When you’re shopping for a new home, you probably have a checklist of things to do. First, you walk through the home to see if it fits your lifestyle. Next, you have your real estate agent run comps to make sure it’s a good deal. Lastly, you hire an inspector to check out the house and make sure everything is working well.
Buying a house with solar panels is no different. You need to know if the installation fits your lifestyle (more on that later) and if it makes financial sense for you to purchase, both in the short and long-term.Continue reading
Before the vote was taken at the town meeting, various residents expressed some pretty wild ideas about the mysterious “powers” of solar.
A husband and wife, Jane and Bobby Mann, were the most irrational.
It just won’t work for the solar company, nor for will it work for you as the potential solar customer. Instead of paying less for solar, you could wind up paying even more than you pay now to have to keep renting dirty power by the month from your utility.
But you are the very people who already switched out all the lightbulbs long ago! Surely you deserve dibs on front row seats at our solar future! The irony is that eco-minded electricity misers are the very ones locked out of the solar market. And this is a tremendous market failure, because many of the people who have the lowest electric bills are the best informed and the most enthusiastic about solar.
Now one non-profit organization has found a way to make the sun work for everyone, even those of us in this situation.
You’ve probably noticed that more and more of your neighbors are going solar. It seems like there’s a climate or solar related article in the paper every week. Why?
Net metering, according to Michael J. Sandoval, research associate for the Independence Institute’s Energy Policy Center, is a gift funded by ratepayers that benefits solar companies like SolarCity. But the issue is larger than net metering, and has its roots in the Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, of 2006.
Originally drafted to benefit a wide array of electricity consumers, the 30 percent (investment) tax credit, or ITC, has since become the “sweet spot” for solar firms operating as leaseback entities, for tax equity investors, and for companies who install solar panels using federal, local or regional tax benefits that they can “swap” for additional credit. Originally written to expire at the end of 2008, the ITC – a part of HR6111, passed by the 109th “lame duck” Congress – now “steps down” to 10 percent at the beginning of 2017.Continue reading
Since this is a major home upgrade it doesn’t work well if you don’t own the property (although you can always try to convince your landlord to go solar).
This typically means average to high electricity rates (this is key in terms of system payback time). There are also state-by-state incentives, credits, credit markets, tax bonuses, utility programs, and so on. Don’t be scared off by this, it all gets rolled into the details of a solar estimate and payback time.
Obviously solar panels need sunlight to operate properly, and even a small amount of shade during part of the day can significantly cut power production. The other major factors here can by the type of roof you have (eg Asphalt Shingles vs Spanish tile) and the angle. The type and slant of roof matters for actual installation, eg it may be more difficult for a worker to go about the panel installation on ceramic shingles, which break easily. Roof direction and angle is another huge factor in power output — a south facing roof at an ideal angle will be more suited than something steeper and north facing.
Without going into the details here, the three basic ways to fund home solar are to pay cash, lease the panels (eg lock in lower utility rates but to not own the system), or to get a loan. All three have advantages and disadvantages which your particular circumstances will dictate.
Solar panels will increase the value of your home if or when you decide to sell. It’s important to consider how you’ll pay for the system and what the payback time will be when you consider this. How does adding $5900 per installed kilowatt to your home’s resale value sound?