$0 Solar – Too Good to Be True?
Most of the time, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
No, you can’t really have six-pack abs in two weeks by taking that supplement doctors don’t want you to know about. And we hate to break it to you, but you’re probably not actually the one-millionth lucky visitor to that website.
But what about free solar panels? That certainly sounds questionable. Who in their right mind would install solar panels on your house for free?
Well, as it turns out, you really can go solar without paying a penny, and we’re going to tell you how. Bear with us.
Solar Is a Money Maker
If it’s been a while since you looked into going solar, then you may still be under the impression that it’s an expensive investment that doesn’t really pay off – the sort of thing you’d only do if you were serious about benefiting the environment, and were willing to pay through the nose for the privilege.
But that’s not the reality anymore. Solar has dramatically fallen in price, and that’s one of the reasons you’ve started to see so many solar panels popping up on local rooftops. That fact, coupled with the availability of lucrative solar incentives offered by federal, state, and local governments, means there’s good money to be made in solar energy.
More Than One Way to Go Solar
Of course, installing a solar array still costs money. Currently, the average price for a residential photovoltaic system is between $15,000 and $20,000. That’s no small chunk of change, and for many homeowners, it’s too much to pay for up front.
There’s always the option to finance a solar array – lenders now offer a wide array of low-interest financing options that allow solar adopters to take full advantage of all available solar incentives and rebates, and net substantial long-term savings.
But what if you don’t want to have a monthly payment, or you’re not interested in dealing with maintenance issues and cleaning? Perhaps you’re content to save a little bit on your electric bill each month and let someone else handle the details? Or maybe you just like the idea of going solar without putting down any money at all.
PPAs Make It Possible
Your best option may be a power purchase agreement.
Under a power purchase agreement, you simply allow a solar company to install a solar array on your roof. They’ll send an installer out to make sure your home is suitable for solar, and they’ll handle all the heavy lifting and permits.
You’ll purchase the power generated by the solar array at a discounted rate. At first, you might only be saving 10% off your monthly electricity bill, but the deal only gets sweeter from there.
Companies that offer PPAs typically set limits on annual rate increases, and they’re usually quite a bit lower than what you can expect from your utility, which makes no such concessions.
For example, your solar rate increase might be capped at 2.5% per year. Your utility company, on the other hand, might raise rates by 4% per year (a safe assumption, given historical averages and tightening EPA regulations).
In ten years, you’ll be saving a lot more than 10%. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with getting your electricity from a renewable source, and it’s hard to put a price on that.
[Photo via: SolarComparison]