My Solar Journey ~ The Beginning

A line of sundresses drying in the sun, pretty, right?
I was thrilled  to notice that when I posted about the solar panels soon to be adorning my roof, many of you expressed interest. I wanted to tell you a little bit about the plan here in Ct because it makes it possible for those of us without an extra $40,000 hanging around. I figure we can't be the only state with this kind of program, in fact there may be others with even better systems in place. If I can pique your interest, it may encourage you to start asking around, you may be thrilled with what you find. :)

The Connecticut Solar Lease Program. Ahhh, sounds like music to my ears. :) Don't let the word lease scare you away, I'm glad I didn't. And this is coming from someone who doesn't like owing anyone, anything. I have no  car payments, no credit card debt, Scott and I use the pay as you go cell phones because I hate the two year plans... :) I dislike very much feeling like I owe money to everyone for everything. I choose freedom in that area. I would like to spend the money coming into this house on things that bring me joy. That being said, I will now be paying off these panels for the next 15 years (or less should I choose to pay them off sooner, which is fine) and I'm perfectly agreeable to that!

Pretty, little pea plants, only about a month behind... ;) They're in the shade, so they'll be fine!

Here's the plan: the system will take up to four months to be on our house and running, less if I have anything to say about it! ;) We are waiting on rebates (I'm not sure if it's state or federal??) and from what I understand, that's what'll take much of the time. The cost of the system going on our home is over $40,000. (No wonder people think they can't afford this... they can't!!) The rebate is over $17,000 (which goes straight to the lease company). We've already been approved for the lease (took a couple of hours, tops).

We've hired a contractor, Alteris Renewables, to pull all the permits, install the system (which only takes a day or two), clean up, everything. I just get to sit back and smile, and send up thoughts of gratitude. :) I'll admit, I still feel like I'm dreaming...

Once the panels are up on the house and inspections have been done, they will begin generating our electricity. We will still be connected to our local electric company, which is actually preferable right now to the extensive battery system in order to have back up power. I have faith this system will continue to improve and someday we'll be free!!!! ;) This will cost us 16.00 a month to the electric company, just because we're hooked up to them. Other than that, we should have no electric bill (maybe some small bills this first winter because we have no credits stored up yet). We'll effortlessly, happily generate solar power and whatever we don't use will get fed back into the system and be spread around to our neighbors (cool, right?). This extra will earn us credits, so that in the winter months we'll be able to draw from them should we not generate enough energy on our own.

Mmmm, a favorite here! I'll be sharing this recipe soon... :)

So, we no longer have an electric bill, instead we have a monthly lease bill. The wonderful part is, it will be less than our average electric bill and it will be locked in for the next 15 years. It'll never change, no matter what the electric rates do (I believe ours have steadily increased by about 7% every year, but don't hold me to that number, there have been lots of numbers flying around! ) Our lease payment will be 133.06 per month. Period. At the end of 15 years we can choose the buy out price (Our Alteris guy, Gordon, said that'll usually be several hundred to a couple thousand dollars), or pay the rest off for another 5 years at about $20 per month with a much smaller buy out price after that. We can always choose to take down the system at this point too, no charge to us.

The way I figure it, the mortgage and the electric bill will always get paid. If I had to let other things go (not that I have much to let go...), those two would always get paid. That's why it doesn't feel confining to lock into the lease. I simply look at it as a (cheaper) electric bill. So, that's it in a nutshell. Definitely doable, right? And yes we have the garage roof directly due south, but the other roof we're using is facing east. This required more panels to generate the same amount of energy, but since I think they're lovely, I don't mind at all.

Reggie just wanted to say hello, he's such a camera hog!! :)

If you live in Ct and this plan appeals to you, as it did to me, you'll need to move fast. I guess the program has been running for about two years now, with over 1,000 systems put up. They predict around August that the fund runs out of money. I have no idea if it can be replenished somehow, but I'm not willing to wait and see. All of the details I've explained above are specific to Ct, and things vary state by state, some of the incentives much better. If I lived 10 minutes away in MA, the rules are very different. I know that in some states the electric company will pay you for the extra energy you generate, a check coming in each month would probably mean the system really was free, paying for itself! Although I consider the system here in Ct is pretty darn cool.

I thought it was important to share this info, I'll keep you posted as we go. If we run into problems, or better yet, if things go effortlessly, you'll be the first to know! :)  So, if solar panels have been on your vision board (real or imaginary) start checking things out, they may be closer to your reality than you know... :)

Off to choose my giveaway winner... :)

Peace ~ Melinda