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The Solar Awakening

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about our decision to go Solar and how we arrived at that decision. Since the completion of the install and firing it up, all we have had is clouds and snow! I think all of this rainy and cloudy February weather is just for us so that we will truly appreciate the benefits of our clean Solar energy when the sun finally returns!

I have been having some interesting conversations with friends and clients about Solar and their growing curiosity about this clean technology. Additionally, I have talked with a few building contractors that are beginning to come around to the idea of including Solar energy as part of their overall package or at least an option during construction. Many builders have stepped up their building process and have realized the incremental cost to make their homes more energy efficient is not that great and certainly adds to the desirability and marketability of their product.

One contractor I spoke with is already beginning to add the rough in to the electrical system and even a nominal number of panels that can be expanded by the homeowner later on. How amazing would it be if builders would size the inverter for future expansion or even accommodate a charging port for an all-electric car in your own garage?

One of the challenges Solar installers are experiencing in residential installations is the multi-level and hip roof construction styles. Yes, they can be aesthetically pleasing. However, getting enough contiguous roof area to install an adequate number of panels proves challenging. There must be a way to design an appealing roof AND accommodate Solar in the same design. With the construction of larger square foot homes, it would seem prudent to incorporate a Solar package in the design to offset or even eliminate a large portion of, if not all of, the energy costs. Wouldn’t you agree?

In the Northwest many people have heard we have some of the lower energy costs in the Nation. On face value that is correct but how many people do the research to see the cut off points for the low rates. Did you know the Residential electricity consumption in Idaho averages 1,010 kWh/month. With the lowest rate tier capping out at 800kWh per month, average households automatically jump to the 2nd and 3rd tier rates based on their actual usage. Also, there is a rate jump of approximately 60 cents per kWh during summer consumption along with a $5.00 per month service charge.

Here is some info on Idaho Powers tiered rates and another interesting link to the top 10 states for Solar energy. Surprisingly several are not “sun-drenched” states but states that have high energy costs and states encouraging energy options.

With all the favorable press that Idaho is receiving we are currently ranked 7th in the faster growing Metro areas in the nation. With people making the move it is going to be imperative that we investigate and invest in alternative energy options. Many of our new neighbors are coming from areas that already enjoy Solar so let’s get informed and prepared to meet the need and be the responsible stewards of our great state at the same time.

I am excited for the sunny days ahead and all the changes that are occurring. If you have questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

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