Two different homeowners, two different stages of their solar energy journey.
We spoke with ADT Solar customers Bea Davies and Cortney Ritchey to learn why their families chose the change to solar, the benefits of solar panel systems they’re seeing and any advice they have for others considering going solar.
Bea Davies – Houston, Texas
For Ms. Bea Davies, being environmentally conscious is a value she’s hoping to engrain in her family. When considering a solar energy system for her Houston, Texas area home, she knew that she wanted to do something to give back to the planet. Her family has lived at this property for 14 years and seen it all. Many natural disasters have hit the area as of late and her home in particular has been far from spared. It’s seen the effects of flooding during Hurricane Harvey and most-recently the effect of the 2021 ice storm and accompanying power outages.
When they rebuilt their home after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation and flooding, they considered adding solar during that process. They knew it would be nice to have, however they chose to focus on the rebuild at that time. The family made other energy-saving decisions during the remodel such as ensuring only the primary bedroom was downstairs and the spare rooms upstairs. This way, when both of their children are out of the house, the empty nesters can “shut down” their energy usage upstairs as much as possible for more cost savings and less energy consumption.
Solar power to the rescue
It wasn’t until February of 2021 when the next disaster struck Houston that the couple decided to go solar. This time, disaster came in the form of a massive winter ice storm that knocked the power out for days and the couple had enough.
“We had to do something [about losing power].”
Tired of the unreliability of their electricity grid during natural disasters, they decided to pursue an alternative energy system to power their home. They knew they didn’t want to do a gas generator due to their eco-conscious nature, but admitted to not knowing much about how the solar energy process works. They decided to strike up a conversation with Gage Mueller, an ADT Solar Sales Specialist.
Gage walked them through what they could expect from a home solar panel system, and how it could protect them from a blackout in the event of natural disasters. He answered all of the family’s questions, no matter how big or small, until they were satisfied and armed with enough information to make a decision. And sure enough, they decided to go forward with installing a solar system and had it turned on in early June.
“It’s kind of like a win-win for us because we’re giving back to the planet, and once we have the panels paid off, we’re also going to be saving a lot of money.”
The couple is beyond excited to start seeing monthly savings on their energy bill, thanks to the decreased energy grid consumption.
The Davies have always had an interest in giving back to the planet. They have two kids, one off at college and one finishing up high school. Their daughters are also big into giving back to the world and giving back to people. That central idea pushes the family forward, to be better people and take care of the planet. They’re all on the same page when it comes to being good environmental stewards: a great way to raise a family, they believe.
Not knowing anyone else in the area with solar energy, they were one of the first in their neighborhood to go solar. Now that Bea and her family have gone solar, she says the questions have been rolling in. She posts about her panels on Facebook and she says the next time she sees her friends they’re all wanting to talk about solar energy. (Referral App anyone!?)
It’s estimated that their new solar panel system will provide power for nearly 80% of their energy usage and they’ve promised to give us an update when their first bill comes in. Stay tuned for more on the Davies’ story!
Cortney Ritchey – Fort Bend County, Texas
For some homeowners, the reason for going solar is simple – saving money.
Cortney and her husband from Fort Bend County, Texas have talked about going solar for a couple of years. They’ve had friends who have done it and knew they desired some independence from their electricity company. Suddenly, they found themselves needing more space for their growing family and searching for their forever home.
“It boils down to what’s cost effective; [solar just] made sense.”
Once settled, they knew the timing was right to look at making this kind of investment and improvement in the value of their home.
In the early phases of her research, Cortney reached out to one of her mom groups on social media to ask for recommendations of local solar panel installation companies. She received a response from a surprising commenter – a local family who chose ADT Solar for their home’s solar panel installation. This happened be Gage Mueller’s wife. His wife spoke so highly of ADT Solar and she connected the Ritchey family with Gage, who truly believed in the product and had the personal experience to prove it.
“We were paying over $2,400 a year in electricity.”
To get started, the couple sent Gage examples of their utility bills for evaluation and photos of their home so he could see what their energy structure looked like. Through their natural conversation, it seemed perfect that solar panels would be a decision for the long haul. They’d be locked into savings well before energy companies continued to raise the price of energy. They began the process in the fall to have their own solar panel system installed, because they wanted to take advantage of the 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit, which was a big deciding factor in the family’s decision to go solar.
Cortney saw the solar movement taking shape in Fort Bend County and how the area is working to increase the presence of renewables, and hopes to see more local incentives enacted as well.
After turning her solar panel system on in January 2021, Cortney immediately saw results through a negative energy bill. Even now, despite the summer months being the hottest of the year in Texas and the highest energy consumption for families, her bills are still negative.
“We haven’t paid any electricity bills since we got solar.”
The Ritcheys pay the small amount for their loan, which she said basically takes the place of the electricity cost. But that will soon be paid off and they’ll be paying nothing to power their home in addition to making money from their local net metering program (a deal through Reliant Energy to pay homeowners for the unused solar energy they produce.)
Taking her energy conservation and money savings to the next level, Cortney’s family also likes to see just how low they can get their energy usage every month. They looked for opportunities to make their home more energy efficient and installed a Google Nest Thermostat. Through this smart thermostat they have all of their home’s energy data at their fingertips, with the ability to do things such as set schedules, adjusting temperatures to their comfortability.
Through Enphase’s solar monitoring app, Cortney is able to watch her family’s energy consumption in real time and immediately see how changes she makes affects the outcome of energy usage and brings her costs down. Her goal is to use less and less energy from the grid every month.
“[Saving energy has become] like a video game.”
We asked her for her best tips to keep energy consumption down and lower electricity bills and she said:
- Cover windows with dark, blackout curtains to provide a thermal barrier.
- Install shutter systems like plantation shutters.
- If you have a two story home, keep the upstairs system warmer during the day.
- And her final tip is if you have a fireplace- make sure to keep your flue closed!
For more ways to save money on electricity bills in the summer, read our earlier blog Definitive Guide to Summer Energy Savings.
In addition to using her solar monitoring app like a video game to lower her bills, Cortney also uses it to “compete” with other friends with solar panel systems. On a bright sunny day they’ll text each other screenshots to see who’s solar system produced the most energy.
Different stories, same solar solution
Each of these families had their own reasons for choosing a solar panel installation from ADT Solar and each are more than happy they did. They’re both saving money every month on their utility bills, making money from their unused solar energy, protecting themselves from outages and helping the planet.
If these stories have you thinking a solar panel system could be right for you, consider scheduling a free solar consultation to speak with one of our Solar Sales Specialists.