You pay your power bill to keep the lights on, warm the house and do a thousand other things, but what else are you getting from this monthly expense? Your utility is the only winner from the sale of this commodity we call electricity. You get nothing tangible from the transaction. You only receive the privilege of keeping the lights on and your electronics powered for one month at a time.
But what if that relationship were changed? What if you became the utility and your utility were your customer? You would be the one financing the cost of equipment to produce your power, and the utility would store the extra power you generate in the summer for you until you needed it in the wintertime. And the icing on the cake? The State of Washington would give you a great incentive just for the sake of doing this with renewable energy from the sun!
Maybe it’s time to finally understand the solar equation of “cost shifting” with solar power and join the ranks of Artisan’s solar customers who have reversed the balance of power with their utility.
Exchange Your Power Bill For An Affordable Monthly Loan
Artisan Electric can show you how it is done. Here are the 5 easy steps to understand how you can exchange your power bill for an affordable monthly loan paying back the cost of your solar system.
1. Understand How Much Power You Use (And Need)
Your utility bill will tell you in a graph how much power you use year over year. Artisan Electric can use this to determine how big of a solar system you will need to offset some or all your electricity usage. The actual amount of solar power you will be able to produce depends on available sunlight, roof or ground space and your electricity demand. Using your power bill and a bit of research from Google Maps, Artisan Electric can begin to design a system customized to your address.
Let Artisan know a good date and time for a solar consultant to come over and check out your home and property. The consultant will bring over a preliminary design proposal with a “ballpark estimate” of cost. The consultant will take accurate measurements of the best available space for solar and also look at your electrical panel to see if the solar can connect to it. Your solar consultant will also ask you several questions about your goals for going solar. After the survey, the consultant will adjust that proposal based on the information learned from the site visit.
3. Receive an Adjusted Proposal from Artisan Electric
A few days later, your Artisan Electric solar consultant will email you the adjusted version of your solar design proposal. This proposal will have accurate dimensions for the site of your solar system, revised solar production calculations, plus financial incentive and repayment statistics that show you the relationship between the cost of the system and the financial benefit of producing electricity for the next 30-plus years. Each adjusted proposal also will have financing information provided by Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union’s Energy Smart Loan program.
4. Understand How to Finance Your System to Replace Monthly Energy Bill Payments
In your adjusted design proposal, Artisan will show you some popular ways to finance your system so that the large total cost of the solar project is manageably split up into monthly payments similar to your usual power bill. Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU) knows how solar incentives work, so they have designed a loan program that is tailored to easy repayment. PSCCU’s Energy Smart Loan program offers an interest rate as low as 3.5% with terms up to 15 years or 180 months for a maximum of $70,000. (If a system costs more than the maximum loan, the difference is a separate expense, either out of pocket or through other financing. For most people, the loan amount is more than sufficient to cover the full cost of the solar system. )
Artisan recommends getting the most out of a PSCCU loan by doing the following: First you finance the system cost and choose a term that will most closely match your monthly payment with your average value of solar, comparable to the value of your electricity savings plus production incentive (see Step 1: Initial Loan, below).
Then, after you receive your 30% federal income tax credit for your system (in the first tax year following your installation), the credit union will allow you to refinance once at no charge using the tax credit and state production incentives. By doing so, you can reduce the balance of your loan and amortize the payment over a new time period.
Finally, renegotiate the terms length to give you a monthly loan payment equal your average value of solar (cost of electricity plus incentive rate) (see Step 2: Scenario 1, below).
Or, set the term length to equal the remaining number of months left in the 8-year state production incentive program (see Step 2, Scenario 2, below).
5. Select a Solar Option from Artisan’s Design Proposal and Call PSCCU
Contact PSCCU to get qualified for the Energy Smart Loan program. Simply show PSCCU the adjusted proposal and tell them which solar option you want to buy. The approval process is quick and usually only takes one day or so. Once qualified, PSCCU will tell you how much you’ve been approved for and the interest rate. Assuming the terms and conditions look good to you, you then let Artisan know that you’d like to sign a contract. From there, we’ll take care of the rest, working with PSCCU to set up the transfer of funds for the project.
And voila! You have successfully shifted the cost of leasing power from the utility to owning the means to produce your own electricity. In doing so, you have essentially paid up front for 30 years of electricity, which you now will use for free. In return, your monthly energy payment will be directed toward paying off the cost of the loan that bought your “solar electricity” factory.
Congratulations, you have become the utility, and you own it.
A smarter energy solution is closer than you think. Take the first step today.