For Santa Barbara residents Chris and Stacey Ulep, the decision to solarize their home “was just the natural decision.” They’ve always been conscious of their environmental impact by recycling and turning out lights that aren’t in use. However, as a family of musicians, they use a lot of energy to power instruments, amps, and other gear.
When the Uleps began a re-model of their home last October, they started thinking about how they could make their home as energy efficient as possible. Since the house was built in 1931, they incorporated upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of the property, such as new windows, denim insulation, and Energy Star appliances.
They also began considering solar so they could generate their own energy and offset the electricity used by their musical gadgets. However, they were concerned; the upfront price was prohibitive, and they had other re-model costs to consider. When Chris and Stacey heard about Solarize Santa Barbara and reviewed a cost analysis, they decided to lease their solar panels instead of owning them outright. This option minimized the upfront costs, set them up with a predictable electricity bill, and allowed them to produce clean energy for their home. They also appreciated how smoothly the process went with Solarize Santa Barbara. They didn’t have to research companies or figure out which technology was best; they just had to sign on the dotted line.
The Uleps completed the remodel and had their solar panels installed in February. Chris says the solar panels were well worth the initial investment. Before the re-model in 2010, their electricity bill was averaging $125 per month. They now pay a flat rate of $65 per month — a rate that is locked in for the length of their 20-year contract. Based on projected energy costs of electricity, the Uleps will save more than $27,000 over a 20-year period.
Note: Click to enlarge. Figures based on a 5% increase per year for traditional electricity.
Beyond the financial savings, check out their “Environmental Impact” breakdown, below. Since the Uleps needed to cut down a backyard tree that was shading their roof, Stacey was pleased to see that their solar panels have saved the carbon dioxide equivalent of 60 trees planted. Although cutting down the tree wasn’t easy, seeing how much of a positive environmental impact they have made after going solar has definitely helped.
If you are interested in joining the Uleps and dozens of other Santa Barbara families, check out our Solarize Santa Barbara program. It’s the cheapest and easiest way to go solar in Santa Barbara and the program is running until November 9, 2012. Our next workshop is coming up in Carpinteria on Monday, September 17. Learn more →
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