How one Iowa family feels about solar
By: Robbie Gongwer, Senior Solar Consultant, Ideal Energy
Energizing a family of six
Juliet and Darryl Jarmosco went all in on clean energy with a net-zero solar installation on their home in Fairfield, Iowa. The Jarmosco’s solar array will generate 100% of the family’s electricity needs and save them around $1800 per year in utility costs.
Juliet and Darryl were motivated in part by a desire to live sustainably and be a positive example to their six children. “We’re always looking to be a step closer to sustainability,” said Juliet, “and also to leave a smaller footprint on the world.”
Switching to solar energy allowed the family to move away from fossil fuels. The Jarmosco’s array will prevent 148 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – the equivalent of planting 3,795 trees.
A powerful & virtuous investment
The Jarmosco’s other motive was financial – though they didn’t always view solar as an investment. While Juliet and Darryl had been aware of solar energy’s sustainability merits for years, they didn’t realize how affordable it had become until recently.
“I wasn’t aware that solar was really affordable. I always looked at it as an extra expense. Something that people do who have extra cash or who’ve got their mortgage paid. It’s not really true.”
In fact, the price per installed watt of residential solar has plummeted by 62% during the last 8 years. (1) This is due in part to the falling price of photovoltaic panels and also to improved racking components that make installation much faster and cheaper.
Financing is another area of rapid progress in the solar industry. Solar is now well understood by the financial industry and many local banks will work with homeowners to finance an array. Iowa State Bank – which has solar panels on its building – is one such lender. By financing their project with Iowa State bank, the Jarmoscos were able to minimize their up-front costs.
Just a shift in money
Juliet described the process of going solar as “just a shift in money.” Instead of a monthly utility bill, the couple pays a similar amount towards their loan each month. “Once we pay that off it’s a gain from there,” Juliet said.
25 YEAR UTILITY SAVINGS
INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN
148 Metric Tons
CO2 EMISSION REDUCTION
In addition to the monthly savings, the Jarmoscos are building equity in an investment that will increase the value of their home if they choose to sell. Solar panels generally increase property values by around $4/watt for an average sized system, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.(2)
The Jarmosco’s experience shows that solar is a great investment that doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Juliet and Darryl had this advice for other families considering solar: “At least sit down for a consultation. It’s probably more doable than a lot of people realize.”
Juliet added, “Once we saw it as an investment it was a no-brainer.”
1.Fu, Feldman, Margolis, Woodhouse, Ardani. U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System Cost Benchmark: Q1 2017. US Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Lab. August 2017.
2. Energy.gov. (2017). Selling Into the Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of Solar Homes. Department of Energy. [online] Available at: https://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/downloads/selling-sun-price-premium-analysis-multi-state-dataset-solar-homes
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