Image courtesy Electrum

Home Electrification For a Better Home Energy Ecosystem

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Home electrification is one of the most powerful tools homeowners have to combat climate change, and it comes with three main benefits:

  • Energy cost savings
  • Carbon emissions reduction
  • A more resilient home and local energy grid

That’s because pairing a solar and battery storage system with electric appliances creates a home energy ecosystem in which homeowners have control over production, transmission, and consumption.

In other words, home electrification frees homeowners from being entirely at the mercy of a utility provider. This is especially appealing after a year of double-digit energy price increases and power outages due to extreme weather events.

So, let’s take a closer look at what home electrification means and how to go about building your home energy ecosystem.

What is Home Electrification?

Home electrification is exactly what it sounds like – it’s the process of upgrading to systems that run on electricity instead of fossil fuels. One of the most basic examples is swapping out a gas stove for an electric one. In addition to reducing global methane emissions, there are plenty of reasons to go electric.

Natural gas is expensive, toxic, and dangerous, and gas stoves are hard to clean and take forever to boil water (compared to induction). And unless you have a fracking operation in your backyard, a gas stove handcuffs you to a utility provider.

Much of the same can be said for anything gas-powered: 

  • Furnaces
  • Water heaters
  • Clothes dryers
  • Automobiles

With that in mind, home electrification is not only the process of creating a cleaner, cheaper, more resilient home energy ecosystem; it’s means to reduce your dependence on energy providers.

Now, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and home electrification is a substantial undertaking. But the emergence of home electrification marketplaces has simplified buying solar panels, batteries, EV chargers, and other home upgrades.

The “Amazon” of Home Electrification

Say what you want about Amazon, but it’s undeniable its marketplace has made finding and comparing products incredibly easy. For example, say you’re planning a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party for a 4-year-old. You can drive to three different stores to find Mickey Mouse decorations, tableware, presents, and clothes, or you can spend 25 minutes on your couch comparing prices on Amazon.

That same basic concept exists for home electrification. For example, the Electrum marketplace allows homeowners to compare multiple binding quotes for solar systems, battery storage, heat pump water heaters, and EV chargers.

So, if you are in the market for solar panels, instead of vetting and chasing down quotes from five local installers (and sitting through each company’s sales pitch), you can use Electrum’s marketplace to design a system and instantly generate dozens of quotes from a network of pre-vetted installers.

Live pricing

Unlike other marketplaces, Electrum offers binding quotes based on live pricing from its installer partners. That means that the price you see online is the price you’d pay if you chose to move forward with a project.That’s quite unusual for solar marketplaces.

Most marketplaces offer estimates based on a formula and sell your information to an installer. Then, when the installer actually bids the project, it often comes in higher than the estimate.

Powered by Electrum

The other notable thing about Electrum is that it powers marketplaces for some of the biggest names in the home electrification space, including REC, Q Cells, and Hyundai. For example, if you’re looking into solar and you’re a fan of Q Cells because of their huge investment in US manufacturing, you can compare quotes through the Q Cells Solar Marketplace.

Or, if you just bought a Hyundai IONIQ 5 and need a home EV charger, you can do so through the Hyundai Home marketplace. Even more amazing is that Electrum powers marketplaces for some of the largest energy utilities in the US, including Southern California Edison and Orange & Rockland Utilities.

If you think about it, that’s a bit like a cable provider giving out free Amazon Fire Sticks and saying, “Here, just pick some streaming services instead.”

Choose Your Own Home Electrification Adventure

There is no right or wrong way to electrify a home, but there are a handful of strategies to consider.

Appliances and EVs first

One school of thought says to start with appliances and electric vehicles to get a sense of how big of a solar system you need to power your home energy ecosystem. This is the quickest way to ditch fossil fuels and provides a fairly quick return on investment, as electricity is typically cheaper than natural gas.

However, without a solar system, you are still at the mercy of utility electricity prices.

Solar panels first

Another strategy is to go solar as soon as possible to gain control of your energy costs, and add panels and battery storage to the system as needed. With grid electricity prices skyrocketing in 2022, the monthly savings from going solar can help you finance future home electrification upgrades. And as a long-term investment, the sooner you go solar, the longer you have to accumulate savings and reduce carbon emissions.

Focus on incentives

One factor to consider is home electrification incentives. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, there is either a rebate, tax credit, or both for every home electrification upgrade. For solar and battery, the 30% tax credit is the same regardless of income, but the value of incentives for EVs, heat pumps, electric stoves, and other appliances depend on your income level.

For example, there is a rebate worth up to $1,750 for heat pump water heaters available to households making less than 150% of the area median income (AMI). Meanwhile, households with income at or above 150% AMI qualify for a 30% tax credit. So, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of the greater incentives (usually upfront rebates) if you have qualifying income.

Upgrade as needed

Another strategy is to replace gas appliances as they go out. Traditional gas water heaters typically last 10-15 years and gas furnaces have a lifespan around 15-20 years. If either appliance is creeping up in age, it’s time to start looking for an electric replacement or just upgrading it before it’s an emergency.

The Bottom Line

Electrification is a means to a clean, resilient, and economic home energy ecosystem. Better yet, it’s a way to gain control of your energy costs and reduce your dependence on energy utilities.There is no right or wrong way to go about home electrification.

However, as with any home improvement project, it’s wise to compare multiple bids for every project. Online marketplaces like Electrum simplify the process of comparing quotes from trustworthy installers.

This article is supported by Electrum and Solar.com.


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