Everyone knows The Bay Area is a great place to live- we’ve got perfect weather, some of the best beaches and parks in the world, good schools and jobs, melting pots of culture, and the best dinning around! Did you also know that the sunny Bay Area was rated as a “Solar Star” by Environment America’s 2014 study? They found that The Bay Area was the #2 area in the nation with more than 50 watts of installed solar PV capacity per person and the #4 area in America for total installed solar PV capacity!
As one of the leading solar companies in the Bay Area, Fidelity Home Energy isn’t surprised by the news. We’re headquartered in San Leandro and our staff installed over 500 residential solar projects in 2015 alone.
In addition to the 263 days a year of sunshine the Bay Area enjoys, the key reasons for this phenomenal industry growth include the energy cost savings for homeowners, improvements in property values (an average of a $20,194 premium to the sales price), and qualification for several government programs. The 30% IRS solar tax credit is unlimited and currently available until 2017. Lucky citizens of the surrounding Bay Area have access to financing at attractive rates and terms through the Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE program.
While some home owners are hesitant to buy solar now, fearing that prices will continue to go down in coming years, energy costs are only rising and crunching the numbers on a solar calculator show that your family will be recouping costs more quickly than ever. Another reason solar power is becoming so popular in the Bay Area and across America is the ability for a solar systems to be designed specifically to maximize your energy harvest. A solar solution can now be installed that powers your home, Jacuzzi and pool, and that can be placed on a wide variety of rooftops- from concrete to Spanish tile.
If you’re a Bay Area resident ready to join your neighbors in saving money, living more sustainability and investing in your home, contact us to find out how easy it is to go from a free in-home energy analysis to power on!
Use These Energy Reducing Tips For Appliances to Boost Your New Solar Panel Savings
We are all looking for ways to save money as energy prices continue to soar, and solar energy is proving to do just that. If you want to boost your savings even more, consider these ideas for your home appliances.
If your fridge model is older than 1990, think about replacing it. Anything newer had to be designed more energy efficient. If that isn’t feasible for you there are cost free steps you can take. The next time you do some serious spring cleaning, move out your refrigerator and dust the coils. Keep the cold settings at 37-40 degrees and the freezer at 5 degrees. Anything colder is unnecessary. If your freezer isn’t full, stock it full, even if it is only gallon jugs full of water. It takes less energy that way. An obscure tip you may never have heard is to keep all food covered as the escaping moisture makes the refrigerator compressor work harder to keep the right temperature.
Washers and Dryers
If you can afford it, a washer made after 1994 requires 5.8 gallons or less of water. Older ones use up to 10 gallons. Plus the moisture sensor setting on many models will shut off the dryer once clothes are dry, saving time and money. If you have a block of time, washing and drying your laundry loads all at one time will save as well. That way the dryer doesn’t completely cool off between loads. Two other ideas are to use the cool down cycle on your dryer to finish drying with the remaining heat and wash using cold water. It really does work just as well.
Did you know the rinse-hold cycle uses 3-7 gallons of hot water? Also, using economy mode will reduce the amount of hot water and energy your dishwasher consumes. If you are nearby, try turning it off after the wash cycle, crack the door and let the dishes air dry.
There are some things you can do during cooking to save energy as well. Turning off the heat to the burners when food is almost done will allow the residual heat to finish the cook time. Copper bottomed pans are much more energy efficient, as are heavier duty pans. You can also move heat back to pans better if your burner reflectors are clean. Plus every time you open your oven door you lose almost 25 degrees of oven heat.
Try turning off your unit when you are on vacation. A water heater will actually heat to the set temperature within an hour of being turned back on. Insulating the first six feet of pipe connected to the water heater will help it run more efficiently, and insulating wrap will make a huge difference on the tank itself. Also, check your owner’s manual to see what temperature it recommends the model be set at. Many can be set much lower than you might think and still keep your shower toasty. Tankless water heaters may seem efficient, but often the initial cost isn’t cost effective over all.
We at Fidelity Home Energy are passionate about the benefits of solar energy to save you money and contribute to a better environment. These simple ideas will only enhance what a solar system can do. Please feel free to contact us for more info.