses power when the grid goes down. In states like Hawaii and California, power outages are becoming increasingly common, meaning that the safety and security of homes are put at risk every time the utility goes down.
When many people think about protecting themselves against power outages, they only think about fuel-based generators. Fuel-baed generators require expensive yearly maintenance and usually only have a one to three-year warranty. That means that customers who use fuel-based generators have to pay thousands of dollars every few years to maintain and replace the generator.
In addition, fuel-based generators have to be filled with gas or fuel. This is time-consuming and can leave homes without backup power at the worst possible time in emergency situations.
Solar batteries like the Tesla Powerwall 2 and LG Chem RESU work automatically in power outage situations. This means that customers do not have to worry about turning on a generator to keep critical electrical loads powered. This automatic availability can be essential for keeping homes and families safe in emergencies!
Solar batteries also hope to protect the long-term economic savings of adding solar. Programs like the Oahu Battery Bonus, HECO's Kukui Hele Pō gride service program, and California SGIP incentives are helping to make batteries more affordable while also improving the economics of solar for many customers!
Reason 3: Why do people install solar and home batteries: Solar Incentives
People often start looking into solar and home batteries to take advantage of the incentives that state and national leaders have put in place to help people shift to renewable energy. These incentives can cover a large portion of the cost of installing solar and help improve the savings that homeowners see.
One of the most significant drivers for the solar industry's growth has been the Federal Solar Tax Credit. The Federal Solar Tax Credit came into existence in 2005 as a part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Federal Government wanted to spur the solar industry's growth by providing homeowners a tax credit of 30% of the cost of installing solar.
The Federal Solar tax credit significantly lowers the cost of buying solar, or the kilowatt cost can be offered under a Solar Power Purchase Agreement.
The Federal Solar Tax Credit was designed to spur the solar industry's growth and is designed to decrease over time. In 2022 the tax credit is 26% of installed costs, but the longer homeowners wait, the less the Federal Solar Tax Credit will be.
It is not just the Federal Government that offers additional incentives to install solar. Many states also provided state solar tax credits. Similar to the Federal Tax Credit, as solar installations have increased, many states have eliminated their solar stat tax credit.
Fortunately for our customers in Hawaii, homeowners in Hawaii still get access to a state tax credit! The Hawaii State Tax Credit can cover over $5,000 of the cost of installing solar! But unfortunately, due to the COVID crisis, the Hawaii state legislature has voted to cut the state solar tax credit in half.
It's not just the tax credits that provide additional incentives to homeowners to add solar and batteries. Utility programs like California's NEM 2.0, Hawaii's Customer Self Supply, or virtual power plant programs help make the economics of going solar even more attractive!
Many programs provide homeowners with additional compensation for adding solar and a battery. For example, the Self Generation Incentive Program and Oahu's Demand Response Battery Bonus program provide homeowners thousands of dollars to help strengthen the grid and protect homeowners from power outages.
These programs are limited, so the sooner homeowners sign up for solar and batteries, the more likely they will get the maximum incentive and financial savings!
Reason 4: Why do people install solar and home batteries: Environmental
One of the reasons the solar industry has grown so much across the country is that homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their carbon output and use renewable power to run their homes.
Electricity companies across the country have been singled out for the high levels of pollution they are emitting. For example, around 80% of the electricity comes from carbon-emitting resources in Hawaii. Hawaiin Electric uses coal, oil, and jet fuel to fuel most of its power plants! Jet fuel is responsible for hazardous water pollution on Oahu's military basis.
By moving away from utility power, homeowners who install solar are helping to limit the pollution that comes along with producing electricity using carbon-based resources. Oil and coal must be extracted from the ground, shipped across the oceans, processed by the utility company, and burned at the power plant.
This chain of events leads to pollution across the world that leads to the destruction of the ocean, the ozone layer, and severe health effects that have been shown to lead to lung and other health issues.
Many states also have a goal of transitioning to a renewable energy future. Hawaii, for example, has a goal to move 100% to renewable energy by 2045. Homeowners can help expedite this transition by installing residential solar and helping states replace carbon-emitting electricity with renewable energy.
By taking control of the transition to a renewable future, homeowners who install solar can see the best savings possible by controlling the transition instead of leaving it up to the utility who historically have charged more for electricity over time.
Reason 5: Why do people install solar and home batteries: Utility Anger
Most people choose to do business with companies that they like and trust. Electricity utilities are historic for having a negative customer experience, and recent efforts to use the monopoly power to hurt solar are pushing customers to install solar.
For example, Hawaiin electric has the second most expensive utility rate in the nation and has recently told consumers that they should expect more power outages in the future. Switching to solar and home batteries allow consumers to take back control by reducing the cost of electricity and protecting their homes and family from power outages.
This anger and frustration with the monopolies that most people feel towards their utilities were intensified during the COVID crisis. Many utilities raised electricity rates significantly during COVID stay-at-home orders as people were forced to use more electricity at home. For example, Hawaiin Electric raised rates 20% in 2020, dramatically increasing monthly electricity payments even for those homeowners who used the same amount of electricity.
This distrust and dissatisfaction with electric companies drive many people to look at solar and home batteries. Solar provides homeowners an alternative from the utility monopoly, which most customers have never had before!
Conclusion: Why do homeowners install solar and batteries?
The appeal of residential solar has continued to grow over the past decade. With the cost of utility power rising, power outages becoming more frequent, and concerns about climate change are pushing people to find a better solution for where they get their electricity.
Solar and home batteries allow customers to address these needs and save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the solar panel system! With the ability to accomplish all of this, it is no wonder so many homeowners are matching the switch to solar.
If you are interested in learning more about how solar and home batteries help you and your family, schedule a free consultation with Alchemy Solar today!