When it comes to balancing comfort and savings, industry experts recommend combining cost-effective energy efficiency measures with smaller solar power systems. The powerful benefit of solar power systems to create electricity added to reducing energy loss not only saves money, but also costs San Diego homeowners far less in the long run.
Electricity bills have skyrocketed lately everywhere, and San Diego is no exception to the trend. The average electricity consumption rate for a single family detached home in San Diego County is about 675 kWh per month. In June of 1999, that meant an electric bill of $71 but now, thanks to rising costs, that same consumption will result in an electric bill of $150.
For many San Diego homeowners, solar power systems have provided at least some relief from astronomical electricity costs. While the systems require an upfront investment, most solar panels come with a substantial warranty and will produce electricity for up to 40 years at practically no operating cost. The savings on electric bills from a solar power system will cover the investment in 6-8 years for most homeowners, leaving them with free electricity for another 20-30 years.
For example, a homeowner with a $150 average electricity bill today can either buy a solar power system for $17,500 after state and federal incentives or pay $150,000 over the next 30 years for the same amount of electricity. Over the last five years, more than 8,000 homeowners in San Diego have installed solar power systems. New financing options, such as third-party Power Purchasing agreements, allow homeowners to install solar power systems with little or no money down.
While solar power systems yield moderate savings for San Diego homeowners, a combination of solar power and energy efficiency can lead to even better results. By focusing on basic adjustments like insulation, duct sealing and LED bulbs, consumers can drastically cut the amount of energy wasted on heating, cooling and lighting. All it takes is a custom energy audit to figure out the right efficiency improvements. San Diego homeowners can invest 10-40% less than what is needed to install an average solar power system into energy efficiency measures and smaller-scale solar installations and reap the benefits of bigger financial savings and better energy efficiency for many years to come.
Each home uses energy differently and there are no generic solutions that are cost effective for everyone. But with the help of an expert energy auditor, homeowners can identify the custom solution that combines the right energy efficiency measures and solar power system size.