One of the biggest questions that everybody has about solar is “How do I pay for it?” The old misconception was that it actually took cash to go solar. People thought, well, solar is expensive, because I have to spend this upfront cash. That could not be further from the truth.
Today, in fact, solar is the least expensive option to get energy in most of the United States. And with low interest rates and lots of finance programs, it is typically easy for most homeowners to get zero-down financing. There are two primary ways to finance your solar system today: with a low interest rate loan or a lease. Let’s talk about both options.
A zero down loan means that you can choose a loan term, whether it’s five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, or 25 years. We offer all of those, and we offer them at the most competitive rates possible. Now, when you go solar with a zero down loan, what that means is, you finance the system through your loan provider, and instead of paying a monthly bill to your utility, you simply pay a less expensive monthly payment to your loan provider. So you get to keep the difference.
If, for some reason, a person can’t get a loan, they will often choose a lease. This may be because they don’t have a tax liability and can’t keep the tax credit. A lease is exactly like it sounds – every single month, you’ll pay a lease payment. And you’ll pay that usually over 20 years. It’s that simple. Your lease payment is going to be less than what you used to pay your utility bill, which means you’re saving money every single month.
We will help you figure out what is best for you. When you get a proposal from us, our consultants are going to sit down with you. They’re going to show you all the different options and help you decide what’s best for you. They’re going to show you how much money you can save with solar and we’re going to make it as easy as humanly possible for you to understand and make your decision.
So what happens when you sign an agreement to go solar with power? Actually, the agreement is the hardest part! Once you sign your agreement, we do the rest. We will assign you a dedicated project manager that will keep you posted through every step of your project.
First, we will schedule your site survey. Next, we create the design that gets submitted to the City to receive a construction permit. Once the permit is received, we schedule your installation, which typically takes 1-3 days depending on the size of your system. After we finish installing the solar system on your house, we schedule the city inspector and/or your utility company to approve the installation and give you what is called “permission to operate”, or PTO. Once you have PTO, we power on your system and you can enjoy clean power for your home from sunshine. The whole process typically takes 30-60 days. Although much of that time is simply waiting for permits, inspectors and the like.
It is well-documented that solar increases the value of your home. The reason for this is that it’s a home investment that actually produces income. A solar system sits on your roof and generates electricity, and there is a value for each kilowatt of electricity your system produces.
In fact, each KW you produce is a KW that you don’t have to purchase from your electric company. Plus the future value of all of those savings is valuable to the next buyer of your home.
Another amazing reason to go solar today – get the economic benefits today, and get more for the sale of your home tomorrow.
How Do I Know if My Home is a Fit for Solar?
Not every home is eligible for solar, so cross your fingers. Let’s hope you’re one of the lucky ones, and you can save money. There are three main factors:
Number one is called “sun exposure” – does your roof (or the location of your solar panels) get enough access to the sun? One of the things we’ll do is analyze your sun exposure from satellite images and other technology to make sure that you’ve got what’s called “proper solar access”. There’s a percentage we’re looking for which, as long as you’ve got that, you’re good to go.
Number two is orientation. What direction would your panels be facing? Ideally we would want the panels facing South or West, since that is where the most sunshine hits. So you’re looking for the right sun exposure, you’re looking for the right orientation.
And then there’s just number three. Are there any structural issues with your house or roof that would make it difficult to mount solar panels? And if it turns out that it doesn’t work for solar, no harm done, you got educated and you know it is what it is. But that’s the reason why I encourage you to reach out and get a no-cost proposal from us so we can actually do the hard work of analyzing your property and show you exactly how much money you can save by going solar.
Net metering is the policy that really enables your solar to work for you. In most US states, there is a policy that says for every kilowatt hour that you put into the grid, you will receive a credit for that kilowatt hour. So if your solar system produces 10 kilowatt hours of energy, and it puts those 10 kilowatt hours into the grid, that’s 10 kilowatt hours you get back. That’s what net metering is.
This is really important because your solar system produces energy during the daytime, but you use energy during the nighttime as well. How it works is that during the daytime, you put a lot of energy into the grid, and it goes “on account” to be used later when you are not producing electricity. So you’re banking all those credits. Then at night (or on a cloudy day), you pull that energy off the grid, and you use all the credits you accumulated.
That’s net metering. It’s an amazing policy. One that we all as consumers and advocates for clean energy have to continue to fight for. It has enabled solar to develop so much and, in effect, gives you the ability to use the grid as your own battery, reducing the cost of electricity for you and your family.
The Solar Investment Tax Credit (also known as the ITC) is available for qualifying homeowners who install solar. When you go solar, you can apply for the ITC from the federal government when you file your taxes which, for some homeowners, can result in a reduced, or even zero, tax liability. The ITC was recently increased from 26% to 30% giving homeowners even more reason to go solar. That’s why customers who are ready to go solar should do so while the tax credit is maximized.
The ITC is a huge part of the value proposition of solar. For example, if you go solar and finance (or purchase with cash) your system for $30,000, you could receive an income tax credit equal to 30% of that $30,000 solar system, depending on the size of your tax liability. And if you finance your system, you can be eligible for this benefit without paying ANY money down for the system. That is why you want to go solar today and take advantage of the generous federal subsidies we as consumers have available in order to support clean energy and save money.