Isn’t solar expensive? How much do solar panels cost?

No. Solar is quickly becoming mainstream technology and over the last 7-years or so, the price of solar panels has fallen by around 80%. The biggest benefit of solar is that you can lock in years of predictable and affordable power (the sun’s energy is free after all), and the biggest hurdle has been costly equipment.

With the dropping prices, more efficient permitting and installation processes plus innovations in financing – solar is more affordable than ever.

Are prices going to drop quickly in the near future?

While it is likely that prices will continue to decline slowly, a much bigger impact on the final price you pay are the incentives. The biggest and most effective incentive is currently available only until the end of 2019.

So, how do I save money with solar?

The main savings from installing solar is replacing your expensive and volatile electricity bill with a new source of more stable and cheaper power. Your power bill is rising each year (and sometimes by large amounts!), and most estimates calculate that your bill will be 2-3x more expensive in 20-years. So when you install solar you are signing up for cheaper power for a 20-year period. You are eligible to receive incentives to help reduce the initial cost (see below) and then solar power offsets the bulk of your utility bill.

This offset is known as “Net-Metering.” You receive a credit for power produced from solar, typically during the day when prices are high. Then at night, when we are using most of the electricity you are charged normal retail rates. During the course of the year you will average out that your credit offsets the most expensive parts of your bill – saving you money!

What about the value of my home?

This is a great question, and definitely a concern for most homeowners that go solar. There have been many studies, by the National Appraisal Institute, Wells Fargo and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs that suggest solar adds significant value to a home – often the added value in equity is more than the cost of installing solar in the first place!

So, in simple terms, solar increases the value of your home and can help reduce the time to sell your home.

What incentives are available for me?

There are three major types of incentives: Federal, State and Utility/Local:

– The main Federal incentive is the 30% Investment Tax Credit. So, 30% of the value of the system will be credited as a tax incentive (e.g. if your system has a value of $30,000, then you will receive a $9,000 tax credit, which means you must have at least that much eligible tax liability after all of your other deductions!* Speak with your accountant to understand how this could benefit you and if you qualify.)

– State incentives vary from up front rebates to additional tax incentives. Currently many states offer up front incentives and additional tax incentives.

Can you confirm that I would not need to put any money down to go solar?

The options that we offer come with $0 down.

What should my monthly payment be?

Your payments won’t go over your average annual electric bill if you choose to go with our 25 year option. If you choose to go with a shorter term, your payments will be a little higher than your average annual electric bill. If you are in a position to do this, you can pay down your loan a lot quicker and save even more money in the long run. If you aren’t able to do that, you will still save money, put the money towards something that will benefit you and have this program build you equity.

What happens after a solar agreement ends?

Great question. After the agreement ends, you get the electricity that the panels produce for free. All you pay at that point is the electricity needs that you will have above and beyond what the solar panels produce for your home to your utility company.

Should I wait for better technology?

It’s always nice to think of a ‘silver bullet’ technology, or massive short-term improvement, but solar technology is actually pretty established, so massive changes in the short-term are unlikely. The cost and efficiency improvements are incremental, and mainly due to small efficiency gains and manufacturing improvements.

Add to that – your technology has to stand the test of time, so any ‘revolutionary’ new technology will have to be proven before you want to take the chance on it. Solar panels are already revolutionary technology that is ‘better technology.’

Will I be ‘off the grid’?

Ah the image of the cabin in the woods with a solar panel! This is what most people think of when they think of going solar.

You will be installing what is called a “grid-connected” solar system, so you will not be “off the grid.” This means that you will continue to draw power from the power lines at night, but during the day you will use your solar power, or “spin the meter backwards” and you will get a credit for what you produce that offsets the cost of buying electricity at night. This is called net-metering.

Will my solar work if the power goes out?

No, your solar system will shut off automatically if the power goes out to protect maintenance crews that might be working to fix the problem. When the maintenance crews are done, the system automatically turns back on.

Do I need a battery backup system for my solar panels?

Because of net-metering, you will not need a battery backup. The utility company essentially becomes your battery backup. Let’s say you produce 100 kWhs during the day but no one is home. All those kWhs are sent to your utility company and you can use those at night at no cost.

What happens if I move?

You have a couple of options:
– You can transfer the loan to the buyer and increase the value of the home based off of what you already paid to the solar panels since that added equity to the home.

– You can pay off the rest of the loan and add more value into the home since the new homeowner will be walking into amazing savings on their utility bill.

– Solar installs increase the value of homes and reduce the time on market. So as long as your solar system is in good shape, this should make it easier and more profitable to sell your home.

Solar will definitely be a positive when selling your home, not a deterrent. People are looking for savings on their utility bill. This is the case in the vast majority of solar home sales. What is certain is that you will need to be ready for questions about the solar panels, just as you would be prepared about questions regarding a pool or a recent remodel.

How well do these panels blend in? Some people might find them distracting.

The panels that we have look real sleek. Just like power lines and power poles, people stop noticing them. They are just part of the scenery now. People that get solar on their roof stop noticing within a couple weeks. At first you notice them because it’s different, all of the sudden. But just give it a couple weeks and every time you notice them, you will just be thinking about the money you’re saving.

What about roof maintenance with it covered with panels?

Another awesome thing about getting panels on your roof is that you are essentially putting a shield up there. Think about what causes a roof to get beat up: hail, wind, snow, the sun, etc. The panels actually increase the life of your roof because they are protecting it. The panels themselves are very durable and are designed for durability. We also perform a site audit and look at the integrity of the roof and the shingles and make recommendations if we see that shingles are too old etc.