Cold Hard Cash, Equity Boost, Stabilize Energy Costs, Go Green on a Budget, and Option to Buy
Posted on Mon, 03/28/2011 - 08:53 PM by Bryan Nisperos
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Solar Power is a great way to "go green" by reducing your carbon footprint and your dependence on oil, gas and coal. That's enough of a motivation to switch for some people, but what really gets most Americans interested in Solar Power is the potential to save money and avoid constantly rising energy costs. Purchasing a solar power system can be costly, but leasing is a great alternative for many homeowners. Here's a look at the top 5 reasons why leasing solar may be right for you.
- Cold, Hard Cash
The simple facts of solar power are that the equipment is expensive, but pays for itself over the lifetime of the product. Unlike purchasing costly equipment, with leasing you'll see the financial benefits from day one. Most solar lessors will look at your electricity bill and design your system to save you 10-20% each month, that's it. The rate never goes up and you never have to pay for the equipment.
- Equity Boost
As solar power becomes more and more popular each year, having solar equipment installed can be a very attractive box to check when it comes time to sell your home. In many metropolitan areas, green construction and alternative energy are some of the highest priority features home buyers look for. Leasing solar lets you get your home in front of more buyers without having to front load the cost of equipment and installation.
- Stabilize Energy Costs
If you're near retirement or live on a fixed income, switching to a solar lease will let you lock in a fixed electricity rate that will never go up for the duration of the lease. This is because the lease payment is based on the amortized cost of the equipment and not on comparable electricity rates.
- Go Green on a Budget
Going green may be trendy, but in many cases it's a luxury for most Americans. Leasing solar, among its many other benefits, allows you to join the green movement without having to jump into a huge financial commitment. If tomorrow someone offered you equipment that could run your car on water for $3/gal, would any of us hesitate? This is essentially the deal when you sign up for a solar lease.
- Option to Buy
While the savings are somewhat small month to month for a solar lease (usually $20-$50/month), owning solar equipment outright can yield savings of $1200-$2000/year for the typical household. Many solar leasing companies will allow the option to purchase the equipment while in the middle or at the end of a solar power lease. This allows you to convert your meager savings to big savings without having to turn in your equipment and reinstall newly purchased panels.
As you can see, a solar lease is a great choice for most homeowners, but admittedly, it's not for everyone. Consider you options. Calculate the cost to own vs. lease over the amount of time you intend to stay in your home. Most importantly, do your research, because the longer you put it off, the longer you pay more than you need to for energy.
There's a lot to know when it comes to building and installing a solar power system. The components that go into a system are like the parts on a car in that they all work together for the same ultimate goal, but the quality of each component can make a big difference in performance.
A solar power system is one of the biggest investments a homeowner will make, so it's important to make sure that everything is installed properly and built to last. Components vary quite a bit in terms of electrical output, form factor and weight, but most panels will come with a 20-25 year warranty, making solar a long term investment, dependent on a strong foundation of a quality install.
The age of the internet has also ushered in a new wave of DIY thinking. Where in the past, information was a precious resource, today you can learn how to do just about anything with a couple strategic Google searches. Just because you can learn how to do something, however, doesn't mean you should, and when it comes to installing a solar power system, or anything heavy you plan on putting on your roof, it's a good idea to always use the services of a professional installer.
As you get a little closer to pulling the trigger on a solar power system, one of the final steps before actually purchasing a product is to have a professional installer come out to your home and do a site visit. The purpose of this visit is to make sure your roof is appropriate for solar power, determine what kind and size of system you will need and then put together a quote that will show you the pricing and details of your new system. While a good installer will walk you through this process, being a good consumer means having some solid information going into your site visit, so here’s a look at what you need to know before the installer arrives.
Green energy is a growing trend that helps the environment and can save you a lot of money over time. Nearly every neighborhood in America will have at least one or two homes with solar panels on the roof, but some homeowners will resist adopting solar power simply because of the look of the panels. Furthermore, although your homeowners insurance will cover your solar panels, installing anything onto your roof can often void your roof's warranty, discouraging some would-be solar converts. This is where solar shingles come into play, and this new spin on a well-established technology makes a lot of sense for any homeowner considering the switch to solar.