Behind every great installation, there's a good story -- meet Bill and Linnea. After several years of considering the costs and benefits of solar, Bill and Linnea Boaz, whose background is in finance, installed a solar electric (PV) system in October 2009. The tax credits and utility rebate made it financially viable for these SaddleBrooke residents to go solar.
Prior to installing a system, Linnea had noticed a number of things that seemed wasteful, and not utilizing the sun in Southern Arizona was one of them. However, Bill was concerned it would not be a sensible investment, but regardless he decided to get quotes from several solar installers in town.
Bill explains, “I interviewed 4 different companies, and TFS came to the top immediately. When the owner of the company comes out and is knowledgeable and can answer all of your questions, that’s impressive. It’s also great to know that our system was installed by a founding company of the Southern Arizona Solar Standards Board, since it’s hard to tell which company will do good work and which ones won’t," said Bill.
"We’re in a retirement community, and there are a number of people here who have gone solar, but there are also many who have not." When he asks his neighbors if they're considering going solar, "often times I’ll hear someone say in response, 'I’m too old, I’ll never live long enough to recoup my investment.' And, I explain that they're just not looking at it right. It’s not a recouping of your investment, it’s a yield. You've got money out there today earning a half of one percent and that’s taxable. When you put your money into a solar electric system, you’re going to get about 12% a year and that’s tax free. Where else can you go and get a tax-free return like that in this marketplace?"
Linnea added, " We've also noticed that having a solar powered home is much more attractive to buyers. We’ve already had people tell us that if we ever want to sell our home, they're interested."
Linnea and Bill have encountered something they were not expecting with their system. "We've been pleasantly surprised that the system has produced more power than was expected. We have a 5.16 kW system, and out of the 18 months we’ve had our system it has exceeded the production estimation 15 of these months. We're seeing that each month our electricity consumption is lower than it was during the same month of the previous year.
"Now that we're aware of the usage, we turn the lights off, and use dimmers. We adjust our thermostat. Even though we have all of this free electricity now, we don’t waste it we are still very careful about how we use it. We are generating so much supplemental electricity, we can put in a hot tub, and power it for free. It’s funny, I thought we’d go a bit more nuts since we had all of this extra electricity, let’s turn the lights on, let’s turn the AC down to 70, let’s use it. But it’s not in our nature. In general, we're pretty frugal, so we don’t do that," Linnea shared.
Bill shared some advice for others considering solar for their home, "Do your research, talk to others who’ve done it, and get all of your questions answered. Then, be prepared to pay next to nothing for your utility bills."