December 17, 2016
So you have decided that you want to further explore solar energy for your home or business. Where do you go from here? What are the next steps? You should have a consultation with your energy consultant about your home or business, decide your goals for buying a in solar energy system, collect a list of potential companies in your local area and begin contacting each company for competitive quotes.
Energy Consultant Visit
An energy consultant is an individual or company hired to reevaluate every aspect of energy usage within the home, business, or organization and seek solutions for making it more efficient. The reason that it is highly recommended that you consult with this expert first is so that the size of your system (and hence the cost) is minimized. Tell the consultant that you intend to go solar and want your home or business to be efficient. Before going solar you want to ensure that your windows and doors are well sealed, there are no HVAC duct leaks, your roof will be in good condition for the next 25 years, and that you are using LED bulbs just to name a few things. The consultant will recommend all necessary improvements.
Goals for Solar System
Different people have different goals for going solar. Some are in hot pursuit of reducing their energy demand from utility by 50%, 65%, even 80% while others may be after a system with energy storage capacity for critical appliances in emergency scenarios. Still others are perhaps intending to go off-grid. Whatever your goals are, you want to pencil them out privately before even talking to any solar energy firms in order to properly ground yourself for budgeting expectations. For most people, the reduction of energy demand from the utility company is the their immediate intention.
Collect a List of Solar Energy Companies in Your Area
After your goals are set in place, you need to put together a list of companies that you want to bid for your system. There are some 206 solar energy companies in North Carolina. Sometimes local companies offer the best solution, but other times not so much. All companies have a distance limit beyond which they are no longer be interested in selling you a solar system. The best way to know whether or not you are close enough is to give them a call. Each company on your list will then write you a proposal for the cost of your system.
Finally, as a more general reference, download for yourself a free copy of the solar consumer’s guide written by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory:
December 9, 2016
Many people know about the Tesla Powerwall. Another opportunity for people to explore is the Enphase AC battery. Some may prefer this option because of its modularity, lower and safer voltage level, lower price, software integration including with your solar system, etc. Over time, as even more options will open up, know that Humium Energy has your back in identifying the best solution for your home or business.
November 29, 2016
Solar systems are exploding onto the community scene today like never before. In moments like these there is a potential for myths to spread equally quickly, however most of the barriers that people think exist to enjoying the benefits of solar energy actually do not exist at all. Below are four of these barriers.
1. Solar energy is expensive so if I do not have a high enough electricity bill I cannot benefit from it.
For most people, the mortgage or rent is the greatest monthly expense by a long shot. That said, a significant difference between mortgage and electricity bill is that the electricity charge rates increase even when paid diligently. Mortgages do not do that. If this sounds familiar it is because it is. Rent also increases even when paid diligently. The reason for these things boils down to a simple word: ownership. There is power in ownership. When I do not take ownership, I am exposed to rate hikes whether they take the form of rent or electricity bills. When I use anything on a regular basis such as cars, electricity, internet access, living space, etc I should think about owning in the long run if possible because renting it will certainly cost more over time. Besides the fact that over the last forty years solar energy has become much more accessible from a price standpoint, having a small electricity bill does not mean it is a bad idea to own my energy. It simply means that owning my energy will cost me less than what it costs the next guy. For solar systems meeting needs at various sizes is particularly simple because of the scalability of the solar array. A smaller system has lower equipment and labor costs. The truth is that there are no electricity bills that cannot be significantly reduced by a solar energy system.
2. I should not invest in solar energy if I will move in the next five years.
A well designed solar system in North Carolina generally pays off in less than 10 years while having a lifespan that exceeds 25 years. As an addition to a home, solar systems have the same effect on the selling price of a home as other home improvements since the next owner will benefit from it. In fact in a Berkeley National Laboratory study, it was found that solar systems can increase the value of a home by as much as $15000 and the newer the system the more value added to the home.
3. Solar systems are high risk.
Investments come with varying amounts of risk. The annualized rate of return of well designed solar systems are between 10%~15% and are essentially independent of the state of the economy. There are no investments that offer these rates of return for starting deposits of less than $10000. Solar system owners incur almost no risk.
4. Only environmentalists do it.
Environmentalism involves a great deal of talking. Buying a solar system is more about doing, because what is good for the planet is also good for you and your finances in the long term. To invest in solar energy you do not have to march, hold up signs, or organize rallies. You simply buy it and let the technology do its job. That is what Living Power means. Solar energy alone does not address all of the world’s environmental challenges but it does reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact a small solar system can in a single year keep an equivalent amount of CO₂ out of the air as 70 trees or 2.4 acres of forest land. Leveraging solar energy also reduces emissions of other harmful fossil fuel-based pollutants into the air. That is real, tangible, and practical good that does not require debates, passage of laws, or the homeowner or business owner to so much as lift a finger.
November 1, 2016
It’s Halloween, read this to get the spooks!
My mind occasionally drifts to a dystopian world – a world as possible as the one we live in. In this world the individual has been trampled to oblivion. To the damnation of doing for self, people must rely on interest groups and institutions to accomplish everything for them from entertainment to cleaning. Even energy presents little options for personal involvement and autonomy besides maybe turning off unused lights. It sweeps in like the Great Depression – slowly then instantly, the last ounces of wealth are being squeezed from families through subscriptions of all kinds covering virtually every possible thing that they may may take interest in addressing on their own – grocery delivery, personal transportation, internet access, laundry concierge, television, home cleaning, library, digital music, telephone, rent/mortgage, cellphone service, sports, etc. The unceremonious disintegration of the autonomy of the individual paves the way to the generification and deadening of the population.
Spooky, but thankfully we do not live in that world, right? We live in a world that abounds us opportunity for freedom – so we grocery shop on our own time, and most of us own our vehicles. But what about energy? The choice here is do we continue to rent our power bit by bit in a subscription format every month? That is a lot like permanently renting a car isn’t it? Let’s exercise choice again, and choose what puts money back into our pockets. Energy is a lot like choice. It is yours. Own it.
October 23, 2016
Energy is something so basic, so primal to our way of life. It allows us to multiply our capabilities; because of energy we can do everything from cooking to advanced manufacturing in the form of 3D printing- all in the privacy of our homes! While we are well aware of the amplified capacity that is granted to us by reliable sources of energy, unbeknownst to many is that energy is also an investment.
It is one of the most untapped sources of prosperity. Consider this, a welldesigned solar photovoltaic (PV) system has an annualized rate of return on investment (ROI) of 10% ~ 14% and can yield as much as 15% per year over its lifetime. On top of all of this, the returns are independent of the state of the economy and mostly risk free. There are no mutual funds, savings accounts, CDs, stocks, or bonds that can offer this to an investor.
And the best part? It’s avaiable to all home or business owners. You do not need to be in a special group or organization. You do not need to have any particular political affiliation. You do not need to have any special connections in finance that feed you news on where the market is going or where you should move your money. You only need to tap into your local business establishment that takes advantage of 21st century PV technology to design an honest and transparent, value-generating opportunity for you. Humium is here, for you.
October 4, 2016
Bowl cuts. Scrunchies. Skorts. The year was 1999. It was the cusp of the new millennium, Y2K. Mrs. Towne, whom we all knew was really Ms. Frizzle (vital 90’s reference, look her up) gave my 5th grade class an assignment to conceptualize the world in the year 2000. Surely, a new year beginning with a 2 meant it would be twice as futuristic right? The results of our thought experiment were fantastic. Every student’s picture and description was better than the last. Flying cars, underwater houses, robots EVERYWHERE, instant food, more variations of flying cars, instant transmission, the list went on and on; if you could dream it, I guarantee, it was mentioned that day. The excitement in the room was palpable, and I remember feeling as if nothing were impossible in the future.
Flash forward to 2016, and I would bet my Limited Edition Furby that 10 year old Amaka Jr. would be disappointed at just how similar, at first glance, the world today looks to 1999. Only at the first glance though. Although, you would be hardpressed to spot cars zipping through the clouds enroute to a duplex nestled leagues in the Atlantic Ocean, technology has come quite a way. Our lives are enriched and drenched with the conveniences of technology. New advances in telecommunications, agriculture, education and energy generation move us closer to a world that could only have been imagined before. Yet with such widespread advances in varying fields, it seems as though energy generation in the US has stalled. This stall is affected on a macro and micro scale. The macro scale involves the government and its endless policies, energy companies and construction/development companies who are tied to the current and widespread use of coal. The micro scale would include you and me. Individual people and families who are waiting for macrostructures to change in order to move into a new era of energy production. For many, the biggest hurdle of ‘going solar’ is affordability, however, there are options available today that remove solar powered homes from the lofty categories with hover cars and instant transmission. And these options are growing with each passing year, according to USCUSA, the price of solar installations has dropped by 50% since 2007. Pair the dropping prices with purchasing options and government incentives and solar does not really seem so out of reach. For skeptical homeowners installing a solar system will not affect the future sale of your home. In fact, studies show that PV systems can add value to homes on the market by as much as $15,000; I call that a win-win.
It is important to note that solar power and other renewable energy sources are not a luxury or convenience. It is a necessity. Plainly speaking, renewable energy is an alternative to energy that stems from a source that will dwindle and eventually disappear. What sense is there in continuing to design our societies to rely on an energy source that not only will not exist in the future but also damages our environment? Looking at things from a financial perspective, few people would argue that it is smart to perpetually rent our homes; let us recognize that we do not have to perpetually rent our energy from a utility. We can own it by owning a solar energy system, and through it we can save a lot of money.