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Conduct An Energy Audit To Determine How To Lower Your Current Electric Bill

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We all want to save money on our electric bill, and saving money on one’s electric bill is one of the primary reasons customers look into going solar. Going solar will certainly save you money in the long run, and in many cases can save you money on a month-by-month basis. However, the best way to save on our electric bills and to reduce our upfront costs for solar is to reduce the amount of electricity we consume on a monthly basis. Changing our lightbulbs to LEDs is a great place to start, as an LED on average requires about one sixth (1/6) the amount of electricity to produce the same amount of lumens as incandescent bulbs. LEDs also last an average of 22 years as opposed to a year for incandescents, making it worth while to spend the extra to make the transition. EnergyStar and energy efficient appliances are also a good route to go, however the cost of many of our household appliances make them an item we’d rather wait to replace when our current ones fail. So remember next time your fridge kicks the can that it may be worth investing in an energy efficient one. Aside from upgrading appliances and lightbulbs, downgrading our electrical consumption is also a good move. This doesn’t need to equate to a reduction in lifestyle, it only requires us to be more cognoscente of the energy we consume and reconsider how we do so. Turning off your lights when you leave a room, turning your AC from high to medium, and turning off your desktop computer when you are not using it can all help us reduce what we consume on a daily basis. If you want to be super stingy about it, unplugging all electronics when unused to eliminate phantom draw can also help save kilowatthours per month. If you want to go a step further, then consider an energy audit. An energy audit consists of finding poorly insulated areas in your house, and tallying all of your appliances and multiplying their wattage by the hours per day or per month they are on. This can help give you a picture of what exactly is bringing you electric bill up and where you are losing precious thermal retention. Heres the Department of Energy’s take on a DIY energy audit. I hope it helps!...

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Economies of Scale Make All the Difference

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In Milwaukee there is a buzz among the Eco-conscious community as a group-solar purchasing model is being rolled out. The model allows residents to essentially bundle their orders together in order to bring the cost of equipment down. This innovative group bulk-ordering program has enabled those who have wanted solar for some time now to finally be able to afford it. Here at Soveren, we’ve understood the economies of scale in the solar market for quite awhile now. While the model Milwaukee is experimenting with seems to have residents quite happy, they’d be kicking themselves if our community solar model were to appear there tomorrow. You see, not only is Vermont Community Solar a price competitive model, but it also takes the unseen expenses down the road out of the hand of the consumer and places that burden squarely on our company’s back. With the innovative thinkers we have on our team, we have created a model in which one of our community solar arrays not only benefit from those aforementioned economies of scale, but also benefit from an operations and maintenance, insurance, and seasonal adjustment management plan put together and paid for by each array individually. Let me explain; each array is its own LLC, and in each array a percentage of the panels are reserved and essentially owned by that array’s LLC. The production from the panels not owned by customers is sold to a local non-profit at a reduced rate than the utility charges. The non-profit thus benefits from a cheaper electrical rate and the eco-bling factor of getting their energy from solar. This is called a Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA, and it is through a PPA with a non-profit that we both generate capital to cover any costs associated with operation of the array and are able to provide clean energy to an organization which would not otherwise find solar affordable due to lack of tax liability accompanying non-profit status.   Milwaukee may be getting prices for its residents to an affordable mark, but those residents may find themselves with some unforeseen, out-of-pocket expenses down the road as the system ages. Here at Soveren and Vermont Community Solar, we want to make sure that we keep carrying that torch for you long after installation.  ...

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