Fanatic Solar Install!
There are a few out there I know who are contemplating solar as a means of staving off increases on energy rates. I thought it would be good to give an account of my experience since we’ve just recently made the leap.
First, you need to determine up front what you want to spend.. if you’re like me, you’ll more than likely be considering a lease option versus buying a system outright.
As far as I know there is only one company currently offering the lease option for solar installs and that is Solar City. Essentially you forgo the upfront cost of buying the entire system outright (granted you get tax credits when purchasing versus leasing, but they are not available till tax time, so you front a small fortune right off the bat). With the non-purchase option, you are tied to a 20 year lease that is transferable with the home (this can also be paid down sooner if you so wish by making slightly larger payments). This sounds bad to a few people, as the idea would then be that you cannot sell the house without transferring the lease and that might stall/stop the sale of your home. Two things to take into consideration when you are coming to that realization. 1. Solar installs typically increase the overall value of a home on average by $12,000; 2. When the new homeowner takes over the lease, they are also taking over what would already come with the home anyway, an electric bill. The difference of course is that the bill is typically 30-50% less than if you didn’t have the solar in the first place (this includes the cost of the lease). Another consideration.. the equipment is not yours, you are not responsible for it, in this case Solar City is, they will need to repair any damage or replace any faulty equipment (all of which is insured) should it occur (hail, tornadoes, tsunami etc). Another factor is that those tax rebates will now go to Solar City instead of you. This is how they keep their business viable while still allowing you a no-cost of entry into getting solar for your home. So there are those items to consider with regards to a lease. This is the way we went.
As we did not purchase our system outright, I will not speculate about that. Suffice to say that the equipment and tax rebates would be yours to do with as you please.
We are in on the cusp of having our system turned on for the first time. You will go through some hurdles till your system goes online. Initially there is the consultation. From there you have a site audit where they determine the size of the solar, your home energy usage/waste etc., then comes the system design for your home, that is then submitted for a building permit, after approval the installation of your solar begins followed by a city and utility inspection of the setup. Once the final inspection by the utility is complete, your system can then be turned on.
Ours is grid inter-tied, but can be updated with a battery storage option.
From start to finish it’s about a 5-6 month process, so if you are considering it, be prepared for a wait.
We’re on the last leg ourselves and should be able to start our system sometime this month.
We are very excited!