Category Archives: Costs and Benefits of Going Solar

The factors influencing the economic benefits of clean energy systems.

Solar Power as a Retirement Investment Strategy

solar as a retirement investment strategy

Solar power is a smart retirement investment strategy for many homeowners.

Establishing a secure financial future for your retirement requires that you explore a variety of options, but most homeowners don’t realize that installing a solar panel system can be one of the smartest retirement investment options available. By viewing a home solar panel system as an investment opportunity, homeowners can reduce or even eliminate their electricity bills, freeing up more than $1,000 in cash each year. With the increased availability of $0-down solar loans, homeowners that lack the cash required for an upfront purchase can still take advantage of solar as a retirement investment strategy.

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What is an SREC? Net metering credits explained

what is an srec graphic People often think SRECs and net-metering are the same thing, but really, the comparison is like apples to oranges. It’s true that they are both important to getting the best financial results from your solar PV system, but SRECs and solar net-metering actually have very different, distinct functions.

SRECs are a way to put cash in your pockets while net-metering is an efficient way to manage the finances related to your utility bill. Both can have positive financial effects and understanding the difference between the two can help you, as the owner of a solar PV system, to maximize the benefits of both. Here’s how it all works: Continue reading

Compare the top solar lease companies: Sunrun vs SolarCity, Vivint, SunPower & Clean Power Finance

Top solar leasing companies graphic energysage

 

Who are the top solar leasing companies in the country, and how do they differ in structure and business model? This article aims to answer these questions, examining some of the biggest solar lease providers in the US – SolarCity, Vivint SolarSunrun,  SunPower and Clean Power Finance.

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Can I go off the grid with solar batteries? Excess solar energy explained

Going off the grid with solar batteries

Newer, more efficient solar panels and inverters have been in the news recently, but advancements in solar technology aren’t limited to standard equipment. Energy storage is also moving closer to mass-market adoption, and more installers are offering solar batteries and solar panel battery banks (a.k.a. solar-plus-storage) as an option for homeowners. Solar-plus-storage systems include a battery that captures and stores the excess solar energy generated by the PV system, opening up the possibility of going “off the grid” – a tempting proposition for homeowners who want to sever their connection with utility companies by using renewable energy.

Since solar battery technology is relatively new to the solar market, there isn’t significant solar storage capacity deployed in the U.S. That won’t be the case for long though: between utility and residential installations, solar battery deployment is expected to increase twelve times over in 2015. As solar batteries become cheaper and more accessible for homeowners, more people are wondering, “Can I use solar batteries to go off the grid with my solar panel system?”

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What happens if your tax liability is too small to claim the Investment Tax Credit for solar?

investment tax credit

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a generous incentive from the federal government. It was put in place to encourage uptake of solar energy and other renewable energy systems in 2006. It has been tremendously successful in this goal: the number of solar installations in the US has increased 1,600% since the ITC was introduced.

Many EnergySage customers quickly understand the potential benefits of the ITC, but have questions when it comes to the particulars of how it operates. Frequently, we field questions about whether or not they can claim the ITC at all, and when and how it can be applied to their tax bills. Continue reading

Congress extends solar tax credit – everything you need to know about the federal ITC

federal solar tax credit itc extension

Congress has voted to extend the solar tax credit for homeowners through 2021.

Homeowners, solar companies, and industry advocates alike were given a big Christmas gift in 2015 when Congress approved the 2016 federal spending bill and extended the solar panel tax credit. The December 18 bill contained a 5-year solar tax credit extension, which makes solar more affordable for all Americans. Wondering how this impacts you? EnergySage has the answers.

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Does my solar roof have to face south?

You don’t need optimal conditions for your solar power system to be a great investment. One of the biggest myths about the financial viability of solar is that it requires a really sunny location and a south facing roof. While these may be ideal conditions, folks outside of Southern California with roofs that face other points on the compass, such as east to west-facing roofs, can still satisfy most of their electricity needs and reap significant financial returns when they adopt solar power systems.

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LG Solar Panels: The Complete Review

LG solar panel review EnergySage

LG is well known for its high-quality electronics, and the company’s solar PV products are no different. In fact, LG solar panels appear alongside SunPower and Panasonic in EnergySage’s ranking of the best solar panels currently available to homeowners in the United States. Whether you’re debating the merits of SunPower vs. LG solar panels or simply trying to evaluate your solar PV options, a thorough review of solar panel product specifications is the best way to be confident in your solar investment. EnergySage’s LG solar panels review breaks down all of the details to evaluate how LG compares to other solar panel brands on the market.  Continue reading

Is residential electricity price going up or down?

electricity rates and solar cost trends graphic

What You Should Know About Solar Energy: Costs Are Going Down

If you’re considering whether going solar is a worthwhile financial move for your home, there are essentially two factors that you should look at: 1) the costs associated with solar power, and 2) the rates you pay for electricity from your utility. Going solar makes economic sense when solar electricity costs less than grid electricity.

As for solar, it is clear that costs are coming down. Rooftop solar panels are now more affordable and accessible than ever. This is why more and more households are having solar energy systems installed: going solar is a great way to reduce your power bills.

But what about the future cost of grid electricity? If electricity rates are going up, then of course going solar makes sense. As you’re probably aware, however, utility electricity rates fluctuate seasonally and annually. “What if utility electricity rates go down instead of up?” you might be asking yourself. Would it still be worth it for you to go solar? This article seeks to address this question and put to rest any idea that grid electricity rates could be going down. Continue reading

Do Solar Panels Cool or Heat Your Roof?

Solar panels don’t just power your AC on blisteringly hot summer days – they also take over some of the AC’s work themselves. This is according to a study from researchers at the University of California at San Diego, which says that rooftop solar panels not only produce emissions-free electricity, but also cool roofs and buildings to which they are attached. This lowers cooling costs, and offers an additional benefit of going solar. Continue reading