Home solar power is moving into the mainstream. Nowadays, going solar is not dissimilar to many other home improvement projects, whether it’s replacing your roof, renovating your kitchen, or building a deck. What’s best way to find a company you can trust to install your solar panels? Use a solar installer that has earned the EnergySage seal of approval.
If you’re shopping around for a solar energy system, you undoubtedly have questions that you want to ask your solar company. But what questions are the most important ones to ask an installer?
The decision-making process is a bit easier if you divide the questions into two ‘stages’: First, you can ask the key questions which allow you to understand the value that their product offers. This will help you to rule out the options which are definitely not for you. After you’ve answered these questions, you can ask the questions that will help you make the final choice between this narrowed-down range of options. We discuss some of these questions below. Continue reading →
If you’ve been shopping around for a solar panel system, you’ve probably heard at least one company advertise ‘free solar panels’ – that they will install a solar system on your roof for free. But, much as with anything, remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch (or a free solar panel).
Examples of companies advertising ‘free solar panels’
Decoding the sales pitch: The term ‘free solar panels’ is sometimes used to advertise solar lease or solar power purchase agreements (PPAs). Under both types of arrangements, a company will put solar panels on your roof for no money up-front, but will charge you for the electricity that they produce. Most offers will save you money but not all of them, so make sure you’ve thoroughly compared all your options. Also consider buying the solar panels or financing them with a zero-down solar loan.
The solar market is booming, and so is the number of solar installers! Here at EnergySage we get asked all the time how the size of your installer impacts your project. From the financing options available to you, to the type of equipment on hand, the size of the company doing your installation can impact your project. Continue reading →
Don’t have a roof of your own to put solar panels on? So-called community solar gardens have begun to appear in many states across the USA, promising to make it easy to go solar even if you don’t have anywhere to put your panels. ‘Community solar’ has created quite a buzz as the number of solar garden projects has grown.
But we here at EnergySage argue that participating in a solar garden only makes sense if you’re benefitting in some way: whether that be saving money on your power bill, or possibly just knowing that you’ve helped your community take a step towards energy independence.
Community solar gardens: How to go solar without a roof
EnergySage has published a number of articles on the topic of community solar power. You access them with the links below:
Considering solar leasing over buying a system outright is a big decision and should not be impacted by marketing copy. Learn the facts and make the decision that works for you financially
Third party solar leases have proven themselves incredibly popular in recent years, playing a key role in propelling rooftop solar panels into the mainstream. Depending on the state, anywhere from 50%-90% of rooftop solar installations were financed by solar leasing or PPA at the beginning of 2014, according to the SEIA. You could say that solar leases have revolutionized the US solar industry.
But are solar leases always a good idea? These financial mechanisms are still relatively new and you, as a smart solar shopper, should approach them with a healthy dose of caution and a discriminating eye. This point has been highlighted in the recent efforts of a number of Congresspeople to shine a brighter light on how solar leasing is pitched to consumers – both for the sake of those in the market for a system as well as for the solar industry itself. Continue reading →
Solar loans are bridging the gap between purchasing your solar panel system with cash and using a lease or PPA. Like a purchase, a solar loan allows you to own your system and reap the many financial benefits tied to ownership. Like a lease or PPA, it will allow you to go solar with no money down. Today, a host of banks, credit unions and specialty finance companies have emerged presenting a wide range of solar loans. Continue reading →
In 2012, over 83,000 U.S. homeowners installed solar panel systems – a 55% increase over 2011. The growing popularity of solar power has been aided by the availability of financing solutions such as solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) which have allowed homeowners to install solar panels with either no money down or with only a small down payment. Now, easy availability of solar loans promises to make solar power even more attractive to an even larger number of homeowners, pushing solar power further and further into the mainstream. Continue reading →
If you’ve been paying attention at all, you’re probably already a believer in the financial benefits of solar power. One of the critical benefits of EnergySage is the tremendous amount of time it saves you throughout the entire process of shopping for solar power. When we talk about these financial benefits, we don’t usually assign a monetary value to the time you save using EnergySage, but as we all know, time is money. Ultimately, how you value your time affects the choices you make. Here’s an interesting analysis of how to put a dollar figure on the time EnergySage will save you. Continue reading →