Going Solar: Answers to Your Questions

What are your options when it comes to going solar? What does it cost for solar power? How much can you save with solar panels?

Well, it’s finally hit. Summertime in the desert hit us full force this weekend. Fortunately, I was in Ventura for the weekend, but we’re home now and the weather is sizzling. The forecast for today is a high of 107, climbing up to 115 by Thursday(!). As I write this, just before 1:00, it’s already 99 outside.

Sunrun

What most people who live in normal, non-desert areas don’t realize, is that the temperature will continue to climb through the day, hitting its peak at about 6:00 pm. It most areas of the world, it then starts to cool down through the evening. Well, it will cool down here, too, all the way to about 100 at bedtime, toward a low of 79 in the small hours of the morning.

I’ve lived in the California desert for a long time and I love it, even the summertime. We are surrounded by air conditioning, from our home, to our cars, to work, to everyone we do business with. I know that if I want to run or do anything active outdoors I need to get up (really) early to get it done. The same goes for yard work, and even running errands, as getting in and out of a boiling hot car is one of the worst things about hot weather. In return for surviving about four months of hot weather, I have the best weather in the world for the rest of the year. Sounds like a fair trade to me!

Honestly though, there is one thing that I really don’t like about the desert summer. With those high temperatures and very little cooling off in the evening, it means that I never turn off my air conditioner. That’s right, my A/C pretty much runs 24 hours a day from June through September. I don’t like breathing canned air constantly, but what I really don’t like are my power bills, which will come close to tripling over the next few months.

I have been very interested in learning more about solar power. It is the future of energy after all, particularly in sunny climates like Southern California. I have had several clients who purchased it, and my son had solar panels installed when he had his new house built. Everyone has raved about their savings.

The downside? Well, the out of pocket expense for one thing. Even with incentives, and the potential future savings on your power bills, purchasing solar is very expensive. Until now, that is, where there is a cost saving solution that will save you money on your electric bills while eliminating the upfront cost of installing the solar panels. Going solar with Sunrun will save you money on your electricity bill immediately.  Sunrun customers save an average of 20% on their electric bills*

I had a lot of questions about solar power, and I’m sure you do too, so I wanted to share some of the answers with you, so that you can know your options.

What are your options when it comes to going solar? What does it cost for solar power? How much can you save with solar panels?

Going Solar: Answers to Your Questions

1. What are my options for going solar? Right now, there are two options. Purchase the solar panels, where you will be responsible for not only the upfront costs, including installation, but also any repair or service, insurance, parts, etc. The second option is leasing a system with a solar service provider.

2. What is a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA)? With leased solar, also called a PPA, the homeowner is able to have solar installed with little or no upfront cost. The solar lease provider installs, maintains, and monitors the system through the lifetime of the agreement. (Leased solar is not available in every state due to a variety of factors. Visit Sunrun.com to see if Sunrun service is available near you.)

3. How much does leased solar cost? Leased solar can be installed at little or no upfront cost to the consumer, who will then pay a reduced rate for their electricity. The monthly rate will vary based on tiered electric costs in your area, the size of the home, the size of the panels needed, etc.

4. How much will I save? The amount you will save will be specific to each customer. It will depend on your usage, your rate, and the rate charged by your local utility.

5. Do I get tax credits and rebates? There are both state and federal incentives that a homeowner can receive if they purchase solar panels. As the owner of the panels, the leased solar provider takes advantage of these incentives in order to lower the price you pay for your solar electricity.

6. What are tiered electricity rates? Tiered electricity rates are part of the reason electricity has become so expensive. With tiered rates, the more power you use the more your electricity costs per kilowatt hour. They are not as regulated, which means the power company has the ability to raise these rates without your consent. One of the nice things about going solar is that you can predict your electric rates for decades to come.

7. Where do the panels go on my house? Typically solar panels are installed on the southernmost portion of your house to better collect as much sun exposure and production as possible. The size and number of panels are designed specifically for your home and energy consumption.

I hope that answered some of your questions. If you have more, check out Sunrun.com. Sunrun invented solar service, a way to get solar energy on your roof without the high upfront cost and the hassle of ownership. When you sign a power purchase agreement with Sunrun, they will install, monitor, maintain, and repair your solar panels for the life of your agreement. You just pay a low, locked-in rate for the electricity that the panels produce. Sunrun solar is a win-win: Good for your wallet and good for the planet through reduced energy consumption.

Sunroom is hosting a Sweepstakes on Facebook! You can win a Nest Learning Thermostat. Enter here!

*Actual savings will vary. See here for details.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Coola Sun Care, Bloggy Boot Camp, and some Link Love

First off, thank you so much for your support after yesterday’s post. I feel so loved and so comforted by everyone’s comments. It truly helps.

Today happens to be my last “official” day of work for the summer. The snowbirds have all gone, none of my clients live here year round, so I’m headed back to unemployment for a few months. I have plans (don’t I always?). I discussed a few the other day, but I’ll share a few more ideas in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite products, reads, and adventures for this last Friday in May.

Coola

While we need to protect our skin year round, with the weather warming up most of us are showing a lot more skin. Finding a good sun care line is really important. You want one you can trust. You need more than just sun protection, you want a product that is good for your skin, made by an ethical company, with the best ingredients possible.

I was first introduced to Coola Sun Care products several years ago at a fitness conference. I was given a couple samples to try. I’ve been in love ever since. First off, one of the most important things for me, they do no testing on animals. And Coola is based locally, in San Diego, and they incorporate a Farm to Face philosophy. They use the freshest ingredients possible, mostly organic, locally sourced, that are free of paba, parabens, petroleum, and phthalates.

CoolaMy favorite products are the Sport Unscented Spray, the lightly tinted mineral sunscreen for your face, and the Radical Recovery After-Sun lotion. The spray goes on easily and lightly with no oily feel. It really is unscented, so you won’t smell like a coconut (they do offer the spray in pina colada and citrus mimosa scents if you like). I use the mineral face sunscreen daily. The tint is so light that you can wear it alone or underneath your regular foundation. It has a matte finish and feels really good on my skin. I rarely have to use the Radical Recovery, as long as I’m consistent using the other two products, but it’s nice to have just in case. It contains aloe vera, agave, sunflower oil, and other ingredients to soothe and help repair your skin.

Coola has a variety of luxurious sun care products for your skin, your face, your lips, as well as for your baby.

I did receive the Sports Spray from Coola in exchange for my honest review. I asked them, because I love the product so much. I purchased the other items shown.

Bloggy Boot Camp

Tomorrow is Bloggy Boot Camp! I am so excited to learn, among other things, more about SEO. Not to mention that work/life balance that seems to be so challenging to achieve. Of course, for me the most exciting part is meeting up with old and new blogging friends, including Lisa and Melissa. And I’ll be driving up with three lovely blogging ladies from the desert, Andrea, Lizzie, and Candi. I can’t wait!

Sunwarrior

I make a smoothie almost every day to take with me to work. I want it to hold me over for the morning, keep away hunger pangs (yes I’m that person who needs fuel every two hours), and taste good. After recently getting a chance to try out Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder, I found it so perfect for my needs that I’ve continued to use it. It blends well, tastes good (it’s a perfect base for my favorite Berry Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie). I found a really good deal on it at Whole Foods, and they recently had it on sale at Vitamin World. I love finding a good deal on my favorites!

Sun Warrior 2I’ve been using the Warrior Blend. It has a complete essential acid profile, is easy to digest, and it tastes good. It’s made with a blend of hemp seed, pea, and cranberry proteins, it mixes well and does not have a gritty texture. It’s perfect for everybody, not just vegans.

Outlander

I was first introduced to the Outlander books last summer when we were visiting a friend in Big Bear. She absolutely raved about the series of novels, written by Diana Gabaldon. Somehow, even though the series began in 1991 and I am a constant reader, I missed hearing anything about it! Perhaps that is because some would consider it a romance novel, which it is. My friend assured me though, that it is much more like historical fiction.

Outlander

The premise sounds a little fantastical: A woman, Claire Randall, who is a nurse during World War II, is transported in time to 18th century Scotland, where she marries and falls in love with (in that order) Jamie Frasier, a Scottish Highlander (in spite of leaving another husband back in 1942).

But, I believed my friend and ended up downloading Outlander, the first in the series from Audible. I am now on the sixth (of eight so far) book, and I’m loving the whole series. After many adventures, Claire and Jamie are currently in America in 1773. Of course, Claire knows that the American Revolution is coming, but she doesn’t know what will happen to the two of them.

I’ve never read either romance novels or historical fiction, but I’ve loved every moment of this tale of two lovers from different centuries. I highly recommend the Outlander series. You can also watch the new series on Starz! I don’t get that channel, though I did purchase Outlander Season 1. One of these days I’ll sit down to watch it.

Link Love

I’m a little short on link love today (this post was already running a little long (oxymoron?)), but here are a few of my favorite posts from the past week.

Running

I love variety in my speed workouts, and I’m especially loving this one from MissZippy: Take it to the Track Workout.

Blogging

Most bloggers love getting comments. Here’s some great advice from Olyvia.com: 5 Official Secrets to Getting More Blog Comments.

Food

Here is the latest of delicious breakfast idea from Cadry’s Kitchen using her Eggy Tofu: Vegan Denver Omelet Quesadilla.

Do you enjoy romance novels? Have you read Outlander? Have you ever been to a Bloggy Boot Camp or other blogging event? What did you think?

I’m linking up with xoxoRebecca for That Friday Blog Hop

That Friday Blog Hop

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase something I’ll make a little money. Thank you.

Are You Confident Enough to #GoCommando?

 

GoCommando 5

Quick confession: I’ve been going commando for running, fitness, and yoga for years. And, since I work as a personal trainer, and wear spandex daily, I #GoCommando in my work clothes too. So there. Of course, I’m a longtime Cottonelle fan, so I’ve had clean confidence for a while.

Cottonelle 5

Of course, Cottonelle is not the only thing that gives me confidence. I work really hard to stay fit and strong. I start most days with a run, sometimes long, sometimes short, occasionally fast(ish), frequently slow. I work my muscles with some type of strength workout several days a week. Some days it’s yoga, others it Pilates. I also love weights, using the TRX, and once in a while an outdoor, body weight only workout.

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A Food Lovers Dream: The Orange Chef Countertop

This post is sponsored by Orange Chef and Fit Approach. All opinions are my own.

I’ve always been an early adapter. I had my first smart phone in the dark ages, when they were slow, clunky, and didn’t even have GPS. I get a new phone almost every year, I have tablets, computers, GPS watches, a fitness tracker, heart rate monitors and more. My charging station is so full that there is a line to get in to charge. I love techno everything and believe me, I’m not easily impressed anymore unless you can really WOW me.

Well, I’ve been wowed. The new Orange Chef Countertop, coming later this year, will not only weigh your food, which is quite helpful for keeping track of calories and nutrients, it will also suggest what food to eat, find recipes, learn what food you like (and don’t like), and keep an accurate log of what you eat.  The Wow Factor is that it works with your Vitamix, Crockpot, and fitness tracker to offer you meal recommendations, customize your own recipes, and track everything from your exercise to your nutritional intake and your sleep. Wow!

Orange Chef 2

I can’t wait! I am a data nerd by nature, and I love knowing exactly what I’m putting in my mouth. That smoothie with two bananas, frozen fruit, protein powder, etc? Now I’ll know exactly how many calories that healthy “snack” provides.

I also create recipes, for myself, then I like to share them right here. When the Orange Chef Countertop is released, I’ll have a better idea of the nutrients in each dish. I tend to throw things together, and I’m lucky enough that they taste good. Now I can throw together with a purpose, and keep track of important details while I’m doing it.

Currently the Orange Chef Countertop is designed to work with Vitamix and Crock Pot (an optional adapter is required), and the Jawbone fitness tracker. Other appliances and trackers will be added. The app requires an iPhone 5 or above, with iOS 8 or above, though an Android version is in the works. It will be released in late 2015, but you can get significant savings by pre-ordering now, including a $10 savings by using my affiliate link.

Orange Chef ButtonSeriously, if you’re a kitchen gadget lover like I am, this is perfect. It is functional, nice looking, and it has a low profile, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your kitchen. What’s not to love?

Are you a kitchen gadget lover? What is your favorite one?

April Health Dares from UnitedHealthcare

This post is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.

April Dares

It’s time for the United Healthcare We Dare You To program for April! In case you forgot, each month United Healthcare has three health dares that are easy and have some great prizes.

April Dares 2The April Dares are:

  • Take the stress management quiz for a chance to win a HomCom Deluxe Heated Vibrating Leather massage recliner chair.
  • Watch the “3 Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally” video and offer your opinion for a chance to win a $400 Visa gift card.
  • Share a photo of yourself and/or your loved ones using #LaughOutLoudWDY for a chance to win a GoPro Hero 3.

Plus you have a chance to win one of the weekly prizes of a $25 gift card for each dare that you take. What are you waiting for?

As I looked for a picture to share for the dares, I realized that I have many pictures of smiling people, but not many laughing. We all smile for the camera, right? I think that is something to work on. More laughter, on and off camera.

laughoutloudwdy2I did finally find this though. About mile 16 (I think) of the Rock and Roll Marathon. Still laughing. Or grimacing, I can’t be sure.

In any case, look through those old photos, or take a new one, and enter now! We’re talking about a GoPro! Good luck!

What would you do with a GoPro? Or a reclining massage chair?

Friday Favorites

Did you see my guest post on Amanda’s blog? It’s all about how you can keep running until you’re 90. Check it out!

Popping in today to share some Friday Favorites! The folks at Asics have an amazing sweepstakes that you won’t want to miss, plus a little fitness motivation and something for your sweet tooth. Finally, an invitation (and discount code) to Blogfest. Check them out!

Asics Gear for the Year Sweepstakes

Asics has an amazing sweepstakes going on right now. You can win 10 months worth of Asics gear! How’s that for a prize? That’s $300 per month for 10 months = $3,000! Wow! Enter here. You can enter once a day until April 30!

Asics

What would you buy with with $3,000 to spend? First, I would stock up on Asics shoes, including these babies, the Gel-Electro 33. I love them for racing and speedwork.

Asics 9Click here to read my review of the Asics Gel Electro 33

Asics Gel SanaClick here to read my review of the Asics Gel-Fit Sana

 

Motivation from Skulpt

skulpt 2

I mentioned the Skulpt Aim a few weeks ago. It is a simple fitness tracker that can measure body composition with just a touch, and continue to track it using the free Skulpt app. It uses electrical impedance myography, which uses a weak electrical current to measure body fat and to give you a Muscle Quality (MQ) score based on those measurements. The app is a great motivational tool that will help to record improvements.

I wasn’t really happy with my original measurements, and that was enough to send me back to weight training. I’ve been doing some yoga and Pilates, but my main focus has been on training for the SLO Marathon.  I’m still not as consistent as I’d like, but once marathon training is done I will be ready to hit the gym on a regular basis. I want to see that body fat percentage go down!

NuNaturals

Nustevia

I told you before that I was lucky. Well, one of the things I have won (twice) is a sample package from NuNaturals. Thanks Jody! I say samples, but these are full size products of some of their best stevia products. I admit that I have a sweet tooth, and I need a little sweetener in my coffee. I love both the simple syrup and the cocoa syrup! And I’ve finally weaned Alan off sucralose, and he uses the NuStevia powder. They also have many great products for baking, which I don’t really do, but kind of wish that I did, because I’d love to use some of the great flavors of NuStevia like Cherry Vanilla, Orange, Lemon, and many others.

Blogfest

20140814 IDEA Anaheim Copyright 2014 Len  Spoden Photography.

If you are a blogger, and have any kind of interest in health and fitness, then Blogfest should be the one blogging conference that you attend. Not only do you get two days of great blogging information, workouts, and networking, you will also be able to attend the last two days of the IDEA World Fitness Convention! Gabby Reece will be the Keynote Speaker for Blogfest, and you’ll have a chance to see Beto Perez and Jillian Michaels (and many more fitness pros and celebrities) at IDEA World. You can read more about it here, but what are you waiting for? Register and save $100 with the code BLOG100. And we’ll see you in Los Angeles July 16-19!

So, did you enter the giveaway yet? Will I see you at Blogfest?