BY JOSH DURBIN
Today’s consumers want and expect options, including the type of energy powering their homes. Many homeowners are looking for a less expensive form of energy with ongoing savings. Some are looking for a green energy source. These two motives are why many homeowners are exploring rooftop solar panels.
The interest in alternative energy sources is also being fueled by decreasing costs for rooftop solar, the availability of financial incentives and the proliferation of companies offering solar panel installation.
However, as attractive and popular as rooftop solar may appear, it is important for consumers to fully understand its true costs, the operational reality of this form of energy and actual energy savings. To determine whether rooftop solar is right for their particular situation, homeowners must undertake their due diligence.
Ready to help
As your trusted energy advisor, Steuben County REMC can offer a candid assessment of your specific situation. After all, Steuben County REMC has a different “bottom line” that is not directly tied to the sale of a product or service. We constantly strive to find new ways to help you use energy more efficiently.
Steuben County REMC is seeking to keep pace with the changing energy environment and evolving technology. We currently offer and are always exploring more options that will help you manage your energy use such as free energy evaluations, PowerShift demand response initiatives, electric vehicles and SmartHub, which allows you to view your use and make changes. We take a more holistic, objective view of how to achieve energy savings.
Is rooftop solar right for you?
To help determine whether rooftop solar is right for you, Steuben County REMC’s energy advisors will look at the:
• overall energy efficiency of the home/building
• age and pitch of the roof
• orientation of the sun in relation to the home/building
• tree coverage near the home/building
• weather patterns for the region
Unlike a solar company that has one objective — to sell their products and services — we will look at the total energy picture and help you determine the best options for your home. While rooftop solar certainly works for many people, it’s not the answer for all.
When helping co-op members determine whether rooftop solar is right for them, a co-op energy advisor will also discuss the many financial considerations:
• Is there a large, up-front payment required or are fees spread out over time?
• Will the homeowner own the panels or will they be leased?
• Are there any hidden costs, i.e., does the roof need to be replaced before installing the panels?
• Are there ongoing maintenance fees?
• Are there rebates or other financial incentives available?
• Is the estimated energy savings worth the investment?
• Is it more cost effective to invest in other energy saving measures?
Most importantly, an energy advisor will provide perspective on the total energy puzzle. Taking into account current energy consumption, the home “envelope,” age and efficiency of the HVAC system and home site, an energy advisor can help co-op members determine whether rooftop solar is the best choice given the homeowners’ objectives.
When assessing solar options, it is an excellent time to examine other potential energy efficiency improvements for your home. For example, it may make sense to insulate the attic at the same time as installing solar.
Steuben County REMC recognizes that consumer interest in green energy sources and renewables is at an all-time high, and we stand ready to help our members determine their best options. If rooftop solar does not fit your lifestyle, perhaps our Cooperative Solar option would be better suited for you; with no large up-front costs or ongoing maintenance fees, Cooperative Solar might suit your needs. For more information, visit www.remcsteuben.com/solar.
JOSH DURBIN is the energy advisor for Steuben County REMC