Going solar isn’t the only thing you can do to reduce your electric bills and your environmental footprint. In fact, the first thing you should consider is how you could make your home more efficient BEFORE investing in solar. Investing in a solar system that is bigger than you really need is just a bad investment strategy since efficiency upgrades are often much more affordable than the solar system required to offset the ineficient loads.
One option is to hire a professional to give you a thorough energy audit which will help to pinpoint where your electrical hogs are and what you can do to improve efficiencies. Alternatively, there are a lot of relatively simple steps you can take if you know what to look for. Changing out your old light bulbs to LEDs is an obvious and easy fix for example. But one of the biggest and often under the radar culprits that I’m here to tell you all about are pool pumps.
Pool pumps can have such a big effect on your electric bill that we always discuss it when doing a solar site evaluation at any home fortunate enough to have a pool. Of course we don’t recommend eliminating your pump altogether as they are necessary to keep your water filtered and clean. So what is the solution? There are all sorts of newer “efficient” pool pumps out there and likely your pool guy/girl will happily install if you say you’d like an upgrade. However, what you really need if you want to make a dent in your electrical load is something called a “variable speed” pool pump.
A variable speed pool pump is exactly what it sounds like… Rather than pumping water with a consistently high speed you really only need max power at the outset to get the water moving. Once its moving the variable speed pump then downgrades the output power to keep the water moving since less energy is required to keep something moving than to get something going from a standstill. This reduced speed equals reduced energy loads!
We have heard clients who installed variable speed pumps have seen reductions on their bill on the order of over $500 per year!
The downside for these pumps is often the price is much higher than regular pumps. But I come bearing good news! Many utilities offer rebates and incentives for Energy Star qualified pool pumps. In our home turf of Pasadena, California we are fortunate to have a very proactive utility, Pasadena Water and Power, striving to help residents lower their footprint. They normally offer a rebate of $400-$450 off the sticker price for a variable speed pump. However, I was just notified that PWP is running a promotion on all of their energy efficient appliance rebates through October 31st, 2016:
“PWP is offering a $900 (bought outside Pasadena) to $950 (bought locally) rebate to all PWP residential electric customers who replace their old pool pump with a new energy efficient variable speed or variable flow pool pump and motor. Replacing older inefficient pool pumps with new efficient models will not only help you reduce energy use but save you money. With the summer heat and the possibility of rolling blackouts, PWP wants to make sure you do your part to conserve energy."
We couldn’t agree more! Check PWP’s rebates listing for a list of other rebates to take advantage of. The listed prices on the website include the current promotion.
If you’re not in PWP’s service area, never fear! You can check if your utility has rebates on the Energy Star website.
After you’ve addressed all the drafty windows, switched out your lightbulbs and upgraded all your appliances, then it is time to give Run on Sun a call (626-793-6025) and we’ll help you offset the rest of your energy needs!
Everyone knows that when it comes to Pasadena, Run on Sun is the premier installer of solar PV systems for residential, commercial, and non-profit clients (if you doubt it, just ask us!). But we have one other cool thing in common - we are both marking milestone birthdays this year!
While our hometown is turning 130, Run on Sun is turning 10 years old this year! (Which, if you think about it, is nearly 130 in solar-installer years!) So when we heard that the folks at Pasadena Weekly were looking to feature ads that wished the City a Happy Birthday, we just had to get into the act! (If you are in the Pasadena area, you will find the ad - with art work by that Solar Kid Julia who will soon be a college sophomore - on page 42.)
Happy Birthday to us both, and many happy returns!
Two of Pasadena’s most beloved institutions - NPR affiliate KPCC and Run on Sun - have joined forces to offer KPCC Members exclusive benefits on solar power systems. As the only solar power company offering Member Benefits, Run on Sun is demonstrating its commitment to the outstanding programming on KPCC and to enriching the lives of its Members.
Here is the deal as shown on KPCC’s Member Benefits page:
- $500 off a residential solar power system, 5kW or larger;
- $2500 off a commercial solar power system, 30kW or larger.
To qualify for this special offer, just show us your Benefits Card when we come out to do your free solar site evaluation.
Wait, what, you aren’t a Member yet? No worries - just click over to the KPCC website and make a one-time contribution of $60! (Wow, how is that for an immediate return on your investment?) Or better yet, become a sustaining member. It is the ultimate win-win!
UPDATE AS OF 3:20 p.m.: We Made IT!!! Thanks to your overwhelming support, we garnered 250 votes in just 7 days! Thanks to everyone who voted and especially those who urged others to vote - you folks really rocked the house for us and we really appreciate it!
UPDATE: Here we are one week later and we have made great progress! As of 6:30 a.m. on June 14, we are up to 235 votes! So who will put us over the top? Maybe YOU!!! Please follow the directions below and Vote! Thanks so much!
As a general rule, we try to avoid blatant self-promotion in this blog - preferring instead to help educate folks about the solar industry. But this post is different - this post is a naked appeal to you, our dear reader, to help us grow our business in a most dramatic way!
Run on Sun is participating in a competition sponsored by Chase Bank and LivingSocial and your vote is key! Here’s the deal - the sponsors are kicking in up to $3 million to award grants of $250,000 each to as many as twelve small businesses. Each competing small business submits an application that explains who they are, why they are awesome, and how they will make use of the grant should they be lucky enough to be chosen. But to even be considered, each small business must demonstrate their community support by getting 250 people to vote for them.
And that’s where YOU come in!
If you click on the enormous blue button above, you will be taken to the program website. Once there, please click on the “Log in & Support” link on the bottom right. That will log you in via your Facebook account and take you to the search page.
In the search box you can either enter “Run on Sun” or select Pasadena, California to see all of the companies from Pasadena that are competing (there’s a lot!). Either way, when you get to the Run on Sun entry, please vote for us. That’s all there is to it!
To even be considered for the grant, we need to garner at least 250 votes and we need to do this before July 1. So please, click right NOW!
And as always, thanks so much for your support!
We were informed today by a representative of Pasadena Water & Power that they are planning on increasing their rates as of July 1. Presumably this will have to go before the Pasadena City Council before it becomes effective, and we do not yet have any information on the magnitude of the proposed rate increase. When we learn more, we will be sure to post it here.
However, when combined with the drop in solar rebates also tied to July 1, this date is becoming ever more significant as to the economics of electrical power for PWP customers. This proposed rate increase will only increase the deluge of rebate applications descending on PWP in advance of the July 1 deadline. Don’t delay, act NOW to be sure that you lock-in your rebate before the rebates go down - and your bills go up!
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