You've Got the Power.
Is your power bill high this month? Did your utility company really just jack the rates again? Don't the Mazda CX-90 plug in hybrid and the gorgeous Lucid Gravity coming in 2024 look tempting? Do you really want your power bill going up more than it is from nightly EV charging on top of that soothing hot tub?
Juice. Power. A basic need. The ultimate addiction.
30% federal solar incentive entices. Are you fired up to ride the carbon footprint reduction bandwagon?
Solar Power looks better than ever, even if the upfront costs can be intimidating.
Take a deep breath.
Even if the short term price per gallon will be astronomical, all in good time worshiper. In the long run you can beat the odds.
To take the plunge, reach out to solar providers to get cost estimates and placement options. Solar providers vary but in central Vermont a few to consider are Sun Common, Green Mountain Solar, & Catamount with prices reasonably consistent. These companies book up so plan on ample lead time.
Are you ok with a massive pole mounted solar panel array in your back yard to spoil your viewshed or do you have enough land to keep them out of sight? Do you have a cedar shingle roof (I have adored mine) and are you willing to pony up to have it replaced, trading romance and rusticity for modern?
Ok, to help get a handle on the risk, you can order the aptly translucent Ghost Meter for $38.95 and become a ghost busting EMF hunter. Cruise through your house to find EMF hot spots. Alarmingly, or suprisingly not, mine went ballistic within inches of my laptop, cell phone, bone conduction bluetooth headset, and airpods. No safe haven. Haven't even had the chance to check my smart meters yet as they are soon to land.
The devil seems to be everywhere and our fate (excepting the philistines among you) may already be sealed. We're already glowing.
And ladies and gents, back yourselves up before it's too late.
Tesla Power Walls are a great alternative to shelling out $10k plus for a permanent propane fired Generac or Kohler whole house back-up generator. While tempting to purchase outright you can lease two powerwalls through Green Mountain Power for $55 a month for ten years or pay a single up-front $5,500 with GMP then responsible for any battery related issues during the lease vs being responsible yourself if you choose to purchase and leverage GMP's Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program.
Having instant back-up power without interuption, not having to go out and start a mobile generator or worry when you're away is illuminating. And, word on the street, GMP leaves the twin batteries with you after the expiration of the ten year lease to enjoy back up for another five years at no additional cost.
Having a back up gasoline or propane powered generator is still great, just in case of an unusually long power outtage. Old school redundancy to save the solar day.
GMP gets to farm your battery power during normal conditions and carefully avoids depleting your stored juice when inclement weather is expected so you're not left with low energy batteries during an outtage.
18 panels, as of publishing, are running in the $24k range, 28 panels in the $34k range before the federal tax credits. Take into account electrician power upgrade costs not included in your solar estimate. While 100 amp service can fly for just the solar panels, most recommend upgrading to 200 amp service which makes for a more robust system and allows for faster EV Charging; you'll definitely need 200 amp service if leasing the Tesla Power walls.
When installing an EV or PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid EV), hardwiring your EV charger will allow for en extra 8 amps, or 48 amps provided a 60 amp circuit breaker is installed vs the NEMA plug in outlet (see photo at right) total of 40 amps. For PHEVs it may not make much of a difference but for EVs enjoy faster charging. Once hardwired a charging station is more permanent vs the NEMA outlet which allows owners to move or temporarily take their EV Charger away with them.
The level 2 chargers run between about $399 and $550 but GMP will give you one (technically lease you one that you'd have to return if you move out of the GMP service area) if you purchase an EV (but not a PHEV). A couple of level II Charger options are Emporia and Chargepoint and GMP offers Flow as a third option, provding what's in stock when you apply. See the GMP Rebate programs here.
The Mazda CX-90 PHEV will charge in two hours and twenty minutes on a level II vs about 11 hours out of a standard home outlet. A Tesla can take 8-12 hours even on a level 2 charger (as it's a pure EV with larger batteries). A 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV will charge to 80% between about six and seven hours on a level 2 charger.
If you buy a new EV (vs a charger) GMP refunds $2,200, $1,500 if used. If a PHEV, $1,000 new, $750 used.
As soon as you've installed your level 2 charger and have it connected to your wifi call your utlity provider. GMP can sign you up for their Rate 74 variable charging which brings the usual all day 18.9 cent per kilowatt hour rate down to 14.4 cents per kwh when charging after 9pm and before 1pm the next day M-F. This rate only applies to your EV charging, not the whole house which is a flat 18.9 or so cents per kwh rate. You can then program your charging window on your EV and or Level 2 charger app. Weekend ev charging rates are 14.4 cents/kwh all 24 hours.
If your dream is to be completely free of the shackles of an electric bill, wake up. GMP hits you with "Non-Bipassable" charges of between $27-$30 a month.
Net metering at the house keeps track of what you use and what you pump back onto the grid. Winter solar is far less powerful than spring through fall solar and most customers with systems sized for their average usage have the non-bipassable electric blls covered until about February, then paying some in March and April. By May, you'd generate more than you use and start banking net metering solar credits. If you system is oversized (always good to get as much as can afford) you shouldn't have any bills above and beyond the non-passable $30 or under monthly charge (until rates increase, usually in the 2-5% per year range). Owners that install in winter are unlikely to see much of a billing reduction until May.
All told, the myriad aspects of going solar can be mystifying. This should get you started and hopefully be useful in deciding whether or not the time is right to get more than just a good sun tan.
Have you any related questions or is there anyting here that could use correcting or clarifying?
Thank you so much for your interest, for basking in the Maple Sweet sunshine and taking the time to connect.
Referrals & recommendations are welcome & appreciated.
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