Thinking About Solar Power?
So I have been thinking about installing solar panels to my house. I keep seeing those ads touting free solar panel installation by using their financing and taking advantage of government tax credit programs.
I have had a few companies come to visit my house and collected some estimates so far and here is what I have learned.
To begin, I have not yet found a program that is actually free. There may be houses or situations where this works out but I have not yet seen that to be the case. There are a few factors that go into this. The amount of power you use and will need to produce and how low can you work the financing numbers to minimize your monthly payments.
The first factor, installation, is not cheap. The cost of the panels and the labor involved is a significant investment. The companies that I have talked to all offer financing and work with you to maximize the tax credit. The ideal would be they finance the upfront amount and when you get your tax credit, you pass that along to them to cover the remainder. That keeps you from having to finance the whole amount. There are some important details to make that more complicated of course, which the representative of the companies are happy to explain.
The cost of the installation depends on how many panels you will have installed. The installation companies will look at your monthly energy usage and calculate how many panels would be needed to match that. The cost of the installation will be financed as a loan spread over perhaps 20 years. It is considered "free" if you can make the monthly loan payments match your monthly electric bill. On the plus side for solar panels, the loan payments can be set up as a constant amount each month for those 20 years where the cost of electricity is almost certainly going to rise because of inflation, market fluctuations, supply and demand, etc. Also, once the loan is paid off, your payment ends at which point you really are getting free power. Hopefully your panels continue to work well for many years after that...
To make things harder in my situation, my roof is getting near the time I want to have it replaced. The last thing I want to do is mount a bunch of expensive panels to my roof only to have to remove them to replace my roof in the next year or two. That means, I add the cost of a new roof to the cost of the solar panel installation. Now, my favorite of the companies I have talked to so far also offers installation of the new roof and financing to pay for it but it does make the monthly payments considerably more than my monthly electricity payments.
The result so far for me has been to begin financially preparing for the roof and solar panel installation so that I can finance an amount that works out in the monthly payments. In other words, I'm saving up a health down payment. If you think you might do something like that too keep in mind, the amount of the tax credit the government is offering is decreasing in 2021 and may not be offered after that so time is a little bit of a factor.
If you would like to talk more with an expert, a quick google search should give you several to choose from. I have found they all have very similar programs and information so you will get educated quickly. If you are in the southern US you are likely within the service area of my current running favorite, Sunpro. They also offer referral bonuses if you're the entrepreneurial type. Feel free to use my link https://invite.gosunpro.com/SvzS2XJtv7 to get a small bonus in their referral program if you want to start pushing the benefits of solar to your friends and family.