The cost of solar electricity has decreased so much over the last few years that it’s now cheaper to run a solar-powered business than to run an electric one. And it’s not just the cost of the equipment that makes solar so attractive; the investment also provides you with a tax deduction, and the energy is completely free.
If you’re looking for a way to save money on your energy bills while still having access to the benefits of clean energy, then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a guide to how Reliant Energy is helping you save on your solar electricity with their innovative Solar Buyback Plan.
How Does The Solar Buyback Plan Work?
The Solar Buyback Plan from Reliant Energy is a smart energy savings strategy that allows you to purchase solar modules at a discounted rate (typically around 30% in 2020) and then generate your own electricity with the energy you save. When you eventually choose to cancel or replace your solar power system, you’re then given the option to sell back the energy that you’ve generated at the same discounted rate.
Before we get into the details, let’s discuss a few of the Pros and Cons of going down this route. The first con is that as the cost of solar technology decreases, the payback period on your investment becomes shorter. This means you’ll need to update your investment decision more frequently, as the equipment you’re purchasing will depreciate in value quickly. The second con is that if you live in a state that mandates energy generated from renewable resources (e.g., California), then you’ll need to purchase separate solar permission paperwork in addition to your investment decision in order to sell your excess electricity to the grid.
The Upsides Of The Solar Buyback Plan
Despite the above cons, there are still a handful of advantages to the Solar Buyback Plan. To start, you’re supporting a green technology that benefits the environment. When you purchase a solar-powered system from Reliant Energy, you’re also investing in future generations by fueling innovation and creating jobs. And last but not least, you’re helping to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels by relying more on sustainable energy sources.
What You Need To Get Started
In order to reap the benefits of the Solar Buyback Plan, you’ll need to have the following things in place:
- A solar power system connected to the grid (electrical grid)
- An energy management system (e.g., Vivint Smart Home Hub)
- An understanding of solar energy (e.g., how much electricity you need, how photovoltaic cells work)
- A place to store your energy (e.g., a battery or a fuel tank)
- A place to work (e.g., a garage or a house)
- An internet connection
- A credit card
- A few dollars to make a phone call (e.g., to verify your identity)
- A clear head (e.g., if this is your first time dealing with solar energy)
Once you’ve got all of that in place, simply follow the below steps to get started generating your own electricity with the Sun:
Step One: Contact Reliant Energy
The first step is to contact Reliant Energy and set up a time to speak with a live person. Once you’ve made that call, your next step is to follow the instructions they give you over the phone, which usually includes the purchase of a kit that contains everything you need to get started (i.e., the solar power system and the energy management device). Upon receipt of the kit, you’ll need to install it according to the instructions that come with it.
Step Two: Connect The Grid
Once your solar power system is installed and you’ve logged into your energy management device (e.g., the Vivint Smart Home Hub), you’ll need to connect it to the grid. To do this, you’ve got two options:
- You can use a power meter that reads the quality of power being delivered to you and your home, such as the PowePod or PowerMeter PRO (affiliate links), in order to check the overall quality of the electricity being generated by your solar power system. This way, you’ll know if the system is performing as it should. If you notice any fluctuations, it could be a sign that there’s something wrong. (You can also monitor your energy usage on the Vivint Smart Home App.)
- Or, you can generate your own quality meter using a voltmeter (affiliate link) or multimeter in order to measure the voltage of the electricity powering your home. Connect the meter to the battery of your charger (or a spare outlet) and you’re good to go.
Once the grid is connected and you’ve verified that the electricity is being generated as expected, it’s time to move onto the next step.
Step Three: Manage Your Energy
Once you’ve connected your grid and started generating electricity, it’s time to take control of how much energy you need to use in your home. To do this, you’ve got two options:
- You can set up automated energy usage based on the amount of time you spend at home or in your office. (You can achieve this by linking your energy management system to Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.)
- Or, you can use energy meters connected to your electrical grid in order to track how much electricity you use daily. You can then use this data to set energy usage limits (e.g., turn the kettle on when you reach a certain level, or activate the air conditioning only when you reach a certain temperature.)
The above two steps will get you started generating your own electricity with the Sun. However, if you think that this is still too much work or you want a simpler way to generate electricity without having to purchase or install all of these devices, then you can also purchase pre-built systems from Reliant Energy. These systems come with everything you need (solar panels and a battery) and can be easier to use than DIY kits. You can find out more about pre-built systems here.
The Savings On Your Solar Electricity Bill
One of the main reasons why you’d want to generate your own electricity is to save money on your energy bill. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine how much money you’re going to save by generating your own electricity, as the amount will vary depending on several factors. However, we’ve compiled a list of the top ways in which you’ll be able to save on your energy bill by going down this route:
1. Use appliances that are energy efficient
Many appliances use a lot of energy when you use them, but they’re also quite expensive to buy and maintain. Instead of running around looking for a replacement every few months, you can choose appliances that are energy efficient and cost-effective. You’ll be able to tell the difference in quality when you use them, too.
For example, if you’re using a microwave oven to heat food, then you know it’s not a very efficient choice. However, some microwaves are more energy-efficient than others, and you could save a significant amount of money by choosing one of the more energy-efficient versions. (The same goes for your refrigerator and your freezer.)
To find the most energy-efficient option, you can check out reviews of the appliances you’re considering buying or you can contact the manufacturers directly to see if they offer any appliances with an Energy Star rating. In the long run, you’ll save a lot of money by purchasing energy-efficient appliances that don’t cost as much to run.
Cut Back On Your Data Consumption
If you think that your data plan is costing you too much, then you can look into switching to a prepaid data plan or buying a data cap. The first one is usually cheaper than paying for data each month, and you can prevent any surprises by knowing how much you’re actually going to use. (You can also monitor your data usage on your mobile device’s dashboard.)
As for the data cap, you need to buy one that’s big enough to cover your projected data usage for the month. (You can find out how much data you need for the following scenarios: daily browsing, checking your social media accounts, emailing, and online shopping.)
Once you’ve set the data cap, you need to make sure that you don’t go over it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself charged for excess data later on.