Cheaper solar power provides smart home options

 

NEW YORK – July 10, 2017 – Many homeowners are looking to improve their living space – whether it's a renovation or redecoration, a gardening or landscaping project, or perhaps it's time to become less reliant on the grid. If you're itching to rely less on your electric company, consider these solar options: Vivint Solar Vivint Solar just hit a milestone of 100,000 installations across 16 states. It provides homeowners with high-efficiency solar panels, plus they take care of installation and maintenance. While solar energy production depends on weather patterns and sun hours, panels are designed to produce between 280 and 290 watts of solar energy, saving homeowners a conservative estimate of 10 percent to 30 percent on electricity. How does it work? In the case of Vivint, there are two offerings. One is paying for installation outright, or securing financing – and you own the panels. Costs typically start between $20,000 and $30,000, but there are government incentives you may be eligible for. Any excess power you generate could be sold back to the electric company to give you a credit towards your utility bills. The second option is called "PPA" or "Power Purchase Agreement" lease, where there's no upfront costs to install the solar panels, but you'll pay Vivint Solar per watt over a 20-year term, with rates lower than your power provider, the company says. You may still sell excess power back to your electric company. Other popular solar providers include Sunrun, Sunnova and SolarCity (bought by Tesla one year ago). Many residential solar providers are listed at energysage.com and google.com/sunroof. Tesla's Powerwall Announced in 2015, Tesla's Powerwall is a large rechargeable lithium-ion battery that, when paired with solar panels on your roof, stores surplus electricity for future use. Powerwall can be used to power your home at night, and it serves as a backup battery, too, such as protecting your home during a power outage – to keep your lights on, Wi-Fi working and refrigerator running. Easy to install and with no maintenance, Powerwall can be mounted to a wall or stacked up on the floor. Measuring 44 x 29 x 5.5 inches, there's no exposed wires or hot vents, so it's child- and pet-friendly, plus it's water-resistant and dust proof for indoor or outdoor installation. The official website has a slider for you to select how many bedrooms your home has, ranging from one (about 10 kWh per day) to six-plus (70 kWh or more per day), and it'll suggest how many Powerwalls you'd want to install. One Powerwall costs $6,200 for equipment, with an estimated installation cost of $800 to $2,000 – not including solar installation, electrical upgrades (if needed), taxes, permit fees or other associated charges. Two Powerwalls cost $11,700 for the equipment. Tesla is also accepting $1,000 deposits for its Solar Roof, made of shingles that resemble conventional roof tiling. Available in early 2018, costs are $21.85 per square foot, but according to Tesla's online calculator, it could set back a homeowner as much as $75,000, though the company says it would be paid off over 30 years and with a lifetime guarantee on the solar tiles. Copyright © 2017, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY, Marc Saltzman Source: Cheaper solar power provides smart home options