1. Solar is amazing!
There’s a few ways to go solar, and some will provide more value than others in the long run, but you’d be hard pressed to find a solar system that doesn’t save you money and reduce your environmental impact. Everyday, people all over the country make the switch to cleaner, cheaper, solar energy. Costs are at historical lows and tax incentives today make solar an even smarter investment.
2. There is no such thing as “Free Solar”
You may have heard about how your neighbors got their solar system for free, or seen some no-money-down options for going solar. The two most common forms of these system are a solar lease or power purchase agreement. The truth is that these types of programs, while beneficial in the short run, will end up costing you as much as 3 times the cost of purchasing a solar system upfront, and generate far less savings on your electrical bill.
If you purchase your solar system, there are a variety of financing options, such that your loan payments each month are substantially less than what your previous monthly electricity bill were. And once your system is paid off, your solar energy is truly free!
3. Know the panels you’re buying
There are many panels on the market, each with associated pros and cons. Knowing the exact panel that’s going on your roof is crucial to ensuring that your system produces for as long and as efficiently as possible. If a company can’t (or won’t) tell you the panel they’ll be installing, it’s probably worth looking elsewhere.
4. Know how your installer plans on mounting the system
Knowing how your system is getting attached to your roof or property is often overlooked due to the technical nature of the question. Try to find out how many penetration points are being put in your roof – is it one per panel, or do they use a rail system that minimizes penetration? Are the anchor points going into rafters, thereby minimizing leak potential, or do they penetrate directly into the roof? A good installer will be upfront about this process and tell you the pros and cons of the mounting system they are planning to use.
5. Know the financial benefits
Whether you purchase or lease, solar will invariably save you money. How much you save is up to you. There currently exists a 26% federal tax credit (see the actual tax form here) that applies to any residential or commercial solar installation, if you purchase the system (either upfront or financed with a loan). That means the cost of your solar system drops by 26% if you decide to purchase rather than lease a system.
When you lease a system, the solar company takes that tax credit instead, which is why they can offer zero-down type programs. Over the course of 20 years, the average solar system in California will the save the homeowner over $35,000 – if you purchase, that number can double, with many homes saving well into 6-figure sums of money on their electricity bills.
It doesn’t matter which way you slice it, solar is phenomenal investment for your home and our planet. But, like any investment, make sure you know the product you’re buying and the people who are providing it. If you have questions, or want a free assessment of your property and energy usage, feel free to contact us!