Understanding and implementing electrification and decarbonization strategies can help homeowners both save money and contribute positively to the environment.
SPONSORED CONTENT WITH CAZEAULT SOLAR & HOME
Tim Sanborn of highly rated (and Gloucester-based) Cazeault Solar & Home, has been following the trends and challenges in home electricity for decades, and says we are at a pivotal moment, full of opportunities for homeowners to help themselves and the environment with a few home energy strategies.
As we enter 2023, energy challenges are becoming more prominent, affecting not only our daily lives but also our future. Last fall, the mayor of Nashville asked the National Football League to postpone the Sunday football game due to power shortages, while California and Texas have been experiencing scheduled electricity brownouts for two years. In addition, electricity costs in Massachusetts are at a record high.
What is happening to electricity costs?
Let’s explore the causes and effects.
What has occurred? In short, electricity consumption has exploded over the past several years, driven by a growing economy, incentives for switching from fossil fuels to heat pumps, and the growing adoption of electric vehicles. Some facts:
– From 2021 to 2022, electric vehicle sales rose more than 60% to 845,050, and they are projected to top 1.1 million this year.
– The new Inflation Reduction Act will further stimulate this growth as the federal solar incentive was bumped up from 26% to 30%. Further, non-profits will soon be eligible for the 30% in the form of a grant. The 30% federal tax credit will also apply to certain electric vehicles.
– Many communities are working with residents to convert away from carbon-based equipment, as the moral imperative to do the right thing for future generations is growing.
These factors have led to historically high electricity consumption in the U.S., resulting in a record increase in the cost of electricity for end-users. The U.S. grid must look to other countries for sources of electricity at higher purchase rates or continue to use fossil fuels which will violate the Paris Agreement, an international treaty addressing climate change. For the first time in our history, the major home fuel sources are at record highs.
Two important words: electrification and decarbonization
If you don’t yet know the terms “electrification” and “decarbonization,” it is prudent to become familiar with them, as they are affecting our incomes, our families’ livelihoods, the value of our homes, and our environment. Electrification and decarbonization refer to the movement away from carbon fuels, towards electric-powered technologies such as electric vehicles, heat pumps, and electric hot water tanks.
However, as explained above, this growing demand for electricity can mean higher costs for everyone. So, as homeowners, what can we do to lessen the burden on the environment and our bottom line?
– Get an energy audit and implement the suggested enhancements, such as installing energy-efficient appliances, improving your insulation, or upgrading your heating systems. Massachusetts residents can generally receive an audit free of charge – the cost of the audit is covered by a fee we already pay on our electric bill. The cost of most of the improvements is heavily subsidized by the state and new federal tax credits can lower the final bill even further.
– Electrify your home to the extent possible. State and federal incentives that can top $10,000, depending on your location and income, make it economically viable. But do so with the compliment of solar power (see final bullet) to make your choices even more financially and environmentally powerful.
– Choose a third party supplier for your electricity, but be careful: Sign up for one year at a time and pay close attention to terms, as the rates do fluctuate.
– Invest in solar (with Cazeault or another reputable installer). The cost of solar has dropped significantly over the past several years. In Massachusetts, 40% of the investment cost is paid for with tax credits. In most cases, if you take out a 10-year loan and apply the state and federal tax credits to the loan, you will be cash flow positive each month. This means that the monthly payment of the loan will be lower than what you were paying the utility, and you will make money each month.
In conclusion, electrification and decarbonization are more than buzzwords; they are movements that are affecting us – and our homes – in many ways. By being informed and taking action, we can mitigate the negative impacts and benefit from the positive ones.
For more information about the products and services offered by Cazeault Solar & Home, visit cazeaultsolarhome.com.