TODAY'S GREEN MANTRA: Solar is the future and the future is now

Day 69 / 365

For this week's theme on energy, I invited a company called MyDomino to do some guestposts for me on the economical and ecological benefits of green/clean energy in your home. MyDomino provides a service where they can personalise what programs are available and practical for you and your home and give you some financial projections on when you'll break even on any green energy investments you make. This isn't a sponsored post, I haven't received any money for posting their stories, I am instead happily taking a partial break this week to get after some freelance work outside this blog and share their expert insight with you. I've written the intros but the suggestions are theirs.

It used to be that solar panels were an odd looking addition to some off-the-grid hippie house, today, they're considered mainstream. When my husfriend and I were in the Southern states we found them everywhere. Houses on our block in Texas had been given them for free by the city, in New Mexico houses had been converted to be completely powered by the sun, and in Arizona, a whole community which was being built beside a golf club had solar panels installed on them pre-sale. During our roadtrip across the U.S in our VW, the entire interior light system in our van was powered by solar energy.

In fact, every 96 seconds, an American home goes solar.

Here in Paris, we live across the street from Halle Pajol, the first positive energy building the city ever knew, which holds 2000 solar photovoltaic panels and produces 410 00 kWh/year. It is the largest photovoltaic plant in Paris which includes various other eco-friendly aspects, including sensors for regulation of air and light and a fully functional garden. The building also houses the city's largest hostel, a restaurant, a library and a number of cafe's and boutiques.

Halle Pajol, Paris, King Willem Alexander, Queen Maxima
King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima @ Halle Pajol in Paris
So impressive is its construction, last week, the King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands shut down our whole neighbourhood (with a series overkill entourage of about 50 cars and about 250 white gloved police officers) for hours so they could came visit the building and see how their country can further incorporate this type of architecture. That's how impressive and important this technology is. 

It's the way of the future now. Which leaves ourselves to question when, rather than if, we will jump on board.

To help us answer that question, I asked MyDomino to share a few of the answers to some of the most common questions which come up. They also offer personalized consultation with a MyDomino energy concierge if you're ready to make the jump.

answered by MyDomino 

[ONE] Isn’t solar expensive?
Not anymore. If you can afford to pay your electric bill, you can afford solar — and you’ll keep your electric bill from going up. You can even go solar for no money down and start saving right away

[TWO] How can I pay for solar and save?

You can pay for solar in two easy ways: monthly or upfront.

If you pay monthly, you’ll save money by paying less each month for solar power than you pay now for traditional power from your utility. If you pay upfront, you can lower your cost with tax credits and other incentives — and all the power your system generates is yours for free once the system pays for itself in a few years or so.

Whichever option you choose, your Domino concierge can get you free quotes from several installers.

[THREE] How will solar affect my home’s value?

Solar panels can increase the value of your home, particularly if you own your system. Having solar on your home may even make it easier to sell.
Halle Pajol, Paris, Solar, Power, Home
Halle Pajol, Paris
[FOUR] Will solar panels damage my roof, and do they need much maintenance?
Before putting any panels on, your solar installer will verify that your roof is in good enough shape. Solar panels can actually protect your roof from wear and tear.

Solar panels are built to last for decades — in rain, snow, and of course, sun. Hosing the panels off now and then and keeping leaves off them in the fall is about the only maintenance required. Many installers will do that for you. And all equipment comes with long-term warranties — usually for 25 years.

[FIVE] Do I need a big roof? How do I know if I have enough sun?

How much space you need depends on how much electricity you use. As long as your roof isn’t shaded, it doesn’t have to face south. Solar works well even in areas without much sun  –  and in snowy conditions.

But you don’t need to figure all this out yourself. Your installer will make this assessment for free.

halle pajol, paris, solar power, solar energy
Halle Pajol, Paris
[SIX] Aren’t solar panels ugly?
Some people think so, but there are options now for better-looking panels. And often, panels on a roof aren’t even visible from below. Panels these days are more sleek than they once were, and some people even opt for solar shingles.

Ask your Domino concierge for information on different types of panels.

[SEVEN] Can I get all my power from solar?
That depends on how much power you use and how big your roof is. Your solar system will still be connected to the electric grid you’re getting your power from now.

When your system generates more electricity than you use, the excess goes back to the grid and your meter runs backwards. You get a credit from your utility for that power, so you can use it when your system is not generating electricity — like at night.

[EIGHT] Shouldn’t I wait till solar technology improves?
Do you want to wait to start saving money? If you want to save now, the answer is no.

The biggest technology advances in solar have already happened. Going solar now means you’ll save on your power bill, and you’ll increase those savings more as power prices rise.

Some great rebates and incentives are in place today to encourage clean energy adoption. Those incentives won’t go on indefinitely, and some are already ending. So now is the best time to go solar and save.

[NINE] What if I can’t put panels on my roof?
If it turns out you can’t put solar on your roof, offsite solar, also known as community solar, might work for you. That’s where you buy solar power from panels installed in your community — so that even if you can’t put solar on your own roof, you can get clean power from the sun.