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Como family happy with the decision to go with solar power

Posted on 10 April 2018 by Calvin

Como resident Nick Perez (photo right by Jan Willms) and his wife were looking for ways to improve the environment and also for different energy profits. “We always try to be conscientious about environmental concerns,” Perez said, “but we also wanted to see where we could get the most bang for our buck.”

He said they started looking at all the solar energy companies in the city and ended up selecting All Energy Solar.

“With the political climate we are in, we knew there might be a limited time we could get the maximum amount of rebates,” Perez noted. “If we were going to do it, we needed to do it now,”

He got on the phone, called the company and said he would like to get an estimate done.

“They looked at our house online, the slant of our roof, the amount of tree coverage, and gave us an estimate,” Perez continued. He said he had already cut down some trees, so he knew he had more sunlight coverage.

“We set up an appointment for a representative to come out, and I was rushing around, picking up laundry,” Perez said with a chuckle. “We have three kids, and there was laundry all over.”

As he answered the knock at the door, Perez was pleasantly surprised. The woman who came out from All Energy Solar was someone Perez had attended high school with 20 years earlier. ”St. Small is what we call that,” Perez said. ”She did a quick estimate and said we could probably compromise our electricity by 43 percent, and that was just putting solar panels on our south-facing garage roof.” They decided to go ahead with a full inspection, go through all the steps and get the project started.

Perez said he did put on a new roof because to install solar panels the roof must be in good condition.

The project started at the end of last summer, and by Dec. 17 Xcel was at the Perez residence doing a test. “The guy scraped a little snow off the roof, went up there and found we were making energy,” Perez said.

Perez has 14 solar panels on his garage, which is about 80 feet from his house.

“They dug up my backyard and put underground piping from my house to the garage. They added a couple of breakers to my breaker box,” Perez said. “That process took two weeks. Everything was almost 100 percent seamless.”

Perez said only one minor glitch happened, which was not the mistake of the power company. “One day my refrigerator was not working because one of the wires got disconnected. It was replaced, and we were done.”

Perez said one of the main benefits of going solar was supplementing some of the electricity the family uses. “My house is mainly electric,” he said. “Adding more electricity makes sense.” He said that the process removes a certain amount of carbon from the ozone and at the same time saves money.

“You are under construction for a time, and you have to have your permits pulled. Everything had to be 100 percent up to 2018 code. I had my basement renovated, so I knew my house was up to code.”

He said it was possible the panels could be an eyesore, depending on where they are located. “Since ours are on the back end of our alley, you don’t even see them.”

Perez said he is in a 10-year contract with the energy company, which could be affected if he wants to make changes or move. “That could be stressful, but you get rebates every year,” he added.

Perez said tree coverage is a big factor in installing the solar panels, but once they are up on the roof, the sky’s the limit.

Perez said his total project cost $17,000, but with the rebates he will get, it only cost him $7,000.

“Over ten years, that’s not that much,” he noted. “Winter is my high energy time,” he explained. He said the summer is when money is made on energy savings. But he has already started saving on his energy bills. “This winter I have used $500 worth of energy, but bought only $414 worth, so I have saved $85,” he said.

Perez said he also uses apps to track his energy usage and savings. “One of the greatest apps I have ever seen is a website All Energy Solar connected us with,” he said. “I can see exactly how much energy is being used in my home. I can see when the kids put something in the microwave.”

Perez said he found another app on his own that lets him measure the amount of energy he makes through using the solar panels. For example, in January he made over 200-kilowatt hours.

“It all comes down to how the sun hits your roof,” he said. “You need a south-facing angle where the sun comes in. And your roof needs to be up to date.” However, even if your roof is not at the right angle, solar energy companies can work around that, placing them in yards or on carports.

“There are also programs where they do a bunch of solar panels out in a field. They call them farmings, and the panels absorb the sun all day,” Perez said.

He said that employing solar panels for energy use can change one’s lifestyle. “You make yourself conscious of it,” he claimed. “It makes you think about how much energy you are actually using. I can check my app and see how much I used, how much I made and how much I netted. It has changed how we live in our house.” He said the family tries to unplug computers or toasters or television sets when they are not in use.

Perez said he was very pleased with the responsiveness of the solar energy company he used. He liked the ability to take power into his own hands. “I’m an off the grid kind of person, and being bound to Xcel is just another thing that grabs you,” he said. “You can try to save some money.”

Getting other people to try and use solar energy is a goal Perez strives for. “I can give the elevator speech in 30 seconds as to why they should do it,” he said.

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