- Letters to the Editor
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This is in response to David Abney's letter to the editor, "Trouble with Solar," in last week's Patriot.
My husband and I also have been interested in installing solar panels on our house for some time. We recently got several estimates and we are thrilled to have just signed a 20-year solar lease with Solar City, a reputable company founded by Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla Motors fame. We will be getting our solar system installed this summer.
There were several options in the plan presented to us. One was for no money down but the rate would go up by a small amount each year. Another option was a purchase option; after five years we could buy the system. The third option, which is the one we picked, was to pay $1,700 up front as soon as the solar system is installed and working; we will avoid any rate increase ever in our payment for solar power during the 20 years of the lease.
The solar system will be completely maintained by Solar City and if for any reason it doesn't produce the amount of electricity they project it to, they will send us a check for the balance. That sounded like a good deal to me, because as Mr. Abney pointed out, electricity rates have gone up and are projected to keep increasing.
My monthly payment to Solar City will be $63.66 each month for the next 20 years for 11 solar panels as well as about $36 per month to So Cal Edison for the balance (at their lowest tier rate of $.13 a kWH. Since we have a swimming pool, even if we are away on vacation the electric usage continues. In addition, we plan to lower or get rid of the Edison portion of the bill by installing a variable speed pool motor in the future.
Our electricity bill has previously averaged close to $100 monthly although sometimes it was as much as $140 when the kids were living here or we used the a/c. Now with solar panels, it will probably never go over $100. We have kept our electric bill low by installing LED lights or fluorescent lights throughout the house and yard, and turning off power sources not being used; also by using our wonderful Downey sea breeze to cool off the house in summer instead of using our forced air conditioning system. I open the windows in the afternoon, so we rarely need the air conditioner. We have a Solatube skylight in the dining room which brightens up the dining/living room.
If we were to sell our house, which we are not planning to, the house would be worth more for the very cheap electricity. The new owner would either take over the Solar City contract or would pay more for the house and we could pay off the contract ahead of time.
Maybe Mr. Abney got an estimate from the wrong company or perhaps he didn't look into all the options which are available. We are delighted to be contributing to a clean solution to expensive polluting fossil fuel power as well as saving ourselves some money.
Anita and Guido Rivero
Published: May 30, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 07