In recent years, solar companies have advertised that a $150 electric bill qualifies you for solar panel installation. So much so that many in Southern California believe they do not qualify for a solar electric system if their bill is under $150. As it turns out, almost everyone “qualifies” for solar energy whatever the cost of your utility bill.
Why do the solar marketers focus so much on $150? Typically, the more money you pay for electricity, the more solar panels will be able to save you. It is at about the $150 dollar mark that the payments for investing in solar panels may be equaled by the monthly savings. Many marketers have discovered that if the monthly savings are greater than your electricity costs from day one, then the odds are better for making a sale.
By weaving the $150 limit into solar advertising, some companies are using a clever tool to weed out people with smaller electricity bills. If they were truthful, they should be saying, “If your electric bill is $150 or more, then you qualify for a solar sales presentation!”
Everyone has a different motive for going solar and it’s not necessarily all financial. There are other reasons for installing a solar array.
Many people are concerned about what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. Lifestyle changes (like recycling and being a conscious consumer) are an important way to make less of an impact on the earth, but it is hard to live without electricity or hot water, so solar energy is the natural choice for producing clean power.
As an example, two of our customers who own solar panels in Long Beach were only paying about $30 a month to SCE when they decided to go solar in the early 2000’s. Since their electric bill was on the smaller side, the estimated payback wouldn’t be until the 20th year that they own the system. However, it was important for them to use clean, renewable energy to power their home instead of relying on the fossil fuels delivered by the utility company.
Another reason people install solar panels is to take control of their energy future. Historically, electricity rates have risen by about 6% every year, and there is no telling when the utility companies will decide to raise prices even higher. By producing energy with their own solar panels, homeowners and businesses won’t be victim to the price increases of electricity during the entire lifetime of the solar array (about 25-30 years).
Your energy bill is simply a continuing and never ending expense. When you go solar, you are converting an expense into an asset. For those that choose to purchase their solar system, your energy usage will be an investment instead of a monthly cost. No matter the size of your bill, if the solar system pays for itself within its lifetime (usually 25-30 years), then it’s a much better deal that can be had from any utility company.
Having an electric bill less than $150 shouldn’t stop you from considering solar panel installation. Most people with smaller bills can still take advantage of the benefits of solar energy whether financial or not.