Is your wallet feeling a little lighter these days? The cost of energy might be to blame — increased gas and electricity prices are burning a hole in pockets everywhere.
Last year, electricity costs rose faster than they have since 2008. Costs per kilowatt-hour jumped 4.3% from 2020. And that doesn’t even begin to cover prices at the gas pump. According to AAA, average gas prices as of March 29 were $4.24 per gallon, up from $2.86 a year ago.
We’re all looking for ways to save money, and many of us would love the added benefit of increasing our sustainability at the same time. Well, we have good news. When it comes to energy, the sustainable choice is also the choice that will save you money.
Community solar is the easiest way to save on your home energy costs
Allow us to introduce community solar. A number of states have started community solar programs to encourage the development of clean energy. When you join one of these programs, you subscribe to a share of a solar farm in your area. It’s almost like a CSA (community-supported agriculture) for solar power. You don’t have to install your own solar panels, which means that you can join whether you live in a house, an apartment, a duplex, whatever. You keep your same utility company, and, the best part, you don’t have to pay anything extra. Signing up is easy — you just need two minutes and a power bill.
Part of your regular power bill gets repurposed to support the community solar farm. In return, you get savings back on your bill when the solar farm generates electricity. So you’re guaranteed to save every month as a community solar member. Plus, you’re helping put more clean, renewable energy into your state’s power supply. How cool is that?
We’ve been big fans of community solar since it first became an option. In fact, our CEO often calls it “the best energy product out there.”
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The best way to save money on fossil fuels? Stop using them!
Transitioning to clean energy is only one way to save money on fossil fuels. Another part is kicking fossil fuels out of your home entirely. With rising fuel prices, more and more people are looking toward electric options. Electric options run on electricity rather than fossil fuels, which makes them more cost-effective and better for the planet.
Take heat pumps. Heat pumps are a money-saving, emissions-saving way to heat and cool your home. Instead of generating heat, they transfer heat from cool spaces to warm spaces. This makes them much more efficient than other heaters. And that efficiency means cost-savings. Air-source heat pumps can save the average home 50% on their heating costs compared to furnaces or baseboard heaters.
Plus, 98% of US homes could cut their carbon emissions by switching to heat pumps. If all single-family homes in the US made the switch today, not only could we save money — we could avoid 160 million metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2032. That is a lot of greenhouse gasses. It would be the equivalent of taking 32 million passenger cars off the road.
Electric vehicles, or EVs, are another great example. Last year, we looked at whether it was worth buying an EV amid rising electricity prices. The answer? A resounding yes. Our analysis found that EV owners can save up to 90% versus gas costs. That’s especially true now, as gas prices have skyrocketed and remain unstable.
Electrifying is a cleaner, more affordable solution that can help offset rising costs elsewhere. And costs don’t just come at the pump or on your monthly gas bill. The more we continue to rely on fossil fuels, the more we’re costing the environment and our chances of solving the climate crisis. And not taking action is expensive. Last year, climate-fueled natural disasters cost the US $145 billion.
Not everyone is in a position to install heat pumps or solar panels, or to drop a bunch of money to cover the upfront costs of buying an EV. That’s OK. Anyone can join a community solar farm to save money on their power bills and start kicking fossil fuels out of the power grid.