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Solar Offers a Solution to Increased Energy Usage Caused By Coronavirus Stay at Home Orders

The COVID-19 health crisis and worldwide pandemic has led to global shock and boundless uncertainty. The virus has caused major implications thus far; nationwide school closures, sports seasons cancelled, events postponed, unemployment rates spiking, and plenty more. The way we engage with our families, friends and co-workers has completely shifted into uncharted territory. Among these changes will be a steady climb in our home energy costs.

With the stay at home order not having an end in sight for the tri-state area, residential electricity usage continues to rise. Children are home from school, taking classes online and causing a need for further usage from charging, printing and scanning. The same applies for employees that have work from home options.

While we are home, everyone is trying to adjust and make the most of it, whether that be spending more time on Xbox, running the TV all day, or cooking with family.

The virus also calls for extra precautions like washing clothes when coming home from an essential business job or the supermarket which increases the energy use from washers and dryers.

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In the history of other crises in America, utility companies have had no choice but to ramp up efforts, leading to an increase in rates. The Coronavirus will be no exception. Increased demand across the grid and even more so at peak hours is a recipe for a bit of sticker shock when your electricity bill is posted at the end of the month.

Before COVID-19 everyone was out of the house for most of the day. Many households lowered their heat or turned off the air conditioning while at work to save energy. The lights were off all day and most appliances weren’t running until everyone returned home for the night.

In 2019, our solar customer base in a residential household had an average annual electricity usage of around 10,000 kWh. This number is a way to measure how much energy you are using in the home.

A watt hour is a measurement of the amount of energy that is needed to power a certain machine or appliance in the home for a one hour time period. For instance, most ovens use about 2.3 kWh per hour leading to an overall usage of about about 250 kWh per year. Now, due to the severity of cases in our home state of New Jersey, college students have moved home, young adults have moved out of urban areas to quarantine with family, and more people are working from home than ever before. This is causing laptops, computers, tablets, and cell phones to run all day, everyday. In addition, people are eating three meals a day at home, causing the microwave, oven, and dishwasher to run double if not triple the amount of times as usual. Household appliances, like an oven, are being used multiple times per day rather than only once, leading to an increase in usage of about 120 kWh for the year bringing the total to 370 kWh per year. Based on our load calculations, each household is found to be using their washer and dryer 10+ times per week, which raises the total usage of these machines to 700 kWh per year. With all this added energy demand we expect overall usage in the home to rise by at least 20%!

The COVID-19 crisis and the increase in household energy that comes from it makes a solar installation a great option. Utility rates rising were already a leading motivator in installing solar, because when you generate your home’s energy with solar, you will lower your demand and hedge against rate increases.  In addition to the energy savings that come from solar, some homeowners might be surprised that they can be installed on a home for no money down.  Even with no money down solar programs, most homeowners are cash flow positive from day one thanks to the energy savings, the solar incentives (like TRECs in NJ, the tariff in RI, and the grant in CT), and the federal solar tax credit.

The worldwide pandemic has also shed a light on the global climate crisis and how eliminating unnecessary travel, major tourist attractions, and the carbon footprint of humans can be drastically reduced quickly.

As seen in many areas of the world, smog from cities has lifted and wildlife has returned. This is an important and crucial time in history to take advantage of making a change and turning to solar energy. Carbon emissions of a vehicle causes 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, a number that can be easily offset by a 6 kWh solar system. In addition to solar incentives saving you money, you can be confident that you are essentially taking a car off of the road for a whole year.            

As we adapt to virtual meetings with potential solar consumers, the process seems natural to Green Power Energy. With electricity rates on the rise, now is the perfect time to move forward with a solar installation. The pandemic has no end date and will surely continue to impact us in the future. By installing solar panels now, you can protect yourself from the unmanageable increases in electricity costs. With a solar system you can minimize or eliminate your monthly electricity bill far beyond the length of the COVID-19 virus.

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