We Went Solar, and So Should You -- Because It's Free

For years my wife and I have been getting phone calls about going solar, and for years we've ignored them because it was just too expensive. But today 26 solar panels are mounted on the south side of our roof. Each panel is worth over $1000, but they didn't cost us a cent. That's because Solar City (Elon Musk's brainchild) rents them to us. This is a deal that no smart Californian who owns a home should miss out on. It's called a PPA (Power Production Agreement), and it'll save you at least 30% per year on your electric bill. It's a fairly new option, and that's why we hadn't heard of it. Maybe you haven't either.

Here's the way it works. If PG&E delivers your power, check out your latest statement. You'll see that the first tier (cheapest) rate for electricity is 18.1 cents per kilowatt-hour; and it goes up from there, well into the twenties. We all know how expensive it gets to run the air conditioner in midsummer. And we've all seen that the more we use, the more expensive it costs per kilowatt-hour. Solar City's rate is a flat 16.2 cents, with no tiers. The savings is huge.

Installation and repairs are free, and selling the house with the panels in place is as simple as getting the signature of the new owner. And if at some point you don't like your PPA (hard to imagine), Solar City will uninstall everything for free.

And get this: If your panels generate more energy than you need, as often happens, PG&E will buy it back from you at full price. It's not that way in every state, but in green-friendly California it is.

The whole installation process was no hassle--it took four hours. And the best thing for idealists like you and me: You go on a carbon fast for as long as you live in your home. Solar City even donates a percentage of their sales to free electricity for the Developing World.

Solar City is not the only company with a PPA; they just happened to be the company that contacted us when, at last, we were ready to listen. I suggest you shop around to see if there is a better deal than Solar City's. As for us, we were so pleased that we didn't bother.

Every morning I step out back and proudly look up at the panels just waiting for the sun to rise over the big cedar tree and light them up. And I savor the thought of how much money we'll save for the rest of our lives.

Solar is something we believe in and are excited about. It's cheap, and there is no better way for the average person to clean up the planet. As far as we're concerned, it's a no-brainer.