Denise's Solar Story
This case study will highlight the financial power associated
with the energy efficiency model, we offer here at The Solar Elite. We start every job with a home energy audit. We were able to help our client take her electric bill from $400 in the peak months of the year to less than $180 per month and save her over $90,000 she would have spent on electricity in the next 20 years.
The Back Story
Our client, Denise moved into her home in May of 2020.
Just a few short months later, Denise was feeling the burden of a $400 monthly bill from her utility company. Denise had a problem that many homeowners face: her home was not energy efficient. With an old, decrepit Air Conditioning System and a lack of proper insulation, Denise was paying through the nose for her energy bill every month. She also had a unique situation in which her
home owners insurance company was overcharging her
because of the age of her roof.
Extremely Poor Energy Efficiency
Outdated Inefficient HVAC System
Outdated Inefficient Hot Water Heater
Huge Monthly Electric Bills
Our Approach to Denise's Situation
After an in-home energy audit to discover her efficiency needs, we were able to help Denise and her family cut her monthly bills in half, reducing her Kwh usage significantly by taking steps to make her home more energy efficient before we installed solar.
We helped by getting her 20+-year-old roof replaced, swapping her rusty old A/C unit for a brand new Carrier 16 SEER energy-efficient unit. The new lowered utility bills were now completely covered by her new solar PV installation.
In the first month after the HVAC unit was replaced, we saw a $453 bill lower to a $167 bill even with lowering the thermostat and keeping the home cooler. She also had a unique situation in which her homeowner's insurance company was increasing her insurance rates because of the age of her roof. After we installed the new roof we contacted the insurance company and negotiated a $200 monthly savings.
The next step was to address other high-energy use appliances that are standard in many homes. The water heater could not be replaced with our usual go-to model, the top-of-the-line Rheem hybrid water heater, because it was located in a room unable to pull hot air for the unit to work correctly. Instead, we suggested a timer in which the water heater’s usage would be cut in half. Many people do not know that a water heater is responsible for between
$50-$60 per month of their total electric bill. In some cases, it can be as much as 25% of the total utility bill. In Denise's case, it was closer to 15% of the overall energy consumption.
The next phase was to insulate the attic space.
In Florida the immense heat really makes our A/C units work hard. The most common standard for Florida is 17.5 inches of blown-in insulation. In sunny South Florida when we go into attic spaces, we're are very lucky to have one inch of standard fiberglass insulation if any at all. Over time insulation breaks down and turns to dust. This was the case for Denise's home.
Insulation should be checked every other year for its thickness and integrity. Great insulation can help prolong the life and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the air conditioning. An HVAC system that doesn't have to work as hard lasts longer. Increased insulation also keeps your home's temperate consistent throughout the hot and cold seasons.
Solar was the last piece of the puzzle. We built her a system that produces enough energy to eliminate her remaining energy bill with Florida Power and Light (FPL). Our efficiency improvements and the solar system took $450 monthly debt go away which created increased value in her new energy-efficient home.
Most of our solar competitors would come into a home like this and pitch them a large size solar system instead of addressing the core issues of energy efficiency that were plaguing this previously inefficient home.
We believe overselling a system while ignoring efficiency is gross negligence on the part of the solar industry and the result of a lack of training surrounding solar and energy efficiency.
The Savings From The Solutions
If we kept the property as-is, with no increase in efficiency, and energy rates didn’t increase over the next 25 years Denise would have spent over $120,000 dollars with FPL. That is a sickening amount of money to spend and get nothing back in return.
By increasing efficiency and going solar we has eliminated what would have been over $100k in debt and replaced it with a solar system that will add close to $30,000 in property value to her home should she choose to sell.
Due to the federal tax credit, Denise will receive a rebate for 26% of the total energy efficiency project's total cost. In Denise's case that will be approximately $18,000. This tax credit was enough to pay for the A/C and roofing costs.
The financed payment for the solar system was $253 per
month because Denise is not reinvesting the tax credit
back into the financing. The 1.49% interest rate of this
the program makes sure that the money she has borrowed
will be cheaper than the ever-increasing power costs levied
by her utility company every year.
When you account for the insurance savings for the roof,
the true net out of pocket cost for this family is $53 a
month. Overall there was $650 per month in savings from the
energy efficiency measures we took and the compound
savings are astronomical for this family