The cost of energy in Bakersfield is the second largest expense after a home mortgage. Based on a report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), one-third of homeowners in the United States have difficulty paying their electric bill. The U.S. Census Bureau records if the household energy costs were to rise by 10%, the average US homeowner can be pushed into poverty – with low income homes being at greater risk. The trouble stems from many Americans having energy insecurity – when the cost of paying for heating and cooling become too expensive. Property owners in California pay more for electricity than the rest of the U.S. despite consuming less energy than the national average.
The Cost of Energy in Bakersfield
Utility rates, mortgage cost, climate, and income are factors that determine how much a households spend on energy expenses. It’s during the summer months when energy is most expensive – the season of constant air conditioning, refrigeration, and pool pumping. Being that Bakersfield has a hot desert climate with 272 days of sunshine throughout the calendar year, residents experience a long and dry summer with hot temperatures averaging in the nineties.
Summer is also the time of the year when Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) hikes their energy rates – due to the demand of their customers wanting to stay cool from the desert heat. In Bakersfield, the average rate for electricity is $.23 per kilowatt/hour. So whether customers choose a Tier plan or a Time-Of-Use plan, they can expect a bump in energy cost during the hotter months of the year.
The median home size in Bakersfield is 1800 square feet, with the average household (family of four) spending $207 per month for electricity delivered by PG&E. With the average household income in Bakersfield earning $56,842 annually, the family will spend one-third of their income toward the mortgage and electricity.
How Solar Helps to Make Energy Affordable
Installing a solar system has been a smart option to reduce the cost of energy in Bakersfield. The Federal Tax Credit (FTC) has made purchasing solar affordable and it’s why solar is a popular solution to reduce energy costs. The FTC helps reduce the cost of installing solar by rebate. Homeowners can be eligible for 30% rebate toward their solar system purchase which significantly shortens the payoff of the system by 7 to 8 years. When solar becomes the home’s primary energy provider, customers will be less dependent on electricity delivered by the utility company. The savings accrued from an electric bill pays off the cost of the solar system over time.
Net Energy Metering (NEM) will allow homeowners that install solar to receive credit in the form of a kilowatt/hour. NEM is designed to offset any additional costs associated with energy consumption from excess solar energy that was sent to the utility. Ultimately, the return of investment (ROI) toward the purchase of a solar system will depend on factors such as financing, system performance, and how much utility-provided electricity is delivered to the home.
Peace of Mind
Homeowners in Bakersfield and around the country have a great reason to go solar – to have peace of mind from energy insecurity by investing into renewable energy. With a slew of solar power incentives and energy efficiency programs from the Federal, State, and utility, homeowners can save even more – not just by reducing the cost of energy but lowering the carbon footprint as well.